What’s keeping communicators awake at night? Insights and analysis from our network

What’s keeping communicators awake at night?

The internal communicator’s role has been front and centre of the business response to the Covid-19 pandemic.   

As a function, which is widely recognised as being under invested, internal communications professionals, alongside their counterparts in IT, have had to lead the way in not only maintaining communications, but also keeping the well-oiled cogs of business life moving. By combining forces they’ve been able to find quick, stable and secure solutions, enabling their teams to continue delivering great work while supporting the wider company effort to focus on the new ‘normal’ of their business operations.  

Over the past two weeks we have gathered data from some 439 senior level professionals, the vast majority of which are communication specialists, but all of whom are invested in digital workplace communications.  

We’ve dug a little deeper to bring you some – perhaps unsurprising – insights and bust a few myths along the way. 

Myth 1. Everyone else has an all singing, all dancing digital workplace   

Wrong. Our research suggests that just over half (53%) have something in place that’s working for them leaving a sizeable minority of 47% either unsure of their next digital steps (33%) or actively looking at introducing a new digital platform now (14%).   

The data comes from organisations of all shapes and sizes, although 40% are organisations with in excess of 10,000 employees.  Respondents are from a variety of sectors, the main five being Healthcare & Pharmaceutical; Technology; Banking, Finance & Insurance; Manufacturing and Retail. 

Myth 2. Everyone has jumped on Microsoft Teams for their crisis comms  

While Microsoft does have the monopoly on enterprise technologies, the use of Teams specifically was cited by only around 10% of our sample. It was the third most popular platform, but good old email (including Outlook of course) was comfortably in second place to a Sharepoint intranet as the go-to channel for updates. Other platforms that made the Top 10 were, in descending order of popularity, Yammer, Poppulo, Social Chorus, Slack, Workplace by Facebook and Jive.   

Other platforms referenced included Bananatag, Asana, Zoom, Seismic and Politemail too.  

Myth 3. Not having the right technology and tools is the biggest challenge currently facing me  

We did uncover some references to technology challenges – mostly around stability, and the difficulty of implementing anything new with budget cuts going on –  but overwhelmingly, the biggest challenges facing the communications community right now are all around the broad topic of employee engagement. Some of the specific challenges include: 

  • How to deliver useful and accurate information and not overload nor overwhelm people 
  • How to get the right messages through when things are moving so fast 
  • How to know what and when to communicate when you’re competing with so much other ‘noise’ 
  • Finding the time to send regular, timely updates 
  • How to reach, engage and motivate a remote workforce  
  • How to best manage home working 
  • Countering the lack of visibility of leaders 

Top tips and learnings as a result of Covid-19 

As part of our research, we have consolidated some of the top tips and learnings that people have shared with us as a result of these very busy past few weeks. 

Five Top tips:  

  • Good employee communication is key – keep it frequent, transparent, honest and concise 
  • It’s OK to not have all the answers 
  • Make sure you have two-way communication and some easy way for gathering feedback and questions 
  • Adaptability, flexibility and agility are essential along with the ability and authority to make quick decisions 
  • Visibility of leaders is important 


Four Big Learns: 

  • Remote working is more possible that we ever imagined! 
  • Businesses can respond and transform very rapidly if they need to 
  • It’s ok to be human and people respect their leaders for this 
  • There is a clear need for a good digital platform  

Prepare for the road ahead  

We know from talking to many of our network, following the initial scramble to get organised, things have settled into a rhythm in terms of the daily updates and working routines. But there is still a desire for more sharing of ideas, best practice examples and a deeper understanding of how various technologies can be best used to inform, reassure and engage in times of crisis and beyond. Our simplynetwork exists to do just that. We have been holding regular simply network conference calls to share experiences and ideas as the Coronavirus crisis develops. If you’d like to join the simplynetwork and have the opportunity to seek peer-to-peer support in any communications challenges you may be facing with regards to the outbreak, please go here. 

As we look at building resilience in our organisations, it is clear that there is still a great deal of work for communicators to do. At simply we want to give you access to the best-case studies on how organisations are struggling, coping or thriving in this Covid world - so you’re always one step ahead.  We know it’s been all systems go for you these past few months. But keeping an eye on what’s coming next will help to set you and your team up for long-term success.  

Why don’t you join us at SimplyICLive on 21st May and hear from some of the best in the business and experience first- hand some of the best and latest technology that is supporting digital internal communications.  You can book your free ticket here.