Internal communication: today a bigger challenge than ever

10 April 2020

Key learnings about how to communicate internally today and tomorrow from Evi and Julien

1. Communication is by no means a magic tool

Depending on how you go about it, communication strongly determines your success during a crisis. Any crisis. But for success to happen, your communication has to be firmly grounded in reality: it can only successfully convey the right actions if you are actually taking the right actions. Remember that communication is not about telling the right story. It is about telling the real story. Successful communication is about telling that real story extremely well.

2. In challenging times, it takes both information and empathy to keep employees engaged

It is true that in stressful situations, like during a crisis, information is crucial. And it is essential that you get that right. But that is only half the story.

The other half of the story is that you must show empathy by speaking to the hearts of your employees. That is what is going to make sure your employees engage with and act upon your information.

3. You are always talking to different audiences who want to hear different things from you

If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all approach that will also work for your company, then we will have to disappoint you. Not only does every company have different needs in terms of communication, there are also different needs for communication within every company.

A top-down approach of pushing the same messages throughout the entire company is something you really want to avoid. You have to take into consideration the difference between critical and non-critical functions, between people who do have a company email address and people who don’t, between people who are working on site and people who are working from home, between people who are temporarily unemployed and those who are not, …

4. Give guidance and be transparent

Although you have to make sure you’re sending out different messages to different people, some principles apply to all your internal communication.

You have to be totally transparent. You are jeopardizing trust if you don’t. And you have to give guidance. Focus on your values. Remind your people why they are working for your company. Remind them of how your company makes a difference in our society. That is what will really keep them engaged and motivated.