The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Internal Communications for Business
Internal communications (IC) radically improves, controls and measures the way employers communicate with employees and stakeholders, helping to drive positive employee behaviour and increase engagement with influencers. The future of this industry is very bright as organizations are increasingly recognising its importance.
This infographic highlights the trends within the industry, the most popular channels versus the most effective, the evolution of the industry and the constant need to measure and monitor developments in order to improve upon it. It includes quotes from some of the best know thought leaders in internal communications today along with in-depth statistics from the ‘Newsweaver Internal Communications: Emerging Trends and the Use of Technology Survey Report 2014’ among others.
A snapshot of the IC industry highlights that the average ratio of internal communicators to employees within an organisation, is 1 per 500 to 1000. 3 in every 4 internal communicators say their IC strategy is aligned with their business strategy. A quarter of all IC departments say they will increase their budgets in 2014 and the biggest issue facing them is leadership communications. IC professionals also believe that smarter employee engagement leads to stronger business results.
Interestingly, the intranet is the most used channel in IC, but email is actually the most effective. The future of IC channels places the focus firmly on internal social networking tools and an intranet with 1 in 2 companies planning to invest in both of these equally. Not surprisingly, print newsletters are dying out and the most unused tool with more that 50% of companies not using them anymore.
The landscape of IC is continuously evolving and the trends towards ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) has risen out of a need for companies to be accessible at all times with the use of mobile applications and devices. Where once the ‘Out of Office’ email meant an employee was not contactable, now smartphones and tablets allow a constant flow of communication. Indeed, half of employers are predicted to require their employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017 according to the Gartner Bring Your Own Device: The Facts and the Future report. The biggest challenges in IC are acknowledged as the volume of communications, gaining employee buy-in and general employee engagement respectively.
This infographic also takes into account that an IC professional cannot successfully implement an IC strategy without including a benchmarking system for measuring the success of any campaign. The top 5 highest rating goals for IC teams are highlighted and not surprisingly 76% rate employee engagement as the number 1 goal. The future for IC teams revolves around finding new ways to measure the effectiveness of campaigns as more than 2 in 3 communicators are not satisfied with their current methods.
This infographic highlights the top 10 ‘wish list’ for IC teams in terms of metrics that they would love to see in the future.
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The Future of Internal Communiations
A Snapshot of IC Trends
Almost 3 in 4 communicators say their communication strategy is aligned with their business strategy.
The average ratio of internal communicators to employees is 1 per 500-1000.
¼ of internal communications departments will increase staff in 2014.
55% of internal communication budgets will stay the same in 2014.
1 in 2 internal communicators say their companies are not investing enough in IC.
Smarter employee engagement = stronger business results. Customer satisfaction +40%, profitability +30%, overall performance +36%.
86% of organizations rate leadership as the most urgent or important issue facing organizations.
Only 13% of companies think they do an excellent job in developing leaders at all levels.
On Leadership Communications
“In a world where digital technology can both help and hinder employee interactions, there’s an intrinsic need to address how to ensure excellence from our managers. When companies get manager communication right, it can be a source of competitive advantage.” – Luke Dodd, Melcrum
Technology Channels + Tools
3 Most Used Channels
- Intranet 92%
- Email 90%
- Leadership Communications 84%
3 Most Effective Channels
- Email 53%
- Intranet 48%
- Leadership Communications 47%
Print newsletters are the most unused tool with more than 1 in 2 companies not using them.
Webcasts are the least effective tool with only 7% finding them effective.
The top 2 tools in for the future of IC are internal social networking tools and an intranet. Almost 1 in 2 companies plan to invest in these equally.
Display as an IC tool si dying out with only 14% planning to invest in it in the future.
On Social Media Channels
“The arrival of social media inside organizations is going to have just as big an effect on the way we work as Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Twitter have had on the way we live. These new channels represent the great challenge — and opportunity — facing our profession, and they are rewriting the rule book on internal communications.” – Marc Wright, Simply Communicate
The Changing Landscape of IC
3 in 5 companies allow employees to access company content using their own personal device.
½ of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017.
Connecting to Unconnected
More than 4 in 5 companies have not found a way to implement a technology solution to digitally communicate with their offline employees.
The Biggest 3 Challenges in IC
- Volume of Communications – 64%
- Gaining employee buy-in – 54%
- General employee engagement – 48%
On Employee Engagement
“Employees don’t need to know everything, but they do need to know the “WHAT” and the “WHY”. Without this overarching context, your team lacks the information to work with purpose and direction. Then, your team needs to know how it affects them, what’s in it for them, and its relevance.” – David Grossman, The Grossman Group
Metrics and Measurements
5 Highest Rating Goals for IC Teams
- Driving business performance 46%
- Internal brand awareness 46%
- Enabling change within the organization 49%
- Building a culture of open communication 55%
- Employee engagement 76%
Employee survey results = the number 1 KPI for internal communicators.
Shockingly, the number 2 KPI is none at all.
More than 2 in 3 communicators are not satisfied with their ability to measure the effectiveness of their internal communications.
Top 10 IC Metrics to Measure in the Future
- Email Metrics 15%
- Intranet Metrics 9.4%
- Channel Effectiveness 8%
- Track Readership 7.5%
- Time Spent Reading 5.6%
- Message Understanding 5.2%
- Message Effectiveness 4.7%
- Audience Segmentation 4.2%
- Content Popularity 3.8%
- Show ROI 3.3%
On the Future of IC
“With improving technology and the associated metrics and an ever increasing need for fast and genuine change inside most organizations, there’s never been a better time to be in Internal Communications. If people can “weigh in, they buy in” and Communications holds the key.” – Andrew Blackness, Blackness Ventures
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