Your Communications Policy: The Simple Rules of The Game

A picture of the Shoots and Ladders game board.

In a recent presentation discussing communications policy, I was asked about the difference between "strategy" and "policy," and though I took a roundabout way of getting to the point, the basic difference is:

  • Strategy is a plan
  • Policy is a principle

It's the difference between identifying a goal and the rules you follow along the way.

When it comes to your overall communications policy, think about it as the instructions of HOW to play.  In other words, the rules of the game (the game being how you communicate as an organization).

What Your Communications Policy Does

Your communications policy spells out important information individuals need to communicate successfully within your organization.  For example:

  • What information belongs on which channel or platform
  • Core hours, or best times for people to expect a timely response
  • File sharing protocols such as file organization, naming conventions, and any cloud-related details users need
  • Effective subject line prompts and when to use them
  • Writing style expectations
  • Response time commitments internally and externally
  • Rules surrounding "reply all" and "BCC"
  • Nuanced communication rules such as emoji use and ALL CAPS

These are examples of some of the most common topics covered in communications policies, but each organization must tailor the policy to their needs to support their workforce.

Think of your communications policy as a carrot rather than a stick

Your communications policy is meant to be helpful.  It should clarify what individuals need to know to be successful at their jobs.

When framed that way, workers are more likely to refer to the information and use it as a handy guide.  If this document is introduced as an asset and housed in an easy-to-access location, you can increase adoption rates, which in turn decreases instances of misalignment.

Access an easy-to-use Communications Policy Template here.

The bottom line:

When you are explicit about your organization's expectations, you help your workforce act in compliance and reach success.  Communication is critical to operations so doing anything else is simply wasting time, money, and talent.

Additional resources:

For this and other resources, visit the L-12 Services homepage and click "Resources" in the top menu for downloadable assets.


Contact us today at 202.415.6987 or if you want to enhance collaboration and engagement. Together, we can create an environment that drives success through effective communication.

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About Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella is a skilled strategic advisor specializing in attrition mitigation, workflow management, process improvement, and culture.With over 20 years of experience as an administrator and policy and programming consultant, her work has contributed to successful project outcomes in federal health policy, international program development, for-profit, and non-profit/association management.

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