US firms are ignoring internal communications
- U.S. and Canadian companies don't prioritize internal communication as much as European companies do, according to 2018 State of the Sector on Internal Communication, a new report from Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG). Just 43% of survey respondents in the North American report were dedicated internal communications specialists, compared with 57% globally.
- Survey results showed that internal communication is often combined with other departments' functions, but while it seems like such integration would lead to closer alignment of communication efforts over all, 51% of respondents said that was not the case. The results also showed that measuring the impact of internal communication is also lacking: 12% of respondents don't measure internal comms' impact, 27% issue only regular internal comms reports, and 9% have conducted an internal comms audit with help from external agencies in the past three years.
- AJG said that on the positive side of the North American report, more internal communicators are using mobile channels to communicate, compared to other nations. And although only 23% of North American companies use mobile apps, almost three times as many (67%) plan to increase their use of apps during the next 12 months.
Internal communications, generally, have been seeing a major shift due in part to new technology — and a new social environment partly driven by the internet. It's harder for employers to hide what is going on inside a company from outside eyes thanks to social media, meaning companies are having to re-examine how they communicate both internally and externally. A company that has invested effort in understanding the true working experience at a company — and communicating that through both inside and outside channels — will ultimately have a happier workforce, experts previously told HR Dive. Marketing and HR have somewhat teamed up in this regard, but as this study notes, the closely aligned nature of the departments does not always lead to integration.
Leslie Lemenager, president of Gallagher's International Region of Employee Benefits Consulting and Brokerage, pinpoints the central problem with internal communication's low priority:
"Companies risk being shortsighted if they view employee communication as a cost center rather than a revenue driver," she said. "High-quality internal communications can improve employee morale, engagement and wellbeing, which helps boost productivity and reduce turnover."
Every workplace activity or program strategy should be measured for effectiveness, and internal comms is no exception. Technology can provide internal comms experts with the quantitative data they need to make communication decisions, plan strategies, and justify their contribution to their organizations' goals.
- Arthur J. Gallagher & Co 2018 State of the Sector on Internal Communication Infographic — North America Edition