The future of internal communications

This new report by executive search firm Watson Helsby provides insight into the big topics shaping internal communications and its development as a function as well as a view of the competencies required for success in today's internal communications directors

Nick Helsby, Managing Director of Watson Helsby
Nick Helsby, Managing Director of Watson Helsby

The increasing pace of corporate change and the need to win employees' commitment, not just their labour, means corporations are working much harder at and investing much more in internal communication.  And in the current volatile operating environment CEOs want and need an IC team that can share a fast-moving corporate story rapidly and engagingly; help senior leaders communicate to employees on the frontline; improve the delivery of redundancy programmes, restructurings and reorganisations and engage employees behind new business strategies and priorities.

With more being asked and expected of IC teams, Watson Helsby, an executive search firm that conducts senior IC assignments, interviewed twenty-five internal communications directors (ICDs) to look at the current landscape of IC. 

All the interviewees reported that investment in IC and IC roles had increased in all parts of their organisation (group, region, business unit, function) over the last five years. Most large public and private sector organisations have well established IC teams, some quite sizeable.  The core remit for internal communications is now well understood and internal communications practice has advanced quite considerably over recent years, as have some of its leading practitioners.

The challenge of getting buy-in to the full value that IC can deliver, however, is still an issue in many organisations, not helped by the fact that some business leaders "assume they are great communicators and do not need our help".  Other issues include:

-        A shortage of really experienced candidates to cement its status as a heavyweight, accountable, professional function that delivers real business benefits;

-        A lack of understanding about what IC delivers and what it is ultimately responsible for.  This is inextricably linked with the fact that IC does not possess a discrete skillset and body of knowledge that is broadly recognised and understood;

-        A lack of clarity around IC competencies and what constitutes professional excellence.

The report includes:

  • An analysis of internal communications director remuneration by different types of role: Group; business unit; region; function.
  • A comprehensive summary of the core remit and accountabilities of today's internal communications function, encapsulating what ‘good' IC looks like, and a blueprint for future IC director roles (the remit that would create ‘great' internal communications).
  • An analysis of the obstacles that undermine the contribution and performance of internal communications (what gets in the way of going from ‘good' to ‘great').

  • An analysis of the competencies and behaviours required for success and issues around on talent development.


This comprehensive, in-depth report is available at a cost of £275 plus VAT.  Please click on the link to order your copy.



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