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How well prepared are PR and comms teams for a period of lower growth?

It is a time of upheaval in the world of communications, but the majority of firms are feeling comfortable with their place in it. In the latest executive search company Whitney Murray’s Tracker, developed with The Pulse Business, two-thirds (67%) of comms and investor relations (IR) leaders feel, at a minimum, well equipped to manage the changing communications world. There is, then, a clear sense of confidence. However, being well equipped to handle change is by no means a closed deal.

Q: According to a recent Numis poll, 94% of FTSE 100 CEOs are planning more change this year. How well equipped, if at all, is your senior team to manage significant transformational change?

Change happens

As such, one leader noted the varying positions of firms as they react to change: “Some (businesses) are getting better at change because they have to... others are paralysed with planning and analysis”; another commented that: “Senior management needs to study more and get their own hands-on experience”.

Q: Today’s news cycles are wrought with sensitivity making it hard, as a business, to say and do the right thing. How well equipped, if at all, is your senior team to manage this communications environment?

When to act

The choice between action and consideration is clearly a divisive one. It becomes evident that despite this general measured confidence amongst comms leaders, there is little conclusive agreement on how best to adapt to the evolving communications world. It’s not surprising that how to grapple with, and manage such transformation, generated a lot of comment. Over one-quarter (28%) of comms and IR leaders feel that there are some gaps in their teams’ skills sets. The reasons for this are variable: one leader said the geographical displacement of the “work from anywhere” policy negates efficacious adaptation to change; another expressed concern over the advent of AI in the business world. Indeed AI is an example of many significant changes that are yet to reach their zenith. 

Updating skills

Rebecca Whitney, managing director of Whitney Murray, offers this view: “Whilst change can be stimulating for many companies and give rise to new ideas and innovation, the biggest challenge is making sure your staff are comfortable with the impact of these changes. Feeling confident with their skills sets and experience is essential if they are to contribute powerfully. Couple this with the fact that teams are more distant from one another (a knock-on effect from the pandemic), the need to bring people together, listen to what they need and support them, is essential for any competitive business."

Methodology

The Whitney Murray Comms and IR Tracker, in partnership with The Pulse Business, ran in May 2023 and was sent to c780 Comms and IR Leaders, based in the UK.

Article written by Imogen Osborne, founder of The Pulse Business

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