Internal Communications Strategies – EMEA vs North America


Internal Communications Strategies - EMEA vs North America

Bigger budgets, more influence and better future for internal communications strategies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) versus North America (NA): global survey

Significant differences in internal communications (IC) functions between Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) on one hand, and North America (NA) on the other, have been revealed in a global survey commissioned by leading internal communications technology company, Newsweaver.

The survey revealed that internal communicators in EMEA are:
  • More positive about their influence inside their organization

  • More positive about the future of IC in their organization

  • More likely to measure their activity

  • More likely to see themselves as trusted advisors to senior leaders

  • More likely to be involved in corporate strategy

  • More likely to have developed internal communications strategies
  • More likely to have bigger budgets

  • More likely to see their budgets increase

  • More likely to report into HR as opposed to Marketing

  • More likely to be a part of significant corporate changes earlier.

These insights have emerged from an in depth analysis of Newsweaver’s global  ‘Inside IC’ survey, which was conducted earlier this year on more than 700 internal communication professionals about a wide range of IC issues.  

Speaking about the comparison between North America and EMEA, Mairéad Maher, Head of Marketing at Newsweaver, said:

“These results underscore what many of us in the industry have known to be true for some time: that those who measure their communications and report on their activity have more access to senior leaders, are involved at an earlier stage in key decision making, are more likely to be seen as trusted advisors, and have bigger overall budgets.

“It’s notable that these trends are more evident in EMEA as distinct from the US and Canada and our analysis looks at the reasons that could be contributing to this divergence,” said Ms Maher.  

Reporting

Communicators in North America were more likely to report into marketing, whereas EMEA tended to report to HR, according to the survey. North American communicators have greater ownership of communication activities, such as benefits enrolment and annual results.

“EMEA sees internal communications as fundamental to internal engagement, whereas North America tends to see it as more of a marketing function. This may be why internal communicators in EMEA are more likely to be strategic partners, involved in decision making at an earlier stage,” said Ms Maher.

Measurement

Seventeen percent of internal communicators in North America don’t do any sort of measurement, compared to 12% of IC professionals in EMEA. Internal social networking tools, intranets, leadership town hall meetings and video are all measured more in EMEA than in North America. Mobile and email measurement were more prevalent in North America, however.

Barriers to measurement were also different in the two geographies. EMEA respondents quoted financial resources and IT support as the main barriers to measuring IC, while North American respondents reported that lack of tools, lack of understanding about what to measure, and a belief that metrics are too difficult to get, were the main barriers to measurement.

Larger budgets

The budgets of internal communications departments in EMEA were almost 60% larger than those of their US and Canadian counterparts, according to the survey. The average budget in EMEA is $202k, as opposed to $129k in North America.

“One of the biggest differences between North America and EMEA was the IC budget. We were surprised by the scale of the difference. Looking at all the factors, we believe the lack of measurement in IC in North America, and the consequent inability to prove value and impact to senior leaders, is a critical contributor to this position,” said Mairéad Maher.

“Internal communications in NA has benefited enormously from years of investment and improvement, but it’s very clear that it still has some way to go, especially in relation to C-suite influence,” she said.

The report on EMEA versus North America can be downloaded here.

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Posted on 2016-12-14

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