By: Andrew Formanek, Strategic Thought Partner of Key&Spark
One of the first things I do when consulting on a new change or transformation program is look at how the program communicates to the people doing the actual work.
I do this because while the lion’s share of most program communications focuses on external stakeholders (i.e., the people affected by a change or transformation), comms activities aimed at those working on the program can be vital to improving cooperation, building team spirit, and ensuring alignment with goals and objectives.
Below you’ll find three steps you can take to improve the way your program communicates internally, as well as a caveat to bear in mind before you set to work.
1. Create a baseline assessment
Start by evaluating how your program’s existing communication activities by asking questions such as:
- How often does the program communicate?
- What channels are used to share program news and achievements?
- How do different workstreams and functional areas share information across the program?
- Where do people go if they need more information?
- How are newcomers to the program onboarded?
Additionally, talk to colleagues about whether they are getting the information they need, and if not, how they would fill these gaps. Your aim here is to develop an objective view of your program’s communication activities and identify any areas for improvement.
2. Develop a strategy
The larger your program is, the more important it is to have a communication strategy aimed at the people contributing to it. While much of the messaging developed for external stakeholders can be re-used for the internal program audience, it is good to have a framework in place to communicate your program’s vision, key messages and overall goals and objectives internally. Also important is to have a clear plan about how information will be cascaded down through the program, as well as the channels that will enable two-way communication. These strategic elements will be important to building a sense of team and a shared purpose among those contributing to the success of your program.
3. Update your plan
As with any communications plan, consistency should be your main aim: You will want to set out a regular frequency of communication, ideally using existing channels that are familiar to your audience. Look at your overall program plan and pick out key milestones to communicate against. Reserve some time and budget to celebrate the program’s major accomplishments, while setting out regular opportunities for program leadership to communicate to the team.
Caution: Work ahead
As we can see from the steps outlined above, there is quite a bit of work involved in communicating effectively within a program organization. The good news is that a lot of your internal program comms activities will dovetail nicely with work done for external stakeholders. And despite the initial effort, once put your strategy and into motion it is only a matter of sticking to the plan and not losing momentum.
Not only will a solid communication framework help ensure alignment with your program’s aims, but it will also help create a more tightly knit, collaborative team in which everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Key & Spark has decades of experience meeting the communication needs of large change and transformation programs. If you and your team need support, feel free to contact us for a consultation.