MONDAY 3 JUL 2023 1:38 PM


What are the biggest challenges facing internal communicators today? Tara Jaf, director at online education platform Staffbase Campus, explores.

In the face of the pandemic, geopolitical uncertainty and a challenging economic landscape, internal communicators (ICs) have become the backbone of many organisations, supporting their workforce through new and complex challenges. 

More than ever, communications involves a lot of firefighting, and today’s ICs have many new responsibilities on top of their usual tasks – from communicating layoffs to reacting to external issues and managing employee health and wellbeing. Amid the rise of these new tasks, stepping into the new world of internal communications can be exciting for ICs, but it is undeniably a challenge.

Our recent research found that almost a quarter (24%) of ICs have highlighted ‘stress resulting from current state of mind’ as standing in the way of executing their strategies. Much of this stress stems from the fact that ICs have to learn on the job, without training and access to resources to guide them. On top of that, many professionals are unaware of the wide variety of tools that are available to them.

We often hear ICs asking: 'What skills are crucial to communications today?', 'How do I demonstrate impact?', and 'Where can I find opportunities to learn?’. Here is my advice on how to navigate the modern world of work, without losing sight of your personal and professional growth. 

The new bread and butter of internal comms

Nowadays, a valued IC needs to master a wide variety of skills. Alongside effective written and verbal communication skills, qualities such as empathy, adaptability, and analytical thinking are essential to thrive in this dynamic field. 

In the modern hybrid work environment, being digitally savvy also plays a pivotal role in keeping employees engaged, informed and connected. Imagine the IC professional who effortlessly introduces an intranet for employees in administration, skillfully sets up communication channels in Microsoft Teams for project managers, or creatively utilises an employee app to reach frontline workers with ease. Implementing a multi-channel approach brings numerous benefits, enabling effective communication across different teams.

Becoming the strategic partner to C-suite

In recent years, the need for internal communications has been cemented within businesses. In fact, 55% of ICs say they have a ‘seat at the table’, either influencing some or all decisions around leadership messaging. To maintain this positive momentum, ICs are prioritising providing long-term value to the organisation. 

One way to do this is by setting clear objectives and aligning communication efforts with the overarching goals of the company. By measuring the outcomes of the initiatives, such as increased employee engagement, improved understanding of key messages, or positive shifts in organisational culture, ICs can quantitatively and qualitatively demonstrate the impact of their work. 

Additionally, gathering feedback from employees through surveys or focus groups can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the communication strategies. What’s more, ICs can showcase their impact through success stories and case studies that highlight the tangible results their teams have achieved.

Prioritising professional development

To meet the new demands of the profession, another important piece of the puzzle is for ICs to continuously expand their knowledge and skill sets. Yet, many in the profession lack the time to invest in their own development and struggle to find mentors or a support network for guidance.  

In such circumstances, attending industry-relevant webinars or exploring valuable free resources like Staffbase Campus are great ways to stay ahead in the sector. Events give ICs the chance to gain useful insight into the industry from other professionals, whereas online learning platforms provide an educational experience that is as dynamic as the work of an employee communicator, equipping ICs with the particular skills and knowledge they need to keep up with the latest trends. 

Ultimately, mastering the new world of internal communications requires a forward-looking mindset. By embracing a data-driven and results-oriented approach, combined with compelling storytelling, ICs can effectively showcase their positive impact. Equally important is their commitment to personal development, enabling them to stay agile amidst emerging challenges. With these focuses in mind, ICs can successfully navigate today’s world of work and make a meaningful and lasting impact within their organisation.