The Gallagher Internal Communications 2022 Report does an amazing job painting a picture of where internal communication is today,
anticipating trends, and enabling internal communication specialists to better empower their organisations to deliver a better employee
experience, foster a unique culture and communicate employee value proposition.
If you’re strapped for time, we’ve highlighted 27 key takeaways from the Gallagher 2022 State of the Sector report you cannot miss.
Top challenges and priorities for businesses in 2022
Despite their starring roles in communicating during the early days of the pandemic, employees have lost interest in the communications sent
to them – that remains the biggest hurdle for this year. The top three challenges include:
- Engaging teams around purpose, strategy and values at 53%
- Adapting their channel strategy to hybrid working 39%
- Enhancing people manager communication at 31%
According to Gallagher employee experience is shifting towards digital enablement. The top priorities are:
- Disengaged employees at 37%
- Lack of capacity at 32%
- Lack of analytics and measurement at 27%
Surprisingly, some choices that used to rank highly in past years didn’t rank highly as a significant challenge this year. Namely
non-wired/deskless employees (at 12%). This may be a promising sign that internal communication professionals have managed to overcome the
difficulty in reaching and engaging with their dispersed workforce.
Top business priorities in 2021/22 [source]
Purpose and strategy: is internal communication creating clarity and driving understanding?
Dealing with uncertainty
When it comes to communicating change in 2022 and beyond, it is now more important than ever before for the leadership team and internal
communicators to be aligned and clear. Here are the top three changes businesses have planned for in 2022:
- 56% of respondents plan for process or ways of working change (including future of work, flexible working, new ways of working)
- 39% of respondents plan for culture change (including values, behaviours and leadership styles)
- 36% of respondents plan for system and technology change (including new information and collaboration tools, digital experience)
The role of internal communicators in crafting the corporate narrative
For the past decade, diversity and inclusion (D&I) and environmental and social and governance (ESG) have been important themes in
organisational narrative. However, in the past two years they have become hot topics.
77% of respondents say their employees care about their organisation’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment. Yet, only half of
participating organisations have a compelling ESG narrative in place
Internal communicators play an important role in humanising leadership decisions. Despite that, only 34% of respondents are actively
involved with crafting the corporate narrative around organisational wellbeing, vision, strategy and values
The bottom line is that D&I, ESG and hybrid working will be the main topics of conversation, but they need to be conveyed authentically,
without business jargon.
Employee feedback: valued but not captured
In a hybrid work environment, it can be very challenging to maintain a real connection to employees — it’s hard to gauge people’s body
language over a video call.
- 88% of respondents agreed that their organisations genuinely value employee feedback
- 64% feel that their organisations learn and act on it, and
- Only 47% think that they have a solid process in place for capturing employee feedback
Organisational listening: missed opportunities to collect valuable feedback
The top three channels used to collect feedback include engagement surveys (74%), pulse surveys (56%) and emails (50%).
Interestingly, feedback from social channels was also very low at 25%. This suggests that internal communications teams use social channels
to push messages but don’t leverage the two-way channel potential to collect feedback. This type of push communication is better suited to
one-way channels like workplace digital signage.
Why is this important? Organisations with higher levels of talent attraction and retention focus on employee feedback and
Organisational listening - the key to attracting and retaining talent
Employee experience: are organisations taking a more proactive approach to this getting a competitive advantage?
Though the lines between the responsibility of HR and internal communicators have often been blurred, there are signs that’s changing.
58% of respondents named “broader employee experience themes (recognition, compensation, wellbeing, D&I)” as one of the skills that
internal communication specialists should develop in order to grow their influence in the company.
Employee experience will stay as a hot topic but there’s work to be done to drive this concept forward. At a C-suite level, there needs to
be clear mandate from the top to drive employee experience. Then the organisation also needs to encourage and facilitate cross-department
collaboration to define and embed employee experience.
Organisations that turn the employee experience concept into actionable and measurable plans are thriving. Pay special attention to these
top three components of employee experience:
- Purpose, culture and vision
- Learning and development
- Wellbeing (mental, physical, financial)
Hybrid working: are organisations adjusting their engagement strategies?
For years internal communications was primarily designed for office-based people, even if the business had a large proportion of deskless or
shift workers. We’re looking at a long overdue review of how organisations interact with all of their people.
Use people managers as a valuable medium for collecting employee feedback
- 80% of respondents told us that their channels enable them to reach their people wherever they are based
- In organisations with a majority of deskless employees, only 69% have channels that allow them to reach their entire workforce
- 1 in 5 internal communication teams have already completed an in-depth review of their channel strategy
Organisations that have done better in the face of the Great Resignation tend to take a more proactive approach and review their strategy to
adapt more rapidly
- Environmental channels such as posters, banners and noticeboards are down to 44% (from 63% in 2021)
People managers: what is their role in the new world of work?
People managers are one of the most critical communication channels in any organisation. They influence their team’s commitment,
productivity, engagement and performance.
When it comes to their ability to communicate with their teams, the shift to remote work may not have as much of an impact for those
managing deskless people. The rise of digital has enabled many organisations to reach their people directly, making people managers a
secondary source of information.
- Enhancing people managers’ communication placed top three for the first time ever
- 81% reported an increase in expectations of leaders and people managers as communicators
- 35% of respondents said that people managers were the primary communication channel for many of their employees
45% of respondents in organisations where more than half of the workers are deskless, people managers were the primary communication
46% of organisations believe they make it easy for people managers to share feedback, suggesting that people managers mainly play a role of
cascading top-down information, instead of being a channel for feedback or playing an active role in shaping the corporate narrative
The golden age of communication: what can we learn from world-class practitioners?
Internal communicators embed the narrative into their organisation, and influence the employee experience, workplace culture and
organisational wellbeing. Here’s how their role will change in 2022 and beyond.
Top three broader themes and skills internal communicators should look to explore and develop:
- 61% of respondents said data analysis and measurement
- 58% of respondents said broader employee experience themes
- 58% of respondents said changing attitudes to work
- A third of professionals feel that they don’t feel knowledgeable enough to communicate on all things D&I and ESG
- Only 31% of respondents say they have an overarching internal communication strategy in place
World-class communicators have an internal communication “master” plan and an internal communication strategy that spans more than a year
long. This suggests that the ability of world-class communicators to focus on the longer-term and articulate goals enables them to have
better conversations with leaders
- Only 36% systematically measure if communications reach their target audience
- 57% of respondents use data to adjust their messaging as part of a campaign, based on what messaging performs best