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Creating an Internal Communications Calendar

27 Mar 2024

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Are you noticing that your communications team's messages are getting lost in the shuffle, or perhaps the right messages aren't landing at the right time?

If that sounds familiar, it's time to think about structuring your communication efforts with an internal communications calendar.

This tool isn’t just about plotting dates; it's about making every piece of communication deliberate and timed to perfection!

Why Create an Internal Communications Calendar

There are several key reasons for creating an internal communications calendar.

  1. With an internal communications content calendar, you're looking at the big picture for your internal marketing strategy — spreading out your communications strategically throughout the year. This helps prevent message fatigue. You wouldn’t want to drop an important policy change right before a major company event, would you? Timing your communications can make the difference between them being absorbed or ignored.
  2. Consistency is key in any communication strategy. A calendar guarantees a consistent flow of information that reinforces your company’s values and culture. Consistency breeds familiarity and trust, improving internal communications messages and making it easier for your team to engage with and absorb the messages you're sending.
  3. An internal communications editorial calendar is a collaborative space. It opens up lines of communication across departments, ensuring that everyone can contribute to and see the upcoming communications. This not only makes planning easier but reflects the diversity and needs of your entire organisation.

Key Components of an Internal Comms Calendar

Creating an effective internal communications content calendar involves more than just marking dates. It requires a strategic framework that caters to the nuances of your workplace. 

Here are the key components to include in your calendar:

1. Themes and Topics

Start by mapping out the key themes or topics that align with your business objectives throughout the year. For example, if your organisation has set quarterly goals around innovation, dedicate a month each quarter to content that highlights innovative projects or ideas within your company.

Here are some more examples of themes and topics that can be effectively incorporated into an internal communications calendar:

  • Company milestones and achievements
  • Employee or team recognition and awards
  • Seasonal or cultural events
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives
  • Promoting wellness benefits or programs
  • Organisational changes
  • Training and development
  • Product and service updates
  • Safety and compliance
  • Quarterly or annual reports

2. Timing and Frequency

Decide on the timing and frequency of your communications. This is crucial in maintaining a balance—too frequent, and you risk overwhelming your staff; too sparse, and you might lose their engagement.

You want to consider the nature of your work environment and how your employees best receive information. Regular, predictable scheduling helps build a routine that staff can rely on and engage with effectively.

For example, you might schedule weekly updates every Monday morning to recap the previous week and set the tone for the week ahead. For less urgent content, such as employee spotlights or department updates, a monthly newsletter might be more appropriate.

3. Channels

Different messages might require different channels. Choose communication channels based on the nature of the content and the audience’s accessibility preferences.

Here's a guide to get you started:

Immediate Updates:

  • Channel: SMS or dedicated instant messaging platforms.
  • Use Case: Use these for urgent updates that require immediate attention or action from employees, such as last-minute changes to meetings or critical alerts. The direct nature of SMS and instant messaging leads to prompt delivery and visibility.

In-depth Articles and Policy Changes:

  • Channel: Intranet and email.
  • Use Case: Use emails and your intranet for driving internal communications when information includes attachments or thorough reading is required. These platforms are ideal for distributing new policies, in-depth articles, and comprehensive guides. Emails can include attachments and links, while the intranet can host documents and provide continuous access for employees to refer back to the information at their convenience.

Regular Updates and Newsletters:

  • Channel: Email newsletters or intranet newsfeeds.
  • Use Case: Regular updates or monthly newsletters are best shared via email or through an intranet newsfeed where employees can read at their leisure. These channels allow for the inclusion of rich content like images and links, enhancing engagement.

Visual and Inspirational Messages:

  • Channel: Digital signage, social media platforms internal to the company.
  • Use Case: To boost morale or share success stories and motivational content, visual mediums like digital signage or corporate social media platforms are effective. These can display multimedia content that captures attention and enhances the impact of the message. 

4. Responsible Parties

Designate specific roles to streamline the communications process, ensuring that there are clear points of contact for each type of message.

Clearly define who is responsible for crafting, approving, and sending out each piece of communication. This helps in accountability while also ensuring messages are consistent and on-brand.

You could assign a 'communications champion' in each department who is responsible for gathering and relaying department-specific news to the central communications team. 

5. Review and Feedback Mechanisms

Set periodic reviews of your calendar to assess the effectiveness of your communication strategies. 

Regularly solicit and incorporate feedback to refine your communication strategy. This not only improves the content quality but also boosts employee engagement by showing that their input is valued and taken into account.

For example, after rolling out a major communication, such as a change in company policy, follow up with a survey to gauge employee understanding and sentiment. Use these insights to adjust future communications.

Steps to Create an Internal Communications Calendar

Developing an internal communications calendar is ensures internal messages are crafted, scheduled, and delivered in the most effective way possible.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a robust internal communications calendar:

1. Define Your Objectives

Start by identifying what you want to achieve with your internal communications.

Are you aiming to improve employee engagement, keep staff informed about company changes, or enhance knowledge sharing within the company?

Set clear, measurable goals for each communication objective to track the effectiveness of your messages and adjust strategies as necessary.

2. Gather Input from Stakeholders

Consult with various stakeholders across the company, including department heads, team leaders, and HR, to gather diverse content ideas and perspectives.

Use workshops or surveys to collect input so that the calendar reflects a wide range of interests and departmental needs, making the communications more relevant and engaging.

3. Choose the Right Tools

Select tools and software that will support the creation, management, and tracking of your internal communications calendar.

Options for improving internal communications scheduling might include your intranet, project management tools like Trello or Airtable, specialised software designed for internal communications or even a simple internal communications calendar templates such as Workshops Internal Communications Calendar.

Internal Communications Calendar

Opt for tools that integrate with your existing systems (like email platforms and intranets) and offer analytics capabilities to monitor engagement and effectiveness.

4. Plan Content Around Key Dates

Map out key company dates, such as product launches, quarterly financial announcements, or significant industry events, and plan your communications around these dates.

Prepare content in advance for these key events and schedule reminders for preliminary announcements and follow-up messages to maintain momentum and interest.

5. Schedule and Assign Responsibilities

Use the calendar to schedule when each piece of content will be released. Assign clear responsibilities for content creation, approval, and distribution.

Create a workflow that details each step of the communication process, from initial drafts and editing to final approvals and posting, ensuring everyone knows their role and deadlines.

6. Implement, Monitor, and Adjust

Once your calendar is active, monitor the performance of communications against your initial objectives. Keep an eye on metrics like read rates, engagement levels, and feedback.

Schedule regular review meetings with your communications team to discuss what is working and what isn’t. Use this feedback to make adjustments to future communications for better performance.

What to Avoid When Creating an Internal Communications Calendar

While crafting an internal communications calendar can streamline and enhance your internal messaging, there are several pitfalls to avoid. 

1. Overloading the Calendar

Pitfall: It’s tempting to fill every available slot with content, but this can lead to information overload for your employees.

Solution: Prioritise quality over quantity. Ensure each message has a clear purpose and contributes value. Allow breathing room in your schedule for unplanned critical communications.

2. Lack of Flexibility

Pitfall: An overly rigid communications calendar may not accommodate last-minute but essential updates, leading to missed opportunities or outdated messaging.

Solution: While it’s important to stick to a plan, build flexibility into your calendar. Set aside time slots for unexpected announcements and make adjustments as necessary to stay relevant.

3. Ignoring Audience Segmentation

Pitfall: Sending every piece of communication to all employees, regardless of relevance, can lead to disengagement.

Solution: Segment your audience and tailor messages to specific groups. Use employee data to understand demographics and department-specific needs, ensuring content is relevant and engaging.

4. Underutilising Feedback

Pitfall: Not gathering or ignoring employee feedback on the communications they receive can lead to ineffective content that doesn’t resonate or achieve desired outcomes.

Solution: Regularly collect and analyse feedback. Incorporate these insights into your planning process to refine messaging and methods.

5. Inconsistent Messaging

Pitfall: Inconsistent tone, style, or conflicting information can confuse employees and dilute your brand’s internal image.

Solution: Develop a style guide for all types of internal communications to maintain consistency. Regularly review content for alignment with your company’s values and messaging framework.

6. Neglecting Content Variety

Pitfall: Relying solely on one type of content, such as long-form emails for all communications, can lead to monotony and reduce engagement.

Solution: Mix up your content types. Incorporate videos, infographics, quick polls, and interactive elements to keep communications fresh and engaging.

Conclusion

Adopting an internal communications calendar leads to enhanced clarity, greater consistency, and elevates employee engagement.

Through implementing a structured calendar, you're not just organising what to say and when to say it, but also how it resonates across the company.

This approach minimises communication overload so that important messages are spotlighted at optimal times. It also fosters a culture of inclusivity and collaboration, inviting input across departments and making every voice heard.

Whether you're refining existing strategies or building new ones from scratch, remember that a well-crafted communications calendar can be the key to more effective and impactful workplace environment.

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