Was that a yes? Then you’ve probably read State of the Sector, the definitive global survey of the internal communication landscape.

Actually, let’s face it, if you’re in internal communication, you’ve probably taken part in State of the Sector, been influenced by it, used it to shape your strategic approach to communication, scoured it to see how you measure up against the competition, referenced it when negotiating extra budget for a new channel, and poured over it with many a cup of coffee while getting your pre-presentation ducks in a row.

Such is the measure of the report and its standing in the profession.

Referenced in hundreds of blogs across the internal communication community and beyond, State of the Sector continues to be the essential internal communication thought leadership piece. Thousands of communication pros – just like you – across 40+ countries have participated since the report launched back in 2008, and hundreds of thousands of employees have benefited from the findings as a result.

Yes, it’s kind of a big deal.

The original influencer

In a time where ‘likes’ leveraging and hashtag harnessing are crucial communication currencies, for 12 years State of the Sector has been flexing its muscles in a space where influencing colleagues, leaders and future employees alike is priority number one – and the report’s hard-wired need to stay firmly at the vanguard of everything IC continues to see it reign supreme in the profession.

For those of us who produce it, State of the Sector presents an opportunity to delve deep into the world of internal communication; to find out what makes internal communication pros tick, what makes them balk, what motivates people to keep pushing forward, and to keep up with what good – and bad – looks like.

For those of you who consume it, State of the Sector presents an opportunity to benchmark yourself, to identify gaps in your IC practices, to understand how and where you can improve, and to access the tools needed to make sure your messages continue to be heard.

But you don’t have to take our word for it - our partnerships with the most influential internal communication bodies on the planet demonstrate the importance of the report. After all, mediocrity doesn’t get you the backing of the Institute of Internal Communication, CIPR Inside and the IABC (to name but a few), does it?

We launched the 2021 survey during a time when the response to world events had seen the value of internal communication hit its peak.

Ben Reynolds

Managing Director

Lasting legacy

From the beta days of face-to-face or nothing to the current ‘why aren’t we using TikTok for this?’ obsession, State of the Sector has been a consistent, single source of truth for what’s hot and what’s not in internal communication. And the passion and commitment to communication it’s been fostering for over a decade shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

2008: Talking tactics

Focusing on specific industry sectors, and dictated by a very immature IC profession, the first few editions focused very much on tactics and channels – with understanding how practitioners made their voices heard the primary objective

2012: The emergence of digital channels

‘Broadcast’ was out, engagement was in. And as a focus on long-term planning and strategy started to dominate IC teams’ ways of working, listening strategies, feedback channels and measurement was where it was at

2014: The rise of social networks

Collaboration and knowledge sharing were on the radar this year and, as sharing the employee voice was identified to be the way forward in IC, the challenge of establishing decent two-way communication channels was big news

2016: Professional confidence rises

As IC pros told us that they had earned leaders’ respect, planning practices become more professional. With the popularity of mobile communications on the rise, the digital landscape started to become more complex – and content had to evolve to reflect this. Hello video!

2017: The Office 365 effect

With IT teams enthusiastically championing the domination of Microsoft products across digital channels, IC teams struggled to incorporate these into their framework. A shift to short-term planning meant professional confidence stayed high, despite evidence of shaky foundations

2018: Noisy organisations

As a result of multiple digital channels flooding the IC space - and a lack of governance around them - the sheer amount of communications became overwhelming for employees. Engagement took a hit, with 45% of respondents telling us that the volume was too high

2020: Prioritising people

In a definite sign of the times, this year shows progress in alignment to leadership and a shift from focusing on digital strategies to people, as a stronger focus on mental health and wellbeing, more flexible working patterns and better crisis communication protocols step into the limelight

2021: EX comes of age

But how will that shape the coming year for internal communicators? Find out in the latest report – available in early 2021…

Future perfect

This year’s State of the Sector report was the biggest one yet, with more than 1,000 communicators completing the survey – and it didn’t disappoint when it came to keeping those essential insights coming.

Key findings told us that increased leadership visibility, stronger focus on mental health and wellbeing, greater investment in digital channels, more flexible working patterns, better crisis communication protocols, and quicker sign off processes for internal communication content are trending hard right now – and we shared this with you in a 24-page must-read that’s reached 3,000 (and counting) of you so far.

We launched the 2021 survey during a time when the response to world events had seen the value of internal communication hit its peak; and as EX comes of age, we can’t wait to share our findings on the virtual experiences dictated by today’s global climate and the domination of tech during this incredible internal communication renaissance.

We all know that communication is consistently shown to improve all areas of an organisation’s performance (including the bottom line) - that’s a given. We also know the risks associated with not focusing on people, just as we know that we have the power to transform how those people feel about work if we do our jobs well – and State of the Sector is there to help you raise your game.

So, as we head into 2021 with a renewed sense of pride in the profession, think about the impact you can have on the internal communication community – and share your experiences in the next State of the Sector survey.

Together, we can make the organisations we work with better.

Download the 2020 report

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