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How To Build Your Organization's Internal Communications Strategy

Rebecca Noori
Last Updated May 15, 2024

When workplace communication works well, employees feel in the loop. They receive every dose of information on time and are aware of any conversations or decision-making that impact them. 

But when internal communication processes don’t work well, expect some of the following problems: 

  • Office rumors cause a toxic atmosphere where employees don't trust their leaders or one another. 
  • A new project starts without adequate resources because too many stakeholders claim, "Nobody told me." 
  • People feel burned out or stop caring about their work because they don't see how it contributes to the organization's success. 
  • Employees miss important deadlines or tasks because they don't receive timely information. 
  • The same message is communicated multiple times but in different ways, causing confusion and delays. 

This guide explains how companies can gain control of any information exchange by designing an internal communications strategy. We'll detail the benefits of such a plan, what to include, and 15 expert-backed steps to create yours.

What Is An Internal Communications Strategy?

An internal communications strategy is a document or plan that outlines how people within an organization communicate with each other. It aims to keep everyone informed, engaged, and aligned with the company's mission, culture, and processes. 

A comprehensive strategy will answer the following questions:

  • What is the best form of communication for your message? 
  • What are the best practices for using email or internal communication apps
  • What is the etiquette of attending or hosting an internal video call? 
  • What is the protocol for seeking feedback or addressing concerns? 
  • How can employees use the company intranet? 
  • How can business leaders conduct successful meetings
  • How should employees and leaders use social media platforms? 
  • What goes into an employee newsletter? 
  • How often should employees be updated on company news and business developments? 
  • Who is responsible for the content of an internal communication message?

Why Is An Internal Communications Strategy Important? 

Your employees already communicate: They talk to one another, send messages, and hold meetings. Communication flows around your workplace somehow, so it's not always immediately obvious that your company has an internal communication problem.

Yet, data from PoliteMail’s 2023 State of Corporate Communications suggests that many businesses feel the strain of poor or unstructured communication. 54% of respondents report feeling burdened by information overload, and 50% don’t believe their employees engage enough with their messaging.

Here are six key reasons an internal communications strategy could be a gamechanger for your organization: 

  • Aligns employees with the company: Employees with a clear understanding of your company’s values, business goals, and messaging will feel more connected to the organization and amplify your brand positively to their personal and professional networks. 
  • Improves information flow: Streamlined, efficient communication ensures employees don’t feel sidelined, never miss deadlines, and can make informed decisions. 
  • Unites hybrid workers: Distributed teams are equipped with the right tools and strategies to remain collaborative from any location, in any timezone. 
  • Boosts productivity: Armed with all the information they need, employees experience fewer bottlenecks, delays, or errors that would otherwise cause frustration and slow down work. 
  • Supports change management: Employees kept in the loop during important transitions such as new policies, procedures, or executive leadership restructuring are more likely to embrace change and make it a success. 
  • Fosters a strong company culture: Workplace connections and relationships grow stronger when peer communication is effective, creating a sense of community and purpose.

A good internal communications strategy helps foster a positive company culture.

15 Steps For Creating An Internal Communications Strategy

Follow the steps below to start shaping a winning internal communication plan. Remember to adapt them to your unique pain points, company goals, and culture for the best results.

Step 1: Create Business Objectives For Your Internal Comms Strategy

Without a clear goal to work toward, it’s impossible to measure success, or keep all stakeholders aligned. So, determine “why” you want to design or improve your internal comms plan. This will become your North Star, shaping every aspect of your communications.

Are you not sure where to start? The SMART framework is an excellent way to build internal goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.


Create well-defined internal communication goals that specify what you aim to achieve, who you’re targeting, your key messages, and how you plan to deliver them.


Select one or more key metrics to track progress toward your measurable goals. These might include: 

  • Employee engagement scores
  • Email metrics such as open rates or replies 
  • The volume of feedback responses
  • Company podcast listens
  • Financial outcomes
  • Social intranet page views
  • Pulse surveys


Set your communications team up for success by ensuring their goals are realistic and attainable in relation to the resources and time available.


Your goals should relate strictly to internal communications, so ensure you don't confuse them with other strategic priorities, such as sales team wins or market positioning.


A deadline creates a sense of urgency, inspiring your teams to prioritize their internal communication efforts. But make sure you provide a realistic timeframe to enact positive change. 

Example Of A SMART Internal Communication Goal

We want to increase employee participation in the company's sustainability program by 50% within six months through targeted communications via emails, intranet posts, and virtual town halls. We'll use employee feedback forms and event sign-ups to measure engagement.

Step 2: Benchmark Your Current Communications Position

Before you can move toward your goals, you must understand how effectively your internal communications are working. Are people engaging with your employee newsletter? Do they regularly sigh whenever you announce a change? Or do you notice the office rumor mill is frequently out of control?

Use some of the metrics you've selected above as a starting point, and compare your progress at predetermined intervals, such as every month or quarter.

Step 3: Obtain Stakeholder Buy-In

Effective internal communication planning needs everyone on the same page, starting with your business leadership. Let’s compare two companies with different approaches to involving stakeholders in their communication efforts.

Company A launches a new wellness program, with the CEO, HR leader, and internal marketing team all collaborating to create a detailed communication plan. The CEO introduces the program at an all-hands meeting, highlighting its benefits and her own commitment to personal health, setting a powerful example for the entire company. The meeting is followed by a messaging series across various internal communication channels, all peppered with endorsements from internal leaders. The wellness program is a raging success.  Employees feel motivated by their leaders, resulting in high participation rates and positive program feedback.

Company B’s leadership is disinterested in communication. When launching their new wellness initiative, they choose to send out a generic email from HR. The messaging outlines the features of the company's new wellness program but lacks any engaging elements or leadership perspective. Without an effective strategy, employees lack trust in the initiative. Participation is low, and the program is a massive disappointment.

For your internal comms strategy to work, you need to obtain stakeholder buy-in.

Step 4: Consider Your Audience

Adapt your messaging, type of content, and communications channel to the specific audience you want to connect with. To achieve success, David Barber, Internal Communications Specialist and Company Director of Spark Consultants, recommends working backward: 

“My top tip for creating an effective internal communications strategy is to start with the end user in mind. It's all about making sure what you're communicating is relevant and aligned with the colleague. If it's not, then what's the point?”

Before you begin, consider whether you want to use a centralized model, meaning that all communications originate from the same place and reach your entire organization. Alternatively, you'll likely prefer a modular communication framework that tailors communication to fit the specific needs and preferences of different groups.

We spoke to Viacheslav Petrenko, Chief Technology Officer at LITSLINK, who describes this concept in more detail:  

“Picture your organization as a constellation of interconnected modules or teams, each focused on specific projects or functions. At LITSLINK, we created distinct communication modules based on project teams and functional roles. A team member working on a particular project receives updates directly related to their workstream, eliminating unnecessary information overload.
We use SharePoint to structure these modules, integrating a clear metadata schema that facilitates easy navigation and searchability across the organization. To add a personal touch and bolster our resource pool, we incorporated mini-bios in SharePoint. These bios detail each member's skills, experience, and areas of expertise to guarantee a smooth identification of in-house experts for specific challenges.”

Step 5: Articulate Your Brand Voice

Marketers use a consistent brand voice in their external communications to build trust, raise awareness, and showcase their stability. For example, Nike's campaign is motivational, promoting the importance of determination and resilience in its "Just Do It" messaging.

Effective internal communications follow the same principles to reinforce the company's identity among its employees. When staff recognize the tone and ethos presented in internal messaging, it's easier to engage with this familiarity, especially in times of transition or crisis. 

Your internal brand voice comes down to: 

  • Tone: Casual, formal, informal, friendly, or authoritative. 
  • Vocabulary: Using industry-specific terms or everyday language. 
  • Grammar and punctuation: Attention to detail that reflects your professionalism in communication. 
  • Design elements: Fonts, colors, logos, and visual communication elements that represent your brand.

Step 6: Identify Effective Internal Communication Channels

Employees shouldn't have to jump through hoops to receive your messaging, nor should they feel bombarded. Effective communication should be frictionless, meaning you should engage your employees where they're already spending their time but without distracting them unnecessarily. Some options to achieve this balance include:

Internal Email And Messaging Apps

Busy workers often spend a lot of time in their inboxes and messaging channels, so it makes sense to connect with them there. According to PoliteMail, this is an effective plan, with 74% of respondents saying email is the best channel for comms success, compared to 57% choosing Intranet.

If this is your strategy, ensure any internal messaging, such as email newsletters, are optimized for your mobile-first workers who may be scrolling through their smartphone or tablet when they come across your message. We were delighted to speak with Molly Masters, Communications and PR Manager for global staffing company Spectraforce, who explained why a mobile-first strategy is critical to engaging your younger generations: 

“Your internal communications strategy needs to reflect that smartphones are now the most reliable way employees are accessing information. Adopting a mobile-first mindset is essential for genuinely connecting with your team right where they spend most of their time.
Team members are constantly connected to their phones, on and off hours. Many keep Teams/Slack, email, etc., on their personal devices. If your communications strategy doesn't prioritize the advantages of mobile accessibility, you're missing a significant opportunity. Optimizing for mobile means ensuring that every message you send can be easily accessed and engaged with on small screens with minimal scrolling—you want it to be as seamless and user-friendly as possible.”

Formal Meetings

Moving away from written communications, meetings provide a captive audience, which can be an excellent opportunity to give a short presentation or hold a Q&A session in front of a larger group. For this season, 58% of people surveyed by PoliteMail say in-person meetings are the best communication channel, while 49% believe virtual meetings are just as effective.

One person who swears by weekly virtual town halls is David Rubie-Todd, Co-Founder and Marketing Director of custom product fulfillment platform Glide

“This forum allows every team member, regardless of their role or location, to voice concerns, share achievements, and discuss ongoing projects and future plans. A real-life example of how this approach has enhanced collaboration within our organization is the development of a new product feature. A suggestion that originated from an intern during one of these meetings was well-received, brainstormed upon, and finally implemented.
This fostered a sense of community and belonging and demonstrated that good ideas can come from anywhere within the organization. The weekly town halls have become a bedrock for our internal communication strategy, significantly boosting morale and productivity."

In-Person Chats

Some types of communication are better suited to small groups or even one-on-one chats between managers and individual contributors. These offer a chance for honest dialogue in a more intimate setting and give leaders a chance to explain company decisions or hold themselves accountable.

PoliteMail’s research also found direct managers are the best way for comms teams to reach non-desk employees. Executive Coach and Podcast Host of Atalanta Diaries, Enma Popli, explains how coffee chats with the CEO are a structured yet informal way to connect leaders and employees in person. She told us:

“Establish monthly or bi-weekly sessions where a leader meets select employees from different teams. It's very powerful—a safe space where team members share their journeys or a personal story. It serves as a wonderful platform for organic talent identification as well.
My CEO client meets skip-level teams and they talk about everything non-work related. We follow it up with a group picture, which serves as a cherished memory for participants. This practice has been successfully fostering rapport, trust, and giving CEOs time with the team.”

When is an in-person chat appropriate for internal communications?

Step 7: Implement Feedback Loops

When workplace communication works well, employees feel they have a voice that their leaders listen to. This requires companies to put effective feedback mechanisms in place to gather and act on the gems of intel that workers provide you with. It's easy to miss the daily details when you're a C-Suite exec, so staying informed about what's happening on the ground is vital to keep employee morale and productivity high.

Founder and CEO Tracy Davis details how TRAX Analytics, LLC. relies on feedback loops to capture, analyze, and act on employee messages at all organizational levels. 

"At TRAX Analytics, we implemented a system called "Feedback Fridays." Every Friday, our team would gather for a brief meeting where employees could share observations, ideas, and concerns about our operations, technology developments, or workflow inefficiencies. This approach has improved collaboration and empowered employees by making them feel valued and heard. Real-life data from implementing Feedback Fridays showed a 40% increase in the identification of operational inefficiencies and a 25% improvement in employee satisfaction related to communication within six months. Surprisingly, it also led to the development of two major feature updates in our SmartRestroom application, driven by frontline employee insights."

CEO Dan Ponomarenko shares how productivity software company Webvizio takes a similar approach by establishing regular check-ins and update meetings. 

“At Webvizio, implementing weekly team sync-ups improved our collaboration and project alignment. These consistent meetings fostered open dialogue, addressed challenges proactively, and ensured everyone was on the same page, driving productivity and teamwork.”

Step 8: Promote A Strong Teamwork Culture

Employees are more likely to engage with your internal communications if it feels more like a conversation every team member is invited to participate in. Andrew Barry, CEO of leadership development company Curious Lion, believes it's wise to pay attention to company culture when developing internal communications ideas.

“The secret lies in nurturing robust teamwork. We don't take for granted the importance of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and collective problem-solving. Drawing from direct experience, we've observed that promoting strong teamwork both stimulates innovation and enhances productivity. That's why we cultivate a tight-knit community where mutual support and camaraderie are paramount.”

Similarly, CEO Barkan Saeed admits that workplace silos have caused problems with task ownership when internal projects are handed off between departments at Vizteck Solutions. He shares: 

“To address these issues, we recently initiated cross-departmental events, including joint dinners and team-building activities, to dismantle the silos that existed between teams. These efforts have significantly strengthened our company culture and enhanced both collaboration and transparency across the organization.”

Step 9: Clarify Roles And Responsibilities

Part of the problem with internal collaboration is not understanding who is involved in every communication message. Specifically, who is responsible for ensuring smooth communication in your organization? 

Make this an easy question to answer by defining roles and responsibilities clearly, focusing on the following points: 

  • Who owns or approves the messaging? 
  • Who prevents the wrong news from being published? 
  • Who oversees the review process? 
  • Who ensures timely responses to employee concerns? 
  • Who creates content, manages distribution channels, and measures success metrics? 

In most cases, the answer to these questions will likely be a combination of your people team and managers.

Step 10: Deliver Training And Resources

An internal communication plan should be used in conjunction with tailored training to ensure everyone is on the same page. Some examples include:

Tool Workshops

Organize interactive sessions that guide employees through the practical use of internal communications tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. You might include breakout sessions with simulations of mock projects where teams use Slack to coordinate tasks or share files.

Tone And Style Training

Develop a visual guide that outlines the preferred tone, style, and language for internal communications. Your guide could include examples of email correspondence, project proposals, and casual chat in DMs to illustrate formal and informal contexts.

Confidentiality Training

Focus on the importance of maintaining confidentiality, especially for hybrid or remote workers. Your training might feature scenarios where employees choose how to respond to sensitive information requests or identify which platforms are secure for sharing confidential documents.

Make sure you deliver training and resources on your internal comms strategy.

Step 11: Plan Your Crisis Communications

Companies hope they’ll never need to use crisis communications. But as we’ve seen in the last few years, it always pays to be prepared. Whether your company is hit by a PR disaster, a national security alert, or a global pandemic, a clear protocol should outline how to communicate effectively when the chips are down and your company is under pressure. 

Spectraforce's Communications and PR Manager, Molly Masters, explains:

"We often overlook the value of internal crisis communications strategies, focusing our efforts on the external side. But the strength of an organization during hard times lies as much in how it communicates internally as it does externally. Without a proactive plan, you risk being unprepared when you least expect it, leaving your team members anxious for updates.
A well-crafted crisis communications plan is like having a flashlight in a blackout—not something you think about daily, but invaluable when you truly need it. It's the responsibility of internal communications to ensure that leadership can navigate through uncertainty with confidence about what to say and that the broader team isn't left in the dark, wondering what's happening. A strategic, thought-out crisis communications plan should guide leadership on how to disseminate clear, concise information swiftly and keep employees feeling supported and informed.”

Your crisis communications section might include:

  • A chain of command: Define who is responsible for making decisions and approving communication during a crisis. If the primary person isn’t available, make sure backups are named and ready to step in. 
  • Selected internal communications channels: Identify the channels you plan to use. For example, email for urgent business updates or Slack for day-to-day news. 
  • Template messages: Include customizable templates for different scenarios you can quickly send out in a crisis. A clear voice ensures consistency and accuracy in your messaging. 
  • Important contacts: Create a list of key personnel, such as HR, legal, or PR, who should be informed immediately during a crisis. Make sure their contact information is easily accessible to all employees, yet still complies with data security regulations.

Step 12: Create a Centralized Digital Hub

Just as your staff handbook acts as a source of truth about all HR policies, your internal communications action plan also needs a centralized home. 

Casey Jones, Founder and Head of Marketing at CJ&CO, suggests making this as accessible as possible: 

“Make it effortless for employees to find and engage with internal communications. At CJ&CO, we implemented a centralized digital hub for all company updates, resources, and discussions. We saw a huge uptick in engagement. People could easily catch up on need-to-know information and collaborate cross-functionally—efficiency and alignment skyrocketed. The key is reducing friction. Meet employees where they are digitally. Streamline channels. That's how you foster an informed, connected workforce that can move in lockstep.”

However, it's not just the location of the information that counts, but the quality and transparency of the information.

CEO Alari Aho explains how SaaS company Toggl Inc. has moved from transparency being a value to a core company practice and the incredible impact they've noticed by prioritizing transparent communication in this way: 

“We implemented an internal wiki, a trove of everything from project timelines to decision-making processes. This isn't about dumping data; it's about curating content that empowers every team member with knowledge. When people understand the “why” behind decisions, the “how” becomes more intuitive. This approach fosters a culture of trust and accountability, where everyone feels they're part of the narrative, not just a footnote.
The impact was similar to turning on a light in a room thought to be well-lit, revealing corners previously shrouded in shadow. Suddenly, decisions were not just decrees from above but evolved from a shared understanding and collective wisdom. It was evident in a strategic pivot we made last year, where input was drawn from across the organization, leading to a more nuanced, robust approach. This collective intelligence approach didn't just improve our product; it enhanced our sense of unity, proving that when everyone rows in harmony, the boat not only goes faster but also in the right direction.”

Step 13. Stay Focused On Your Company’s Grand Plan 

It’s easy to overcomplicate internal communications with the sheer volume of platforms and strategies available. But Stuart Rhys Thomas, Internal Comms Specialist and Co-Founder of Masgroves, pinpoints the essence of what your strategy should be focusing on—namely, your company's Grand Plan. 

“The role of internal communication is to make your business a more successful one. So, include activities that help people to understand your Grand Plan and what you want them to do.
For example, a pub company asked us to help with their Grand Plan, which was to grow profit by £4m over the next two years. At the end of year one, they’d delivered £3m and will beat their original target comfortably.
The internal communication activities that helped them do this included a campaign to encourage staff to ask customers if they’d like “just one more” drink, dessert, or extra whatever. We created and launched this with lots of supporting bits and pieces. Importantly, every activity was aligned behind the Grand Plan, because that’s what a good comms plan should do.”

When creating your company's internal comms strategy, it's important to stay focused on your company's mission, vision, and plan.

Step 14: Develop A Comms Content Calendar 

An internal communications calendar focuses specifically on top-down messaging from leaders to employees. This will help you organize precisely what types of messages to send out and when, for example:

  • Routine updates 
  • Special announcements
  • Team-wide messaging 
  • Company-wide communication

Thoughtfully balancing out different types of communication keeps content fresh and engaging without overwhelming employees.

Step 15: Monitor Communication Effectiveness

How do you know your internal communications are working well? Revisit the SMART objectives and benchmarking positions you selected in Steps 1 and 2, then compare your progress over time. 

Example: By comparing company survey responses over a year, you notice an uptick in the number of employees who feel they have access to important information and, crucially, understand it. This indicates that your internal communications strategy is effective in keeping employees informed and engaged.

Take Internal Communications To The Next Level With Nectar

Strong two-way communication is at the heart of everything we do at Nectar. Our range of internal communication tools enables peers, managers, and leaders to recognize and praise each other's contributions in our social feed. The result? 

Everyone remains connected, collaborative, and engaged in an enriching company culture. 

Are you looking to invest in Nectar? One happy sales development representative shared the following about our platform:

“Nectar is really great at keeping our work community involved. The dashboard where you can see everyone be recognized by coworkers is a very nice way to stay connected.” 

Ready to learn more about how to improve employee communications in your organization? Book a free Nectar demo today.

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