Creating an Internal Communications Strategy That Plans for the Unplanned
One of my favorite sayings is that you have to be proactive to successfully react in any situation. In internal communications, we often talk about this. But the reality is, we’re always reacting in some way. The difference between those that seem to keep their cool and uphold their strategic vision and those of us who always feel like we’re putting out fires is that they’ve prepared their reaction ahead of time. They’ve looked at all possible scenarios and put together an internal communications strategy to successfully react in that moment.
And although this is a new year, we are still faced with the battle against COVID-19, with burnout, and with the necessity to improve DEI at our companies. In 2020, we were treading water and focusing on tactics to stay afloat. Now the real work begins. It’s time to shift to the strategic planning that will propel us forward in 2021.
If you make one resolution for 2021, let it be scenario planning that supports your strategic direction.
1. Plan for the unplanned
Look at your 2021 goals and editorial calendar and think through at least two scenarios that could impact your ability to achieve those goals. What if the vaccine isn’t delivered on time? Or if that rumored merger or acquisition is officially announced? Or if there is a change to the leadership team? Think through your plan, looking for different possible scenarios that could impact your business this year, and then create internal communications plans for those situations.
2. Complete a communications audit and channel assessment
If there’s one thing we learned from 2020, it’s where there are gaps in our internal communications strategy. Can you reach your frontline workforce if there are no in-person meetings? Do you have a means to quickly get information to your now remote workforce? An audit will help you clearly identify where those comms gaps exist and help you prioritize solutions.
See our Internal Comms Audit Guide for additional tips to start this process (includes a FREE audit template).
3. Collaborate with other business partners and stakeholders on internal communications strategy
While we like to think we have our finger on the pulse, we are sometimes kept out of the loop on critical projects. Create a regular meeting with other business partners who often come to you with comms requests or who have (dun, dun, duuuun) gone rogue in the past. Use this meeting to discuss upcoming programs, rollouts, and campaigns that will require your comms expertise. Wrapping your arms around the programs early will help you plan ahead and save yourself the scrambling to react.
We Can Help With Your Internal Communication Strategy in 2021
2020 might have kicked our butts, but let’s turn that into a motivator to be proactive in our reaction in 2021. Take this time to create the strategies and templates that will help us be more successful when the unexpected happens. And if after completing your audit you need advice on selecting the right mobile communications solution, give us a shout.