AB Thinks  →  27th February 2020

Our survey says – insights from the State of the Sector 2020

AB Thinks

In Season Three, Episode Two of The Internal Comms Podcast, Katie Macaulay was joined by two new directors at Gatehouse, the agency that organises the State of the Sector survey.

With more than 40 years’ internal and change communications experience between them  Kevin McDougall and Andy Macleod are well placed to assess the challenges and opportunities for internal communications as we enter a new decade.

In the podcast they delve into some of this year’s key findings and explain the purpose of the IC profession’s most in-depth survey, which has become an eagerly anticipated source of information for communications practitioners around the world.

Here we share Kevin and Andy’s thoughts on some of the headline stats from the State of the Sector 2020 report. Listen to the podcast to hear more of their views.

#1 Short-term planning has replaced long-term vision
45% have no long-term vision for IC

“There’s a lot of change happening in every organisation these days. Having a very agile, evolving one-year strategy is the way that a lot of people seem to be going. They’re only looking a year forward rather than 3-5 years [like] in the past. Internal communicators are also moving on quicker from their roles into other organisations – if someone joins as an IC head, will they be there in five years’ time?” – Andy

#2 As a profession, we still need to get better at measurement
20% do not, or very rarely, measure their internal communications

“I think we’re taking the easy option and looking at easy to use metrics such as reach – how many people received something. But where I think we should be challenging ourselves as an industry is to look at impact – what does that mean for that person? How much impact, or influence does that piece of communication have in that area, department or to that person? Rather than just reporting on numbers of emails opened or video views.” – Kevin

#3 Cutting through the noise remains a problem area
45% say the volume of communication is the main barrier to IC success

“It should be a lot easier than we think it is. But because historically we’ve allowed channels, messages, newsletters to be developed, it’s hard to address that. But it comes back to measurement – if you haven’t got a framework in place and you’re not measuring anything, everything is an assumption and you have no justifiable opinions. And then how are you going to push back on the leader wanting a new newsletter or podcast, or whatever it is, because you haven’t got a valid argument to push back on?” – Kevin

#4 Demonstrating the value of IC to leaders is another continuing challenge
31% say leaders do not understand the value of IC

“We’re definitely going in the right direction, but in terms of that remaining 31% that can be down to a number of things, including the culture within the organisation. But it’s great that more senior leaders and IC professionals are on the same wavelength around their role within the business – these days, I hear a lot of senior IC people talk about how their leaders really get what the internal comms function can do and the impact and outcomes it can bring.” – Andy