Internal Communications Strategy Matters Especially In Times of Change


At a time where change is ever-present, it can be hard to keep up with the seismic shifts happening within and outside of our businesses. Disruptive forces are driving the need for constant evolution and in 2018, global spend on digital transformation is expected to surpass $1 trillion.

Investment in digital change is essential if we are to keep up with competitors and technological advances, however according to McKinsey, a staggering 70 percent of complex, large-scale change programs don’t reach their desired objectives.

Although this failure can not be attributed to one team or reason, it is well recognised that two of the main reasons for such a high rate of failure, is a lack of employee engagement and poor cross-functional collaboration.

Internal communicators undoubtedly have a crucial part to play here. However, the challenge it faces is the ongoing perception that it is simply the post box of corporate narrative – a misnomer between the proud company reports which emphasise the priority organisation is placing on their people and culture and the priority which is given to those who are responsible for help driving change.

It is this interest in the apparent misalignment between operational activity and strategic alignment which spurred the publication of research Why Strategy Matters.

In Why Strategy Matters, we explored why internal communications is yet to be able to truly demonstrate its value and capability by looking specifically at the use and implementation of strategy and research.

We spoke to 14 internal communications leaders (director level or above) and surveyed a further 60 practitioners all of whom had responsibility for designing and delivering an internal communications programme.

The results were startling:

  • 62% of those surveyed had no business-wide definition of internal communications
  • 44% have no internal communications strategy
  • 59% of those who have a strategy, regularly undertake activity which does not relate to their strategy
  • 52% of those with a strategy do not have any business-wide related metrics in place
  • 7% of respondents don’t believe in their strategy!

Delving into this further, there is no doubt that the desire is there to have a strategy which will drive positive change. Time, unsurprisingly, was the biggest factor which impacted people’s ability to design a business-related strategy, but another key factor was an apparent skills gap people feel that they have. 65% of respondents have never had any formal training or support in how to develop a strategy and 83% and 36% felt that this limited their ability to be able to develop an effective strategy.

If organisations are to truly embrace and succeed in positive change, it is undoubtedly time for leaders to start investing in those leading the charge. Responsibility for change does solely sit with the internal communicator, but recognition of their skills, knowledge and capabilities must be acknowledged if organisations are to continue to thrive.

To download a copy of the report, please click here.


Post by Lisa Pantelli, Become, and simplycommunicate consultant.