As we kick off another year working from home and with COVID still dominating headlines, we have been thinking about 2022 and what the year will hold for corporate communications experts. Here are five trends we foresee for 2022.

1. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL As hybrid ways of working continue, organisations will be required to communicate with their stakeholders using a range of tools — there will be no one size fits all approach. They’ll need to find innovative ways to maintain engagement – and reduce the risk of their message being misunderstood. The pandemic has also accelerated the use of digital channels. But as the digital media industry grows, so, too, does the number of platforms available. Organisations large and small will need to choose their mix of media channels wisely.

2. SPEAK TO YOUR OWN PEOPLE MORE: Strong internal communication has always been essential to business success. But COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdowns have meant a more scattered workforce, putting a spotlight on team engagement and the importance of a strong internal communication strategy to reach employees. With workplace disruption expected to continue, and the competition for talent heating up, organisations that engage employees and communicate change through transparent and compelling internal communications channels will have a better chance of maintaining the loyalty of their people. The main functions of internal communication – engage employees, share information, and create culture – have never been more important.

3. OWNED CONTENT AND WHY IT MATTERS! As newsroom staff and budgets continue to (sadly) shrink, it is getting harder to capture attention with earned media alone. As such, owned media is increasingly becoming a key channel for organisations to reach and maintain relationships with stakeholders. Companies will be spending more time creating content for their website and social media platforms, blogs and podcasts.

4. ESG – WE ARE ALL FOR TRANSPARENCY Over the past few years, there has been a growing focus from stakeholders on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues – and there’s no sign this will be slowing down in 2022. Pressure from investors, employees and communities is ramping up, meaning organisations can no longer ignore their ESG commitments and plans. We are seeing listed companies in particular, provide more robust, clear and transparent disclosures and integrate ESG issues into financial reporting, board agenda and wider communications. As the ESG disclosure landscape continues to evolve, you will need to stay up to date on reporting requirements and expectations, or risk being left behind.

5. MEET ME IN PERSON … OR ONLINE The pandemic has undoubtedly changed how organisations interact with stakeholders. With the Omicron variant now spreading rapidly, in-person conferences and events are unlikely to make a full comeback in 2022. Hybrid events – those that combine in-person and virtual in one event – may be the best option, given pandemic-related restrictions are everchanging. They also come with a host of advantages, such as breaking down geographical barriers and increasing accessibility for attendees.