Why Have an Annual Internal Communications Strategy







Lisa Fratzke

Partner & Executive Strategist,

Head of Client Strategy



Internal communications teams are often a one-stop shop for your company’s communications needs.

They an important role in educating, engaging and inspiring your workforce. Unfortunately, this can often leave internal communications teams feeling pulled in a number of directions by executives and business partners that have potentially conflicting priorities and points of view. 

That’s why it’s so important for communications leaders to take a step back at the end of each year, breathe, and begin planning your internal communications strategy for next year. 

According to our State of Internal Communications in 2022 report, more than one-third of internal communications leaders don’t have an annual strategic plan. It can be hard to carve out the time to make annual planning a priority when you are scrambling to meet an onslaught of requests from business partners throughout your organization, but it's worth it.

Benefits of an Annual Internal Communications Plan

Creating an annual internal communications strategy gives your team a strategic edge. It provides the opportunity to step back and think proactively about the year ahead. It also allows you to get valuable buy-in from executive leadership about your priorities, so that you can internally prioritize requests and manage your workload.

When surveying communications leaders, we found those with an annual strategic plan are more likely to have:

  • Targeted Strategies for Different Audiences
    Internal communications leaders who say they have an annual strategic plan are also more likely to have targeted strategies to reach employees with different roles types (45% vs. 13%) and locations (82% vs. 51%).
  • Concrete Strategy to Capture and Use Data
    Internal communications leaders with an annual strategic plan are more likely to have clear strategies in place to capture data to measure effectiveness (89% vs. 44%) and use data to inform strategies (70% vs. 28%).
  • Regularly Collect Employee Feedback
    Internal communications leaders who have an annual strategic plan are more likely to say they regularly collect employee feedback (74% vs. 7%).

It’s clear that leaders that dedicate the time and resources necessary to annual internal communications planning are experiencing valuable benefits that will set your team up for success throughout the year. 

So, how exactly do you make crafting your annual strategic plan a priority?

How to Create an Annual Internal Communications Strategy

Putting a plan in place to create your annual internal communications strategy can often be the biggest hurdle to getting started. Below are some next steps you can use to create your plan for your organization.

Establish the Value of an Annual Strategy

Not every organization understands the value of an annual internal communications strategy. That’s why it’s important to share external benchmarking data like our State of Internal Communications in 2022 report and establish the business case and benefits for having an annual strategic plan.

Start Planning in Advance

When it comes to creating your annual internal communications plan, it’s all about timing. You should start least two to three months in advance of the calendar or fiscal year to ensure that you have the time to gather the appropriate data and key dates, craft your strategy and gain executive approval. 

Gather Input from Your Team and Key Partners

Creating an annual internal communications strategy should be a collaborative process that invites the perspectives and voices of your internal team, along with key partners like HR. The more inclusive your planning process, the greater opportunity for adoption and buy-in across the organization. 

Get Stakeholder and Executive Buy-In

The last step of the process is to present your plan to your department head and/or the leadership of your organization to get approval. This step is key to ensuring leadership agrees on your goals and objectives and how you plan on achieving them. It also gives you a foundation to return to throughout the year when setting priorities and measuring the success of your efforts.

Following this process will allow you to kick start your annual planning process and customize it to your organization's needs.



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The Takeaway

Annual strategic plans give communications leaders a strategic edge and shift internal communications teams from a reactive posture to a proactive one. 

Crafting an annual internal communications strategy takes time and resources to do it right. Leaders that make that investment will reap valuable results.

If you need help creating your annual internal communications strategy, contact Fratzke to get started. We’re happy to help.

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