Is the golden age of internal communications over?
Internal communications has been through quite the journey in recent times. From unsung and undervalued order-takers to strategic consultants who own their place at the leadership table, the change has rightly been described as a metamorphosis. But with IC budgets not reflecting this status, are internal communicators already at risk of slipping back down the pecking order?
What's really going on with internal comms?
Great things have been happening for internal communications over the past couple of years, with forward-thinking teams getting into their stride and taking center stage in solving the ongoing employee engagement challenge. No longer viewed as simply a leadership mouthpiece, there have been significant moves forward in the function's maturity, and we've loved to see it.
As organizations look to the year ahead and we speak with our industry-influencing friends, we're hearing that a piece of the puzzle is missing and that there's a danger of old ways creeping back in.
The notion that IC pros are living it large at the leadership table is failing to play out across the board, and the increased strategic importance we've seen developing isn't being matched with the budgets needed for internal communicators to be the bold changemakers employees need.
So, what's been going on, and how should internal comms teams go for gold to make the case for more in 2024?
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The golden age of internal comms metrics
Internal communicators have worked hard to shake off the notion that comms and data are uncomfortable bedfellows, as well as the presumption that IC impact is inherently impossible (or at least tricky) to measure.
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This perceived inability to demonstrate the effect of internal comms efforts has long led to reluctance from dollar-driven leadership to invest in resourcing IC initiatives – vagueness is never great when it comes to maintaining and securing much-needed budget.
There's been an admirable drive to become data-savvy within the profession, and internal communicators are flexing their metrics muscles with newfound confidence. However, tying these insights robustly to improved business value is an area where many IC teams struggle to shine.
To put it in simple terms, many internal communicators have become adept at getting their message out to employees and understanding the figures around that but fall down when it comes to reporting the positive business effect that message has. If a health and safety policy is read by 100% of employees, but you've no idea if the factory floor is seeing a reduction in incidents, something has gone amiss.
Linking internal communications to customer experience
Keeping the standard flying high for modern internal comms, our customer Kerzner showed us a powerful method for illustrating the business value of strong internal communications when we invited Internal Communications Manager Rachel Knowles to join us at Unite 23.
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Investment in internal comms via their platform iKonnect has paid dividends, with incredibly high employee engagement demonstrably leading to customer experience as world-class as their resorts. By sharing content about colleagues who go above and beyond to fulfill their 'service culture,' a set of pillars that define how they deliver the right emotional experience to guests, Kerzner uses internal comms to improve customer experience by allowing employees to learn by example.
Kerzner can clearly show the correlation between high platform adoption, dedicated internal communications resource, and outstanding business outcomes.
There are so many lessons to be learned from the IC example set by this leading brand, but the importance of getting as close to customers as possible when determining the value of your efforts has to come close to the top of the list. If you can illustrate how internal communication strategy addresses a customer pain or reacts to customer feedback, you're going for gold.
Defend and expand your internal comms budget with our webinar
Want to delve deeper into even more ways to build a compelling business case for an enviable internal communications budget in 2024? Ready to hear more inspiring success stories from internal communications teams who are nailing it? We've got you.
If you're serious about giving your IC function the Midas touch, our on-demand webinar should go straight to the top of your watch list.
An exciting partnership with full-service employee communication and experience agency Gallagher, we share up-to-the-minute advice and insights to send internal comms growth through the roof.
As well as expanding on techniques to demonstrate a crystal-clear link between customer experience and the work of internal communicators, the webinar covers a ton of other relevant topics, from working collaboratively with related functions to squirreling protected budget away from IT and into IC tech.
The golden age is only just beginning; long live the era of the internal communicator!
How to defend and expand your internal comms budget for 2024
With the weight of ongoing employee engagement challenges resting on the shoulders of internal comms, the question of how to attain the budget needed to make an impact is back on top of the agenda. We've partnered with Gallagher to help you craft an action plan so you can make the case for more in 2024.