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Internal Communication Canvas – A tool to create your internal communication plan

We created the Internal Communication Canvas to help communication professionals measure and evaluate their internal communication strategy and practices. The Internal Communication Canvas is based on Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas and transformed to the needs of internal communication experts.

Internal Communication Canvas template

Download Internal Communication Plan Template

Download your own free copy of Internal Communication Canvas here.

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Content:
Employee Segments
Key Stakeholders & Partners
Value proposition and communication goals
Employee relationships
Communication channels
Key communication activities
Communication team resources
Added Value

Note: You do not need to follow rigorously this order when writing down your own model. If you got stuck on some point or feel like it would make more sense to go through it in a different order, feel free to change the order.

If an organization of 30 employees and an organization of 30 thousand employees are using the same level of segmentation, the other one is probably doing it very wrong.

Employee segments

Who are your organization’s employees? There are many ways to segment people. For instance, how old they are, in which department they work, the courses and certificates achieved, their level of seniority, cat owners, etc.

Think what level of segmentation makes sense. If an organization of 30 employees and an organization of 30 thousand employees are using the same level of segmentation, the other one is probably doing it very wrong.

You can start with a broad segmentation like the department. Ideally you would make a separate canvas for every segment you come up with as the needs for communication in each employee group might differ as day and night. In many ways, this is the most critical part of your internal communication plan.

Key Stakeholders & Partners

Many organizations have consultants and other external stakeholders like VCs, contractors, freelancers and close suppliers who should also be kept informed on certain internal issues. Of course not all information should be sent to the external stakeholders and partners, but the closest partners are crucial to the success of the organization, and they should receive extra care and be included in your internal communication plan.

What information should these semi-external stakeholders receive? How will you communicate with them and by what means?

Value proposition and communication goals

Internal communication also requires thinking about the corporate strategy and role of internal communication in helping to achieve the corporate strategy. What kind of added value does internal communication bring to your organization? What would happen if you had no internal communication team? What role does internal communication have in the corporate strategy?

You should come up with the main value proposition and goals for the corporate level as well as to each employee segment and external stakeholders.

Employee relationships

Employee relationships for internal corporate communication are similar to customer relationships for corporate sales & marketing. You need to treat and reach your employees with the right information at the right time in the way the employees want.

Different departments and offices require different information. For example, if you have a branch office in a different city or a country you probably shouldn’t spam them with internal emails about mundane things which only affect your main office 7000 km away.

Different organizational functions also expect information which is relevant to them. This is where things usually get more complicated. Often, when you send internal newsletters it’s not easy to know who would benefit from this information. Usually, the bigger the organization, vaguer the segmentation in the internal email lists is.

Communication channels

After you have identified the needs and expectations of your different employee segments, you need to decide the communication channels you will use to reach the goals.

For instance, your sales staff would probably like to use your intranet to read the important messages since they would prefer to reserve their email inbox for communicating with clients and prospects. On the other hand, some of your administrative staff could prefer to receive internal information in their inbox or a mobile app. Moreover, remember the employee segments e.g., in your production who do not use any computers for their daily work. These segments would also benefit from more direct means of communication, e.g., using their own devices or even short text messages off hours at home.

How about the key stakeholders and partners? Do they have limited or full access to your intranet or do you use email to communicate with them?

Key communication activities

What activities will you use to deliver your communication value proposition? Just like on the earlier points, there’s more than one right way to do this. Figure out which are the best activities to deliver your important messages to your internal audience. You can use blogs, videos, messages, pictures, newsletters, wall posters, special days or leaflets in the coffee rooms.

Describe the existing activities done on a yearly basis and figure out if there would be additional activities needed to fulfill the goals.

If you’re not sure which is the best activity to communicate to your employees, you can always test different activities with different employee segments. For instance, if your internal newsletter open rate is significantly lower for some segments the newsletter is probably not the best mean of delivering information for them.

Communication team resources

  • What resources do you need to fulfill your value proposition and reach the goals set?
  • Do your internal communication channels require some special knowledge?

Start by examining the resources your communication team has at the moment and see if some extra resources would be beneficial or if there are excess resources not needed anymore. If your communication team takes care of both internal and external communication, decide how you will allocate the time and resources between them. Many multinational corporations and organizations also need to communicate in several languages which add up the overall complexity of the internal communication.

Communication cost structure

To determine the balance and positive monetary figures for your team, begin by going through the budget for the internal communication. This starts with the fixed costs, e.g. salaries, software licenses, subscriptions and utilities and other more variable costs such as external communication partners’ fees.

If costs are needed to run down, look critically at the cost structure and analyze what are the most essential expenses related to your internal communication model? Which of your communication activities create most value compared to the used resources?

Added value

Calculating the revenue generated by the internal communication using all the above points is hard but at the end of the day that is what describes how you have succeeded. A way to start is to see what additional value to the organization have you created with the well working internal communication.

What value your internal communication efforts bring to the organization? Is there a positive effect on employee engagement, satisfaction, and performance? All of those have an impact on the bottom line and bring a positive outcome.

Measuring internal communication success and generated value is difficult. There are hardly any direct quantitative KPIs to measure, and qualitative analyzing takes time. Still, you are generating value to your employees by making keeping them updated on important issues which will allow them to perform better.

Download Internal Communication Plan Template

Download your own free copy of Internal Communication Canvas here.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Phone Number (required)

Company/Organization

We at eeedo have created the internal communication canvas as a quick tool to analyze the current state of the organization’s internal communication plan in respect to the corporate strategy. We create tools for smarter communication in organizations to reach each employee segment on their desired communication channel with only relevant information. Read more about eeedo.

You are free to share and remix the Internal Communication Canvas – please reference to this page after each use and share your work. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Internal Communication Canvas is based on Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas.