internal comms / 5 minute read

How has internal comms changed for 2021... and what's next? 

Written by Callum Gill

3 September 2021

In the past year or so, internal communications has become a topic of much discussion. We’ve questioned how internal comms should adapt to a rapidly changing professional landscape. We’ve seen internal comms professionals take on more significant roles in many businesses. And we’ve seen some businesses completely fail to understand the power of communicating with their people.

Though it’s been tough, the COVID-19 pandemic has been something of a defining moment for internals comms. In fact, according to a recent survey, 90% of internal communicators believe the continuing changes will have a positive impact on the profession. While workloads have increased, employee experience has improved and disengagement has dropped, even while workforces have become dispersed.

So how has internal comms changed for 2021? There’s no doubt that we’re entering a period of disruption, and in many businesses internal comms will be the constant throughout it all. That said, our approach cannot remain static – that only generates fatigue. Here’s a breakdown of the trends you should be actioning this year and beyond:

  • Create a digital link Most businesses now operate a hybrid workforce, and that’s likely to remain the case for some time. Though live events and meetings are returning, and in-office comms remain useful for those visiting the spaces, digital is now vital for connecting your people. The fact that 80% of organisations have fast-tracked digital transformation over the past year only proves that.

    Effective internal comms in the digital space, though, is about more than the odd email or shared blog post. A segmented approach which separates out different digital communication tools is rarely effective. Instead, we should be looking to build hubs for information, which in turn encourage engagement and collaboration. Doing that is linked with an up to 20% increase in employee satisfaction.

  • Prioritise wellbeing Burnt out employees become disengaged workers, and disengaged workers can cost employers up to 34% of their annual salary. Wellbeing has become a topic of much discussion over the past year and one way workers have stayed connected throughout 2021 is with the help of wellbeing initiatives.

    For internal comms, wellbeing is an increasingly significant topic as not only do positive actions help to bring your audience together, promoting wellbeing on a company-wide level can reduce burn out and the impact it might have on your bottom line.

  • Learn from data We would always look to existing data when creating external facing comms, now it’s becoming just as important when delivering comms within your organisation. In fact, 72% of internal comms professionals who measure data now use it to inform future strategy. This approach helps us to forecast new priorities and make adjustments based on what is now a fast-changing business landscape. If you test your output, you’ll soon work out what works best for your audience. Then you can create comms which land every time. The best way to do this? Get a research and insights team involved before you start planning to ensure you strategy is aimed correctly, right from the off.

  • Make internal comms heard One of the biggest challenges in internal comms right now? Making your content heard. With the rise of hybrid working and a renewed focus on digital, comms output has increased across most businesses. Getting your message read, understood and engaged with has therefore become trickier. Cut through the noise with more exciting formats like video, or try gamifying key content to keep employees engaged. The solution will be unique to your business, but business as usual is unlikely to make an impact anymore.

  • Explore broadcasts and on-demand content In internal comms, and even more broadly, 2021 can be defined by a growing appetite for on-demand content. Now that work has become more flexible for many, comms are expected to keep up. People have become used to engaging with content at a time that suits them, allowing them to fit more learning and development into busy schedules.

    Previously, scheduling conflicts would make it difficult to communicate with your entire audience, now you can go ahead with the big moments, allowing anyone not present to catch up on-demand. This is why broadcast is becoming increasingly popular for internal audiences – it’s definitely one to watch over the next year.

The landscape of internal comms, like much else in business, has undergone incredible changes in 2021, but with a keen eye on these trends, there’s no reason your organisation can’t keep up. Still, if you need a little help making your internal comms land with impact, we’re here to help.

Our experienced comms professionals know how to make your internal assets excite and inspire. To find out how we can help your internal comms land with real impact, email us at