Updated: Nov 23
Every year, the dynamics of the workplace change. This year especially, communication has transformed on all fronts. According to research by Reba, the investment in the IC (internal communication) function is equivalent to the cost of ONE chocolate bar per employee per month! If this isn’t shocking enough, the biggest organizations – with 50,000+ employees – spend just £1 on communicating internally.
Internal communication is no longer just about sending a message or two. It overlaps strongly with HR functions such as employee engagement and employee retention. Although it might seem fairly simple, the concept of internal communication is still blurry.
So what exactly is IC?
Literally anything from company-wide announcements to inter-team collaboration comes under the internal communications umbrella. The pandemic has fast-tracked the role of IC in the digital space so much so that brands are using a combination of emails, intranets, social tools, employee apps, Zoom and Slack to communicate internally. It can get extremely confusing for employees to track messages across multiple communication channels. It is up to business leaders and corporate communications officers to provide a clear direction when it comes to crafting messages so that employees know where to look.
Will 2021 be the Year of Internal Communications?
The short answer to this is – Absolutely! With remote work becoming the new normal, the digital workplace needs to evolve in order to keep up with the changing business landscape. Corporate communications teams will be heavily invested in leadership communication, employee relations and employee intranet. This will not only add value to the role of IC experts but also have a positive impact on the profession as a whole. Measuring the impact of internal communications is the next part of the 2021 communications agenda. Using digital channels to track whether a message has been received is key to understanding what the modern employee wants.
More importantly, the frontline worker will now take center stage. For employees who are customer facing or on the road, their access to technology is fairly limited. Internal communications need to take into account that frontline workers are ones who actually set the ball rolling and deserve a place of priority in the communications chain. This means ensuring that they have access to real-time information instantly.
The Need for Integrated Communications
The pandemic has taught us all a sharp lesson – to be prepared for a crisis and be willing to adapt communication channels that suit the target audience. External and internal communications can no longer deliver starkly different messages. When employees are given access to transparent and distinct communication, they relay this to the outside world as well, aka to your consumers. Brands need to take into account the importance of integrating external and internal communications so that employees, stakeholders and consumers are all on the same page.
Moving forward, it is vital for corporate communications teams, CEO’s and CXO’s to cut through the complexity and craft a solid internal communications strategy that clearly reflects what their brand stands for.