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Internal Communications – the heart of a great strategy

3 min read

Many organisations place a majority of their focus on external communications, and only allocate a small amount of time to internal efforts, often taking the form of a few social gatherings and a sporadic internal newsletter. However, internal communications play a pivotal role in your organisation’s success. 

Below we have outlined how you can expand this area of your communication strategy, and the pitfalls of neglection:

Foster cross-departmental communication

Whether it’s hosting a presentation from each department as part of your staff meeting, creating opportunities for internal staff to relieve during annual leave, or paving the way for duo department morning teas, educating your staff about what other staff outside their area are doing is a great way to ensure everyone is informed of the different processes, and initiatives currently in place within your organisation. This holistic understanding helps create a cohesive workforce.

The pitfalls

If staff are not regularly updated on the workings and achievements of other departments, it can cause feelings of being uninformed and disconnected. This can lead to misinformation and errors when communicating with stakeholders.. In terms of not-for-profits – ensure volunteers are included in this knowledge-building exercise.

Make sure your internal stakeholders are the first to know

Picture this — you open your Saturday paper to find out that your organisation is recruiting, or has launched a new fundraising campaign. It’s not a good feeling, given you were not aware as recently as Friday. When the time is right, ensure your staff, volunteers and internal stakeholders are informed of any staff changes, new campaigns or initiatives, prior to widespread promotion. It helps to make them feel part of something, and “in the know”.

The pitfalls

There is no quicker way to make internal stakeholders feel undervalued than creating the perception of keeping information from them. Such actions quickly develop a mistrust in management. In addition, when considering recruitment of new staff and volunteers, your internal stakeholders can often be your greatest ambassadors and lead you to brilliant talent.

Gauge their thoughts on the organisation on a regular basis

While this may be a frightening undertaking, for internal stakeholders to feel heard, you need to speak with them. Consulting with staff can take the form of focus groups, anonymous surveys or Q&A sessions at the end of team catch-ups. This sort of measuring is the easiest way to ensure your internal communication is working, and if any widespread misperceptions exist.

The pitfalls

Simply put, if you don’t ask, you don’t know. Leadership teams, boards, and general management will not know if the organisation is on track and feeling informed unless the questions are asked. Consistent, regular feedback methods are necessary to account for new staff and job changes.  

Develop one or a few mechanisms for updates

There are many ways to ensure your internal stakeholders are kept informed. Importantly, if you have staff and volunteers to consider, you will need to decide whether these mechanisms can speak to both audiences, or whether you should be communicating with them separately. 

Examples of these mechanisms include an interactive intranet, newsletter, email from the CEO or whole organisation meeting. Whichever is relevant to your organisation, a mechanism for regular communication is necessary to ensure stakeholders feel abreast of any new information.

The pitfalls

Inconsistent updates can create a perception of poor communication. A routine of communication is necessary to create a sense of reliable communication channels between leadership and other internal stakeholders. In addition, without access to accurate information about new campaigns, initiatives or staff changes, internal stakeholders may resort to speculation, which can erode internal culture.

Don’t forget to have fun

To build a cohesive team, engaged and willing to help move the organisation forward, a little fun is in order. Celebrating team accomplishments achieved outside of work hours, hosting wearing your favourite footy colours day in the lead-up to the grand final or even casual dress for a gold coin donation are all ways to bring internal stakeholders together. Whilst more structured internal communication has its place, less formal outlets and initiatives also play a part in bringing internal stakeholders together. As an added bonus, this sort of fun creation also leads to conversation, which can achieve knowledge-building and sharing in an ad hoc way.

The pitfalls

Without creating ways for team members to get to know each other better, inter-departmental relationships may weaken. Relationships are integral when it comes to working together on larger projects, keeping each other informed, or stepping up as a team in a crisis. In addition, should Susan win a medal at the local football club on the weekend, it is important to show the organisation celebrates all of her achievements, whether these were during or after work hours.

When developing a strategic communication strategy, ensure internal stakeholders take pride of place as a primary target audience to support your external communication tactics.

If you need help with your communication strategy, reach out to Fifty Acres. Mention this advertorial for a free half-hour consultation. Get in touch via


With over 20 years’ experience in communications, political advisory roles and journalism, Jo Scard is one of Australia’s foremost strategic advisors to corporates, government and not-for-profits.

Jo is a respected former journalist in the UK and Australia working with ITV, Associated Press, Seven Network, SBS, ABC and Fairfax. She has spent over a decade advising corporates and not-for-profits at CEO and board level across strategic communications, government relations and public relations, and co-authored the best-selling book The working mother’s survival guide.

Fifty Acres was established in 2010. We work with government agencies, national organisations, not-for-profits and corporates providing strategic communications, media training, government, marketing and public relations services. The agency has become a market leader in strategic communications and represents some of Australia’s premier brands and not-for-profits – spending 10% of our time on pro bono projects.


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