Hybrid working strategies is no longer one of the top communication priorities for employers, a new study has revealed.
Gallagher’s 2022/2023 State of the Sector report, which surveyed 2,000-plus HR and communication leaders in more than 50 countries, found that the key concern for most organisations (51%) was the communication of strategies and values for the consecutive second year.
This was followed by refreshing or developing internal communication strategies (35%), which replaced adapting channel strategies to hybrid working. The latter dropped to 19% this year, compared to 39% who identified it as a priority in 2022, which Gallagher believes is because many people have since returned to the workplace.
While the communication of strategies and values was also a hot topic in 2022, cited by 45%, there is now a growing focus on creating a sense of belonging and shaping workplace culture among HR leaders.
This resulted in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) becoming the second most frequently communicated subject last year. However, only four in 10 employers admit they have a clear DEI strategy, while a further 38% are still working on developing one.
Ben Reynolds, global managing director in the employee communication practice at Gallagher, said: “Even though many organisations are struggling to develop and execute on a DEI strategy, employers are deploying a range of tactics in an attempt to make positive strides.”
He highlighted that this includes awareness days or events (54%), employee resource groups or champions (48%), DEI training (45%), among others.
Reynolds added: “Leaders are looking to embed DEI throughout their communications, rather than through tactical siloed approaches. However, there’s still room for improvement.”
The report, which aimed to identify the ways employers are developing their internal communication programmes to enable them to achieve their goals, further found that three-quarters (74%) of employers say their internal communication strategy intends to shape the organisation’s culture and establish a sense of belonging. However, only just over half (56%) think their staff understand the organisation’s strategy, purpose and vision.
In terms of environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, around one-third (36%) of respondents do no communicate these at all. Of those that do, the main aim is to inform staff of the organisation’s ESG commitments and activities for 26%, while 13% want to encourage employees to help their local communities and charities.