7 Predictions for the IC Road Ahead

Paul Barton, ABC

As we look toward the year ahead, we can expect some big changes driven by the global economy, a shifting culture and advancing technology. These changes bring unique opportunities to internal communications professionals who choose to embrace them and seize upon the opportunities they bring. Here are 7 predictions for the road ahead and the direction I believe we should be steering.

1. There will be an increased need for stronger internal branding and employee engagement.

In the run-up to the American Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton supporters showed a concern for representation of minorities and women, Bernie Sanders supporters questioned capitalism and showed a mistrust of corporations, and the populist wave that swept Donald Trump into office showed a deep distrust of traditional powers. Similar sentiments were revealed in elections around the world. Are there groups in your organization that are fearful, mistrustful of management or concerned they don’t have a voice? Internal Communications, MarComm, PR, HR and Community Relations will need to work together and integrate messages in ways they haven’t had to in the past to articulate the employee value proposition, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, and validate corporate responsibility. Caution: If messages aren’t deemed authentic, they will be immediately disregarded.

2. Mobile technology will be even more prevalent.

Smartphones, tablets and pads will continue to replace desktops for more and more employees.

Internal communicators will need to place a greater emphasis on workplace apps and scalable webpages, and focus less on traditional intranets. That said, desktops will still be with us a while longer in many organizations so communication will need to get up-to-speed with IT’s plans.

3. Virtual work teams will continue to grow.

More and more organizations, including those in very traditional industries, are choosing to work virtually. Virtual team members must continue to seek better ways to communicate and collaborate with one another. Those who lead virtual internal communication teams will need to place a greater emphasis on inspirational leadership and less on oversight management. There will need to be an increased focus on quality outcomes and less emphasis on quantity outputs.