The Gatehouse Blog

Where’s the investment? The internal communication chocolate bar budget

What’s your organisation’s most important asset? Most will say it’s their people, but the reality is that many organisations are simply not investing in their employees, and that includes communication. In our 2019 State of the Sector report, we found out that the largest organisations are spending less than £1 per person per month on communication internally! It is pretty shocking the organisation you work for is likely spending less on communicating with you than you just did when you picked up that Diary Milk bar at your local corner store. Unsurprisingly, we’ve labelled this the chocolate bar budget and identified this issue as one of the six areas for improvement that we think organisations should be looking at in the near future.

The cost of poor communication isn’t just an uninspired and dejected workforce (which is bad enough), it can literally mean a loss of millions of dollars. When it comes to budget season every year, many organisations do not consider that it could cost them around £35,000 to replace an employee (and that number goes up the more senior they are) – not to mention the hours of training and mentorship that also goes into integrating someone new to the organisation.

Effective communication has a massive impact on creating an environment where an employee feels informed, listened to and valued. There have been numerous studies on employee contentedness and the levels of productivity and business success so it should be a wakeup call for many organisations that they likely don’t know how their messages are landing with their workforce, how effective their internal communication channels are, and if their leadership communication makes a difference (if it’s happening at all). All of this comes back to our point that organisations are not putting their money where their mouth is and they are simply not investing enough in communicating with their people.

From our research, it is clear that across the board internal communication professionals or those entrusted with communicating in their organisation, are simply not provided sufficient resources for this vital activity. In fact, State of the Sector 2019 found that 37% or respondents did not know their organisation’s IC budget – making it even more difficult to communicate with colleagues.

We can’t blame everything on a small budget or the fact that it’s perceived the big wigs are simply stamping a red ‘no’ across every communication proposal that comes in. Those responsible for internal communication also need to take a look in the mirror and accept at least some of the blame for the lack of resources. Dusting themselves off and creating a more strategic approach to the way of doing things will help build the business case for greater investment. Being informed, due to in-depth measurement, and focusing on areas such as excessive volume of communications, poor line manager communication skills, and lacklustre internal technology will help demonstrate that value of great internal communication.

Looking at all of this, it seems a bit doom and gloom but that is not the case! There is room for improvement but with the insight that you receive from reports such as State of the Sector – things can only go up from here.

Our State of the Sector 2020 survey has just launched and your contribution will help us create the most informative report yet. This can help you build your business case or put together that long-term strategy you have been wanting to get to.

Take part in this year’s survey: