Tag Archives: future of internal comms

Guest blog: Internal comms – why the best years are still ahead

I started working in internal communications in 1997. I don’t know if it’s more chastening to say 20 years ago or last century!

While internal comms has developed enormously in these last two decades, I’m not convinced it’s fully grown yet. Here are three reasons why I think its best years are yet to come.


The best way internal comms has changed in the last 20 years is its development as a profession. This is thanks to a handful of commercial organisations who recognised the need and desire to share best practice, accelerated by social media and how easy this made it for internal comms people to do this themselves.

The dedication and determination in recent years for our professional bodies like the IABC, CIPR and IoIC to make membership more meaningful has also helped enormously.

Thanks to this, we better appreciate and understand all the components of internal comms that sit alongside our responsibility for great content, which felt like the main focus 20 years ago.

The more we continue to develop ourselves to also deliver strategies, planning and measurement that demonstrate we understand and can add value to the organisations we work for, the more mature we’ll become as a profession.


Developing our internal comms armoury shifts the perception that we just exist to write and send stuff. Others have written more extensively on the importance of an organisation’s purpose, notably Christine Crofts in an excellent recent series of LinkedIn posts. I agree with her that internal comms has the chance to define its own purpose more clearly by taking the lead in helping to shape and connect people to this.

Great internal comms allows people to understand how their work contributes to their organisation’s purpose. In my view, nothing could be more engaging than people feeling what they do makes a difference to the fundamental reason their organisation exists. Internal comms has a huge opportunity to be the profession that organisations turn to first to make this happen.


The reason I got into internal comms 20 years ago and why I’ve stayed ever since is people. I’m curious about what people are interested in and how to grab their attention, and it’s exciting when you can harness this energy to connect them to what their organisation does, where it’s going and their role on that journey.

People should always be at the heart of great internal comms – we listen to them, talk to them, share things with them, involve them and understand the difference this all makes to them.

I recently heard someone say HR is the voice of an organisation’s management, so internal comms should be the voice of its people. There may be something in that, and it’s a debate that’s probably a blog in itself.

But if we believe that, we should say so more explicitly. Along with purpose, it has the potential to clearly define us in the years ahead.

I’d love to know what you think. What has made you stay in internal comms, and where do we go next?

Neil Jenkins

Neil Jenkins is the Head of Internal Communications, BT Group.
He joined BT in December 2016, having held senior internal comms roles at Siemens, Vodafone and Coca-Cola in a career spanning more than 20 years. Passionate about the difference great internal comms (with a heavy dose of digital) can make, and still yearning for Liverpool FC’s 19th league title.

Hacking internal comms

Hackathons might initially conjure thoughts of a room filled with gaming developers – but now they’ve changed and found their way into internal comms.

An opportunity for people to get together and ‘hack’ a solution, hackathons shake up conventional project methods by inviting a diverse group of people to sit down, discuss ideas and come up with solutions in a limited period of time – giving it an engaging edge.

River Island, NHS, CIPD and the City of London HR team are just a few who have taken on this new trend.

We spoke to Perry Timms, Founder and Director of People & Transformational HR, who has been waving the flag for hackathons since 2013.

Perry Timms
Perry Timms

“People have cottoned onto hackathons as a vibrant way of creative thinking,” he said.

“What makes them different from brainstorms is they’ve got a very loose framework which gives people a broader sense of how to participate, but at the same time, there’s a focal point. This gives hackathons a real energy and pace.”

A key element of hackathons, Perry believes, is inclusivity.

A varied mix, including senior management, new starters and those in different departments, can produce a number of solutions that may not have been considered.

Hackathons can focus on a range of issues, such as how to engage new starters, restructure teams or find new ways to develop talent – pretty much anything can be ‘hacked’.

The loose hackathon framework is made up of four ‘sprints’:

Sprint one – evaluate the situation and consider the ideal situation
Sprint two – discuss existing limitations to any issues
Sprint three – create mini hacks to find as many potential solutions as possible
Sprint four – cluster these hacks and come up with one solution.

But have hackathons proved their worth?

Perry said: “The River Island hack was only an afternoon and they came out with lots of workable ideas, most of which have been implemented.

“It was an example of getting people involved who aren’t normally a part of that discussion, which worked really well.

“If big companies can do it and find solutions, then I believe a lot more of us should take advantage of hackathons – anyone who has an active interest in creating something better can do it.”

Interested in hosting your own hackathon?

Perry added: “If you’re a good facilitator and know the principles of how they run then anyone can set them up.

“There’s loads of great information online if you search ‘hackathon, or people can email me at perry.pthr@gmail.com

Check out the video below to see how the CIPD found their hackathon back in 2013.

Blog: Micro-chipping staff? That’s a tough sell…

Oh my. This is a brain bender.

Imagine walking into the office to be greeted with the news: “We’re planning to insert microchips into the hands of our employees. It’s going to be wonderful for all involved – both for the business and our staff. Can you tell them all though? Thanks.”

Sound far fetched? Perhaps but it’s not quite as surreal as you may imagine.

Continue reading Blog: Micro-chipping staff? That’s a tough sell…