The Gatehouse Blog

Communicating in a crisis: how are internal communicators responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

It’s been a few tough weeks for internal communicators. As a profession, we’ve been thrust into a crisis unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. And whether the majority of employees in our organisations are working from home, commuting into work, or on furlough, there’s been a considerable amount of work for us to do to keep people informed of what’s happening around them and how it might impact them. Our function has been crucial to keeping our organisations moving as smoothly as possible.

It’s not been easy, and with no similar experiences to refer to for best practice, we’ve all had to give it our best shot, and innovate whilst doing so. At Gatehouse, we wanted to learn as much as possible from what IC practitioners have been doing and we wanted to share this information across the profession to try and provide just a smidgeon of clarity in these uncertain times.

So, we put together a short survey – and today, we’re publishing the results of that survey.

Here are some of the main insights:

    • Digital setups are functional at best: Around 7 in 10 workers are now working from home. Prior to the crisis, 39% of communicators said ineffective digital channels are one of the biggest barriers to IC success. Now, in the midst of the crisis, just one in two IC teams are satisfied with their digital setup; 42% cite a lack of effective channels as a barrier; and 48% say they will be prioritising digital improvements after things begin to settle down.


    • The top priority once we return to normalcy will be reengaging teams around the organisational purpose and strategy (73%).


    • Through it all, internal communicators are remaining positive. Many are fuelled by a sense of pride (48%) and recognition from their employer (40%), and feel stimulated by the challenges they’re facing (47%).


  • Looking to the future, there is even more for them to feel positive about: 80% believe the policies and actions they’ve adopted in this crisis will have a long-term impact on employee engagement and 97% agree this crisis is a chance for their team to prove its worth and influence the direction of the business.


So, it’s been a tough few weeks for communicators, but it’s also been a learning experience, which has brought out the best in people and organisations.

If you want to learn more about just how IC practitioners are handling the crisis, and what they believe the future may hold, you can download the full survey results here.

We’re also holding some webinars on the topic, which will be a great way to connect with your peers and our consultants. Details to follow!

Finally, if you’d like to speak with our team about any challenges you’re facing, or projects you’d like to implement, don’t hesitate to get in touch – email