Sam Keninger, Simpplr’s VP of Marketing and Research recently presented on an IABC-hosted webinar: 2019 State of Internal Communications Benchmark Survey Results. This webinar presents Simpplr Research’s State of Internal Communications 2019 results and the statistical key drivers of internal communications programs success.
The purpose of internal communications programs
Simpplr Research found that common struggles persist across the board when it comes to internal communications (IC). Based on our State of the Intranet 2019 research results, common challenges include:
- Driving employee engagement
- Improving operations
- Damage control, safety, compliance
- Nurturing brand ambassadors
- Support executives in messaging
We asked our webinar attendees and here’s what they said:
- Engagement in the workplace
- Inform employees about key programs and engage where possible
- Advance the business strategies of the various depts
- Educate the masses on the overall story
- Share company ongoings
You can appreciate that internal communicators thematically share many of the same challenges, particularly engagement. The good thing is, you don’t have to sell the importance of engagement. Internal communicators know the importance of employee engagement, but chances are your executives and other departments like HR don’t know. They may have preconceived notions that compensation is key to engagement.
What drives culture and engagement?
So internal communications understand the importance. Then the next question is, what drives culture and engagement? And what can I do?
What we’re sharing isn’t new; there have been many studies that have proven the same. We want to set up the key drivers of culture and engagement so that you align and prioritize broader activities that map back to them:
Purpose: Employees need to understand how their role plays in a company’s broader strategy and goals.
Alignment: Employees and executives need to be on the same page so individuals understand how their work is impactful.
Community: We’re social beings. We want to go to work and feel like we’re included, supported by our peers.
State of Internal Communications 2019 survey
The goal of the survey was to gauge the state of the profession and gain insights on how to improve internal communications programs. The panel included 411 internal communications professionals across a variety of industries, all exclusively in the IC function. The sample included organizations of all sizes, ranging from 50 to over 10,000.
How would you rate the current state of your internal communications?
The average state of internal communications was 3.18 out of 5. This simply means that there is room for improvement. We break this average score down later in our charts and separate what leading vs. lagging organizations are doing to get a better idea of how you can effectively improve your internal communications programs.
Across the board, most agree that IC can strongly impact employee engagement and business performance. Similarly, most internal communicators also agree that the importance of IC isn’t well-understood and that their organization fails to prioritize it. The big challenge is getting IC in organizations to take a step back in day-to-day activities and do a better job at vocalizing the importance of IC to the broader organization. This needs to be done at a higher strategic level by first getting executives to understand the overall impact on the bottom line.
What organizations with leading internal communications do differently
In this chart and the next few graphs, we begin to isolate variables and compare attributes against organizations with leading vs. lagging internal communications programs. This is where you start to identify what leading organizations do differently from organizations that do not prioritize IC.
Earlier, we talked about up-leveling internal communications and getting the broader organization to understand the impact of IC. In this chart, we begin to see the separation of leading internal communications programs that are excelling at voicing and marketing IC’s importance as a function.
This graph reaffirms the importance of articulating the importance of internal communications to the broader organization. Leading organizations acknowledge and understand the importance of articulating the importance of their function and they do it 50x more than lagging organizations.
Engagement surveys are the most frequently used tactics to measure internal communications. Analyzing this graph, it’s a great start but isn’t sufficient in measuring overall IC success. The most commonly used methods are:
- Employee engagement surveys
- Intranet usage and engagement analytics
- Company meeting feedback
We analyzed this data further to understand how leading organizations measure their IC programs. Based on the chart above, the takeaway is: leaders use an array of methods to measure IC. There isn’t a single technology that will efficiently measure your program. The leading organizations use all technologies surveyed with the least emphasis on focus groups and external social reviews.
Common challenges, organizational alignment, leadership involvement, technology and tactics
The rest of the webinar and survey explore common challenges, organizational alignment, leadership involvement, and technology and tactics. Again, all of this data has been analyzed to separate the pack and help you understand where to make improvements when evaluating your internal communications program.
Download the State of Internal Communications report
While many industry benchmark reports exist, only a few provide practical direction to help practitioners where to focus. Download the State of Internal Communications report to get benchmarks across challenges, organizational alignment, leadership involvement, and technology usage. You’ll also learn more best practices and tactics from organizations with leading IC programs that you can use today.