Gallagher released their State of the Sector report earlier this week. It’s a global survey of the internal communication and employee engagement landscape. The survey received more than 2,000 responses from HR and Communication leads to answer some of the key questions facing the industry today. Here are my key takeaways from the report to benchmark against your own internal communications strategy and how Oak Engage can help you fill the gaps.
Internal Communicators are overworked and under resourced
34% said that ‘lack of time and capacity in my team’ was the biggest challenge. The main theme of the report is ‘Recalibrating Internal Communication’ which highlights the growing importance of internal communication as a profession as it continues to bleed into more areas of the organisation. The report also highlighted that disengaged employees (30%) is an ongoing issue that internal communicators need to address.
As we enter another year of significant change, it continues to be a challenge to engage and communicate with employees. With external factors such as war, a cost of living crisis and dealing with the fallout from the Great Resignation, more pressure is being applied to the internal communicator. This means their already restricted resources are being pushed to the limit. It also highlights the need for internal comms to work with HR in unison to engage employees.
How Oak Engage can help: We offer a solution that takes away the stress. We empower you to be more strategic in your approach and allow you to focus your already limited resources on the things that truly matter. We wanted to create something that is more organic, self-organising and timeless. We wanted to create something that is outcomes focussed and build a platform that helps HR and Internal Comms teams work together to make sure the right content reaches the right people and intelligently surfaces the information.
Culture is key
74% of respondents said that the purpose of internal communication is to support culture and belonging. This differs to previous versions of the report which prioritises strategy and alignment around the vision and purpose.
Our own research revealed that 46% of internal communicators believe that poor internal communication relates to staff attrition. This highlights the importance of internal communication and the consequences of getting it wrong. Fostering a culture of recognition will remind employees that you’re part of one team and that you’re encouraged to collaborate and support one another. This will also create a safe space for employees to come forward and communicate any issues they may have.
Only 60% of respondents thought their channels were very good or quite good at connecting people on a human level. Leadership has a lot to do with how culture is defined but internal communication has the power to set the tone and influence how people feel at work.
How Oak Engage can help: Our Employee Engagement App enables you to reach and connect every single employee, wherever they are, 24/7. Fostering a sense of belonging, it facilitates communities and allows you to celebrate achievements and encourages collaboration.
Channels are no longer a priority
Engaging people around purpose, strategy and values remains the number one priority for 51% of respondents. However, adapting the channel mix to hybrid working has dropped from 39% to 19% as a priority. This means that internal communicators are starting to focus more on the why and the what when sending comms as opposed to the how. Channel satisfaction also remains relatively low at 63% with segmentation and limited technology to blame.
Use of audience segmentation and personalisation remains extremely limited. It is essential to understand who the intended audience is and who you’re communicating with. It’s necessary to also find out what your audience cares about so you can ensure the message resonates with each of them. If you have too many channels or channels that are unsuitable for your audiences, your people will feel overwhelmed and miss out on company news.
Our own State of the Sector report backs this up and highlighted that a lack of an accurate and appropriately segmented audience list was the biggest challenge communicators had to address.
How Oak Engage can help: We want to empower you in your role and take away the complexity. When sending content, Oak allows you to define the message, set your priority, organise the target audience and set the promotional period in a much more strategic way than was previously possible.
Oak’s Smart Delivery engine will then work out how to get it to people so you don’t have to. Using Artificial Intelligence, it creates a feed of content for every single employee. This is so employees receive targeted and relevant information in a way that they like to access it, reducing noise. The result? Increased engagement levels. Employees can also be empowered to personalise their news experience. This means they can specify what types of messages they want to see and opt out of things that aren’t relevant. Creating a much richer news experience for the employee.
No investment in technology
22% believe that internal technology and channels are not fit for purpose. 46% also believe their organisation does not invest enough in communication technology. This mirrors our own research which said that 22% of communicators believe that either the technology they have is not fit for purpose or that their stakeholders think they already have the tools they need. This is worrying and highlights the need for the right technology.
Digital adoption is still a long way off and an aspiration to many. When asked how impactful emerging technologies will be for internal communication, hyper-personalisation came out on top at 55%, this is despite audience segmentation still being very limited. Artificial intelligence was second place at 40% but a long way off from being implemented, with only 9% having reported having this in 2023. Businesses need to start embracing technology in order to connect with their people, especially in the age of remote and hybrid working environments.
How Oak Engage can help: Oak Engage can empower businesses to reach every employee, every time by using personalised curated content which will stop your employees being overloaded with irrelevant information and boost employee engagement. Today’s teams need a new way to communicate that reduces noise and this is what we’re focused on.
Feedback is valued
84% of respondents value feedback, with 65% learning and acting on it. However, only 46% of those say they have a robust process for capturing employee insights and feedback. If feedback is regarded so highly, internal communicators could be looking at better ways to capture it.
How Oak Engage can help: Oak’s leading analytics measures, tracks and proves that the right message reached the right people. It also provides insights on how audiences are reached and collectively measures the success and reach of campaigns so that a meaningful story can be crafted from the results and feedback.
Intranets are getting a bad reputation
When asked to rate their intranet the scoring was poor when it came to the technical capabilities. Analytics (28%), integration with our other platforms and systems (31%) and social functionalities (liking and commenting, communities, surveys) (33%). Whereas quality of content which is something they can control came out on top at 57%
How Oak Engage can help: We’re not just an intranet. We’re so much more than that. Oak is a beautiful platform that provides communicators with a single source of truth. It reinforces your brand identity and supports meaningful conversations and feedback. It gives you insight into what success looks like and proves your team’s value.
It also allows internal communicators to be more strategic in their approach and focus on the message and the campaign outcomes. Oak then intelligently surfaces the information to increase engagement, along with leading analytics to help demonstrate the reach and impact.
You can download a full copy of the report here. We will also be releasing our very own State of the Sector report with insight from industry experts and practical recommendations for the year ahead. In the meantime, we have a host of resources on our website here.