Internal comms in 2024: Getting your start-of-year message right

Internal comms in 2024: Getting your start-of-year message right
Arthur Wilson
Arthur WilsonArthur Wilson Digital Marketing Freelancer

Posted: Tue 2nd Jan 2024

By the time the festive period comes around, many of us look forward to a well-earned break – likely feeling quite burnt out and running on fumes.

When returning to work after that much-needed period away, it's important for employers to really set the tone for the year ahead. Once the "Happy New Year" greetings and post-Christmas catch-ups have taken place, what are the main messages you want to get across as your business gears up for the coming 12 months?

Here's a look at why your start-of-year messaging is so important, and how to set the right tone from the off.

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Why internal comms matter – especially at the start of the year

Did you know that some recruitment companies see their busiest periods in terms of website traffic between Christmas and New Year?

Employees who entered the festive period feeling underappreciated, underpaid, chronically stressed or burnt out will start to look for new job opportunities once the business of Christmas is out of the way. Especially once they've started to relax and realised that those symptoms of stress and burnout have started to subside.

This makes the start-of-year period for businesses crucial when it comes to retaining staff. What you say and how you say it plays a pivotal role here.

If you're already having doubts about how long you want to remain with a business and within the first few days back there isn't a warm collective welcome, how would that make you feel? If the tone of that welcome back wasn't encouraging or positive, what then?

If the message is that the next 12 months are set to be really difficult and the company needs everyone to pull together – but without recognising and rewarding anyone's hard work – would that encourage you to roll up your sleeves and set in for the year ahead?

This is especially true when around one in four UK workers are now away from the office at least some of the time, and roughly 50% of organisations have adopted some form of hybrid working system. Without that physical reconnection to colleagues and a workplace, getting everyone back onside and pulling in the same direction once more is vital.

How to approach your start-of-year comms

Extend a warm welcome and express gratitude

Begin with a warm welcome in an all-hands setting, acknowledging the return of familiar faces and greeting any new additions to the team. Reiterate your heartfelt appreciation for the hard work and dedication your team exhibited in the past year. A simple welcome and gratitude can go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere.

Celebrate achievements and acknowledge efforts

Pause to reflect on the victories of the previous year, recognising the collective efforts that propelled the team forward. In the words of Dr. Robert Schuller: "Tough times never last. But tough people do." Celebrate the resilience that brought the team through challenges, and set the stage for an optimistic outlook in 2024.

Communicate clear goals and objectives

A key part of your internal comms strategy is to paint a clear picture of the path ahead by laying out the goals and objectives for the upcoming year.

Outline the strategic direction, emphasising the role each team member will play in achieving success. As 2024 is a leap year, use the opportunity to highlight the 366 days as unique chances to make a difference and contribute to the overarching mission.

Showcase opportunities for growth

Spotlight opportunities for professional and personal development within the organisation, reinforcing the company's commitment to investing in its people.

Encourage team members to set personal development goals that line up with the wider plans of the business. This is a great opportunity to give employees the task of setting their own goals for the year ahead too and get them re-engaged and re-committed from the off.

Reinforce company culture and values

Remind the team of the bedrock – your company's values and culture. Stress the importance of these principles in day-to-day activities, decision-making and teamwork, and how living by these values has achieved, and will achieve, success.

Also make sure employees know that you'll see and reward their upcoming efforts, and that though there are likely some tough moments ahead, there's nothing you can't overcome as a collective.

Relevant resources

Arthur Wilson
Arthur WilsonArthur Wilson Digital Marketing Freelancer

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