The fifth annual State of the Sector report into internal communication has just been released by Gatehouse Group.

It’s their industry-wide census investigating the challenges internal communicators are facing – and where their focus will be over the coming months.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Employee focused apps are on the rise.
  • Almost 40% of organisations allow employees to access internal content via mobile devices.
  • The annual decline in print as a channel seems to have finally stabilised, with posters remaining a staple within the communications mix.

The recent survey was conducted in November 2013, with 157 communicators operating in organisations ranging in size from a few hundred people to more than 50,000 employees having their say.

State of IC sectorLee Smith, @gatehousegroup, Director at Gatehouse said: “This report provides a comprehensive benchmark on internal communication and employee engagement activity across numerous leading organisations throughout the UK and the rest of the world.”

I always enjoy looking through this report to have a sense of where the profession is at. There are seldom any surprises as it matches up with the experiences of people in my network and conversations I have with my clients.

However, I think it’s useful as a benchmark to be able to share with your teams and companies if you’re looking for data to have to hand.

So what does this year’s survey reveal?

Looking at the information in detail, face–to–face communication is still considered as one of the most effective employee communication channels and, thankfully, it has weathered the economic storms of recent years.

The most popular face–to–face channels remain relatively unchanged year–on–year.

Whilst traditional team meetings take the lead (with 80% of responses), away days and conferences with senior leaders follow closely. Formal cascade meetings, senior management site visits and roadshows are also broadly used, suggesting that face–to–face remains the preferred route for leadership and line manager communication. Those findings were in line with last year’s results.

I’m certainly having more conversations with people about face-to-face communication, be that in person (the ideal) or via webinars. IC pros are looking for ways to capture conversations and facilitate discussion when diaries and geographies don’t allow for actual face-to-face discussions to happen. Does this match with what you’re experiencing?

Large-scale events

The vast majority (88%) of respondents now use large–scale events as part of their internal communication mix – an 8% improvement on last year and another sign that confidence and budgets are returning. In line with this, the number of respondents who do not hold large scale events has fallen considerably – from 20% to just 12%.

Digital State of the Sector ICDigital channels
A third of respondents have implemented an enterprise social network.

The top five digital channels remained relatively stable compared to the results 12 months ago. They were identified as:

  • Email
  • Intranet
  • E-newsletters
  • Tele/video conferences
  • Blogs

16% are making use of smartphone apps and 38% say it’s common for employees to use their personal devices to access internal content (which can also be referred to as BYOD – bring your own device – Rachel). 

Measurement

measurement ICFollowing on from the PR Academy Trends Survey, which identified measurement as the biggest skills gap for past and former students, the measurement section particularly interested me from these results.

According to the info from Gatehouse Group, the top three methods to measure impact:

  • Employee engagement survey (75%)
  • Intranet analytics (64%)
  • Focus groups dedicated to IC (31%).

However, 12% stated that they do not measure the impact of internal comms. What do you think? What’s your experience?

Further reading on measurement: See the articles I’ve published tagged measurement.

Full set of State of the Sector results
Want to read more? Download the full results.

Well done to the Gatehouse team for once again providing information for us IC pros to have to hand to benchmark ourselves and the companies we work with.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

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