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What it was like to be an Internal Communicator in 2015?

Emma HanleyEmma Hanley·

During 2015 I was lucky enough to be involved in more than 18 webinars hosted by Newsweaver. These webinars featured a wide variety of guest presenters from customers such as Jody Wilkins of Concur Technologies and Sue Brockett of Granite Services, to a global cohort of Internal Communication consultants and experts including Chuck Gose, David Grossman, Preston Lewis, Andrew Blacknell, Liam FitzPatrick, Steve Crescenzo, Ian Harris, Sam Marshall and our own Denise Cox.

It may surprise you that these webinars aren’t one way communication. These events provide a forum for internal communicators to telll us what it is like to be an internal communicator in 2015, to contribute thoughts and ideas, and explain the details behind industry reports and event topics.

With live access to an audience of over 10,000 Internal Communication professionals, we took the opportunity to get insight from those on the front line of corporate communications.  What became obvious over the course of one year, was that internal communications has had its coming of age and is on its way to becoming a mature function with greater strategic importance to the organization.

There were a few common themes throughout the year, with no prize for guessing that measurement and driving intranet adoption topped the list again this year. Email emerged as the unsung hero of the intranet adoption campaign.

  1. Email is being used to drive adoption of other digital channels

    Savvy internal communicators are seeing the value in using the email channel to drive attendance at events, driving adoption and traffic to the intranet and enterprise social network, and using email to point employees to videos and other important messages.

  2. Intranet performance metrics have become more elusive

    However, despite this increase towards adopting a multichannel approach, Internal  Communication professionals are still unable to measure their impact with less than 40% being able to deliver basic intranet metrics such as page views and visitor sessions.

  3. The majority of internal communicators don’t have access to basic email metrics

    Click rates and open rates are monitored by just over 20% of respondents and close to 30% of internal communicators reported not measuring their email at all. As Internal Communication becomes increasingly concerned with gaining a ‘seat at the table’ and becoming a key player in engaging employees, this lack of visibility and reporting capability means that the Internal Communication function is falling behind colleagues in Marketing and HR.

  4. Engaging non-desk based workers and those outside of HQ is ICs biggest challenge.

    The poll below shows that employee engagement outside of HQ is a problem that Internal Communication managers and team members are striving to overcome. The function is acutely aware of the need to reach all workers, including those who are not desk based or those with regular access to a computer or smartphone. This is a particular challenge for those communicators working in the healthcare, retail and manufacturing industries.

  5. Internal communicators are increasingly leading change initiatives

    During a webinar on The role of IC in leading change we asked attendees to articulate what they felt was the difference between communications and strategic communications.

  6. Internal communicators are delivering strategy corporate messages

    Almost 50% responded that they know that communications are strategic when there is a clear line-of-sight between the messages or campaigns delivered and the organization’s strategy. For many these communications included details of change management campaigns. With more than 90% of respondents answering that leading and communicating change is now business as usual for Internal Communication functions.

    This is a big step forward for a function that was once seen as pushing out messages about canteen menu changes and leaving parties.

    However, there is still a journey to go on for  internal communications departments as they works towards being regarded as a strategic partner to colleagues in other departments.

  7. The relationship between IC and HR is maturing

    Respondents to the poll said that 60% of their colleagues in HR use communications consultants. Respondents also said that they feel they are in position to offer their expertise internally. The webinar host, Andrew Blacknell went as far as to suggest the IC teams invoice their HR colleagues to show the value of the service provided on an equal footing to external consultants and to increase the budget available to internal communications.

Following a year of accelerated growth and change, it will be interesting to see what 2016 holds for the Internal Communication function.

Denise Cox has named her trends for 2016 and I must agree with her that multichannel is the new black! And with a multichannel approach comes an increased need to measure effectively.  If you aren’t sure where to start measuring – here’s a webinar for that.

One thing is certain for 2016, no matter how unglamorous it may be, email is here to stay. So, if you are using Outlook or Lotus notes it’s time to get out your calculator and start totting up your open rates, click rates (I can’t stress the importance of click rate enough). If you are a Newsweaver Internal Connect users you can just login to your dashboard and see how your emails and content are performing by measurement.

I’m looking forward to another fantastic year of webinars in 2016 and I would love to hear your feedback and get your input on the program for the year ahead. If you have a suggestion or would like to contribute please email me at marketing [at] newsweaver.com.


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