A survey of 125 C-suite respondents in various sectors by Censuswide for Hanover Communications found that 80 per cent believe internal comms had become more important over the past 12 months.
Almost all (99 per cent) said employee engagement was important to their business and 84 per cent said they had a strategy to improve engagement among employees over the next year.
It is telling that the research suggests that top business executives prepare more when talking to an internal audience than an external one.
In total, 87 per cent said the always or frequently prepare for a team meeting, and 66 per cent do so for a presentation to a wider internal audience. Far fewer do so for a media interview (54 per cent for a live interview, and 47 per cent for a pre-recorded one), although 70 per cent said they have had media training within the past three years.
Gavin Megaw, MD of corporate and brand at Hanover, said: "Employees are expecting much more from their C-suite. Being good with numbers is no longer enough, you now also have to be a good communicator able to inspire and motivate an entire workforce."
The survey also found face-to-face briefings by managers to other employees was said to be the most important method of internal communication.
Megaw added: "Too often messages filter down from the C-suite and get stuck somewhere in the middle. In order to get genuine buy-in further down your business, you need to empower your managers with the skills to recognise what messages are important and relevant and be able to deliver these to other employees in an effective way. This also takes the pressure off the C-suite.
"No one can tell you what will happen to your business in the future, but the one thing that is for certain is that you’ll need your people on side."
More on internal comms...
- Internal comms must 'define itself better' and give CEOs 'clarity' on its role
- 'Busybusyverybusy' - why PR pros need to take internal comms and employee engagement seriously