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Volume 12 of the Journal of Internal Communications is here!

Sign up online to download you copy of the latest the Journal of Internal Communication:

This issue is our 10-year anniversary special.

It’s been an amazing journey for us over the past decade – growing our team and extending our capability to provide a full range of services, including Research & Evaluation, Strategy & Planning, Creative & Delivery, Training & Development and Interim & Recruitment solutions to some of the world’s largest and most complex organisations.

The Journal of Internal Communication is just one of the many ways in which we contribute to the development of the internal communication profession. As always, this issue is packed with case studies and thought-provoking opinion pieces.

Remember we have plenty of other resources, including the State of the Sector report and our storytelling e-books, all of which are available for free. If you’d like to download these resources, simply visit

If you’d like to know more about our services, give us a call on +44(0)20 7754 3630.

Lee Smith

State of the Sector: Brexit Special – the results are in!

As the dust begins to settle after what has clearly been a surprise to most and a shock to many, the role of the internal communicator is arguably more important than ever.

This special edition of State of the Sector shines the spotlight on Brexit and its impact on internal communication. See how your organisation measures up in terms of Brexit preparedness, impact on the organisation and the future of IC teams.

Download the State of the Sector: Brexit Special report now!


Why Enterprise Social Networks are all too often a channel for the sake of a channel

This week, we’re looking into a report by Simply Communicate on Enterprise Social Networks and what it means for IC professionals.

A few months ago, Simply Communicate published their Social intranet Barometer, a comprehensive piece of research into the use of Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs), such as Sharepoint, Yammer and Jive, in the workplace. The report utilises data collected over a period of seven months from 72 organisations, and offers some interesting, and sometimes surprising insight into who uses ESNs, which platforms they use, and how and why they use them. It also highlights the difficulties faced by organisations, some of which are presented in this article.

Little preliminary research

One of the more surprising findings of this report is the lack of evaluation work undertaken by organisations before introducing an ESN.

Only a quarter of respondents surveyed staff to find out what they wanted from an ESN prior to the introduction of such a platform. According to this 25%, employees hope primarily for increased opportunities for collaboration and for their day-to-day work to be made easier. The objectives differ from those typically agreed upon by the board of the organisation, who approves the introduction and the maintenance of the ESN. Objectives agreed upon by the board usually revolve around improved knowledge sharing, increased engagement, better communication and shared best practice.

It is disappointing that more companies do not give their employees a voice when it comes to introducing new IC channels. After all, it is employees who are the target audience, and it is they who will make or break an initiative. Even more disappointing is the fact that employees are not often consulted after the ESN has been implemented either. What results is an overall misunderstanding of the platform and its benefits for any party. This is echoed by our own State of the Sector 2016 research report. We surveyed 372 communicators in 300 different organisations about their IC practices and, incredibly, only half of these said the employees in their organisation understood the purpose of their ESN. While this could be down to misleading communications around the platform, two in five admitted that the purpose of their ESN was not actually clear.

Limited employee involvement

Only 10% of enterprises surveyed involve staff in developing policies for platform use, with a further quarter involving staff in “some” policies. This means under half of companies involve staff in developing a framework for the use of ESNs. Yet those organisations that do involve their staff in policy-making report better-than-average adoption rates.

Low adoption rates are a problem that blight many an organisation, and many an IC team as they struggle to justify spending money and time promoting the ESN internally to no or little avail. Our own State of the Sector report showed that just over a quarter of IC professionals consider the ESN in their organisation have high levels of adoption across the organisation – while two in five say their ESN is used well only in “some pockets”. Senior management are understandably sceptical as to the value of investing in these kinds of platforms, given the low adoption rates, but because of this, IC teams often lack the resources they need to manage the platforms properly. Case in point: despite employee engagement being a key objective for many organisations, under half do anything to reward contributors to the ESN. The most popular method to reward active users is competition, but even this is used by only a quarter of respondents.

Overall, this paints a rather poor picture of the involvement of employees in Enterprise Social Networks.

Lack of evaluation

The final surprising finding we will touch upon resides in the fact that only half of those surveyed said they consciously report on the effectiveness of the ESN used in their organisation. A quarter stated they never report on effectiveness, while a further quarter declared they didn’t know if they do or don’t. Using an IC channel in the hope of reaching and engaging with employees without following up on the impact of the channel is akin to throwing someone a ball then turning around before making sure they’ve caught it. From a strategic point of view, it makes no sense. Unfortunately, this does tie in with our State of the Sector report findings: we discovered that although the proportion of internal communicators using ESN metrics has grown since last year, it remains paltry, with just over one in three practitioners using comment and like numbers to evaluate the effectiveness of their social channels.

Of course, the report does highlight some explanations for this lack of evaluation. Analysis techniques are limited, as are opportunities to collect quantitative data. Only one of the respondents said they had access to social network graphing technology, while the other respondents who reported on effectiveness were limited to the number of active users and qualitative research – studying interaction, collaboration and idea generation for instance. It comes as no surprise, given the limited options for evaluation, that almost two thirds of our State of the sector respondents stated that their ESNs were not effective as feedback channels – they can’t garner enough tangible data from them. It remains a shame that so many do not report on the effectiveness of their ESN, however, particularly given the growing scepticism with regards to such platforms.

Overall, we think this was an insightful piece of research, that we would recommend you read. It demonstrated a somewhat half-hearted use of Enterprise Social Networks within organisations, possibly linked to low adoption rates and perceived lack of reach of these platforms. We would argue that this has a lot to do with the fact that organisations’ target audiences – their employees – are not consulted before the introduction of the platform, and thus the fact that the ESNs are not developed with their needs in mind. There is no excuse not to get employee input before developing an ESN. If you’d like to discuss what you could do to give your employees a chance to be heard on the subject of ESNs but also other IC channels, get in touch.

You can download the Social intranet Barometer report for free on Simply Communicate’s website. If you’d like more food for thought, you can download our State of the Sector report for free by signing up for our Knowledge Bank.

What impact will Brexit have on Internal Communication?


As the dust slowly begins to settle after what has clearly been a surprise to most and a shock to many, the role of the internal communicator is arguably more important than ever.

So what does BREXIT mean for our profession?

To answer that, we are running a special one-off State of the Sector survey to help understand the implications and explore how we, as communicators, will need to respond to the challenges and opportunities we will inevitably face in the coming weeks, months and years.

This is a short survey (17 questions) and should take you no longer than ten minutes to complete. It will close at midnight GMT on Wednesday 13th July and we are aiming to complete the analysis and publish the results by the end of July. If you include your contact details, you will be one of the first to receive the report.


Take the survey now!

The Journal of Internal Communication Volume 11 is here!


There’s an old joke about two construction workers. They’re perched side by side on a girder, about to eat their lunch.

One opens his lunchbox and cries out in frustration: “I can’t stand this! Cheese sandwiches – again! All I ever get are cheese sandwiches!” The other guy says: “Why don’t you ask your wife to make you something different?”

The first fellow goes quiet. “I pack my own lunch.”

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

We publish the Journal of Internal Communication to expose you to new ideas. We hope that it will jog your thinking, sow the seeds for something new to try with your audience or encourage you to push the boundaries professionally, something that we try hard to do here at Gatehouse.

Volume 11 of the Journal of Internal Communication is here, and has a strong focus on line manager communications! A whopping 60% of internal communicators see line managers’ lack of communication skills as a barrier – so how can us IC professionals overcome this obstacle? This issue of the JoIC offers some insight into this tricky audience to communicate with.

Download Volume 11 of the Journal of Internal Communication from our Knowledge Bank.

The 2016 State of the Sector results are in!

SOTS_mockup_blogNow in its eighth year, State of the Sector is the definitive survey of the internal communication and employee engagement landscape, informed by responses from thousands of leading practitioners around the world.

With a focus on all things IC – including careers, budgets and working practices – you’ll gain a real insight into what’s working inside other organisations, current trends and the latest channels, enabling you to benchmark against others.

The 2016 Report is now available!

Take our State of the Sector survey

Today we’re launching our annual State of the Sector report. You can use State of the Sector to give you a real insight into what’s working in other organisations – including careers, budgets and working practices.

In the eight years since we began publishing it, it’s become the most important annual survey of the internal communication and employee engagement profession.

Would you like a free copy? All we ask is that you contribute to the research. It should take around 15 minutes to complete and you’ll receive a free electronic copy of the full research report prior to its publication in early 2016:

Subscribe to the JOIC

Ajoic3d_2-300x225 woman’s boss had a strange idea to improve his business.

One day, he handed her a huge jug and asked her to go around Southern California “collecting water” from a list of specific companies.

He’d read in one of his spiritual books that if you pour water from other businesses onto your business, their success will be absorbed into your company.

Crazy. He wanted her to go to the front desk of each company and request some water from a water fountain. (She was not to collect the water herself.)

She explained to her boss how much driving this would take. She suggested that it would take two or three days to get the water collecting done.

Her boss agreed, so she spent the next three days by her pool and just filled up the jug in her bathtub. Her boss was over the moon.

People have all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas to improve their businesses.

That’s why we publish the Journal of Internal Communication – to bring you the best, most actionable ideas to improve your comms.

Hope you enjoy the issue. If you still haven’t subscribed, what are you waiting for? I don’t mean that as a lazy idiom – literally what are you waiting for? We’ll send you a free print copy every time it’s published, as long as you meet certain criteria.

Final call for Accelerate in May

When Steve Jobs took over at Apple in 1997, one of the first things he did was get rid of the Apple museum in the foyer.

The firm was struggling, and Jobs felt that it was too focused on its past.

It’s like this in internal comms: we have to let go of the past to succeed.

One thing that many of us are trying to put behind us is the idea that internal communicators are soft and fluffy ‘people people’ – or postmen and women who merely pump out messages to the rank and file.

Many leaders still don’t give you the chance to influence the messages they want you to communicate. Instead they come to you and say: “I need to get this out”.

How do you get leaders to a place where there’s a genuine advisory relationship and mutual respect? How do you position yourself as the person who can help them shape the strategy and how they articulate it, not just broadcast the message?

One answer is to position yourself as a ‘trusted advisor’. David Maister coined this term years ago. He was talking about professional services firms – lawyers and accountants – but on Accelerate, the internal comms masterclass we deliver with the IoIC, we apply it to our profession.

If this sounds helpful, we’re taking bookings for our May course. Let us know if you’d like to come.

Would this valentine email be 'safe for work' today?

10 years ago – almost to the day – I received this valentines email message. It was a collection of anonymous ‘valentines messages’ collected by the internal comms team at Future, a magazine publisher where I used to work.

They did this every year. They’d ask staff to send in anonymous valentines messages for other staff members. Each year there’d be dozens of declarations of love and affection – some more serious than others.

I’ve copied and pasted it below for two reasons:

1) It’s an interesting idea that you might want to copy

2) It does make me wonder whether this would be acceptable today. They printed people’s real names – alongside some fairly saucy messages! Was 2005 really that different to 2015?

Here goes…

Future Intranet 14/02/2005
to: all
Subject: Valentine’s messages from the Pollmeister!

We asked all love legends for their valentine’s messages. Loads of you left a love note for a fellow Futurite. Here is a rundown of those special messages.

“Loving With Passion”

The Pollmeister x


Dizzy wants some Sizzy. Sizzy wants some fizzy Dizzy. Izzee gonna get
some? xxx


The first time we met, I could see,
That you and I, were meant to be.
Your eyes were so gentle, your smile so true,
When you first held my hand, I just knew.

If time could stand still, I’d freeze it here,
So you’d always hold me, close and near.
In your arms, where I’m meant to be,
Filled with the perfect love you’ve given me.

A vow to myself I make,
As you quietly sleep away;
To love and always cherish you,
Until my last breath… until my last day.

I love you so much…Foo xxxxxxx


To Ryan Ferguson, you have an amazingly sexy voice and looks to match. Just a shame you’re near yet so far…….


Faye Dixon
Still think you’re cute. From an admirer miles away…
Baker Street…x


To Luca Cataluffi, “fit but you know it”, but hey I still wouldn’t say no ;)


WILL you or won’t you…

WILL you ever glance in my direction?
WILL you share your supersize sub with me?
WILL we ever sip a diet coke and lime together?
WILL my heart stop fluttering at the sight your latest gadgets?
WILL you ever tidy you desk?
Where there’s a WILL there’s a press release. Rock on! xxxx


Dataflow. Oh, Dataflow. How you make my heart race… I’ll be sorry to
see you go when Studio Editorial makes its entrance. We’ve had many a long night
together and many a morning too ;o)
I’ll miss you. Bye.


Mike Mansfield
You’d make a great Spoon Man. Happy Valentines!


Rebecca Smalley – you’re much too good for those Linux geeks.



To have a reason
to come and see you,
I spend more cash
than I really need to.

I love your style
and your sweet manner,
And your Tinkerbell glass
is a real winner.

You’re my favourite member
of the cashiers team,
To spend a day with you
Would be a perfect dream.

Your Secret Admirer


To King Zed of the Jungle
Happy Valentines Day!!!
Love your Jane of the Jungle x


Philippa Montgomery… lush. You make me do a s*x wee. X


To Stuart Harris, thanks for always putting a smile on my face no matter what xxx


Clare Dodds,
I love the way you smile at me in the mornings!


Perkins. I love you more each day. T. xxxxx


You’re cooking for me tonight
The bol is getting bigger
It’s nothing to do with the food
It’s this bloody nipper!

The bed seems to be getting smaller
But it’s just the blooming belly
Make sure you’re ready on May 5th
When the waters break, grab your wellies


My cute Games boy
It would have been fun to corrupt you


Andrew Church
Happy Valentines Mr Church! x ;-)


Oh Caroline-a!
You are so fine-a!
I want to see you
in Redline-a!

Oh Caroline-a!
I’d never undermine ya!
You’d look good
in a bin-liner!

and you are a very good reception supervisor too


Aubrey I think I love you. You’re such a genius. Come and edit my
contents. An admirer.


Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m the Fokeroon and you are me Foo… I love you so much…


Thank you for your patience,
Thank you for your care,
Thank you for your friendship,
And for always being there


Kate Stodhard: If you weren’t taken, I’d love to be your David Beckham.


Joy Lumby
Happy Valentine’s – will you be my wife? Love Boris


Christopher Brown – I don’t normally go for blondes, but for you gorgeous I would make an exception :-*


R is for romeo (that’s me)
A is for aero – bubbly chocolate
C is for communication (F-Word)
H is for honey blond hair
E is for excellent wife material
L is for lovely shoes


The Golden Hags,
Best I send you a message as nobody else will!


Happy Valentines Michael Francis!
Have a great day x x x


Lily Kay
You Make My Day
Everytime I Walk Through The Door

It’s Such a Shame
It Won’t Be The Same
We’ll Miss Your Face For Evermore

I Wush You Joy
With The Hoi Polloi
And Hope Your New Job Is Not A Bore


To Mark in Production
It’s time for your liposuction
And eye-bag lift
It’s your Valentines Gift
Love from the 10 Years Younger team
We’ll make your teeth gleam.


Bike Boy
Thanks for the banter etc and for making sure I always get home safely – its been fun. xx


Love is the mountain that we must climb,
Let’s climb it together, your hand in mine,
We haven’t known each other long,
But the feelings we have are strong,
I know we can make it theres no doubt,
We owe it to ourselves to find out


Roses are red
Violets are blue
Darren Phillips, I can’t get enough of you!


Aimee and ‘orrible Abigail,
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Drop a dress size
And I might fancy you!


John Gower, John Gower
Come join me in the shower!
I will be your lusty valentine
If you could just spare me the time.


Dear Mr Happy Days
Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day
Love from the Westgate Palm Trees


Even a Rose as beautiful as you (tickets!)
Must bloom and fade, but
I will always
Love You! X


To Bobby Flu
I love you
Help me with my lipstick
Then I’ll kiss you quick
Love from the tangerine


Abi Pocock
Abi, oh Abi
How could I forget
Hangovers in sunnies
And stealing left-over baguettes

Happy Valentines chick! I’ll miss you!


Senorita Lopez,
¿qué puede usted ver?
te amo, adios


To KR,

You answer the phones all day,
As I gaze into my display,
For it is not work I am thinking of,
But you and I making love!


Mr Amar Patel…what a fine figure of a man.
Shame you’re in London and i’m in Bath.
I could go on forever singing your praises but for now i’ll just sit back and make do with the odd visits you pay to the Bath office.
I’m happy to wait for you, or maybe some phone sex to tide us over?
Those smouldering dark eyes and manly shoulders do it for me.
Please be my valentine!


To Mr Fluellen, from A.A.A

Bobby oh Bobby, how we once longed for you
You were amazing to us, a dream come true
We thought our love was solid as a rock
But then some one told us you had a small………….


GW, thanks for inviting me to stay in your fairy room. Lovely decor.


For The Business Service Boys – We loved your performance at the Christmas Party. Now we’ve seen you perform in public our question is how do you perform in private?


Davy Lewis come and screw this


Peter Stothard
David Beckham is a god
but not a patch on you
There is one man in my life
and I love you.


Fattie, you are the fattest of them all. Love ooooo


Rosie Davey… ditch the publisher and subscribe to this writer. I’d love to book some space with you, so have you got room for an 8×1?
It’s up to you where you place it…


Karen D
My Love for thee
Is like a sea
My heart will be broken if you say no to me


To Nick Bransby-Williams, naughty boys don’t deserve valentines messages, but thought I’d surprise you anyway ;-)


To Scott Douglass – was the night of the Christmas party as memorable
for you as it was for us? From the Nice Girl and the Mean Girl x


To The Teacher Who Never Was…
We both know it was taboo (haha), but I wish you’d not gone home that night, or that I’d caught you before you’d left.
I feel like I’ve missed out on some mind-blowing passion with an achingly sexy and sophisticated person (not to mention Hot! Hot! Hot!), and I still long to do all those shockingly exciting things we said we would.
I certainly won’t forget the last few months. But although it was the right thing to do, if I get the same chance again I’m not letting you go without at least a long kiss goodbye.
Happy Valentines!


Donato Ditri come and eat me!
You haven’t been here long but my feelings for you are strong,
Be my valentine you Italian Stallion xxx


Christy, you can Park & Ride me anytime.
You make the wheels on my bus spin around with lust.
Your secret commuter… x


To The 2nd Floor Cleaning Lady, From Richard Jefferies.

I’m sorry about the confusion with your tea towels and all that fuss
But I must confess that’s just not how it was
In truth, I wanted a simple reminder of you
But now I must confess my love for you is true
I love your dulcit tones, ” ‘ave you finished for yer mug”
I only wish the office was empty so I could give you a big hug
I love the way you work that hoover round the floor
I often wonder if you’d like to come round to my house to do a bit more
Of course I’d pay you well, I’m known for my generosity
I guess I just want you to be my very own lovely cleaning lady


I know you want to snog me,
Keep the torch alight,
Maybe one day, you’ll be mine,
However not tonight.


Christy, Christine or Crispy,
Mr Walters, it just don’t matter to me.
You have the name of a lady,
but the muscles of a young boy.
Hold them against me.


Hotty Hughes – Wine and dine me this valentines day… and I might
agree to getting Sky Sports!! xx


We both love cats, we both love bikes, we both love eating thai,
We both love sitting in a field, and watching bats fly by,
We both love doing stupid things, to make each other laugh,
But most of all it’s you I love, ’cause you’re my better half.

To T from your secret (ahem) admirer


For Mark Sparrow

O sweet little Sparrow, why won’t you
Alight on my mighty tree trunk of love


You always were my favourite Cashier, please come back to me, I need
your inspiration in the gym, and now that you can drive the sky’s the limit.


To Mark Sparrow,

I’d love to snog you with my bright red lips.
And to feel your hands caressing my hips
Alarm bells are ringing, this could get us in trouble
Just give me the nod and I’ll make your chair wobble!


“Your knees may be dodgy
But your bottom looks just fine
You may be an old codger
Yet I wish that you were mine!”


to lady hall of bitchfield
we all love you loads & wish you valentine happiness
big G, stevo & weasel boy


Ian Robson
You’re so sexy and smart
Paul Smith tout le jour

You’ve flashed your crocodile grin
At every girl on the floor

But can’t run from the truth:
It’s sad but it’s true
You don’t fancy us
You only love you


I love the way we like to flirt,
and your fabulous pale pink shirt,
you love my passion for pricey shoes
and a good night out on the booze
so lets get down in the dirt,
not to rough mind, I might get hurt!


Claire Davies you are TG’s very own princess, and if I had the time
and lots of money, then I’d take you round the world.


TM – you can take me to the edge of heaven anytime!
From a secret admirer! x


Mrs Ifans
will you mine tonight?


Tom Shaw: every time I see you my belly does back flips!


I know we can never be together,
As I’m not your sort…
In more ways than one.


Ode 2 Diskboy
Who is always buying an expensive new toy
With his shark fin hair
And his love of Erdinger

He thinks he’s a fun night out
Drinking ale, lager and stout
But he twitches on the dance floor
And his singing makes your ears sore

He loves to play Halo 2
On his XBox for an hour or two
Under the name Prince Willie
Which we all think is really silly

It’s time to say
Happy Valentines Day
Disc Boy
O how you still fill our hearts with joy


I know we’ve got partners,
But give me your pager

You be Edwina
And I’ll be John Major


Karen D
My love for thee
Is like a tree
Strong tall & woody


Hey James ‘The Games’ Greenwood
Keep seeing you out surrounded by a crowd of girls – you must be hot
stuff! What’s your secret???


TG Dave:
You rock my world, sweet cheeks!
Fancy having a go on MY valentine’s ‘Poll’


To the Cross Stitch girl in stocking soles,
So slinky in your pantie-hoes.
You put your kettle on to boil
And send the males into turmoil;
Should we ask you out to eat
Or simply nibble on your feet?
Alas we fear we’ll never know
The outline of your sweet big toe.
Or will we?


To James Evans, have a fantastic day even if you can’t guess who I am x


to j
i lvoe you


You know who you are, Mr Snugly Jumper!
You’re ace – keep up the banter


A thousand kisses from you is never too much


Gangsta Al, I wanna lick your ankles !


Nick Bransby-Williams…..Top Tasty Bloke..


Ben Chandler = Sex on legs!!


Valentine, valentine,
I’ll never forget
How you dine
Four times a day or maybe more.

You might think this would make you sleep
And pave the way to bed with sheep
But when we wend our way to bed
Read, snuggle down and counsel keep
Before long in uncomfortable splendour
We’ll be disturbed by eight small feet.

Love you and the small two for always xxx