Internal Communications:

The Digital Strategy Guide

The workforce has shifted with the digital age, implicating full-time employees across the generational divide. This has begun to revolutionize the way executives and their organizations approach internal communications.

Employees are looking for more information, collaboration, opportunities, and transparency. These items not only help your team drive professional success, but helps everyone be connected and more engaged at work.

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No matter if you’re new to internal communications or…

…you’re looking to boost your communications strategy, this guide will cover all the essentials you need to know and much more.

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Ready for the deep dive into internal communications? Jump into the journey below.

If you are coming to this extensive guide, you may already work in communications or know the basics of this concept. If so, feel free to skip down to the next chapters.

But if you want to stick with us, we’ll put our own definition to internal communications and how it has continued to evolve.

So what is internal communications? It’s simply the information and ideas exchanged within the organization.

Internal communications creates shared understanding and meaning amongst employees and managers. And only when this happens can employees work together towards a company’s goals, mission, and values effectively.

Additionally, sometimes internal communications is dubbed “employee communications,” but just note that these terms are pretty interchangeable today.

The Importance of Internal Communications

Internal communications — as mentioned in the previous section —  is evolving. Employees have access to tons of information and content via the web and various tech devices. Many of which is just noise or irrelevant to them, so the important info is drowned out.

Additionally, not every employee is working at a desk, which can make keeping everyone informed a challenge.

This is why internal communications and having a strategy is incredibly important for organizations, especially large and enterprise brands.

Here are a few reasons internal communications is important to your organization:

  • Keeps your people more informed
  • Helps build your organization’s work culture
  • Increases employee engagement
  • Creates transparency and trust among the entire company
  • Provides more opportunities for people within the company to learn, be trained, and feel connected
  • Creates an environment open to feedback, debate, and discussion
  • Improves overall employee experience

“Research indicates that workers have three primary needs: interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” – Zig Ziglar

Who is Responsible for Communications?

Employee Engagement

For many large organizations, there is a communications department that will handle interactions, messaging, and the internal comms strategy. And in other companies or smaller organizations, the human resource department and company leaders may hold that responsibility.

But over the years, it’s more apparent that everyone within the organization plays a pivotal role in effective communication and collaboration. Everyone should be communicating with each other, sharing ideas, understanding their value, and knowing how they contribute to the success of the company.

While everyone has a role in communications, it will fall a bit more heavily on these key people or departments beyond (beyond your communication department).


Your company CEO, CMO, and others of the c-suite have one of the largest roles in communications. They are guiding the culture, the direction of the brand, and keeping the entire company in the loop.

The c-suite also needs to be heard from (and seen) on some consistent basis — whether communication is through emails, content distribution (blog posts, letters, videos, etc.), engaging in communication software, or preferably a combination of those. Employees want to trust and feel connected to their business leaders.


Department Managers

Those managers who are leading different departments and teams, also help facilitate internal communications among their people. Managers need to ensure employees are valued, understand the goals, are aligned with the company vision, and feel like their work is making an impact.


All Employees

While communicating company mission and goals will come from top-level or specific communication leaders, employees are also valuable to internal and external communications. Generally, employees want to be heard, share ideas, and learn from others. Let them create and share content, provide insights or knowledge, suggest ideas that could be used to improve the business, etc.

It’s about building a workplace community, where employees feel safe becoming part of the conversation and can collaborate more with colleagues.


Is Internal Communications A Part of HR?

While organizations may have a team for internal communications, organizations must involve HR in any tactics or strategy that involves all employees. Communication is such a vital part of the way employees experience and succeed in the company, that HR leaders will be valuable to building trust in the workplace. In some companies, HR may also be managing all communications as well.

With the digital space rapidly changing and remote work growing (especially after the 2020 pandemic), there are important communications trends to understand. For many organizations, it can be challenging to keep up as your communications strategy will need to evolve and adapt over time.

So what are some of the current trends?

Empowering Your Frontline Works

A report called “The New Decision Makers” by Harvard Business Review, discover how organizations can really leverage mobile technology to ensure their frontline workers are informed and engaged. Some of their survey findings:

  • 85% of respondents say that their organization will be more successful when their frontline employees are empowered to make decisions at the moment
  • 72% said that productivity increased when they empowered their frontline employees

More Executives Supporting Digital Communications

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to scramble into remote work and distributed teams in various timezones around the world. This also increased the need for executives and leadership to find ways to communicate and connect with their teams more effectively.

It’s not even a “trend” as this is something ALL companies should be prioritizing anyway, but many organizations are now doubling-down.

In the KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook: COVID-19 Special Edition, ”77% of CEOs say they will expand their digital communication tool chest for greater communication and collaboration.” Technology and communication tools are a pivotal part of keeping teams organized, aligned, engaged, and feeling connected to their company.

The employee experience also matters more than ever. When employees feel disconnected from the business and there is a lack of transparency, the organization’s productivity and initiatives will struggle.

Freelance and Gig Economy Workers

Not only do organizations have more remote workers or front-line employees, but freelance and gig economy workers are also more prevalent. This trend is continuing to grow and makes it more obvious that internal communicators need to reach these folks better as well.

According to these stats, “Over one-third of US workers (36%) participate in the gig economy, either through their primary or secondary job.” And it’s only growing!

To engage these types of employees, the communication efforts will have to be on their terms and what fits their work lifestyle. Apps and other forms of technology are going to be critical for these workers. But companies that employ freelancers or gig economy workers will need their own separate communications strategy as their needs may differ greatly from the full-time staff.

Internal Communications Strategy Tips

Without an internal communications strategy, your company’s values get lost, employees are confused about their employer, they are (and feel) less informed, less productive, and much less engaged, etc.

When there are more questions at work, lack of transparency, and limited ways for employees to get involved, there is a stigma of uncertainty, frustration, and distrust.

The list of challenges goes on, but one thing is clear: it is detrimental to your organization if your company’s communication is lacking a clear strategy.

Here are some internal communication strategy tips your organization should consider.


Explore and Analyze Your Current Strategy

If your organization has an internal comms strategy in place, you’ll want to analyze it first. Of course, if your company does not actively have one, feel free to skip on to the next tips!

If you are reading this section, you probably know your company’s communications strategy needs a boost.

First, you really need to figure out if your communications is aligning with the business objectives and business strategy.

But then you can start to dig deeper. Start asking questions about your communications, like:

  • What are the business challenges our communications strategy needs to address?
  • How do employees feel about the communications from our company currently?
  • Are employees from different departments, buildings, and locations connected and informed equally? Or are there silos that hinder communication, and cliques between departments?

Just some samples to start figuring it all out, but really dive into your current communications process or strategy.


Get Your Messaging Consistent

Similar to how your organization works on its brand voice, your communications and messaging needs a consistency to it.

When you have different tones, various degrees of a mission, or speak differently with all forms of communications, it becomes rather confusing.

This also means, everyone should be on the same page of the business goals, vision, and objectives. Not only should the entire workplace know “what” your business does, but will have a firm understanding of the “why.”


Let Employees Share Their Voices

Communications can’t be a one way street. Meaning, your internal communications strategy should include — and encourage — employees to share their voices.

Your organization needs to develop and harness a work culture of openness, transparency, trust, and knowledge sharing.

Be open to feedback, questions, and ideas from your team, encourage them to join and spark conversations.

This will create a trust between employers and their executives. And it will create more engagement with their work when they know they are contributing to the business in ways outside their job duties.

Employee involvement can stem from department or face-to-face meetings, training sessions, internal social media, company networking events, etc.


Related: With over 20,000 employees across 30 locations and in 6 different languages, creating a unified global corporate culture, driving communications and employer brand was no easy feat for Electronic Arts. Learn how the video game company leveraged employee advocacy to fix those challenges.


Avoid Communication Overload

Since we are bombarded with information daily, communication overload can be a problem. As much as you want to keep your team informed, you want to find the right balance of communication flow.

It also can be hard to cut through all the noise, so the last thing you want to do is cause employees to ignore your messaging because of it being too frequent.

Finding a balance and breaking up your communications will be key. Yet, you also do not want to leave important information out, otherwise your strategy starts to break down.

It’s a fine line to figure out, but luckily there are simple solutions like an employee advocacy platform to help. But more on that in the next main section.


Embrace Technology to Streamline Comms

In today’s digital environment, there are plenty of technologies that make our lives easier. At the same time, implementing too much tech can also be frustrating.

Having the wrong tech in place or too many options can create communication overload and be distracting. Thus, not helping your communication strategy.

Since internal communications challenges and focus on strategy has grown, there are many great technologies to help streamline the process. By using the right ones, you ensure employees enjoy using them and continue using for the foreseeable future.

Some examples of communications tech:

  • Using a cloud service like Google Drive for collaboration on documents, presentations, etc.
  • Adopting an employee advocacy platform like EveryoneSocial. This acts as the central hub for content, allows feedback (comments, engagement, tagging others), mobile use, push notifications and email options, social sharing for important content, user-generated capabilities, and measurement on results.
  • Also, your organization can use a chat service for internal use like Slack or Yammer to coincide with the above.

Nail Down Important KPIs

Like any process or strategy, you want to measure the results of your efforts. With internal communications, you must identify the important KPIs and continue to monitor.

These metrics can also be used to inform employees of performance of their efforts, goals, and progress.

Pending on what your organization values, some KPIs might not be as important as others. But here are a few to consider measuring.

  • Corporate email opens
  • Link clicks in corporate emails
  • Attendance for training or town halls
  • Social shares
  • Traffic results from social shares
  • Technology use. Like logins, comments, time in platform, etc.

Some of these KPIs you might be wondering how to measure correctly. That’s where an employee advocacy platform becomes a crucial part to your communications stack. You can dive a bit deeper into internal communications KPIs here.


Evaluate Communications Progress

Besides formulating a strategy, trying new tactics, and measuring results — you want to evaluate and refine your overall strategy as well. Most likely, if you work for a large company, your communications process will be an ongoing work in progress.

Try quarterly or monthly evaluations of your employee communications strategy. Ask business leaders and employees about the current communications. Questions like:

  • Do you feel you are being communicated and informed with properly?
  • Are you aware of the company mission, values, and goals?
  • Is there consistent transparency and communications from company level, department level, and/or team level?
  • Do you feel your voice, ideas, and knowledge are being communicated and valued?

While evaluating may seem bland, it’s instrumental in helping you pivot or improve areas of the communications process that might be lagging still.

Internal Communications Tools

There is no doubt with the digital transformation, that technology and apps will be essential to your internal comms. Finding the balance of tech is key, as an overload of software and tools can cause frustrations and lost information.

However, simplifying this process can be easy.

“When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information.” (McKinsey)

Instead of just a strategy, what if more organizations implemented a communications platform that amplifies the existing rapport with teammates, while also integrating with external networks?

Well, this is where employee advocacy programs are fitting into the communications equation.

Typically thought more for marketing and sales, employee advocacy is also becoming the center of all employee communications too.

By aligning an internal comms program (i.e. strategy + platform) with an external marketing campaign, the brand’s value, perceived sentiment, and authenticity all reach new levels of transparency unachievable through just a comms-strategy or marketing campaign.

So, how does it work? An employee advocacy program is built around your employees, a central hub for all content and communication activity.


Here’s how it applies with your internal comms strategy:

  • Personalize content, news, company info, and updates that employees have access to; share to social accounts, and leave comments, engage, and tag other employees.
  • Push communications and announcements to desktop, mobile, and email to unify employees who are on the move or working remote.
  • Employees contribute to the conversation and become part of the content creation process, becoming more engaged, involved, and productive.
  • Everything managed in one location, with key features like reporting for analyzing and improving engagement, and integrations with other tools and platforms.
  • Reduces content noise by categorizing topics, departments, etc. Allowing employees to be subscribed automatically or let them subscribe and create their own personal streams.

The above is exactly how our clients leverage EveryoneSocial, with a major focus on communications to build a connected workplace community, especially if the organization has global offices.

However, to reap the full benefit of employee advocacy, your organization must transform their structures, processes, and cultures: they will need to become more open and create a workplace of trust.

The power of employee advocacy as an internal comms platform will rely on enthusiastic participation of employees who are not afraid to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected.


“Use of social software by employees can improve productivity by 20-25%.” (McKinsey)

Internal Communications Statistics

Now that we dove into the basics, strategy tips, and how employee advocacy is connected, it’s great to also understand some data. We sprinkled a few statistics in the above sections, but below here is a more comprehensive dive.

After doing some research, we found some interesting internal communications statistics, some of which is related to how valued communications are, the current challenges, and more.

We’ve covered some of these in our employee advocacy stats post, but below we are covering more ground as it relates to comms.


In this article, they covered plenty about employee communications, but some interesting data points stood out right away:

  • Employees often spend up to two hours a day (which equals one quarter of the work week) worrying and gossiping.
  • Confusion and frustration usually motivate your best employees to leave first, and it costs an average of 150% of their annual salaries to replace them.
  • Employees who feel like they are genuinely listened to by their managers are nearly 5 times more likely to have high job enthusiasm and 21 times more likely to feel committed to their company than those who do not feel listened to.
  • Successful company communication programs tend to produce the best results in financial figures, productivity, and shareholder returns.

Here are some other communications data points worth noting:

  • 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. (Trade Press Services)
  • 85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news. (Trade Press Services)
  • More informed employees outperform their peers by 77%. (CEB/Gartner)
  • Only 40% of the workforce reports knowing their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. (Bain).
  • More than 80% of Americans say employee communication is key to developing trust with their employers. (Lexicon)
  • Disengaged employees could cost organizations over $450 billion dollars per year. This is because when your employees are not engaged, they are not as productive and not committed to your brand. This loss is experienced in wage dollars, retraining time, loss of profit, loss of sales, and much more (Conference Board)
  • Globally, 21% of internal communicators admitted that they do not employ any form of formal planning. That number increases to 31% for communicators in North America. (Gatehouse)

Additional Communications Resources

Congratulations for coming this far with this in-depth piece on internal communications! Hopefully, you have learned a lot about the importance of employee communications, strategy tips, and more.

If you are interested in boosting communications, keeping employees informed, and driving knowledge-sharing, an employee advocacy platform has your company’s name on it. You can learn more about EveryoneSocial here.

Lastly, before we complete this content, we thought it was worth sharing with you some additional resources and content that will be useful to expanding your communications knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions.

What is internal communications?

Internal communications is simply the information and ideas exchanged within the organization. Focusing on communications is what creates shared understanding and meaning amongst employees and managers. And only when this happens can employees work together towards a company’s goals, mission, and values effectively.

What is the role of communications?

The role of communications in your company is to help ensure that company messages, news, and vision is understood and valued among employees. While all businesses should prioritize internal communications, large and enterprise companies must focus heavily on an effective communications or productivity, engagement, and overall business can suffer.

Why do we need internal communications?

Besides informing and keeping employees focused collaboratively on overall company goals, your organization becomes a connected workplace community. Your employees will feel acknowledged, trust their employers more, become more motivated and interested in their work, and improves overall brand advocacy.

What is an internal communications strategy?

An internal communications strategy helps your organization remove any stigma of uncertainty, frustration, and distrust from employees. Here are some tips for building an effective communications strategy:

  • Analyze Your Current Strategy
  • Get Your Messaging Consistent
  • Let Employees Share Their Voices
  • Avoid Communication Overload
  • Embrace Technology to Streamline Comms
  • Measure Important Communication KPIs