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Increasing shareholder value is the top comms priority for 2024

Credit: Credit: SmileStudioAP

What’s on top of your to-do list for 2024?

This is a question that offers many differing views and responses. So it's perhaps surprising that 40% of comms and investor relations (IR) directors have placed “Increasing shareholder value through an effective and measurable communications strategy” at the top of their to-do lists for 2024. This is according to the latest executive search company Whitney Murray’s Insight Pulse.

Senior comms professionals are evidently under the cosh with “providing real value to the business” and “delivering on corporate reputation”. These comments make it clear that shareholders remain the backbone and judges of success.

Whitney Murray Comms & IR Tracker Feb 2024

Talent shortage

In contrast to this focus on present issues, 32% are also focused on the future and investing in their team. One comms director noted that: “Growth is only possible with great people and they are always in short supply.”

Rebecca Whitney, managing director of Whitney Murray, adds: “Intellectual capital is everything. And for every comms and IR team, finding the right blend of talent to deliver on the business’ strategy is the priority."

The Pulse findings show there is a mixed bag in terms of talent investment - 15% have their eyes on social media management, stakeholder relationship management and financial and IR communications as hiring priorities in 2024. Crisis communications and corporate reputation barely get a look in with 7% of the vote and ESG and risk management also comes through as a poor relation (2%).

What is behind the investment in social media management was summed up by this comms leader: “Social media has grown significantly and has been extremely effective. Going forward, we need to continue nurturing our audience whilst also consolidating and building a robust content process.”

Relationships are everything

Stakeholder relationship management attracts 15% of attention and forming positive relationships, with one director saying that: “Emotional intelligence and the ability to make positive things happen are critical competencies here.”

Rebecca Whitney concludes: "One insight travels to the top of this Pulse and that is forming positive relationships is at the bedrock of all of every comms and IR professional’s raison d’être. Whether it is with a social media audience, financial relationships or stakeholders themselves: positive and productive relationships are at the heart of their comms priorities for 2024."

Methodology

The source of these findings is The Pulse Business, in partnership with Whitney Murray. Sample size: c780 comms and IR leaders based in the UK/Internationally.

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