Download Full Report (PDF): COVID-19 – Internal Comm – Full Report
Download Press Release (PDF): COVID-19 – Internal Comm – Press Release
Download Topline Findings: COVID-19 – Internal Comm – Topline Findings
Download Social Graphics (PDF): COVID-19 – Internal Comm – Social Graphics

For more COVID-19 research, visit the IPR COVID-19 Resource Center Here

This is an IPR Signature Study. Sponsored by the Institute for Public Relations and Peppercomm.

The Institute for Public Relations and Peppercomm surveyed 403 communication executives and senior leaders to find out how their companies are communicating with and engaging their workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key topics include what are the most trusted go-to sources and channels for communicators; how the pandemic has impacted the workforce including employee satisfaction and productivity; what companies are communicating about and how they are tracking it; how diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have changed; how companies are preparing for the return-to-office; and best practices for internal communication during this crisis. The report also features deep dives into internal communication topic and sidebars spotlight senior executive leaders.

The report also features sidebars/posts from leaders including Carmella Glover (PRSA Foundation), Betsy Nurse (HOK), Kay Sargent (HOK), Jennifer Temple (HPE), Stacey Jones (Accenture), Bill Hughes (Pitney Bowes), and Brian Lott (Mubadala). Key findings include:

  • Communication executives are heavily involved with the COVID-19 crisis response and nearly all (93%) said their company’s leadership has done well.
  • More than half of communication executives said their company is not planning to layoff (55%) or has not furloughed (67%) employees, but only 31% have made a commitment to not do so.
  • Health guidelines and policy changes are the most-communicated topics to employees.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion information was only communicated by 19% of respondents.
  • Personal touchpoints were favored to be the best channels for communicating to employees. Direct communication through supervisors/managers (61%) and one-on-one check-ins (76%) were noted to be “very effective” channels.
  • Internal sources and federal agencies were the top sources where communication executives were referring their stakeholders to for more information.
  • Informal feedback and listening tools were the top methods communication executives used to track internal communication, but nearly one in four were not tracking at all.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had positive outcomes on employee engagement, satisfaction, collaboration, and trust in companies, but productivity overall has declined.
  • Most companies (61%) are helping external stakeholders affected by COVID-19 and have engaged employees directly in these initiatives.
  • More than three-quarters of employees are now working from home and the number of employees who will continue working from home after COVID-19 will increase by 10 percentage points.
  • Return-to-office preparations were in the early stages as only 10% of communication executives have done “extensive” planning. Specific changes to the physical work environment are included in this report.

Below is the full data report:

The first report, “COVID-19: How Businesses Are Handling the Crisis,” is available here. It is one of our most downloaded reports to date. 

About Peppercomm
Peppercomm is an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London. The firm connects brands, messages and people through data-driven insights, cross-channel communications and brilliant customer experience. Employing an omni-channel approach, the company uses customer insights to determine the right mix of tools and platforms to help clients reach, engage and influence customers along their path to purchase. For more information, visit

About the Institute for Public Relations
Founded in 1956, the Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations.™ IPR creates, curates, and promotes research and initiatives that empower professionals with actionable insights and intelligence they can put to immediate use.  IPR predicts and analyzes global factors transforming the profession, and amplifies and engages the professional globally through thought leadership and programming. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and events. Follow us on Twitter @instituteforpr.

Media Contacts:
Nikki Kesaris
Communications & Marketing Manager
Institute for Public Relations

Paul Merchan


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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