The Rise of Internal Communications

2 November 2016

As a strong jobs market drives candidate movement and the competition to secure top talent heightens, the demand for internal communications professionals has significantly increased. At JFL, we have seen an influx of roles in this sector in recent years – in 2015, 10% of our successful appointments were internal communications positions, a vast increase on recent years, and a trend that we expect to continue throughout 2016 and 2017. Jobs in this category are certainly staying hot, and look set to continue this way for the foreseeable future. The surge in this particular market can be attributed to a variety of factors:

Generational shift

It’s a word that cannot be avoided in today’s communications market: ‘Millennials’. As the generation of people born between 1980-2000 start to secure junior and management-level roles, a major shift in attitudes towards employment and expectations of the workplace is underway. Employers can no longer expect to keep employees engaged with traditional newsletters and internal publications, and need to expand into the digital realm in order to capture and retain employee’s attention. Tools such as internal social media groups and messaging services call for an entirely different skillset, and match the wider call for digitally-savvy candidates across all aspects of the communications market.

Focus on Core Values

Millennial’s approach to working has transformed; there is no longer such a thing as a job for life. Today’s employee is more focused on developing a diverse skillset, gained in multiple businesses - 71% of Millennials in the UK workforce expect to leave their job within the next five years. This is a particular issue for those who are already in senior-level positions, as they no longer look to maintain a long-term company vision. Instead, internal communications divisions are relying on the promotion of core values as a way of keeping employees engaged, recruiting people who also want to reflect and communicate this ethos. Employees want to be proud of the brand they work for, so the way it’s perceived by others is extremely important. The role that internal communications professionals have in projecting this view is paramount to connecting with employees on a personal and professional level.

Bigger Budgets

It is in the company’s interest to ensure top talent is retained; the spend on employee engagement initiatives is less than that of recruitment costs in the long-run, particularly at the senior level. As the market continues to gain confidence after the recession, companies big and small are investing more time and money into ensuring their staff are performing to the best of their abilities, and are rewarded for doing so. Building larger internal communications teams with staff ranging from junior-senior level, who can connect with all generations of employees, calls for a bigger budget, but will pay off in terms of boosting staff satisfaction and improving brand reputation. Similarly, a trend for investment in attractive offices is creating a competitive environment in which companies spend huge amounts on creating state-of-the-art workspace, which is impressive to employees and clients alike, and shows that the company have the needs of employees at the forefront of the business.

Move to Mobile

Using internal social media tools, including programmes such as Slack , SharePoint, Yammer and Chatter, ensures that all teams can easily communicate. Staff have instant access to company plans, chats and groups, meaning it’s easier for everyone to engage with what’s going on, wherever they’re located. With the rise of flexi-working, global teams and out of office opportunities, it’s even more important to ensure that staff working outside the walls can easily access internal news and not be left out of important decisions. These advanced technologies are cheaper than traditional magazines and newsletters, but call for a new, more diverse skill set in internal communications professionals.

As with the broader communications market, it is clear that internal communications is shifting towards the creation of a dialogue, rather than a one-way conversation. Executives realise that an engaged workforce is the bones of the business, and staff need to feel valued and appreciated in order to remain loyal. There is great potential for the internal communications market to fit the needs of a new generation as it grows, and demand for the skills associated with these roles will continue to increase.

For JFL’s latest internal communications opportunities, take a look at our jobs page, or get in touch with your CV to see how we can help you with your search. If you’re looking to hire internal communications professionals, we have some excellent candidates on our books, so do get in touch to find the perfect fit for your team.