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Gatehouse releases 2019 State of the Sector Report for Internal Communications

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Gatehouse in February 2019 released its 2019 State of the Sector Report. A member of global brokerage Gallagher, London, UK-based Gatehouse is an internal communication agency providing consultancy on internal communications research.

With over 820 responses from 40 countries, the report surveys the internal communication and employee engagement landscape. It also provides internal communications strategists with insights into careers, budgets and working practices, as well as insight into what works for other organizations, thereby helping users to benchmark against others.

The highlights of the report show:

  • Over half (52%) of respondents declared that their internal communication function (IC) is a part of an integrated Corporate Communications, PR and Corporate Affairs team, a significant shift from 30% in 2015
  • The second most common positioning for internal communication was within HR (22%), closely followed by Marketing (14%)
  • There is some variation across regions: Corporate Communications, PR and Corporate Affairs teams are the norm in Asia Pacific, with 63% saying this is how their organization is set up, while only three in 10 organizations in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have structured their internal communication team in this way.
  • While it is most common for IC to sit within HR where there is no integrated Corporate Communications, PR and Corporate Affairs team, there is one exception to this rule: North America, where a quarter (24%) say internal communication sits within Marketing (compared with just 12% who say IC is a part of the HR function). This highlights potential differences in the maturity of internal communication around the world.

Areas for Improvement

The report also shows areas for improvement, citing the following factors:

  • Poor Planning: while IC practices are slowly becoming more sophisticated, ‘these gains are often made at a tactical level, whilst progress at the strategic level is disproportionately low’, and that the profession is ‘reactive, not proactive, knee-jerking to the here and now rather than planning for the future’.
  • Working blind and failing to demonstrate value
  • A need to win over senior leaders
  • Surrendering the battle against poor line manager communication
  • Digital is not the answer: internal technology not fit for the purpose is one of the main barriers to success
  • Not enough investment in IC success: large organizations only spend GBP 1 per person per month on internal communications and the larger the organization, the less money is invested.

The full report can be downloaded here (signup required).

Whilst IC may have many topics to communicate to the workforce, employee benefits’ success in driving engagement and retention is highly dependent on proper communication and should be part and parcel of any IC strategy. Therefore, understanding how IC teams operate and their current strengths and weaknesses should help global C&B managers make the best use of their IC colleagues’ skills. The same reasoning applies to global mobility, where the gap between expectations and reality often looms large, resulting in misunderstandings, frustration, and ultimately, less-than-optimal business and personal outcomes.

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