- How did internal communications work during COVID-19?
- What perceptions did practitioners have about the value and impact of internal communications?
- What were the key channels used? Which were the most effective?
- What were the biggest challenges and opportunities for communicators?
- What specific lessons did they learn from the pandemic and the communications related to it?
- Which skills were the most valued during this time?
- What advice do communicators have for their peers?
Learn all this and more from the insights gathered from the conducted in August 2020. COVID-19 has impacted the way the world operates and prepares for the future. Understanding the impact of internal communications on how organizations cope and manage engaging internal stakeholders is important for making better decisions in crisis scenarios. The insights gathered aim to inform and direct future interventions for improving organizational communications, creating frameworks for enhanced engagement and building resilience among communicators and leaders.
On the lines of the earlier State of the Nation Surveys conducted by Intraskope in previous years, this study invited participation from internal communicators or those in positions where they were best equipped to respond. Those who participated in the study received a detailed summary report directly.
40 practitioners from India, UK, Greece, Kuwait and Ireland shared their perspectives on questions related to the crisis, interventions, the role of internal communications, priorities, channels, effectiveness and measurement related to COVID-19 communications.
Credit: Madhav Marripati for the design
- Internal communications played a key role during COVID-19: The role gained in importance and received attention from stakeholders
- Definition of a crisis is fuzzy among communicators and the situation caught most off-guard
- Awareness of employees’ health and safety increased significantly and served as a central point of communications
- 75% of organizations has a crisis communications playbook and a team to implement. This is a low number considering it is a basic expectation in times of constant change.
- Internal communications during COVID-19 was directed to demonstrate employee care, increase flow of messages, improve cross-department collaboration and keep business continuity operations seamless
- Among the first steps taken during the crisis was to establish a team, establish protocols and ways to communicate business as usual, assess the situation and focus on employee safety.
- Interestingly, the emphasis on employees’ health took precedence over business outcomes. However, just 40% strongly agreed that communication during the initial days of the pandemic was effective.
- Internal communications served to showcase leadership connection, employee resiliency and keeping business running effectively. Interestingly, the remit of internal communications went beyond just employees and considered their families and extended communities as well.
- Surprisingly, just 27% strongly agreed that corporate/Internal communications team was an integral part of the crisis management team, indicating lack of trust in their abilities.
- Internal communications team spent time during the crisis in crafting messages (35%), advising leaders (18%) and curating the strategy (13%), although the low percentages are a cause of concern.
- Email (52%), manager meets (4%), intranet (3%) and Town Halls (3%) were the most used channels to communicate during COVID-19. The reliance on e-mail is worrying since it isn’t a channel that is reliable and interactive to the extent of teleconferencing or social networks.
- Respondents indicated a lack of confidence in their assessment of internal communication effectiveness with a mere 27% completely agreeing to the statement.
- On the measures of communication effectiveness, respondents indicated feedback, Focus groups, pulse survey as key methods to gather insights. None of the respondents mentioned setting of KPIs. Most look at output like participation and attendance and less on outcomes.
- Respondents mentioned the lack of infrastructure, the WFH setting and the battle for peoples’ attention, especially screen time as key challenges
- Among the biggest opportunities were recognition for internal communications, focus on measurement, learning digital technology and bringing people together
- Organizations and internal communicators took limited action based on feedback and listening to employees, during the pandemic with just 35% completely agreeing to the statement
- The most important skills needed by an internal communicator were: listening, empathy, agility, writing, influencing, advising leaders.
- Key advice shared by practitioners included – empathy, listening, being aware, having finger on the pulse of staff, creativity, seeking feedback and focusing on simplicity
Interested in a copy of the complete report? You can avail it as a nominal fee which helps Intraskope cover the cost of production. Look up this link: https://www.instamojo.com/intraskope/covid-19-internal-communications-survey-2020/
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