- How robust is the internal communications function?
- Which channels are most popular in the region?
- How integrated is internal social media?
- What advice do communicators have for others joining the function?
- What drives engagement in the workforce?
- What does the future look like for internal communications?
The 3rd APAC and India Internal Communications Survey conducted in October 2013 invited leaders in internal communications to share perspectives on themes such as the team’s construct, budgets, channel management, employee engagement, internal social media, leader communications, agency management and the future of the function.
Participants held positions ranging from senior manager in internal communications to head of the corporate communications function. Seventeen communication leaders representing industries such as automotive, pharmaceutical, IT, chemicals, consumer healthcare, FMCG, media, telecommunications, retail and energy participated in the study and had an average experience of 15 years.
Last year’s study also looked at change management, crisis communications, manager communication, conflict management and stakeholder management.
Every participant who completed the survey received a free high level summary report of the study.
- Most internal communications teams had 1 to 5 members and were housed in the Corporate Communications and HR functions. The top 4 sub-units in internal communications teams were design, content, events and strategy.
- Respondents felt content writing, planning, relationships, program management and measurement were core skills needed by internal communicators.
- A majority agreed that they had an internal communications strategy in place.
- There isn’t consensus among participants on a common definition for internal communications, which is a theme that continues from earlier studies.
- Most respondents believed that innovation in internal communications was essential at their organization However, the internal communicator wasn’t the most sought after resource by teams and leadership to solve organization issues with only 35% believing they had a say in the matter.
- Budgets weren’t an issue for internal communicators with most respondents stating they received appropriate funding.
- In 2013 the annual internal communications spend stayed the same with electronic media, face to face and social media getting the biggest share.
- The most effective internal communications channel is e-mail with face to face and print coming next.
- There isn’t a common understanding of employee engagement among respondents however a sizable percentage of respondents claimed to have a well-defined employee engagement strategy
- When asked about their definition of employee engagement the themes varied. Communicators addressed learning and development opportunities, alignment to company values, loyalty, return on investment, brand understanding, regular connection, fair treatment and line of sight as themes which connected with the concept of employee engagement.
- There isn’t consensus on who owns employee engagement with 35% believing it falls under the leadership’s ambit and 29% feeling HR had a stake. Internal communications ranked third in the list of stakeholders.
- Most communicators (76%) invest in supporting leader communication strategy development and planning. The internal communications team is also heavily involved with leader communication.
- However, a low number agree that leaders actively participate in internal communications. Exchanging ideas and knowledge and contributing to online content are among the activities they most frequently engage in.
- A majority (59%) felt that internal leader communication is effective and trustworthy in their organization.
- However, leader’s support for internal communications dropped to 59% this year as compared to 80% respondents in 2012.
- Most communicators (71%) believed that the future of internal communications was bright and more than half (53%) felt that their organization invested in building the function. The themes were consistent with how respondents reflected on trends and the future of the function last year.
- When asked about potential challenges for internal communications in 2014 key themes that emerged were social media management, engaging dispersed workforces, lack of budgets, leader involvement consistency in messages, robust communication infrastructure and measurement as areas that needed attention.
Aniisu K. Verghese is an internal communication expert, career coach and author and has over fourteen years of experience in the evolving internal communications domain with leading IT, financial services and consulting organizations. Aniisu is the author of – Internal Communications – Insights, Practices and Models (Sage Publications, 2012).
He managed key internal communication assignments with Sapient, Accenture and i-flex solutions including the launch and management of corporate intranets, publishing company employee newsletters, coaching senior leadership, leading internal brand campaigns as well as crafting effective corporate social responsibility communication that improved employee engagement. Aniisu often shares expert media commentary and perspectives on culture, social media, employee and leadership communications.
He is the Vice-President – Finance, South India Chapter – International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and served as an elite panelist who evaluated and shortlisted Asia Pacific entries for the 2012 IABC’s Gold Quill Awards. He currently serves as the Corporate Communications Lead at Tesco HSC. More information about Aniisu’s is available on his Linkedin page, his website www.intraskope.com and on his blog www.intraskope.wordpress.com.
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