Keeping Internal Communications in the Spotlight

April 16, 2021

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders and communicators turned their attention to putting internal communications into practice. Stakeholders have been able to find out how the U of M is responding to the crisis and where to turn for more information through regular communication and the evolution of the Safe Campus microsite. Within colleges and departments, the attention to intranets, newsletters and use of emails was bolstered to support students, staff and faculty.

The use of internal communications cannot be underestimated during more typical operations, and especially not in times of change or crisis. Keeping these practices going, even as our other communications effort ramps back up, can be a challenge that continues to pay off in the long run.

Here are a few tips to keep it going:

  • Build it into your communications strategy and your leadership’s management style.
    Take a look at what went well and what didn’t, and build your internal communications capacity around what practices resonate with your audiences. How will you know? If you use feedback loops (like surveys or comments), engagement can be a great indicator. Tracking email opens and clicks are other ways to see if the message was at least received, and meetings where employees can express their thoughts are opportunities to bake-in those strategies.
  • Take time to see if any stakeholders and audiences were left out.
    We have all been in a race to keep up with information and the thought of “let’s just get this information out,” can come into play. Examine your email lists to ensure you’re not leaving anyone out. If you posted content to your intranet, how did you let everyone know it was there? Ensure your communications channels are the right ones to be using for each type of communication.
  • Consider engaging your audiences instead of solely making announcements.
    This one can be hard to navigate, because you want your email or article to be relevant, right? Why bother communicating if it’s not to make an announcement or sharing an achievement? Engage with your audiences to mix it up a bit and steer away from one-way communications. This can be done by asking for feedback on an initiative or upcoming event. You can even ask how they feel about the types of communications they’re receiving.

Above all else, praise and recognition for employees goes a long way to a feeling of engagement and appreciation for their great work and commitment.

Internal communications practices are important to implement and maintain each and every day, helping build rapport with our colleagues and students through thoughtful engagement. Share your best tips by being a guest blogger or contacting us at internalcomms@umn.edu.