How to Get a Bigger Internal Communications Budget

Mariya Postelnyak

Internal Communications

More than 50% of internal communications professionals believe that they lack the resources to perform well in their tasks. Here’s how you can move the needle and get a bigger internal communications budget by next quarter.

Internal communications impact just about every area of businessfrom employee engagement and retention to customer loyalty. To maximize the benefits of your internal communications, it’s important to make the right investment.

This guide will teach you how to get a bigger internal communications budget and show your team the value of investing in employee experience.

What Is the Value of Internal Communications?

When asking for a bigger internal comms budget, you’ll often be met with questions concerning the measurable value of employee communications. Luckily, the latest research makes it easy to prove the impact and importance of internal communications

Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves. 

Here are just a few stats that you can share with colleagues to make a strong business case for internal communications:

  • Our 2022 Global State of Internal Communication (GSIC) report indicates that 47% of internal communicators grapple with low levels of employee responsiveness and engagement.
  • Employees are 20% – 25% more productive across businesses where staff feel informed and connected. 
  • According to our GSIC report, 28% of companies have high employee engagement levels, while 24% of companies have low or very low employee engagement levels. 
  • Employees spend 2.5 hours on average in search of information necessary to do their jobs. When information is easily accessible, employees save time and work efficiently.
  • During the pandemic, 85% of workers said they’re most motivated when managers offer regular updates on company news.

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What Are the Roles of Internal Communication Pros and Departments

Internal communications professionals make a difference in just about every area of business. But you’ll need to demonstrate this to individuals who might not know the ins and outs of the internal communications field. 

Before sending in your internal communications budget proposal, list all the tasks your team is responsible for. Organize them into categories or “buckets” that demonstrate their impact. 

For instance, common internal communications team responsibilities might be divided as:

  • Content creation and knowledge sharing
  • Departmental alignment
  • Supporting/facilitating the communications needs of teams and leaders
  • Growing company assets by improving employee experience and talent retention

Once you have a clear idea of what your team is achieving, it’ll be easier to demonstrate the impact of internal communications on business as a whole. When it comes to asking for a bigger internal communications budget, showcasing the achievements of your team will lay the groundwork for your proposal. 

Why Is it Important to Plan an IC Budget?

A properly defined internal communications budget helps turn all the asynchronous communication flowing across your business into valuable, and above all, measurable, business assets. 

By preparing and allocating an IC budget, you’ll be able to track the performance of your internal communications and its impact on business. 

Why Your Company Needs a Bigger Internal Communications Budget

Remember all those internal communications benefits we discussed earlier? To achieve them at scale, you need to invest in the quality and reach of your employee communications.

Research shows that increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can raise business profits by up to $2,400 per employee. Per year. 

How is this possible? Simple: informed employees lead to engaged employees. Workers who are actively engaged at your company stay longer, make a bigger impact, and contribute more to business growth.

Inversely, the costs of employee disengagement can be devastating, with losses of up to $350 billion a year across the US alone. 

To avoid the impacts of a disengaged workforce, and reap the benefits of an engaged one, getting an appropriate internal communications budget is essential. 

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How Can Budget Impact Internal Communications?

The biggest impact of a small internal communications budget is on productivity and business efficiency. In fact, some IC pros turned to ContactMonkey after spending as much as 8 hours a week building and sending internal emails.

In the long term, this is not sustainable. 

With a small budget, not only do internal communicators start experiencing burnout, but the quality of communications suffers, too. 

Without the right tools and manpower, it’s hard to reach employees with the necessary information in a timely manner. Crisis communications, for instance, might take hours to create and send, which can pose risks to employee safety.

Not to mention, companies with small internal communications budgets often rely on tools that weren’t designed for employee messaging. Many end up using external marketing tools, like Mailchimp, for internal communications. The result: unresponsive emails, unsubscribed users, poor deliverability, and emails getting flagged as suspicious. 

By increasing your internal communications budget, your team can procure tools that enhance the look, performance, and efficiency of your internal messages.

Of course, choosing great tools also makes it easier to build a strong business case for internal communications 

With ContactMonkey’s all-in-one internal software, you can save up to 4 hours a week on employee communications. ContactMonkey integrates with Outlook and Gmail, so you can build, import, and send stunning HTML newsletters in minutes. The intuitive email template builder also lets you make emails more engaging with images, graphics, videos, and surveys. 

ContactMonkey even integrates with employee SMS. So internal communicators can reach and engage frontline workers and dispersed teams in a fraction of the time. 

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What to Consider Before Building Out an IC Budget

Before estimating an internal communications budget, it’s important to understand your IC goals and the metrics behind them. 

Brainstorm everything you’ll need in your internal communications budget by using these questions to guide you: 

  • How much does workplace turnover cost your company annually?
  • What is your company’s employee net promoter score (eNPS)?
  • Does client loyalty help grow your business revenue?
  • How is your customer service team performing?
  • Were there any instances of lost revenue due to a lack of information/misunderstanding among staff?
  • Do your internal communications directly impact the quality of your customer service or product/services?

What Should Be Included in an IC Budget

Your internal communications budget should include all of the resources you might need to achieve your internal communications goals. These include:

  • The costs of your IC program: events, initiatives, design, and coordination tools. 
  • Manpower: current employees and new hires. 
  • Software: email builders, employee apps, intranets, and other tools necessary to implement your IC program.

To determine what exactly to include in your internal communications budget, think about what you want to achieve. Then, work backwards. 

Say your internal communications goals include increasing employee awareness and engagement. How will you measure success? Will it be by calculating email open rates or clicks? Or will you be checking up on intranet engagement? What tools will you need to measure internal communications performance?

Probe more deeply behind each of your internal communications goals to know exactly what to include in your IC budget.

How will the money be used and why

Your IC budget should offer a clear breakdown of what the money will be used for and why. Determining this is usually simple as there are just two key channels that your IC budget is designed to address:

Internal communications tools: think employee engagement apps, employee social media, intranet communications, video conferencing software, and internal email tracking tools like ContactMonkey. 

People overseeing your internal communications: your internal communications specialists, HR professionals, employee experience personnel, and interns. 

In your internal communications budget proposal, explain where exactly you need additional support. Is it in manpower? In new tools? Or both? 

Once you know the answer, you’ll need to forecast the impact of the resources you propose to add. This can be done by diving into the metrics. 

For instance, say you’re noticing an increase in internal email click-through rates when you embed videos in your internal communications. But designing responsive HTML templates from scratch is time-consuming. Tie these factors to make a case for implementing internal tools that speed up newsletter design and also enable videos/animations.

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What is a Typical Budget for an IC Department?

Research shows that the average internal communications budget across companies with more than 500 employees is $185,000 per year. 

However, most companies estimate that their annual employee experience budget reaches a maximum of $10,000. Compare these numbers with the million-dollar budgets allocated to Sales, Customer Relations, and Marketing teams. 

Post-pandemic, internal communications budgets of years past are simply unsuitable. Internal communicators need resources to connect remote and hybrid employees from anywhere. That means investing in virtual events, quality video conferencing software, employee pulse survey tools, and responsive employee newsletter software.

In the long run, these investments will enable companies to connect better with dispersed teams. On their end, employees will appreciate the flexibility of remote work while still feeling engaged and informed.

How to Propose Your Internal Communications Budget

To propose your new internal communications budget to stakeholders, you’ll need to make a business use case. For a strong proposal, consider answering the following questions first:

  • How did you use your previous internal communications budget? 
  • What internal communications goals will your new budget help achieve? 
  • What was the previous ROI on employee engagement/internal communications (qualitative or quantitative)? 
  • In the past, were you usually over or under budget?
  • Do you have any success stories that can attest to the value of your previous internal communications budget? 
  • In the past, what benefits/impact has your spend had on our business? 

These are just some questions you can expect from CEOs, VPs, and procurement teams during your budget evaluation process. When you’ve answered all of them yourself, you’ll be ready to move on to building out your business case for internal communications.

How to Create a Compelling Business Case for Internal Communications: 5 Steps

Your internal communications team might readily see the benefits of a bigger internal communications budget. But not everyone will see things your way. And it can be difficult to communicate the advantages you’re so sure of to the rest of the team. 

A business use case will help give structure to your ideas. It will enable you to clearly show how your proposed budget will improve internal communications and impact business as a whole.  

Here are 5 components of a persuasive business case for your internal communications budget:

1. Summary of business case

Outline your core internal communications goals and how your proposed budget will help you meet them. You can do this in bullets or short paragraphs. Keep things clear and to the point. Make sure to include key performance indicators (KPIs) and any tools you’ll use to measure them. Our internal email benchmark report will come in handy when establishing your goals. 

2. Internal communications audit

Provide an overview of your current internal communications budget. Outline the current state of your internal communications, and briefly touch upon any successes/challenges. If you’re using ContactMonkey, you can easily access these insights through your analytics dashboard. Export email engagement rates, survey responses, clicks, and read times, and convert the data into a PDF or PowerPoint. 

3. Describe your internal communications challenges

Use this section to elaborate on an opportunity/challenge that you identified in your summary. List the details of the issue(s) you’re hoping to solve and the resources you’ll need. We recommend structuring your problem description into 3 sections: Problem Statement; Description; Risk.

4. Describe your internal communications solution

Outline the value of a bigger internal communications budget. Use data from your internal communications audit to show how investing more in certain areas can boost employee engagement, and productivity, or even improve employee safety.  Be discerning and use data that addresses the issues at hand. We recommend structuring this section as: Solution; Description; Benefits. 

5. KPIs and timeframe for your solution

Wrap up your proposal by outlining the timeframe for implementing your internal communications solution and recapping the key performance indicators (KPIs). Ask yourself, which metrics will show that your new budget generated net gains for your business? When is the realistic deadline to obtain these metrics?

If your goal is to increase email open rates by 10% by the end of Q4, and boost event registrations by 5%, indicate this clearly. Then, summarize how the new budget will help. 

Use our internal communications budget template to frame your own budget proposal and position it for success:

Screenshot of an internal communications budget proposal template created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

How to Get Your Budget Approved

To make a strong business case for a bigger internal communications budget and boost your chances of approval, consider these best practices:

Communicate benefits strategically: clearly demonstrate what business need(s) your new budget will address and how you’ll be able to measure and demonstrate success. Say you’re trying to get more event registrations, and you want a tool that makes event management easier. Show how this tool might increase RSVPs, boost event participation, and lead to higher employee engagement.

Leverage data: when getting budget approval, numbers are more compelling than words. Use your own internal communications analytics alongside industry benchmarks to show how your company squares up to others in the industry. ContactMonkey’s internal email benchmark report will come in handy for this task. 

Demonstrate cost savings: show your CEOs and procurement teams that they’ll get bang for their buck in the long run. If a new internal communication software will help boost employee engagement and increase retention, estimate the cost savings for these employees. For reference, consider that when an employee leaves, it takes between 50% to 150% of their salary to replace them. So it’s more profitable to engage and retain employees

Show time savings: demonstrate how a bigger budget will allow you to implement a tool or initiative that improves workplace productivity. You can enlist employee feedback and conduct a survey asking employees how much time they spend on average looking for internal resources. Then, demonstrate how your new software will resolve this challenge and boost productivity. 

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What to do if Your Internal Communications Budget Doesn’t Get Fully Approved

If your budget doesn’t get approved, don’t sweat it. Often, a budget isn’t approved when there simply isn’t enough data to make a strong business case. Your company might also be in a tight spot financially and may revisit the proposal at a later date. 

Keep vigilant and continue to gather more analytics, including email open rates, clicks, and employee feedback. Compare quarterly performance and use the insights you gather to make an even stronger business case for increasing your internal communications budget.

When it comes time to revisit the budget, you’ll have a bigger chance of success if you have more data points to drive your proposal. 

Show the ROI of Internal Communications With ContactMonkey

In a perfect world, internal communicators would have a huge budget to communicate company news, initiatives, and urgent information to employees. In reality, that’s hardly ever the case. To get an internal communications budget suited to your goals, you’ll need to make a strong business case.

Use data to show the tangible benefits of your new budget; these analytics are the best way to get buy-in from managementnow and into the future.

With ContactMonkey’s powerful email analytics, it’s easier to build a data-driven internal communications strategy. Book a free demo with one of our dedicated team members to learn how to build a strong Business Use Case for ContactMonkey.