66% of respondents agree that ESNs are having a positive impact on internal communication practice.

Published this week, the PR Academy research shows that the key challenges to the successful implementation of ESNs mainly relate to the culture of organisations and their readiness to embrace two-way communication. These challenges include encouraging employees to post comments on blogs (68%), getting managers to reply to comments (64%), and gaining buy-in from senior management (62%).


Management skills gaps provide evidence of a further barrier to the successful implementation of ESNs. The top five skills gaps cited by respondents include measuring the impact of using ESNs (53%), engaging senior managers to use an ESN (45%), integrating an ESN with other internal communication channels (44%), technical knowledge (42%) and community management skills (36%).


Given that most respondents believe that ESNs are having a positive impact on internal communication, it is perhaps unsurprising that the greatest benefits of using them highlighted by respondents centre around communication and collaboration. The benefits include making it easier for employees to share information with each other (92%), enhancing collaboration across the organisation (82%), enabling senior managers to use a more informal communication style (79%) and making it easier for employees to express their views (75%).


Kevin Ruckkr (pictured right), author of the study, director of PR Academy and editor of Exploring Internal Communication, says:

“ESNs are often discussed in terms of their benefit, how they can be used to enhance decision making and improve business strategies, and the prediction that they will supplant email as the dominant form of workplace communication. However, as our study shows, there are many significant challenges to their successful implementation. These challenges, including the current skills gaps, need to be addressed before the full potential of ESNs can be realised.”

Nick Crawford, Independent Enterprise Social Consultant and report contributor, also says:

“This insightful report accurately portrays the reality of current enterprise social maturity. It is clear that organisations have barely started unlocking the huge potential ESNs can bring, and that for many this is because they are still not carrying out the fundamentals. The report highlights what relatively simple action needs to be taken, backing up what many of us in this space are encouraging businesses to do each and every day.”