Article | 04 Jun 2024

How Internal Communications Is the Lynchpin To Successful Business Transformation

Posted in PR and Communications, Business, Industry news, Client,

Internal communications has long been a difficult topic for businesses.

Leaders are reticent to invest in workforce comms, employees feel frustrated or confused, and everyone seems surprised to discover there are seismic gaps in efficiencies, processes and company sentiment.

This is never so true as when companies are undergoing times of change. Which for most, is a reality at some point. Whether it's driven by the commitment to scale, adapt to market shifts, or implement new technology, transformation is an imperative to achieve growth and remain relevant in a competitive market.

It's no small feat - anyone who's led or even worked in a company undergoing change will know that. But if leaders want to secure the success of their transformation project and go from strength to strength, they need the buy-in of their workforce. And it all starts with how that change is communicated.

Here's how internal communications is a business-critical investment during transformation, and how it can help develop your business.

The Critical Role of Internal Communications

Business transformation aims to achieve precisely what it says on the tin: transform a business. Achieving change takes shape in any number of different forms, but universally, it alters how your company operates at its core.

If it matters to your business, it matters to the people within your business. It's a simple equation, but an influential one. Still, that's not necessarily driving effective and proactive communication.

According to one study from Gallup, some 74% of employees feel they're missing out on company news because of a lack of or poor internal communication. And another study found an alarming 80% of workers feel stressed because of ineffective comms. Plus, around 1/3 of employees felt uncertain about the "why" behind change.

“Internal, true change communication is the golden thread that enables successful organisational transformation. Without open and authentic engagement and conversation led from the top , cross-organisational connection and collaboration, and creative, yet pragmatic co-creation, any transformation programme runs the risk of failure." – Sarah Howe, Board Advisor on Leadership & Culture Transformation & Independent Member of The Work Crowd

These figures are having a ripple effect on the success of company initiatives. Research from McKinsey suggest that around 70% of organisations' change initiatives fail to meet their goals. Yet higher employee engagement can lead to 21% higher profitability and 17% more productivity.

Types of Business Transformation

Digital Transformation

New software, ecommerce platforms, or digital tools, organisations may  adjust or overhaul their tech to generate value, greater efficiencies or revenue, reach new audiences or maintain market relevancy.

How it impacts the workforce: teams may need to adopt new tools (and therefore processes), or onboard clients or customers onto new technology as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Operational Changes

Much like sudden, widespread remote working at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations may change how they operate to ensure consistency during crises, or revolutionise structures to improve value.

How it impacts the workforce: aside from new ways of working and potential departmental changes, this can result in shifts to company culture. 

Leadership & Board Shifts 

There are any number of reasons for this, but changes to senior leadership will typically bring about new strategic direction to increase revenue and address internal issues, mitigate risk or move past crises.

How it impacts the workforce: depending on the leader's objectives, this could impact company culture and sentiment, particularly if drastic structural changes are in the equation.

Mergers & Acquisitions

One of the most significant changes a business can undergo - regardless of which side of the coin they're on. It's usually driven by shareholder objectives, new market targets or offer a new product or service.

How it impacts the workforce: this could mean anything from job losses to role expansions to new colleagues, and will have long-lasting transitional periods for employees.

Developing Change Management

Developing any strategy which delivers its intended results usually follows a very similar formula. Internal comms is no different.

  1. Understand the impact your transformation project will - and could - have internally. Leaders should consider everything from impact to processes, to impact on company culture.
  2. Identify what support employees will need throughout the transition, not only to maintain workplace engagement and consistency in their roles, but to help clients and/or colleagues.
  3. Develop a strategy for your internal change communications, complete with the "what", "how" and "why" of your business transformation. Clear comms = employee buy-in.

“Deep and active listening throughout the process is vital if you are to take your people with you on the change journey. Also, instead of focusing so much time on “what” you are doing to transform, focus more on the “how” and the “who”, as the people piece of the transformation puzzle is at the core of the challenge and first-class internal communication with a robust change lens is critical.” – Sarah Howe

  1. Provide all the necessary resources and training for your workforce to implement change, particularly if your employees are asked to support customers with transformation.
  2. Throughout your transformation, aim to address concerns or frustrations openly, particularly if they're leading to changes in employee sentiment and productivity.
  3. Be proactive. Regardless of where your brand is in its transformation, internal comms need to remain relevant, clear, timely and supportive, and relay company expectations.


Ultimately, your workforce is responsible for the success of transformation. But business leaders are responsible for equipping them with the tools, resources and information to make that a success.  

The Board may ideate transformation company-wide, leadership may steer change management to implement the transformation, but it's your workforce which drives it on the ground across your operations, processes, structure, regions, markets and so on.

Internal communications shouldn't just drive what your business wants to achieve, but capture how and why you're undergoing transformation. And importantly, what it means for your workforce.

By prioritising employee engagement, and inspiring teams with the right messaging, you can drive a successful business transformation from within. If you're looking for a steer with your internal communications strategy, let us help you find a skilled internal communications specialist to drive your change management.