May 6, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

In all the changes that have occurred in organisations around the world as a result of COVID-19, the pandemic boosted the importance of work delivered by those working in internal and external communications.

Throughout the business events sector, larger organisations employ professionals who manage communications with stakeholders. The research reveals that during a crisis these roles become even more critical.

The latest PR and Communications Industry Monitor produced by Ragan Communication Leadership Council says the communications industry has experienced a transformation in stature and scope over the past 12 months.

While the organisation’s members are mostly in the United States, Ragan reports and training programs are valued and respected by communications profession globally.

The annual Communications Benchmark Report 2021 showed that the work of those involved in communications and crafting message delivery became more critical.

Tony Silber from Ragan’s PR Daily says, “Comms pros found their role more vital than ever as they helped keep organisations focused and moving forward, according to the research.

“Communicators saw access to the C-suite increase throughout 2020, and forged important new alliances with peers in other departments, including HR, finance and workplace wellness.

“The pandemic accelerated business change within organisations, propelling communicators into a critical role as they shaped and delivered messaging through their organisations, often around the globe.

“The Benchmark Report reflects that dizzying pace, but more, it provides communicators with a blueprint for 2021 and beyond.”

These are among the key findings from Ragan’s third annual Communications Benchmark Report, a study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council. The online survey was conducted between January 13 and February 7 2021. The survey included 755 qualified responses from internal and external communicators worldwide.

Some key findings as reported in Ragan’s PR Daily:

  • Communicators see dramatic changes coming in the next three to five years, and not just a few. There will be an increased focus on communicating with remote workers. There will be a greater reliance on social media. Workplace wellness will occupy a large role for communicators, through a shared role with other departments. There will be more personalisation.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion will especially increase as a focus.
  • Technology will change the landscape in dramatic ways. Artificial intelligence will rise in importance, as will mobile communications.
  • Respondents are increasingly pleased with their organisations’ communications efforts. This year, 52 percent rate their efforts as above average or excellent, an 11 percentage-point gain from last year. But some saw room for improvement. “We need more integration of internal and external efforts, was a typical response. “We need to be more focused on storytelling,” was another.
  • Overall, 78 percent of respondents measure their communications’ effectiveness. They’re measuring their work more frequently, and are also more satisfied with their measurement efforts—41 percent say they are satisfied with their efforts this year, up from 28 percent in 2020.
  • For respondents, there are many obstacles to producing more effective communications, but the most significant—by a wide margin and across both internal and external comms and large and small companies—is too many last-minute requests. Other obstacles include lack of staff, lack of budget and too many distractions.

Download a copy of Ragan’s third annual Communications Benchmark Report executive summary here.