The No. 1 Strategic Planning Tool — A Calendar

internal communications calendar

Perhaps the single most important planning tool employee communicators can have is an up-to-date calendar of events for their organizations. A calendar is necessary for strategic planning and crucial for getting the timing of messages in sync with the organization. An organizational calendar should answer questions such as these:

  • When does the fiscal quarter and fiscal year end?
  • When are internal budgets approved?
  • When are the major enterprise-wide software upgrades and the rollout of new software occurring?
  • When are major organizational-wide initiatives scheduled?
  • When do collective bargaining contracts expire?
  • What are the major cyclical events that affect the business?
  • When are the company holidays?
  • When is the company picnic and when are the other major employee events?

A calendar can help ensure that the release of various communications by various departments is coordinated. Timing is often a key element in maximizing effective communication. Sometimes when you say something is just as important as what you say. Imagine if the United Way committee launches its fundraising campaign on the same day the HR department announces pay cuts. Another common problem organizations face is disseminating too many communications at the same time, which dilutes the effectiveness of each one. By scheduling the communications in a coordinated fashion, communicators can enhance the effectiveness of each communication.

You should meet regularly with your internal clients to find out what important activities each department has planned. You also may want to create an online calendar that can be updated by individuals throughout your organization. It is common for departments to be unaware of all the activities planned by one another.

In your role as an employee communicator, you partner with nearly every other department in the organization and that makes you well-positioned to be the keeper of a comprehensive centralized calendar. By posting such a calendar online, you can better facilitate your own strategic planning, provide a valuable service for the entire organization and help demonstrate your value to the organization.

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This internal communications quote and accompanying passage was taken from Paul Barton’s book, Maximizing Internal Communication: Strategies to Turn Heads, Win Hearts, Engage Employees and Get Results, available on Amazon or right here on our website.

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