Challenges for internal communicators

Developing a successful strategy means preparing for the challenges ahead. They’re difficult to predict so we thought we’d help here at The IC Space by asking a number of experts what they think the challenges will be over the next five years and how we should prepare for them. They cover communicating with different generations, the pace of change and getting your leaders engaged (you can find out more about how to engage your leaders in The IC Space chapter where there are videos of senior leaders from the top 100 companies to work for).

We’ve also spoken to our internal comms friends in Department of Work and Pensions, NHS Blood and Transplant, and Hackney Council. They talk through how they have overcome the biggest challenges in their organisations.

The four Cs

Before writing your strategy you need to be aware of some of the challenges which can get in the way of success. Bill Quirke has usefully summarised these as the four Cs:

  • Customers
  • Channels
  • Capacity
  • Capability

The following webcast explains these in a bit more detail.

Future direction and challenges

It’s clear the environment for internal communicators, and the skills they need, are changing rapidly. Here, we look at what three respected experts have to say about the future direction of the profession, and what internal communicators should be doing to meet the new challenges.


Victoria Mellor

Victoria Mellor, Melcrum

“Internal communication is entering a new era, one where internal communication professionals bring both greater influence and face higher expectations than ever before.

Once craft experts, the go-to gurus for all things entertainment and information, today’s practitioners must be all this and more. Fresh environmental dynamics, complex functional demands and employees who are more mobile, informed, vocal and more influential than ever before mean we’re increasingly organisational connectors who also support strategy and create content.”

Victoria Mellor
CEO Melcrum


Kevin Ruck

Kevin Ruck, PRAcademy

“Smart internal communication practitioners will finally realise that they hold the key to unlocking higher levels of employee engagement by facilitating employee voice. The era of internal information transmission is coming to an end. Craft communication skills are less important. Polished prose is perceived as propaganda. Organisations that embrace the potential of giving employees a voice will see their culture energised with increased innovation, generating ideas that improve performance. Ambitious practitioners will grab the opportunity to be at the centre of new, less deferential, ways of management. They will become expert curators of important knowledge. This will give them more va va voom in their own role and career development.”

Kevin Ruck
Co-founder PRAcademy and Editor of “Exploring Internal Communication”


Tim Johns

Tim Johns, Orato Consulting

“The new breed of practitioners will recognise that it is not about communication. It is all about behaviours. The role of internal communications is not about narratives; in fact, it’s not about messages at all. The starting point is to decide what sort of business you want and what types of behaviours are needed to support them. So if the business wants a culture that is open, honest, non-hierarchical, meritocratic, collaborative, curious and empowered, then the role of internal communications is to provide a rich communication environment in which those values can flourish. It will be about designing the communications to support the desired behaviours rather than using communications to tell people what the behaviours are. Rather than designing great channels and hoping people will come to the party, it will be about finding out how they want to work and live and then creating a communications environment that can support it.”

Tim Johns
Communications Expert and Owner
Orato Consulting