When it comes to communications, founders are often laser-focused on the outward-facing victories, like securing a splashy podcast spot or landing the coveted cover story. But while earning external press helps to add a coat of polish to your brand, it’s the day-to-day work of internal comms that keeps the engine running.
While putting intention and dedicated effort into communicating with your employees may seem like a “big company” task, the benefits of having a robust internal comms strategy (and the dangers of dismissing it) are even more marked for startups. While a maelstrom of changes can be easily communicated between a tiny founding team, as a team scales to five, six or seventy people, leaders need to pay even more attention to making sure that everyone’s rowing in the same direction — or risk capsizing as more folks climb aboard.
So how should startup leaders go about implementing a thoughtful internal comms practice? (Hint: it’s so much more than the occasional, slapdash All Hands). When we sifted through the Review for advice from founders, CEOs and comms experts, we found that in the most effective companies, internal comms is a two-way street: On the one hand, you need to deliver top-down messaging that’s crystal-clear and resonates with employees. On the other — and perhaps most crucially and most commonly overlooked — you can open up the opportunity for employees to give you valuable feedback from the frontlines.
The six practices and principles they share are designed to help internal communication flow both ways. They can be adapted to any scale, whether your company is lean and scrappy, large and established, or even distributed across time zones. From messaging sensitive executive transitions to combating PR wildfires before they even start, we hope they help establish trust and engagement among your most important audience: the one that’s already on your team.