Technology is changing company communications in a major way. Just like how marketing technologies transformed marketing over the last few years, new technologies are dramatically impacting company communications.

Consider the following from a 2016 survey by Willis Tower Watson on the global workforce:

  • 28% of the organizations surveyed reported difficulties in attracting employees, up 5% from two years prior.

  • 20% of employers also said it was more difficult to retain employees, compared to 16% in 2014.

  • More than half of the employers surveyed found it considerably difficult to recruit talent that was either highly-skilled or top-performing.

According to Robyn Hannah, Senior Director, Global Communication of company communications platform Dynamic Signal, there's a convergence between a number of different phenomena that will lead to a major shift in 2018. "The mobility, speed, and accessibility of news and information have transformed the way we communicate in our everyday lives," explains Hannah, "and companies are scrambling to keep up with the new communication expectations of today's employees."

When I spoke to Hannah as part of my 2018 Big Ideas project, she referred to a famous old saying: marketers used to joke that they knew 50 percent of their ads worked, they just didn't know which 50 percent. Today's more sophisticated marketers, however, make decisions that are far more informed and data-driven. 2018, in all likelihood, is the year that kind of transformation happens to the corporate communications field, due to the fact that corporations have finally figured out the best ways to leverage mobile phones and communications platforms in order to get their messaging across to their employees, and to the wider world.

Not only does this mean that companies need to find the right tools to facilitate such communication, it also means restructuring the way communications teams are positioned within companies. From what Dynamic Signal is observing across the 20% of the Fortune 500 and 20% of the Fortune 100 companies that it calls customers, companies are beginning to centralize communication teams. "The lines between internal and external communication have blurred," explains Hannah. "The war for talent requires organizations to ensure every employee feels informed, connected, engaged, and valued."

Increasingly, high-performing companies are recognizing that strong internal communication has tremendous business value in a number of ways:

  • Increasing productivity: getting the right information to the right people in a more efficient manner improves effectiveness.

  • Greater alignment: many organized suffer from misalignment between departments, meaning there is a clear benefit to having all departments operating with access to the same basic information.

  • Improved brand trust: Edelman recently uncovered that nearly one in three employees don't trust their employer. Having all internal constituents understand what moves the company is making and why they're taking those actions greatly increases brand trust.

One of the reasons why 2018 should be a big one for the advancement of company communications is that Chief Communications Officers roles are not only getting greenlit, they're getting funded, and have the ability to weigh in on what a company's core objectives ought to be. Dynamic Signal is seeing a rise in the number of Chief Communications Officer positions that are "taking seats at the executive table," says Hannah.

Of course, all of this buy-in means additional scrutiny. "As executives recognize the urgent need to lean in to this revolution," says Hannah, "defining new metrics to determine efficacy and inform optimization are becoming a new part of the job requirement for communication professionals who want to keep their companies from falling behind."

With a new year upon us, it's a great time to ask yourself: are your company communications heading in the right direction?

Published on: Jan 3, 2018