Internal Communications Strategy Planning Process
Employee Engagement Strategies
Every day Internal Communications takes place. Somewhere in a Fortune 500 company, start-up, government agency, non-profit or small-business a leader emails a message, an internal newsletter is edited, or an in-person meeting takes place between key functional teams (like human resources and the IT department). In each situation, internal communication occurs; yet it is not easy to determine if the messages are part of an internal communications strategy. To help the communications professional learn the current cultural status quo to improve the quality of future messages and interal communications strategy one can start categorizing existing messages to determine if they are part of a Planned or Emergent internal communications process.
Planned Communications means the message is created as part of a formal communications strategy. An internal communications strategy is a carefully curated communication campaign containing content, channels and timing. For instance, it is designed to support departmental and corporate initiatives and align with organizational mission and vision. A planned communication strategy gets measured regularly to understand message impact and target audience reach.
In contrast, Emergent Communications are born in response to an unplanned event that has or is about to take place. The first type of content addresses an issue that requires an immediate answer. Usually this message is born from a lack of planning. The Emergent content is born when the communication team develops content for a request that has a rapid turnaround time. For instance, last minute requests for conference presentations, or single content emails (that have no connection to mission or vision) are examples. Since Emergent communications are not part of a strategy it is not created to be measured. Ironically, the content is generally considered a success because the creation of the material itself is the success metric.
Often a communications practitioner can find themselves working to serve planned and emergent organizational communication needs. The key is to understand, identify, and realize what type of communication requests need to receive attention as this influences the amount of time given to create a quality product.
A little planning helps for a strategic future
Often a communications practitioner works for a client that requires planned and emergent communication content at the same time. In order to manage this hectic workload and to begin suggesting a client to move to a more strategic mindset a little research to understanding the culture is critical The key is to understand, identify, and realize what type of communication requests need to receive attention as this influences the amount of time given to create a quality product.
About the Author
Heather is a communications strategist based in Washington D.C. She is professor at Georgetown and consultant of diverse corporations and government agencies.