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Gatehouse acquired by Gallagher

Leading internal communication and employee engagement agency joins Gallagher’s global Communications team.

5 December 2017

[Tower Bridge, London] Gatehouse, one of Europe’s leading internal communication and employee engagement agencies, has been acquired by Chicago-based, Fortune 500 insurance broker and risk management services firm, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (Gallagher). Terms were not disclosed.

Gatehouse, which joins Gallagher’s global Communication consulting operations, was founded in 2006 by Simon Wright and Lee Smith. Today the London-based business is recognised as a leading specialist agency, with a global client base.

“Gatehouse and Gallagher’s businesses complement one another perfectly,” said Lee Smith, Gatehouse director and co-founder. “Gallagher Communication is already regarded as world-class experts in employee communication, and Gatehouse is the go-to internal communication agency, providing us with an opportunity to expand our client offering.”

Simon Wright adds: “This is a really exciting time for us. From the day we founded Gatehouse over a decade ago we have always had big ambitions for this business. Joining forces with Gallagher provides us with a global footprint spanning 34 countries – the perfect springboard for creating the world’s leading Communication Practice.”

As part of the transaction, co-founders Simon Wright and Lee Smith will continue to run the business out of their offices near Tower Bridge, London.

Tim Johnson, CEO Gallagher Benefit Services UK adds: “We are delighted to welcome Gatehouse to the Gallagher family, they share our dedication to outstanding customer service and the same business approach that has made us so successful. Together we are looking to build one of the most forward-thinking, full-service Communication consultancies in our industry”.

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Volume 12 of the Journal of Internal Communications is here!

Sign up online to download you copy of the latest the Journal of Internal Communication:

This issue is our 10-year anniversary special.

It’s been an amazing journey for us over the past decade – growing our team and extending our capability to provide a full range of services, including Research & Evaluation, Strategy & Planning, Creative & Delivery, Training & Development and Interim & Recruitment solutions to some of the world’s largest and most complex organisations.

The Journal of Internal Communication is just one of the many ways in which we contribute to the development of the internal communication profession. As always, this issue is packed with case studies and thought-provoking opinion pieces.

Remember we have plenty of other resources, including the State of the Sector report and our storytelling e-books, all of which are available for free. If you’d like to download these resources, simply visit

If you’d like to know more about our services, give us a call on +44(0)20 7754 3630.

Lee Smith

State of the Sector: Brexit Special – the results are in!

As the dust begins to settle after what has clearly been a surprise to most and a shock to many, the role of the internal communicator is arguably more important than ever.

This special edition of State of the Sector shines the spotlight on Brexit and its impact on internal communication. See how your organisation measures up in terms of Brexit preparedness, impact on the organisation and the future of IC teams.

Download the State of the Sector: Brexit Special report now!


Why Enterprise Social Networks are all too often a channel for the sake of a channel

This week, we’re looking into a report by Simply Communicate on Enterprise Social Networks and what it means for IC professionals.

A few months ago, Simply Communicate published their Social intranet Barometer, a comprehensive piece of research into the use of Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs), such as Sharepoint, Yammer and Jive, in the workplace. The report utilises data collected over a period of seven months from 72 organisations, and offers some interesting, and sometimes surprising insight into who uses ESNs, which platforms they use, and how and why they use them. It also highlights the difficulties faced by organisations, some of which are presented in this article.

Little preliminary research

One of the more surprising findings of this report is the lack of evaluation work undertaken by organisations before introducing an ESN.

Only a quarter of respondents surveyed staff to find out what they wanted from an ESN prior to the introduction of such a platform. According to this 25%, employees hope primarily for increased opportunities for collaboration and for their day-to-day work to be made easier. The objectives differ from those typically agreed upon by the board of the organisation, who approves the introduction and the maintenance of the ESN. Objectives agreed upon by the board usually revolve around improved knowledge sharing, increased engagement, better communication and shared best practice.

It is disappointing that more companies do not give their employees a voice when it comes to introducing new IC channels. After all, it is employees who are the target audience, and it is they who will make or break an initiative. Even more disappointing is the fact that employees are not often consulted after the ESN has been implemented either. What results is an overall misunderstanding of the platform and its benefits for any party. This is echoed by our own State of the Sector 2016 research report. We surveyed 372 communicators in 300 different organisations about their IC practices and, incredibly, only half of these said the employees in their organisation understood the purpose of their ESN. While this could be down to misleading communications around the platform, two in five admitted that the purpose of their ESN was not actually clear.

Limited employee involvement

Only 10% of enterprises surveyed involve staff in developing policies for platform use, with a further quarter involving staff in “some” policies. This means under half of companies involve staff in developing a framework for the use of ESNs. Yet those organisations that do involve their staff in policy-making report better-than-average adoption rates.

Low adoption rates are a problem that blight many an organisation, and many an IC team as they struggle to justify spending money and time promoting the ESN internally to no or little avail. Our own State of the Sector report showed that just over a quarter of IC professionals consider the ESN in their organisation have high levels of adoption across the organisation – while two in five say their ESN is used well only in “some pockets”. Senior management are understandably sceptical as to the value of investing in these kinds of platforms, given the low adoption rates, but because of this, IC teams often lack the resources they need to manage the platforms properly. Case in point: despite employee engagement being a key objective for many organisations, under half do anything to reward contributors to the ESN. The most popular method to reward active users is competition, but even this is used by only a quarter of respondents.

Overall, this paints a rather poor picture of the involvement of employees in Enterprise Social Networks.

Lack of evaluation

The final surprising finding we will touch upon resides in the fact that only half of those surveyed said they consciously report on the effectiveness of the ESN used in their organisation. A quarter stated they never report on effectiveness, while a further quarter declared they didn’t know if they do or don’t. Using an IC channel in the hope of reaching and engaging with employees without following up on the impact of the channel is akin to throwing someone a ball then turning around before making sure they’ve caught it. From a strategic point of view, it makes no sense. Unfortunately, this does tie in with our State of the Sector report findings: we discovered that although the proportion of internal communicators using ESN metrics has grown since last year, it remains paltry, with just over one in three practitioners using comment and like numbers to evaluate the effectiveness of their social channels.

Of course, the report does highlight some explanations for this lack of evaluation. Analysis techniques are limited, as are opportunities to collect quantitative data. Only one of the respondents said they had access to social network graphing technology, while the other respondents who reported on effectiveness were limited to the number of active users and qualitative research – studying interaction, collaboration and idea generation for instance. It comes as no surprise, given the limited options for evaluation, that almost two thirds of our State of the sector respondents stated that their ESNs were not effective as feedback channels – they can’t garner enough tangible data from them. It remains a shame that so many do not report on the effectiveness of their ESN, however, particularly given the growing scepticism with regards to such platforms.

Overall, we think this was an insightful piece of research, that we would recommend you read. It demonstrated a somewhat half-hearted use of Enterprise Social Networks within organisations, possibly linked to low adoption rates and perceived lack of reach of these platforms. We would argue that this has a lot to do with the fact that organisations’ target audiences – their employees – are not consulted before the introduction of the platform, and thus the fact that the ESNs are not developed with their needs in mind. There is no excuse not to get employee input before developing an ESN. If you’d like to discuss what you could do to give your employees a chance to be heard on the subject of ESNs but also other IC channels, get in touch.

You can download the Social intranet Barometer report for free on Simply Communicate’s website. If you’d like more food for thought, you can download our State of the Sector report for free by signing up for our Knowledge Bank.

What impact will Brexit have on Internal Communication?


As the dust slowly begins to settle after what has clearly been a surprise to most and a shock to many, the role of the internal communicator is arguably more important than ever.

So what does BREXIT mean for our profession?

To answer that, we are running a special one-off State of the Sector survey to help understand the implications and explore how we, as communicators, will need to respond to the challenges and opportunities we will inevitably face in the coming weeks, months and years.

This is a short survey (17 questions) and should take you no longer than ten minutes to complete. It will close at midnight GMT on Wednesday 13th July and we are aiming to complete the analysis and publish the results by the end of July. If you include your contact details, you will be one of the first to receive the report.


Take the survey now!

The Journal of Internal Communication Volume 11 is here!


There’s an old joke about two construction workers. They’re perched side by side on a girder, about to eat their lunch.

One opens his lunchbox and cries out in frustration: “I can’t stand this! Cheese sandwiches – again! All I ever get are cheese sandwiches!” The other guy says: “Why don’t you ask your wife to make you something different?”

The first fellow goes quiet. “I pack my own lunch.”

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

We publish the Journal of Internal Communication to expose you to new ideas. We hope that it will jog your thinking, sow the seeds for something new to try with your audience or encourage you to push the boundaries professionally, something that we try hard to do here at Gatehouse.

Volume 11 of the Journal of Internal Communication is here, and has a strong focus on line manager communications! A whopping 60% of internal communicators see line managers’ lack of communication skills as a barrier – so how can us IC professionals overcome this obstacle? This issue of the JoIC offers some insight into this tricky audience to communicate with.

Download Volume 11 of the Journal of Internal Communication from our Knowledge Bank.

The 2016 State of the Sector results are in!

SOTS_mockup_blogNow in its eighth year, State of the Sector is the definitive survey of the internal communication and employee engagement landscape, informed by responses from thousands of leading practitioners around the world.

With a focus on all things IC – including careers, budgets and working practices – you’ll gain a real insight into what’s working inside other organisations, current trends and the latest channels, enabling you to benchmark against others.

The 2016 Report is now available!

Take our State of the Sector survey

Today we’re launching our annual State of the Sector report. You can use State of the Sector to give you a real insight into what’s working in other organisations – including careers, budgets and working practices.

In the eight years since we began publishing it, it’s become the most important annual survey of the internal communication and employee engagement profession.

Would you like a free copy? All we ask is that you contribute to the research. It should take around 15 minutes to complete and you’ll receive a free electronic copy of the full research report prior to its publication in early 2016:

Subscribe to the JOIC

Ajoic3d_2-300x225 woman’s boss had a strange idea to improve his business.

One day, he handed her a huge jug and asked her to go around Southern California “collecting water” from a list of specific companies.

He’d read in one of his spiritual books that if you pour water from other businesses onto your business, their success will be absorbed into your company.

Crazy. He wanted her to go to the front desk of each company and request some water from a water fountain. (She was not to collect the water herself.)

She explained to her boss how much driving this would take. She suggested that it would take two or three days to get the water collecting done.

Her boss agreed, so she spent the next three days by her pool and just filled up the jug in her bathtub. Her boss was over the moon.

People have all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas to improve their businesses.

That’s why we publish the Journal of Internal Communication – to bring you the best, most actionable ideas to improve your comms.

Hope you enjoy the issue. If you still haven’t subscribed, what are you waiting for? I don’t mean that as a lazy idiom – literally what are you waiting for? We’ll send you a free print copy every time it’s published, as long as you meet certain criteria.

Final call for Accelerate in May

When Steve Jobs took over at Apple in 1997, one of the first things he did was get rid of the Apple museum in the foyer.

The firm was struggling, and Jobs felt that it was too focused on its past.

It’s like this in internal comms: we have to let go of the past to succeed.

One thing that many of us are trying to put behind us is the idea that internal communicators are soft and fluffy ‘people people’ – or postmen and women who merely pump out messages to the rank and file.

Many leaders still don’t give you the chance to influence the messages they want you to communicate. Instead they come to you and say: “I need to get this out”.

How do you get leaders to a place where there’s a genuine advisory relationship and mutual respect? How do you position yourself as the person who can help them shape the strategy and how they articulate it, not just broadcast the message?

One answer is to position yourself as a ‘trusted advisor’. David Maister coined this term years ago. He was talking about professional services firms – lawyers and accountants – but on Accelerate, the internal comms masterclass we deliver with the IoIC, we apply it to our profession.

If this sounds helpful, we’re taking bookings for our May course. Let us know if you’d like to come.