True to form, fall once again arrived in a flash this year — ushering in vibrant colors, brisk mornings, and early sunsets. And while this is a fleeting season to enjoy, its arrival also means Q4 is in full swing.
For organizations of all sizes, communications planning is key this time of year to ensure smoother operations come January. We’ve talked at length about taking a more strategic approach to your internal communications, and we stand by those sentiments.
With a new year looming, check out these communications planning tips before checking out for the holidays. (Vacation-mode you will thank us later!)
Clearly Communicate Your Organization’s Strategy
Your company’s strategy may seem daunting to communicate to internal stakeholders, but it plays an important role in engaging employees. As you look ahead to January, map out how you’ll help employees understand the organization’s strategy and why that’s the direction the company will take in the new year. Communicating with team members often, eliminating confusing jargon, and prioritizing transparency are all tenets of clear, purposeful communication — and all can help you get employees on board with the organization’s strategy.
Know Your People
You might have the clearest, boldest, most strategic plans lined up, but they won’t matter if you don’t understand who you’re communicating with. Our recommendation? Take some time to think about the stakeholders who matter to your organization’s success and how you’ll use communication to engage with them throughout the year.
Additionally, keep in mind how these folks will receive communications — especially employees. Do you have a combination of office-based and front-line staff? Does everyone have a company email address or computer access? Consider any communication barriers that could cause challenges and use your plan to outline the solutions.
Determine Tactics That Resonate
When you have a solid picture of your target audiences, then you can identify the communication tactics that are likely to resonate with them. Emails, e-newsletters, and in-person meetings for staff can all be effective ways to spread a message throughout your organization. We’re also partial to a beautifully-designed company intranet that offers a central location for news and strategy updates while reinforcing an organization’s mission and vision.
Reaching employees where they’re at not only makes them feel good, but can also engage and inspire them to put forth their best efforts.
Show Employees You Care
It’s obvious, but it bears repeating: Showing gratitude toward your employees is always in style — no matter the season.
And as you determine how your communication efforts can support employee recognition in the new year, don’t forget about first acknowledging the progress that was made this year. Whether you hit sales milestones, launched new products, or expanded your operations, be intentional about thanking employees for helping your organization achieve its goals.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to showing you care. A simple “thank you” paired with a friendly smile can go a long way — as can encouraging folks to leverage benefits like PTO to recuperate after a busy year. Economic uncertainty and ongoing pandemic woes have taken their toll on the well-being of employees at all levels. To counteract trends like quiet quitting, show your staff the flexibility, empathy, and gratitude they deserve.
Plan to Adapt
Your organization’s communications plan should answer some key questions, giving you a solid outline for the year and helping you effectively engage with stakeholders. But that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone.
We hate to break it to you, but things will go wrong throughout the year. Crises will happen, and there will be fires to put out (hopefully just figuratively). While you might create a plan that works 90 percent of the time, afford yourself some grace and the understanding that, sometimes, you’ll just need to be flexible. Set yourself up for success with a thoughtful plan, but remember to adapt when things are out of your control.
Lean On Us
As you scramble to do all the things before the calendar flips to January, communications planning can seem like something to put off for quieter times. Resist the urge to procrastinate, and know that you don’t need to have all the answers by New Year’s Day. Start somewhere — and let us know how we can help you drive clearer, bolder communication next year!