Internal Communications Best Practices in 2020

Internal communications best practices - woman writing with pen on notebook

2020 Update

Every year, Simpplr Research conducts a study on the current state of internal communications. The State of Internal Communications 2020 (pre-COVID-19) report is Simpplr Research’s most downloaded report and provides useful benchmarking data for internal communications professionals. Insights from this report should still be relevant for most programs. In May 2020, we decided to conduct an intermediary study, the State of Internal Communications During COVID-19, given the abrupt transition from office work.

The State of Internal Communications 2021 summarizes:

  • How internal communications (IC) professionals have handled the recent changes (especially in transitioning toward work from home life)
  • How organizations are responding to social justice and racial equality awareness (a theme that spiked during the summer of 2020)
  • How IC professionals and programs fair relative to last year
  • Whether leadership has risen to the occasion and how they’re perceived
  • How technology has held up and what changes are required

Simpplr E-Book:


Simpplr Research just concluded one of its best studies yet: The State of Internal Communications 2019. We aren’t the first to create an industry benchmark report, but based on the materials available on the web, we saw an opportunity to expand what’s typically researched, add a bit more analytical rigor, and devise a way to uncover industry best practices.

State of internal communications simpplr

About the State of Internal Communications Report

Simpplr Research conducted this year’s State of Internal Communications (IC) report to get a better understanding of what separates great IC programs from everyone else.

Download this report to learn:

    • Internal communications benchmarks across multiple topics including practitioner challenges, measurement, technology usage, and activity focus
    • The best practices and strategies from leading organizations’ IC programs that separate their programs from the rest
    • Specific takeaways from the research that can help you improve your own internal communications and drive employee engagement

Internal Communications Best Practices

The State of Internal Internal Communications report gives much more detail (and statistical substantiation), but here are some practical internal communication strategies in 2019:

Internal Communications Best Practice #1: Leading programs market the purpose of internal communications

We asked our panel of corporate communications professionals to note how much they agree with the following statement: Our organization clearly articulates the importance of internal communications.

Internal communications best practices - survey responses for statement regarding importance of internal communications

Nearly all of the highest-rated internal communications (IC) programs either “agree” or “strongly agree” while a few average or below average programs could say the same. You’re likely to get more employee engagement when they understand who you are and why you exist.

Tip: Market your corporate communications! Consistently promote why your function exists, what you’re trying to achieve, and the communication strategies you’re using to improve employee engagement.

Internal Communications Best Practice #2: Leading programs measure multiple success criteria

Seemingly, more and more organizations use employee engagement surveys to measure their internal communications program success. The emerging best practice is not only what you measure, but how many variables you measure. We found that leading organizations augment their engagement surveys with things like company feedback, intranet usage and engagement, email readership, management feedback, company event feedback, focus groups, Glassdoor reviews, and more.

Tip: Rather than measure program success by one or two metrics, broaden the tactics used to measure success.

Internal Communications Best Practice #3: Leading companies measure how well employees can recite company goals and priorities.

They don’t just take employees’ word for it, they quiz employees on what they can recite. This corporate communications best practice provides insight into how well company news is landing and often shows why further investment in communications is needed.

Tip: Use the intranet as a vehicle to disseminate company goals and priorities so that all employees are informed and kept in the loop.

Internal Communications Best Practice #4: Management is sold on the value of internal communications and they engage in the process

Management involvement between leading and lagging organizations revealed a stark contrast. Simply put, if you want your program to succeed, you need more than just their blessing. You need real leadership engagement.

Tip: We know this best practice is easier said than done. Given the colinearity between their engagement and internal communications success, we recommend you bulldoze, guilt, beg, and pressure leadership into doing their part. Do whatever it takes!

Internal Communications Best Practice #5: The best internal communications collaborate across departmental lines and have governance committees

It’s easy for any function to get mired in their silos. Internal communications is no different, and it’s important to remind ourselves that the function exists to connect disparate departments and locations. 

Internal communication governance committees (and their associated intranet governance) were found most frequently in the highest-rated programs. It is as much a game of alignment as it is promoting company news. Ensure adequate time is spent building and aligning a cross-functional governing committee.

Tip: Download our ebook: Ultimate Intranet Governance Checklist to learn best practices on how to build a governance committee.

Internal Communications Best Practice #6: Leading organizations don’t have the same technology hurdles

Internal communications best practices - chart showing survey responses regarding internal communications challenges

Across the entire panel’s sample, the second most common challenge for IC programs was “bad internal communications technology.” The leading organizations rarely noted this as a challenge compared to those who rated their IC program as lagging, below average, and above average.

Tip: Take a look at your IC technologies and prioritize investment and time spent based on approaches that drive the most success. The State of Internal Communications research report has a section that double-clicks on corporate communications technology and evaluates which solutions provide the most impact.

Internal Communications Best Practice #7: Great corporate communications teams are leveraging videos

Are you using videos as a part of your internal communications strategy? You probably should be. Among the various communication methods evaluated, video usage in IC has the strongest positive impact. Leading IC programs use video significantly more than lagging programs. From an employee’s perspective, videos are more interesting, faster, and easier to consume.

Tip: Here’s the good news. Video production does not have to be costly or time-consuming. To get started, Simpplr’s Definitive Intranet Content Playbook provides many compelling video ideas that employee communications teams have used to spur engagement. 

Internal Communications Best Practice #8: The best corporate communicators clearly know how their job drives employee engagement

It’s not new for corporate communicators to say their initiatives ties to employee engagement outcomes. The best practice here lies in focus and clarity of mind. Leading programs understand that key drivers of employee engagement center around aligning with company values, understanding vision and strategy, and fostering community in the workplace.

Tip: For more specific strategies to drive employee engagement, see our eBook on employee engagement best practices.

Download the State of Internal Communications 2019 report

Based on how excited we are about this report, its engagement, and how well it’s been received; we plan to make this an annual initiative with an eye of continually uncovering corporate communications best practices. Make sure you download Simpplr Research’s State of Internal Communications 2019 – we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Dont forget to share this blog!


Connect with Simpplr