Internal Communication Trends 2017

What should corporations be prepared for in 2017? What is going to change, and why? We collected new trends and developments that are shaping internal communication this year.

Predicting the future is always a stab in the dark. Fortunately, communication doesn’t change overnight. So let’s take a look at changes and challenges that are looking likely – or have already begun.

In-house social networks

In businesses not involved with online marketing or sales, it’s still common to ban Facebook and other social media distractions from the internal web. However, the quick and easy communication tools – e.g. messengers – are gaining popularity. Among a daily flood of e-mails, they allow for fast questions, and fast answers. Company-owned in-house networks make a lot of sense if you want to simplify transfer of information in more pressing issues. Some tools – such as Slack – are slimmer, others, such as Facebook’s Workplace, offer a ton of tools. With larger businesses, it might even make sense to invest in your own in-house social network and prevent security issues.

Assessment in numbers

In the past, internal communication frequently reminded us of activism. As long as something was “being done”, there was progress made – or such the assumption. Whether the taken steps would lead to the desired results was written on a different sheet. With 2017, experts anticipate a stronger look towards data, measurements and key performance indicators (KPI). A gut feeling or a pat on the shoulder are nice. But when it comes to an effective communication agenda, they might not be enough.

Influencer work among colleagues

“Workplace happiness” is not to be neglected when we’re talking about communication. Because it’s not all about the what, but about the how, as well. Direct communication with internal influencers is getting more important for leaders. Who is an influencer? Not necessarily the employee at the top of the food chain (so to speak). It can be someone with high visibility, popularity among colleagues or someone who’s engaged in enterprise-related projects. If you’re in leadership, look out for people motivated to take on additional commitments, e.g. as a buddy/mentor or in the fields of sustainability and gender equality. They might be the ones you need to address first and bounce your ideas off with.

Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality

VR is looking up – and we are going to see a lot coming from there. (Image: Samuel Zeller/

Admittedly, these two sound a little “scary” to some people outside the field of work. What it means in this context is the merging of worlds. As repetitive tasks are increasingly taken over by automats, there is more employee brain power for innovation. Virtual Reality is definitely a strong market of the future, and innovative thinking – whether in software development or marketing – should not ignore the possibilities.

This also means one more thing: individual, personal communication is key. Users, influencers, employees and customers are getting more sensitive to what’s truly directed at them, and what is just a chatbot or an algorithm speaking. Here is where internal and corporate communication needs to step it up a notch. Meaningful communication can work only by addressing people from person to person. We know, this isn’t news. But we think that it bears remembering in a new year of groundbreaking technical changes.

Specialist Profiling

Internally created content gains momentum – you don’t always need or want an extern writer or content creator to take care of your unique selling proposition. In 2017, it makes increasingly more sense for teams to step up occasionally and share relevant content “as themselves”. Positive side-effect: You could even appear as a desirable guest writer or expert for other media! Then your message and influence are spreading, other platforms are getting an expert’s voice, and everyone wins.