I love hiking. It’s exciting to go on an adventure in the great outdoors, not knowing what you’ll see along the trail. I also enjoy the zen of breathing in that fresh air and spending time with my friends (and their dogs).
But before I put my boots on and hit the trail, I sit down and make a plan:
- First, I check the weather forecast and look for any warnings in the region (bear sightings or wildfires.)
- Since I rarely hike alone, I consider my fellow hikers’ capabilities. Can they handle rough terrain or long distance? Will we need to make frequent stops?
- Then our hiking group decides where we want to go and what we want to see.
- Armed with info, I take a look at a map to assess which trail is the best. (My colleague, Kathleen is the best trail guide!)
- Finally, I make a list of the things needed for the journey, including food, water and plenty of bug spray!
Why do I put all this time into planning? At the end of the day, I want to achieve my goal—climb that mountain or hike further than I’ve ever gone before. And most important: I want to reach my destination safely (without breaking a leg or running into a grumpy bear.)
Just like charting a hike, planning is also an important part of employee communication. Here are five tips for creating an effective internal communication plan that will help you reach and engage employees:
- Assess the situation. Before you dig into your plan, you need to consider what’s happening in your organization to make a case for your plan: Do you have a new CEO? Is there a big change, such as a merger or acquisition, coming up?
- Know your audience. To ensure your plan is relevant for employees, you need to get a pulse on what they need. For example: If you’re creating a leader communication plan, review results of a recent employee engagement survey to see what employees want from their leaders (e.g., more visibility, transparency, etc.)
- Define your objectives. It’s important to create clear objectives to guide and measure the effectiveness of your communication efforts. Start by asking: What do you want employees to know, believe or do as a result of your plan?
- Plan as a team. You’re more likely to get the insights and buy-in you need for your plan if you include your team in the communication planning process. Work together to map out your strategy and ensure it’s achievable for everyone.
- Determine your resources. Consider what resources (e.g., budget, communication tools, etc.) that you’ll need to implement your plan.
Once you have a great plan, revisit it often to check your progress, make adjustments and keep on track to achieving your objectives.