Communication Plan Elements
Step-by-step Guide to Developing a Communication Plan with the correct Elements
As your company grows and prospers you will need to ensure that you are providing your employees with clear and timely business communications, and a structured communication plan with all the right elements will help you do that effectively. Here’s our step-by-step guide to developing a business communication plan with all the key elements for success!
Step 1: Set your objectives
Make sure that all your business communication plans e.g. routine, leadership, or change communications, include a clear set of objectives so that your activities have a clear purpose from the start.
Your objectives, by example, could include the following elements:
- To help employees understand your businesses 2020 plan;
- To outline key divisional changes to your business;
- To help employees understand a new recruitment campaign.
Step 2: Outline all your audiences and stakeholders
Always include a breakdown of all your internal audiences and stakeholders at the top of your communication plans. It will help you stay aware of the different group (s) of employees you need to communicate with internally so you can you develop an integrated business communications plan with audience appropriate channels. You may have, for example, administrative, junior, senior, or technical employees, with different expectations and varied access to communication materials.
Step 3: Include clear and concise messages
Really effective communication plans elements always include concise messages. Effective messages simply convey the key points of a campaign or business announcement in any written, face-to-face and leadership communications. Any messaging in your plan should be used to empower your communication leads e.g. executives, managers, team leads, to clearly and consistently provide context around any new business messages. You might want to consider sending your communication leads a briefing sheet with your key messaging so that they can be cascaded in team meetings accurately. If you do not take this approach your business is at risk of alarming or confusing staff with inconsistent messages which can lead to a lack of motivation, unrest and engagement amongst your workforce.
Step 4: Choose a range of channels of communication
Always use communication channels which will enable you to get your message across most effectively and, at times, sensitively. Before you choose a channel - perhaps a town hall event, employee email or newsletter - think about whether you are using the right channel for the information you want to share with your workforce. More complex messages often require an integrated programme of different written and verbal channels for different grade levels in a business; simple messages can often be shared in more routine business communications e.g. newsletters and team meetings.
Step 5: Delegate elements of your communications plan
Assign responsibility for each element of your communications plan to leaders across your business. This will ensure that elements of your communications can be owned and delivered effectively at all levels of your business, and it will encourage your leaders to take ownership of your business’ top level decisions.
Step 6: Include a timeline of activities in your plan
Simply outline all your actions in a detailed tabled timeline. One of the most useful elements of a business communications plan is a timeline of activities stating exactly all the actions which need to happen and when on a month to month basis. This element can help your business deliver timely and frequent communications and actions tied into the month to month objectives of your business, whilst also providing a framework from which to measure your campaigns success in delivering effective and punctual business communications.
Step 7: Provide clear KPIs for your communications
A key element of communications planning is key performance indicators (KPIs). Find the right KPIs for your business to measure the success of your campaigns or regular business communications. You may want to consider the following options or something similar:
- Number of responses to a survey in a set period of time e.g. weeks, months.
- Percentage of participation in a programme of learning, competition or voluntary scheme within your business.
- Number of visits to an electronic newsletter or survey.
Step 8: Set a clear budget for your communication
If you will incur any third party costs or will need additional internal resources to deliver a campaign, ensure that you have a clear budget included in your plan. Having a clear budget is an important communications plan element because it will enable your business to measure the real cost and benefits of your campaign once it has been delivered.
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