Eastern promise: the rise of internal comms in Far East

Rise of internal communication in the Far East

October 29, 2014

The discipline of internal communication is flourishing at companies based in the Far East, according to latest research.

As the evolution of IC continues to be debated at length in the Western world, increasing staff retention rates in Asia have sparked a surge in demand for internal communication.

Specialist employee-focused comms departments have been popping up in businesses in China, Singapore and other South East Asian states throughout 2014.

According to a report carried out by corporate communications recruiters VMA Group, 59 per cent of respondents said they belonged to a team dedicated to communication inside their company – a hefty rise on similar stats collected last year.

Mary Devereux, an independent internal communications contractor and former senior communications practitioner with New York Life Insurance, Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy PR, is based in Hong Kong.

She said: “Internal or employee communications is certainly set for growth in Asia Pacific.

“While not a major sector within the communications portfolio yet, companies are increasingly seeing the importance of having a workforce which is not only supportive of the company but clearly understands its vision and values.

“I currently contract with a number of companies, who are putting major effort into engaging with their staff through email, intranets and face-to-face communications.

“This includes sharing business updates, focusing on the mission and values, hearing from all levels of employees on their view of the company, a deep commitment to cross-cultural training and CSR activities.

“I also deal with to all the usual information you would expect to share, including news on successes from different countries and teams, updates from HR and Legal, plus communicating via internal blogs and mobile applications.”

According to Mary, video platforms are particularly popular across the continent with companies putting particular emphasis on the channel.

“This is not surprising, when considering the number of languages and dialects within our region. Using video helps employees to understand better the tone and manner in which news and updates are being communicated, even if they are not totally fluent in English or whatever the lingua franca of the company,” she explained.

Looking to the future, it does not look like the boom in the demand for IC will end any time soon.

VMA says that 70 per cent of those asked predicted a rise in the number of trained departments dedicated to this area in 2015 – something Mary agrees with too.

She added: “I’m convinced that internal communications is going to be an important game changers in the next decade in our region.”