IC managers’ verdict on future of internal comms

IC managers' verdict on future of internal comms

November 12, 2015

Internal communication has changed beyond all recognition in the past 20 years.

Headlines’ CEO Peter Doherty recently wrote this popular blog describing the industry’s evolution and his predictions for the future.

We asked three internal communicators to share their thoughts on the IC sector then, now and in years to come…


James Hayward
James Hayward

“IC has transitioned from being ‘nice to have’ to being essential.

“One of the defining moments has been the advance in intranets and social/collaboration tools.

“The big challenge for IC has been gaining recognition.

“Thankfully, today, we can provide evidence that it helps achieve organisational goals, contributes to managerial efficiency, creates trust and facilitates decision making.

“I see IC evolving greatly over the next 20 years.

“The effect that the new generation of employees is having on business and IC is massive; it’s leaving many senior leaders behind.

“IC must support this situation; senior leadership should be encouraged to lead and enable innovation from all generations, and IC should support this.”



“When I started out, IC lacked identity and direction.

“Today, it’s strategically important.

Duncan Flint
Duncan Flint

“The big changes include greater use of digital media; the struggle to control the integration of social media with slower-reacting corporate communications; an emphasis on performance measurement; and seeing the industry professionalise.

“The highlight for me is the introduction of social media channels like Yammer, SharePoint and Lync.

“There have been challenges in getting IC on the top table and overcoming the ‘IC is fluffy’ attitude.

“It’s also been difficult integrating social media into corporate communications, evidencing IC success, identifying where we can best add value and working out how best to synchronise IC with external communications.

“Over the next 20 years, I see more specialisation occurring.

“I think communications strategy will become an integral part of corporate strategy, and I see IC departments shrinking, but profile increasing.”



“I’ve seen the industry professionalise. It’s becoming recognised as a strategic driver of organisational performance.

“Previously, IC was typically perceived to be about the staff newsletter, fluffy and self-congratulatory, with little measurement – which meant no recognition for the practitioners’ expertise.

Kathryn Kneller
Kathryn Kneller

“HR has become a strategic adviser and has seen talent as a resource that needs leveraging because it impacts business performance, realising the importance of communications and engagement and the role IC can play in that.

“HR is now one of our biggest advocates.

“The Web 2.0 phenomenon was a tipping point. IC could no longer just be about broadcasting messages; people expected to be able to discuss and feed back on organisational policies.

“IC had to master the technology and listen carefully to conversations. It had to have its finger on the pulse, to feed back to leadership and shape messages accordingly.

“In our future, I’m acutely aware of the war for talent.

To maintain the economic growth rates of the last 30 years, Western economies need huge population growth, which is unlikely.

“Corporations will have to up their game to attract and retain the best employees.

“Companies will have to do something innovative to do that, and IC is the only department that can ‘sell’ the business to employees – providing not just a reason to join, but a reason to stay. Business leadership will have to pay serious attention to that and resource IC appropriately.

“Our metrics will be more closely tied to quantifiable business performance measures like attrition rates. Over the next 10 years, we are really going to come into our own.”

Read Peter Doherty’s full article about the evolution of the internal communications industry here….