The Internal Communications Conference 2024

A diverse team discussing internal communications strategies in a modern office setting

The Internal Communications Conference 2024

The Internal Communications Conference 2024 was a goldmine of insights, a day tackling pivotal themes that are reshaping the internal communications  future. I was invited to participate in the days closing panel, summarising the day around the theme of the future of internal comms, so no pressure!

Copyright LWT/ITV & CBPrime Ltd

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to revolutionise IC was a thread throughout the day, with many exploring how tools can be used to automate routine tasks, personalise  content, and provide data-driven insights, allowing IC teams to focus more on strategy and creativity. However, the reality isn’t without challenges. Surprise, surprise, AI also comes with hefty costs and a steep learning curve. 

Smaller organisations, who could really benefit from AI as an assistant,  might struggle with the initial investment and training whilst larger organisations face different challenges around hyper personalisation and digital governance and assurance. 

You can read more about how Unilever, for example, manage this here

While AI can boost engagement, it risks killing the human touch and might perpetuate biases. Cultural awareness and human oversight are musts, with communicators the final arbiter and controller of messaging, their human perspective should always take precedence.

Internal Communications Trends

Several trends are likely to impact internal communications future, not just the soaring use of AI, but employee wellbeing will take centre stage, and enhanced data analytics will be more prominent (to prove that the former two are working no doubt).

Yes, it requires constant investment, but the benefits are huge. AI and analytics can sharpen communication strategies, while focusing on employee wellbeing can boost morale and productivity. Tools like NewZapp are great for analytics and customisable options, but beware of rapid changes causing resistance. Balance innovation with practical, gradual adoption to ensure smooth transitions.

As a panel of IC experts, we dug into evolving working patterns, in particular the hybrid and remote work era. From the high importance of IC during 2020-2, many are fighting to keep their seat at the table. With many large organisations having settled around hybrid working patterns a mix of digital tools—email, video conferencing, collaborative platforms, mobile apps—create an inclusive, efficient internal comms environment. The reality? Not everyone has equal access or tech savvy. Over-relying on digital can cause screen fatigue disengaging your audience and creating isolation. Still, digital tools enable real-time communication, foster remote collaboration, and offer flexibility.  Balancing digital interactions with occasional in-person meetups or hybrid events is vital to maintain community spirit.

With the cost-of-living crisis biting hard, maximising budgets is paramount. Leveraging cost-effective digital tools, user-generated content, and high-impact strategies can stretch every penny. However, budget constraints might hamper new tech investments or training. Resistance to change can also be a hurdle. 

Tools like NewZapp streamline comms, cut costs, and boost efficiency by centralising email campaigns, landing pages, and surveys. 

Focusing on strategic content that directly addresses employee concerns can drive engagement without breaking the bank.

Prioritising essential comms and ditching the fluff can prevent IC team burnout.

Team NewZapp

Finally, we mulled over balancing technology advances with the human elements of IC. Ideally, tech should enhance, not overshadow, the human side—empathy, creativity, personal connection. The reality, however, often leans towards tech overkill, risking disengagement and a loss of personal touch. Tech can handle the grunt work and provide data insights, freeing IC pros to focus on strategic, personal interactions.

In conclusion, the Internal Communications future is a thrilling yet challenging ride. By embracing new tech, adapting to evolving work environments, maximizing budgets, staying ahead of trends, and balancing tech with human elements, we can navigate the IC landscape effectively. Let’s keep pushing boundaries and ensuring our internal communications stay top-notch and engaging.

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darren hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Operations Director

Bon Jovi loving gym junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. 

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