How to Master Your Internal Communication Strategy

A strong internal communication system is often unfairly labeled as a perk rather than a need. But according to Gallup, many people cite poor communication as the reason they quit their jobs.

Today’s employees receive emails, Slack messages, video calls, and more, which can make it hard to discern what’s most important among all the noise. Other businesses face a different challenge entirely: there’s not enough communication from leadership to instill a sense of trust.

For companies with remote and hybrid workforces, internal comms serve as a lifeline that keeps their best employees on board—a key trend Snagajob found out the hard way before rolling out their corporate intranet platform.

BambooHR® helps businesses enhance the employee experience and build a well-informed community of coworkers and leaders. Based on a conversation between the leadership from Snagajob and BambooHR, this article discusses why internal comms matters in the workplace and how a well-crafted strategy establishes a culture of trust.

Editor's Note: After this conversation was published, Honey was acquired by BambooHR and is now Employee Community. We've updated the transcript to reflect this change.

Meet Our Experts

Candace Nicolls, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the Senior Vice President of People and Workplace at Snagajob. Nicolls has worked at Snagajob for over 12 years, beginning her career as Principal Recruiter. She currently sits on the Executive Team as the head of the People Department.

Katie Webber, SHRM-SCP is a Human Resources Consultant for Previously, Webber served as Snagajob’s Human Resources Director where she coordinated employee onboarding, compensation, benefits, and compliance.

Rachel Kaplowitz is the Head of Core Product and Marketplace at BambooHR. She’s also the co-founder of BambooHR's Employee Community feature, a central hub for company communication.

About Snagajob

Snagajob connects 6 million job seekers per month to 700,000 employers. The organization focuses on helping hourly workers and employers find each other faster and more efficiently, removing the obstacles typically encountered during the hiring process.

About BambooHR® Employee Community

Employee Community offers a central place for all internal communications, so important updates and announcements don’t get lost in the many feeds of life. It’s a place for HR to keep everyone in the know and for employees to connect across physical and virtual divides.

Why Is Communication Important in the Workplace?

In business, a good internal communication (IC) system does more than help people stay informed. It helps leaders coordinate departments, combat conflict, and foster stronger, more engaged teams. And in uncertain times, it can even help reduce employee turnover.

Take Snagajob, for example.

An organization with a solid workplace culture based on respect, engagement, and an honorable mission, Snagajob made Fortune magazine’s Great Places To Work list several years over. When market challenges caused them to scale back in 2018, employee turnover increased and they suddenly lost some of their best talent to competitors.

In response, they conducted an employee engagement survey to better understand what fueled this trend. “[W]e realized that communication and collaboration were really impactful drivers for our Snaggers and were rather low,” said Katie. “That became our guiding light. It’s what led to the research into some of our tools and ultimately led to the implementation of Employee Community.”

This investment positively contributed to Snagajob’s bottom line, helping it heal and nurture a more stable workforce.

Influence Turnover, Productivity, and Retention

In human resources, ROI can be difficult to measure because so much of the effort that goes into the organization is indirect. People may not say in an exit interview that they’re leaving because of poor communication, but organizations like Snagajob have heard from their employees that investing in engagement and communication strategies has improved their experience.

As Rachel remarks, “Sometimes [the cynics in the room] put internal comms and employee engagement in the fuzzy, ‘nice-to-have’ bucket.” However, it can boost happiness and retention, influencing people to love their jobs enough to stay, and empower teams to self-manage their workloads and avoid burnout.

It also relieves anxiety, from everyday business adjustments to revolutionary workplace changes. During the pandemic, their intranet served as a single source of truth directly from the executive team that employees could rely on. “We know, as HR Leaders, in our everyday conversations communication is key—it’s vital—it’s the lifeline to employees feeling and knowing how to do their job,” explains Katie.

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How to Measure the ROI of Internal Communications

Evaluating ROI is the key to proving value. Here are some steps you can take to create a measurable internal comms strategy:

For instance, the leaders at Snagajob started researching their audience to figure out what they wanted their employees to get out of this new communications strategy. They used KPIs from the engagement survey, data from other high-potential employees, and common themes in exit surveys. They also broke down the cost by employee per month and related it to payroll expenses. The goal was to prove the advantages of Employee Community outweighed the investment, specifically regarding retention rate.

Building a Support System Post-2020

One of Snagajob’s challenges was to adapt its approach and respond to the most urgent need: supporting employees through the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, they were shifting from a co-located workforce to a virtual one, navigating nuanced health challenges, and addressing new business challenges—all while watching one of the biggest civil rights movements in recent history unfold.

“We couldn’t necessarily be together to support one another and we were also all struggling with mental health in ways that have never popped up in a work setting this vocally before,” remembers Candace. Snagajob provided a self-directed page on Employee Community where people could figure out what they needed together and access information. ”[W]e saw a really major uptick—over a 150% increase—in usage of our mental health resources that are available through our insurance.”

12 Practical Tips for Improving Internal Communications

Establishing an internal comms system like Employee Community doesn’t happen overnight. According to our experts, here are some tips for rolling out and adopting an internal communications strategy across your organization:

1. Use Drip Communication

Drip communication is a tactic that keeps everyone in the loop. You can send emails letting employees know new developments are on the horizon or even hang posters around the office. Tailoring the message for different departments helps ensure your memo makes an impact.

2. Get Moderators Involved Early

Moderators can be instrumental in guiding your communication strategy when implementing a new tool, facilitating adoption across teams, and answering questions along the way. The key is to train your moderators and be sure they’re up to date on the most important elements.

3. Deliver Leadership Insights

People need to see business leaders modeling and using your new communication tools. The more involved your managers are in a fresh initiative, the easier it’ll be to get everyone else to follow suit.

4. Choose a Cadence

Communication isn’t just about what you say—it’s also about how often you’re spreading the word. The right cadence, or frequency, helps prevent message overkill and under delivery. It also makes it easier for people to know when to expect essential insights to come through.

5. Be Transparent

Open communication cultivates workplace transparency. From understanding what’s happening with the company today to learning how leaders are making decisions, honest communication builds trust within your organization.

6. Set the Tone

How you craft your message matters. Use language thoughtfully—your message can sound educational, lighthearted, or formal. Striking the appropriate tone of voice, or personality, is pivotal in helping people understand the intent behind your message.

7. Prioritize Inclusion

Communicating with inclusivity can break down barriers, especially during pivotal moments outside the workplace. For instance, companies like Snagajob discussed anti-racism following the 2020 racial injustice protests, recognizing people were struggling and making space for meaningful conversations.

8. Lead by Example

When executives lead by example, they help transitions run smoothly. Many company-wide tools require strategy and buy-in, and getting leadership on board helps build confidence in a new product and strengthen your ROI.

9. Plan and Document

Integrating a new product takes planning and collaboration, but diligent documentation can keep everyone informed. Doing things like noting specific timelines on a spreadsheet is helpful, especially when the primary coordinator is out of the office.

10. Schedule Posts

Scheduling posts ahead of time puts your system on autopilot. This frees you up to complete the other things on your to-do list without missing a beat.

11. Be Consistent

Consistency across channels is key. Keep communicating as you normally would while weaving in new messages to build a centralized resource hub people can turn to for information.

12. Announce Intentionally

Being mindful of how many real-time notifications your people receive reduces unnecessary noise. In doing so, truly important messages won’t get lost in the shuffle and information will be digested more easily.

Snagajob is just one example of how crucial a company intranet can be. As you’re reimagining your communications game plan, think of how you can build out your current or future employee community in meaningful ways.

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