‘Plan beats no plan,’ and the same is true when it comes to plotting out your Total Rewards HR communication plan.

What do GREAT internal communication plans all have in common? They all stem from a carefully crafted Total Rewards or HR strategy. A strategy identifies the business objectives you aim to meet, while the plan explains how it will be accomplished. Communication plans are likely to be ineffective unless all touchpoints connect to the broader strategy.

Where to start

First things first, put pen to paper and outline your strategy. What will your Total Rewards program sets out to accomplish over the next 12–36 months. What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)? What does your data tell you about your program utilization? What do your surveys tell you about employee communication preferences? These are just a few important inputs to consider when your team is reviewing the strategy.

Tip: Strategy building doesn’t happen overnight. For guidance on constructing an effective HR rewards strategy, contact us to help you create one that’s best-in-class.

Pro tips for creating a communication plan template

Now that you’ve got your strategy solidified, you’re ready to put together your communication plan — how you will communicate and educate your employees about the value of their Total Rewards so they understand and use all that’s available to them. This is where it helps to have a communication plan template.

Create the template for ease of use for those who will be updating it. Things to keep in mind:

  • Design the template so it’s user-friendly. Include a checklist so nothing is forgotten. For example, the template should include fields for: key messages, channel, segmentation, target audiences, roles and responsibilities, and the tactical options available. Include timing and avoid any overlap with other company communications. Then whoever completes the template can easily check the boxes and focus their efforts on creating the communication itself.
  • Think function over format. If it’s going to be burdensome for you or others to update due to complex formulas, custom software or intricate formatting, the purpose is somewhat defeated. The template should be a helpful, useful tool. Don’t overcomplicate it.

Now think about other key stakeholders who will refer to the plan. After all, it’s just as much about the approvers as it is the executors. An effective communication plan should include:

  • A high-level picture. A plan is best accomplished when the details are thought out, but your audience may not need all the particulars. Keep the basic need-to-know information front and center in a summary format. If needed, include important details (for example, notes on execution) in an appendix, separate page or similar.
  • Consistency. It sounds basic, and it is. Make sure all pieces and parts are organized in the same way, with the same hierarchy and format.
  • Clean lines, headlines and visual storytelling to help guide the reader’s eye. If the plan requires a verbal explanation in order to follow, it probably needs a redo.

Revisit, revise, repeat

Make sure you evaluate the success of each plan component after the fact using feedback and data. Consider what you might need to add, repeat, change or delete going forward. Understand whether you’re meeting your audience’s needs and preferences and adapt accordingly.