How to Define Internal Communication Goals? SMART Goals

“Setting goals and objectives is the first step in developing a strategic plan.” Sound familiar? We are sure you’ve already read this sentence multiple times. It’s not because you’ve read this article, but because it’s a best practice and goals are at the core of each strategy-defining process.

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How to Define Internal Communication Goals

What are Internal Communication Goals Depending On?

At the beginning of each year, Internal Communication teams often find themselves swamped with questions that need to be tackled when planning for the coming year. At this point, it’s crucial to have focal points and specific goals that aim to satisfy multiple stakeholders’ requests and needs.

Internal Communication strategies need to be specific in order to work. Considering that there are endless possibilities and needs to be respected, this might be more complicated than it sounds. Especially since methods of internal communications have changed in favor of more digitalized channels.

So how can you start to define your goals and objectives? Focus on the few major factors that your internal communication strategy depends on:

  • Business objectives – Do you want to increase sales or improve brand awareness, or maybe aim for better customer satisfaction?
  • Your peopleAre your employees engaged and motivated? How can you improve your approach? How strong is your corporate culture?
  • Communication channels – How do you communicate with employees? By email, text, newsletters, intranet? Where are the gaps in your communication? How advanced is your digital transformation?

After answering all these questions you will have a clear vision of where you want to be and what you want to achieve. Base your communication goals on business objectives, vision and the challenges you have identified.



Define SMART Communication Goals

Choosing the right goals will define the way your team and work is organized, by providing structure and guidelines for the execution of your internal communication plan. Failing to define SMART goals means that sooner or later, your efforts may wane during the implementation of your plan.

When setting goals, aim for the following qualities:


S – Specific

Goals should be as specific as possible. Provide a clear mission statement to describe what you want to accomplish by answering the following questions:

  • What is your goal?
  • How much or how often?
  • Where and when will it take place?


M – Measurable

Identify the approach and means for measuring and analyzing your goals. This way, collecting and comparing feedback will be easier and you will have a quantitative (or qualitative) base for comparison over the next period.


A – Achievable

Goals should be challenging, but it is also important that they are achievable. Goals can depend on multiple variables that risk becoming obstacles, making your goal unattainable. Take a second and double-check against each of these factors. You might see a timeframe emerge or a budget limitation, or even lack of manpower.


R – Relevant

Keep it relevant, or by some other definition, Realistic. If your business objective calls for an increase in profitability, perhaps acquiring new customers is not what you need. You may want to focus instead on increasing employee engagement and productivity or providing better work conditions.

Make sure that the goal makes sense for you and that you don’t apply the same business goals as the sales or deployment departments. Your goals should be realistic and applicable according to your resources.


T – Time-Bound

Timeframes are crucial to stay on top of your goals. Add a specific period for delivery, which will keep you accountable and help you stay productive. Aim for realistic deadlines, as the risk of losing team motivation increases when you fail to reach them.



Good vs. Bad Internal Communication Goals

Which of the following goals is SMART?

  • Provide better employee training starting the new year.
  • Increase Our Employees by 500 in 2020
  • Increase intranet adoption by 20% for frontline workers in the first half of 2020

Looking at the first example we notice many elements missing. How will you provide this better training? In what field do you want to train them? The goal is too general and doesn’t give the necessary details for implementation. What’s more, if the execution starts at the beginning of the year, when and how do you plan to measure?

The second goal seems more simple, yet it covers a bit more of the SMART checklist. We know that they want to recruit 500 new employees in 2020. You can easily measure it and show results. It’s clear that this is a task for HR and we know when to expect the results. But is this goal achievable and realistic? It might be for a company with 10k+ current employees, but the same can’t be said for a workforce of 1k employees, as a growth rate of 50% is not easily attainable for every organization. Here we see the importance of aligning goals with an initial business situation analysis.


Good vs bad internal communication goals


That leads us to the right answer which is number three!

Increase intranet adoption by 20% for frontline workers in the first half of 2020

So what do we understand from the last internal communication goal? A measurable 20% increase is needed for intranet engagement and activity from a specific group of employees in the first half of the year. Having the exact platform and a specific workforce segment mentioned in the goal indicates the communication channels to be used. This is the minimum required to focus on initiatives.

At first glance, this goal may not seem relevant to the business objectives, but for an organization with a big portion of frontline workers, keeping them connected and informed is crucial as they are the first point of contact with customers, ultimately influencing revenue. After answering all these questions you will have a clear vision of where you want to be and what you want to achieve. Base your communication goals on business objectives, vision and the challenges you have identified.


Gain the necessary confidence and start defining the internal communication goals that will drive business performance and employee satisfaction.

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