7 Things To Consider In A Strategic Communication Plan

7 Things To Consider In A Strategic Communication Plan

By Kiara Miller

Strategic plans and tactical goals are vital for every business organization to scale new heights of success. Organizations get bigger and better when they achieve their long-term milestones. However, it is also true that every strategic goal needs a well-defined communication plan. For any massive transformation transpiring in your organization, you need to communicate the same to your teams in a lucid way.

Having said that, as a leader, you need to work on creating firm strategic communication plans to support your organization’s long-term goals. The question is, what does it take to formulate a strategic communication plan? What are the components of an effective strategic communication plan? 

Let's find out the answers to these compelling questions. This blog highlights the key elements of a worthwhile strategic communication plan. Also, it elucidates the relevance of each component in terms of organizational success. 

Salient Components of Strategic Communication Plan

  1. Vision and Values

When you develop a strategic development plan for your strategic goals or change management, it is vital to define the vision behind the strategic plans. To elucidate, unless you are unsure of the vision behind your strategic plans as a leader, how do you expect others to align with it? When you realize the vision behind a proposed strategic plan, you are able to visualize what the success of that plan looks like. Besides, you have a clear idea of what your strategic plan aims to achieve. 

This clarity and confidence will help you to engage your teams in a more worthwhile way when you communicate the organization’s plans to them. Your communication then becomes far more inspiring and indulgent when there is complete clarity about each milestone. To put it in a simple way, vision leads to strategic goals and a clear understanding of goals facilitates great clarity. In the ultimate sense, this clarity in communication proves to be vital such that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.

Needless to say, unless there is complete clarity in communication, knowledge sharing and the flow of instructions will remain crippled. Besides, it makes you a far more effective communicator as you can assist your teams in visualizing what success looks like and why they should participate actively.  Having said that, the overall morale and motivation of your team will be much higher when you come across as a leader with a radiant vision.
Moreover, the vision will further pave the way for the values you need to incorporate into your strategic communication plan. These core values will then together form a pivot around which workplace conversations and interactions will take place. 

  1. Target Audience

It is often said in marketing that not everyone is your target audience. You need to be double sure of who your target audience is and that will further guide your objectives and tactics. The same holds true for internal workplace communication as well. Not all teams or employees may fall into the target audience of your communication plans, isn’t it? 
For instance, if you want to discuss the marketing plan for the next quarter, it is your marketing team that will be your target audience. Your operations team or your production team may have nothing to do with the discussions on marketing objectives and plans. So, when you define your target audience beforehand, you can frame your strategic communication plans in a more efficient way. 

The terminology you are going to use in your communication will largely depend on your target audience. The more aligned your communication plans are with the target audience the greater will be the success. Your communication blueprint should ideally have your target audience at the epicenter. 

  1. Objectives of Communication

After you identify the vision, values, and strategic goals of the organization, you then need to set the objectives for communication. It makes great sense that you share knowledge and information with your teams in a transparent way. After all, workplace transparency is crucial for the clarity of objectives. Besides, it is also important that you don’t overshare information and maintain confidentiality around sensitive information.
Having said that, as a leader you should be pretty sure of what is to be communicated and what is to be withheld. For that, the best approach would be to set clear objectives pertaining to your strategic communication plan.

In fact, there can be multiple objectives related to a strategic plan and the communication plan pertaining to it. For instance, communicating work instructions can be one of the objectives. Besides, facilitating high engagement and workplace motivation can be another objective of a communication plan. Also, your communication plan may be for performance reviews or feedback sharing. 

Subject to what a strategic communication plan is aimed at, you should set specific objectives for communication success. This is where you can take a SMART objectives approach to structure and set your communication objectives. In this way, specific objectives will pave the way for a specific approach to garner great success in workplace communication.

  1. Deciding Upon the Right Tools

It is an undeniable fact that the future of the corporate world is remote. In fact, there is every possibility that your organization may already be working remotely. In that case, your organization will have to depend on effective internal communication tools for sharing vital information in a consistent manner.
To substantiate, as per McKinsey, in the contemporary business world, 80 percent of businesses are using social collaboration tools for efficient team communication. Besides, as per ClearCompany, not more than six percent of companies communicate organizational goals on a daily basis. Well, needless to say, this can have a devastating impact on organizational success.
Besides, as we know, the efficiency of communication becomes far more vulnerable in a virtual workplace. Therefore, in times when organizations are increasingly embracing remote or hybrid work cultures, it is such a key thing to invest in the right tools. The more effective and reliable your internal communication tools are, the greater will be the collaboration. 

With so many tools available around you, it makes great sense that you undertake effective research for making the right investments. In a virtual work environment, efficient communication tools will be indispensable for your communication plans.

  1. Key Performance Indicators

It is always a great idea to measure the progress of your strategies with reliable and quantifiable metrics. In simple terms, to gauge the success of your communication plans, you ought to establish some key performance indicators. These indicators will help you determine if your communication plan is on the right track to accomplish the set milestones or not. Accordingly, you can identify the existing gaps in the implementation of your communication plan and make the prerequisite refinements. 

For that, it is important that you know which KPIs you should be tracking to monitor your communication plans. Some of the most vital key performance indicators for measuring the effectiveness of internal communication are listed below. 

  • Rate of Employee Adoption (for internal communications)

  • Open Rate and CTR ( for emails/newsletters) 

  • Employee Net Promoter Score

  • Employee Engagement Rates 

  • Employee Attrition Rates 

  • Logins and Page Visits 

  • Employee Response Rates 

  • Customer Satisfaction 

  • Rate of Mobile Usage  

With these above-mentioned internal communication metrics, you can effectively track and monitor the success of your communication plans. Also, establishing KPIs may not be enough to monitor your strategic communication plans and ensure their success. 

To explain, you also need to set ownership and accountability at different levels to drive continuous improvement based on the scenarios indicated by KPIs. You need to identify reliable people who will take up the ownership for driving consistent enhancements in your communication plans.

  1. Contingency Plans

The smartest of leaders are those who plan for contingencies in their strategic plans. The same holds true when it comes to establishing strategic communication plans. It may happen at times that a particular approach may not yield the expected results. This is where KPIs prove to be so essential in helping you gauge the performance of your strategies. 

So, when a specific approach to workplace communication does not work, you would surely want to make some conclusive changes. For that, it is always better to plan for contingencies beforehand. When you have a contingency plan to enhance communication efficiency, you can make the refinements in real-time. With strong contingency plans, you can replace underperforming strategies with better alternatives without wasting any time. 

Let us try to understand this through an example. Let’s say the purpose of your strategic communication plan is to communicate to your employees the proposal for a new merger. Having said that, you first decide to communicate the proposal for the merger through an internal newsletter sent to the entire team through emails. However, let’s say you are quick to realize that this communication tactic has not been able to facilitate any sort of engagement. 

Subsequently, you switch to the contingency plan of passing the information through Slack. Now, because you already had a contingency plan in your mind, you can make the adjustment in an immediate way. This is exactly why working out your contingency plans is imperative for any strategic plan inclusive of communication plans as well.

  1. Feedback mechanisms 

Key performance indicators will effectively look at the quantifiable aspect of your communication plan’s success. However, looking at the qualitative aspects of the performance of your communication strategies is equally important. For that, the best way is to seek feedback from your employees.
In fact, your employees can tell you the best if the organization’s communication strategies have added value to their clarity and engagement or not. Having said that, it is essential that you promote a conducive environment for your employees such that they can express their feedback and opinions with great liberty. 

Besides, collecting their feedback for your communication plans will only help you to further optimize your communication strategies. You never know when a feedback session may yield an exceptional idea for boosting communication efficiency in the workplace. 

To encapsulate, communication is indeed the key to effective workflow management and business success. When leaders communicate instructions and information effectively, teams respond with greater engagement and zeal. However, as a leader, you need to ensure that your strategic communication plans promote great inclusion and do not have any loopholes. 

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