The only constant in the world is change. Trends change, industries change, and companies change. The rules of the previous year no longer count today, or in the very least, have transformed into something new and different.
With so much change, how do you prepare yourself for what 2020 is holding in store for internal communications?
The annual State of the Sector report compiled by Gatehouse and released in January 2020, looks at over 1000 responses from organizations based in 45 countries and across 33 industries, asking pointed questions about internal communication.
For a broad overview of the 2020 internal communications landscape and what trends may shape the future of the field, the report proves invaluable.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
Looking purely at the headcount numbers of internal communicators in organizations, teams are expanding. In 2019 the average number for internal communicators in a small company (1 to 499 employees) grew from one to two. Two people on the team is a big shift from a one-horse operation, and the trend of growing the IC team is true across the board, from small to enterprise-level organizations.
Notably, across most company sizes (excepting companies with employees ranging from 500 to 2499), budgets distributed to internal communications have been cut from the previous year. This doesn’t mean organizations are valuing internal communication less, budgets have simply been diverted in favor of human resources.
Over the next year, internal communicators will need to prove themselves worthy to continue the trend of growing IC teams and effect an expanded budget for the next year.
A worrying trend in proving the value of IC, however, is the lack of measurement and reporting. Only 20% of respondents said they regularly track impact, with 20% rarely doing any measurement at all. Yet 53% of internal communicators rate their efforts “good” or “excellent”. How do we know what we’re doing is good, if we’re not measuring our performance?
For the field of internal communication to continue growing in numbers and worth, a data-driven culture needs to be prioritized for 2020.
A few years ago, the function of internal communications was misunderstood and undervalued. That is changing. The number of internal communicators who say they and senior leaders agree on the purpose of internal communication has risen to 70% over the last year.
Communicators no longer fight for a seat at the table as their mandate now has support from the top.
Is too much energy and time still spent on the big wigs, though? Communicators prioritize executive team members as a high priority group, senior leaders as a medium priority and line managers as a low priority.
With 76% of respondents rating line managers as poor communicators, it’s no surprise that this group is considered one of the biggest detriments to internal communications each year.
With only 39% of communicators dedicating time to training and upskilling employees and managers, it becomes clear where and how the communication gap can be bridged.
With strategy-driven communications listed as the top priority for 2020, it will be interesting to see how managers can be empowered to strengthen the IC mandate over the next year.
We can’t wait to see how these trends and numbers will play out over the next year to truly shape the 2020 internal communications landscape.
New to internal communications or simply looking for ways to upskill yourself? Our blog series IC 101 dives head-first into best practices, tips, tricks and internal communication how-to’s. Join us in this series to become a better internal communicator today. Here are the best practices for effective communication in the workplace.