Internal and External Communications Alignment Strategies: The Power of Speaking with One Voice

In today's fast-paced business environment, where multi-generational teams work across different locations, it can be easy for traditional, coordinated communications plans to unravel. What employees hear internally and what others hear externally can begin to contradict each other.  

This is especially true in our digitally connected world. Most "internal" communications don't stay that way, so your internal and external communications strategies must be aligned. If they're not, trust breaks down, and it can be hard to win back.  

Having a plan in place before communications begin to slip will build trust and strengthen your brand while also helping you navigate major changes and contain crises.   

Comparing Internal and External Communication 

Evaluating your internal communications strategies is essential, as there are five generations in the modern workplace, and each has their own communications styles and preferences. Effectively communicating workplace policies to the Silent Generation will be vastly different from how you communicate with Gen Z employees. An internal communications assessment identifies opportunities to eliminate silos by supporting cross-functional collaboration and ensuring your key audiences are receiving – and understanding – your organization's messages. 

Your external stakeholders are also likely to span multiple generations, with differing expectations of your organization's opinion – including issues that may not directly relate to your business. Consider this when evaluating external communications, as being unaware of a shift in public opinion can quickly dismantle the reputation you've worked hard to build.  

Utilizing a variety of channels to communicate with internal and external audiences creates new challenges. Maintaining consistent, cohesive messaging across multiple channels is difficult, whether it's a 280-character Tweet from the corporate account or an employee-facing newsletter. But coordination and consistency are key to effectively reaching the right audience with the right message.  

Bringing Internal and External Communications Together 

These are obstacles in your communications roadmap – not dead ends. Working together across your organization, you can arm your communications team with a smart strategy to ensure consistent branding and messaging across all channels. Your internal brand as an employer, and your external brand as a company, should work together to deepen your credibility and trust among all audiences. 

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Five Strategies for Aligning Internal and External Communications

If you're looking for a place to start, consider the following:  

  1. Develop a strategic communications plan. If you don't have a plan that outlines your core messages and communication goals, do this now. It's much easier for internal and external communications to slip out of alignment when you haven't developed your narrative and who, and what channels you will use to deliver it.  
  2. Embed your vision. No matter who you are speaking to, your communications should uphold the same principles of honesty, ethics, and transparency and reflect your organization's unique values. 
  3. Align the brand internally first. If there's a gap between internal and external communications, adjust your internal strategy first. Investing in employees not only engages them in your purpose but also empowers them to become advocates for your organization. If employees don't understand the brand's qualities and messaging – or are the last to find out about major changes – your external strategy will face strong headwinds.  
  4. Invest in training resources. Whether you’re using a new digital tool or engaging the media to reach your key stakeholders, proper training and preparation enhances the likelihood of success Media training to social media guidelines on appropriate usage will ensure the organization's brand, story, and vision are leveraged for success. 
  5. Measure success and failure and adjust appropriately. No one gets it 100% right the first time. You need processes for collecting and analyzing data to determine if your objectives are being met. That could mean soliciting employee feedback to improve engagement or implementing digital media intelligence reporting to measure external conversations.   

Transformation Through Internal and External Communication Alignment 

A strong, cohesive communications strategy is the heart of improving employee engagement, elevating your corporate brand, and preparing for a crisis. It's too important to leave it to chance or allow your internal and external communications to work against one another. 

IRI Consultants can provide customized communications solutions to drive your business forward. Whether you need an internal communications assessment, digital media intelligence, crisis communications services, social media strategy, media relations, or media training, we have expert communications consultants who can provide a specialized solution. Contact us using the chat on the right to discuss the next steps, or give us a call at (313) 965-0350. 

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