Poppulo

IC Matters

Employee Comms

The death of IC has been greatly exaggerated

By 

 — April 5th, 2018

The death of IC has been greatly exaggerated

Just like erroneous reports of Mark Twain's death, the frequently reported demise of Internal Communications has been proved not only wrong but greatly exaggerated.

Round and round and round we've gone: article after article saying IC is dead or dying, inevitably followed by rebuttals proclaiming that IC is alive and well, just evolving.

2014 The End of Internal Communication?”

2015 No, internal communications is not dead

2016 “Internal communications is dead”

Obviously, these articles might simply be using the “death” proclamation as clickbait, since most of the authors offer some hope of IC’s longevity and a belief that the function is critical to companies, albeit needing improvement.

It seems to me though, that the fear of IC’s demise comes from an underlying fear among practitioners of it being dispensable. I for one, don’t see many articles about the death of HR or IT.

The reason for this is simple and obvious: how can an organization function without them? But we should be feeling that same way about IC. Why is it that IC still seems to be an “extra”, an expendable piece, to some organizations and senior leaders?

I’ll offer a possible answer: the current heart of IC doesn’t lend itself to establishing an irreplaceable presence. Distinction: by heart of IC I mean the area communicators are putting the most amount of their energy into.

Two years ago, Poppulo partnered with Ragan and surveyed over 700 internal communicators around the world to assess the state of the sector. The results showed that IC's heartbeat was beating away, alive but frail.

73% of internal communicators spend most their time on content creation, writing, gathering feedback and approval. Somebody call 911, this heart needs CPR!

45% of communications sent out by IC were sent ad hoc, meaning that IC does a lot of unplanned, and reactive work

95% of internal communicators agreed that measurement was extremely important but it was also the area ICs spent the least amount of time on

Only 33% of internal communicators have a long-term strategic plan in place. Those who did have a long-term IC strategy in place were called into decision-making meetings earlier and received more senior leadership support

From all this research, we see an IC heart that consists mainly of content creation without much focus on strategy or measurement.

Of course, content creation is important but it seems that IC should really be a trickle-down blood flow, with strategy and measurement acting as the beating heart that oxygenates the rest of the body.

Because, if you have good actionable analytics and a strategy to implement the learnings from those measurements, then your content creation will automatically be more relevant and engaging.

But why is this so hard to put into practice? There is probably a multitude of reasons, including time, budget, and organizations not valuing the importance of IC.

Did I mention budget? It seems to me that to keep IC not only alive but as vibrant as it needs to be, we need senior leaders to champion the function and allocate budgets so teams can use tools specific for IC.

The problem is it’s a closed-loop. Without great measurement tools, it’s hard to prove the value and get support or budget from senior leadership so you can’t get the great measurement tools in the first place. Ugh!

I’d be interested to hear what you think and whether you agree or disagree. Do we need to switch around our “heart” to one with a focus on strategy and measurement and what are your obstacles in doing so?

The best on employee communications delivered weekly to your inbox.

By clicking “Accept all cookies” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your browsing experience, analyze site traffic, and serve tailored content and advertisements.

Cookies preferences

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Manage consent preferences

Strictly Necessary

Always Active

These cookies are necessary for our website to function. They do not store any personally identifiable information and are usually only set in response to actions made by you, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work.

Functionality

Functionality cookies are used to remember your preferences. They make the site easier for you to navigate by remembering settings you have applied, detect if you’ve already seen a pop-up or auto-fill forms to make them easier for you to complete.

Targeting

Targeting cookies are used to deliver ads more relevant to you and your interests. These cookies can also be used to measure ad performance and provide recommendations.