5 internal comms trends to shake things up in 2022

Engaging employees in 2022 will be a battle for attention and internal communicators will be under pressure to find new and creative ways to innovate their approach. To help you in your quest, here are five internal comms trends that will be key to success in the year ahead.

Neon 'hello' sign symbolizing internal communications


Internal communications trends

Every year brings new challenges, as well as new opportunities to recalibrate agendas. To help you in your quest, here are the expert-backed internal comms trends that we think will be key to success in the year ahead. See all of the latest trends, plus trends from previous years all in one place.

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Internal communications remain key in the post-pandemic workplace

2021 has been a year like no other.

The rise of hybrid working reached its peak and enterprises around the world grappled with the fallout of mass changes to the way people work. Endless articles and opinion pieces declared this the onset of a ‘new normal’, and no matter how sick we are of hearing the phrase, here we are!

But, in 2022, it’s not a new normal anymore. It’s just normal.

Business isn’t changing, it’s changed. Technology has taken a greater hold on the day-to-day functions of work, and by all accounts, it’s done so successfully. Internal communications played a key role in managing this change, but now they face a new challenge.

With more digital tools at our fingertips than ever before, communicators have a wealth of options available to them to reach, engage, and align employees. With the pace of this change, however, it’s now up to internal communications to evolve their strategies and make use of these new tools and opportunities.

Are communicators keeping pace with technology?

Hybrid work is here to stay, and so is the technology that powers it. Now, the question isn’t whether technology can keep pace with change, it’s whether we are keeping pace with technology.

For communications to still have an impact and engage throughout the “decade of disruption” that is the 2020s, they need to take advantage of every channel, feature, and format available. Strategies must be adapted to make full use of the technology we have available to us and evolve in line with employee behavior.

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How to supercharge your internal comms

In today’s workplace, effective internal communications are vital to business success. Engaged employees are a company’s greatest asset, but with the workplace transforming at pace, the way we communicate must adapt. This comprehensive guide offers a collection of insights to support internal communicators to supercharge their strategy for the future of work.

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Through all of this, internal communications will have to play a balancing act. While making use of new ways of communicating, they also must safeguard information quality, employee trust, and wellbeing. Demands of leadership to take a greater role in communications must be acted on, and the need for more insightful data and analysis of comms grows further.

2022 will also see various innovations make their way to the enterprise, empowering internal communicators to create, automate, and optimize consumer marketing-grade campaigns for global workforces. This will offer new horizons for employee engagement, drilling down deeper than ever before into what employees want from internal communications.

5 internal comms trends you need to know for 2022

We are well into a new, digitized era of internal communications. As the dust settles around a post-pandemic world of work, strategic priorities for internal communications in 2022 and beyond should include:

#1. Think like a marketer

Internal communicators increasingly need to think about comms the same way marketers look at external campaigns. As hybrid working has demanded more communication across global workforces, it’s brought a new threat in engagement fatigue. Innovations in internal communications technology must be embraced to bring about this change and close the gap between customer and employee experiences.

Changes to the way we communicate - the need for more personalized, targeted, and experiential communications - will enforce the continued adoption of the latest tech innovations. A central platform to communicate with employees will be integral to meeting the demands of the modern workforce, while advancements in campaign-building technology for the internal communicator will be leveraged to support omnichannel campaign delivery that extend the reach and efficacy of communications and help internal communicators move into a new era of marketing-grade experiences for the enterprise.

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Instead of slowing down, employee messaging needs to get up to speed with the trends that have made consumer marketing so effective. Finding creative ways to engage employees and cut through noise will be supported by a technology infrastructure that levels the playing field between internal and external comms. Keeping pace with this change will be integral to the success of communications strategies in the coming year.


Marketing-grade automation arrives for internal comms

External marketers have been using automated campaign-building technology to elevate customer engagement for decades. Now it’s time for internal communicators to take advantage of the same functionality to level up employee engagement across the enterprise. Discover the future of employee engagement with Unily’s newest feature.

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#2. Trust is everything

We currently face a crisis of trust. Trust in media, in government, and in social media is at an all-time low, per the Edelman Trust Barometer. Businesses, on the other hand, have become more trusted than any other source, the only institution seen as both competent and ethical.

This is in large part due to the role internal communications took on during the pandemic. Employees needed guidance that kept them safe and productive, so communicators were tasked with sorting through changing guidelines and rapidly developing information to give employees information they could trust.

Unily intranet crisis hub

To maintain this trust and engagement with comms, content creators must continue to act as guardians of information quality. The accuracy and relevance of comms have never been more important, so proper governance and content review cycles must be a top priority. Technology that allows content creators to analyze the accuracy of comms and share accountability of reviewal will become a valuable tool in every communicator’s arsenal.

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#3. A permanent focus on wellbeing

In 2021, 96% of companies globally provided additional mental-health resources. Despite this, only one in six employees report feeling supported, McKinsey found.

The demand for wellbeing support will be a permanent fixture of the future of work. As Gen Z and Millennials account for more of the workforce, both cite in Deloitte’s Millennial and Gen Z Survey that their top four non-financial business priorities are:

  • Ensuring work/life balance
  • Supporting employees’ physical and mental health
  • Supporting people’s development
  • Helping employees be their true selves

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Accordingly, 70% of businesses want to build on their wellbeing support in 2022, per Gallagher’s State of the Sector report. Internal communications bear this weight, critical in making people aware of available support. To take it a step further, enterprises must immerse wellbeing within their culture and communicators must embed wellness within everything they do.

"The 3 pillars of really healthy workplaces are being strengths-based, engagement-focused, and now this element of a thriving wellbeing culture."

Jim Collinson - Chief Scientist of Workplace Management and Wellbeing at Gallup

The role of technology in supporting employee wellbeing must also be heavily considered and weighed against the negative impacts of a digital-first workplace. Clear guidelines for use of technology should be offered to offset the challenges surrounding digital overload and dehumanization. Technology must be leveraged in as many positive ways as possible to enhance wellbeing by connecting people and resources, creating space for social interaction to combat isolation, and as a mechanism to keep a pulse of the workforce's emotional state through feedback loops and listening activities. 

Wellbeing initiatives and training resources need dedicated sites and targeted communications to boost engagement. For internal communications, the key to all of this must be consistency and frequency.

Unily intranet pulse survey

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#4. Leadership needs to set the example

With trust in political leadership figures falling, there is a growing demand for business leaders to address the challenges society faces. Edelman’s Trust Barometer shows 86% of people believe CEOs should speak out publicly on societal issues, and 68% believe they should step in on issues where governments fail.

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In 2022, all eyes will turn to leadership. Internal communications must align their strategies with business leaders, offering employees direct visibility and alignment with leadership. An emphasis on video and audio content helps boost this visibility and offers a transparent, personal touch. Leadership comms should be given dedicated sites and content feeds, so employees can find them easily. Content must lead with facts and speak with empathy, providing trustworthy comms that is truthful, reliable, and free from bias.

Unily intranet leadership site

On the flip side, leaders must embrace this mandate of expanded expectations. Make your purpose and vision clear in all comms, speaking out on the issues employees care about. Have the courage to provide straight talk, but also to address people's fears. Above all, leaders must pair this communication with action to avoid information overload and reinforce a culture of listening and respect.

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The next Chief Communications Officer

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#5. Strategy depends on analytics

The need for accurate and insightful ways of measuring the effect of communications has reached critical mass. Businesses need concrete answers to inform their strategy, so the pressure is on internal communicators to prove the ROI of their efforts.

The good news is that with the increasing digitization of work, we have the tools at hand to deliver new types of measurement. Internal communications must make use of these innovations to offer insight and shed new light on employee behavior as it occurs. Creating feedback loops through forms, surveys, quizzes, and social feeds will offer communicators reliable and repeatable sources of data whenever they need it. 


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"Two things that I think are really interesting right now: Really fast, small sample size flash pulse survey programs […] getting that really fast, frequent pulse survey data is extraordinarily valuable, and in my experience executives love seeing that data come in every week. The other is what you could call proxy measures of communication success. So, let’s say you’re trying to build a culture of accountability, you could measure last-minute call-off rates. Partner with departments on a specific measure they believe to be a proxy measure of alignment and success, outside of the standard engagement channels."

Chandler Goodman - Senior Director of Marketing, Thought Leadership & Client Delivery at Gagen MacDonald

Engagement automation tools will open new avenues for measurement, as communicators can analyze the success of entire campaigns from one place. From here, you can focus on optimizing campaigns and measure the impact of changes, learning more about audience behavior as a result.

Case Study

Shell internal comms case study

Discover how Shell is transforming employee experience for 82k employees with Unily, driving savings of over $42m a year in productivity gains.

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Futureproof your internal comms strategy

Armed with the right technology, internal communicators can act on these trends to create a futureproof strategy ready for the decade of disruption. To find out how a communications platform fit for the future of work can help support this strategy, speak to an expert today.

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