3 Tips for Effective Internal Communications
High-performing firm cultures are driven by trust and a sense of shared purpose, and skillful communication is key to creating such environments. When done well, internal messaging showcases your firm’s commitment to the wellbeing of its people, gaining their enthusiastic engagement and support. These three power moves will take your internal communications to the next level.
1. Tailor messaging to your audience
You’ll craft more engaging messages when you adopt your audience’s perspectives: their concerns, goals and circumstances. Leverage your empathy to put yourselves in your readers’ shoes. For example, imagine you’re trying to build enthusiasm about a new professional development program. You know busy attorneys may worry about finding time for it, but they’re also keen to take an active role in their career paths.
That audience knowledge allows you to make strategic choices about what to include in your email announcement: you might demonstrate the program’s value by sharing a few brief quotes from firm leaders about how professional development boosted their career trajectories. And you can anticipate and address attorneys’ concerns by offering tips for making time for development opportunities.
2. Include every individual
The quest to understand your audience is a difficult balancing act. All group communication necessarily involves eliding some differences among individuals; at the same time, messaging focused solely on the majority leaves out many groups and individuals. It’s useful to consider the things your audience members have in common — and also where they diverge.
For example, if staff are eligible to participate in a professional development program, it’s important to say so explicitly. Otherwise, they might assume they were forgotten. When inviting people to a social or networking event, explain the accommodations available to help those who might have barriers to attending (like working parents or people with disabilities).
3. Reach out frequently
Regular communication builds strong relationships. By communicating on a steady cadence with appropriate frequency, you teach individuals they can rely on you to keep them apprised of events that affect them and to consider their needs.
For example, communication about a professional development program would ideally begin long before launch. Messaging early and often gives people the opportunity to plan their time and give feedback during formative stages (when appropriate). After launch, regular discussion of program opportunities can help keep the program relevant and top of mind. The same goes for communications about things like firm strategy, policies and emerging developments: a consistent cadence of updates makes people feel informed and involved.
A thoughtful and intentional approach allows your internal communications to do more than share facts; they can contribute to a stronger firm culture. Even something as straightforward as a monthly firmwide newsletter can benefit from strategic thinking about the needs of your audience. When every communication clearly delivers value, you’ll see returns in the form of greater camaraderie and engagement.