When it comes to a budget wish list, communicators have one overwhelming priority

Lots of things are important, but an increase in budget would be best spent on increasing staff size, according to the 2021 Communications Benchmark Report.

By Tony Silber      
Comms budgeting research

What would you do with an increased communications-department budget?

That’s a question we asked part of the Ragan Communications Leadership Council’s 2021 Benchmark Report. The results—culled from more than 700 respondents—were fascinating. Respondents were allowed to select up to three of the following options. Which would you have chosen?

  • Hire more full-time staff
  • Hire more contractors/freelancers
  • Conduct a communications audit
  • Redesign our intranet
  • Employee wellness
  • Technology
  • Build a brand journalism digital platform
  • Improve communications metrics
  • Invest in team training
  • Roll out an employee communications app
  • Launch a podcast
  • Invest in virtual reality, augment reality or artificial intelligence

As it turns out, the results weren’t even close. It’s true that all kinds of budget constraints are perennial challenges for communicators, as are ever-present distractions and last-minute requests. They’re all impediments to effectively fulfilling the communications mission.

But the Benchmark Report results weren’t even close. For communicators, it was an easy choice. Close to 70% said they’d bring in reinforcements. More than 52% of respondents said they’d hire more full-time staff. A related option, hire more freelancers and contract workers, pulled another 16%.

Next was improving communications metrics, at just less than 41%, followed by tech enhancements at 30%.

[EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Communications Benchmark Report 2021]

Here are the full results:

  • Hire more full-time staff 52%
  • Hire more contractors/freelancers 16%
  • Conduct a communications audit 21%
  • Redesign our intranet 14%
  • Employee wellness 7%
  • Technology 30%
  • Build a brand journalism digital platform 13%
  • Improve communications metrics 41%
  • Invest in team training 24%
  • Roll out an employee communications app 18%
  • Launch a podcast 5%
  • Invest in virtual reality, augment reality or artificial intelligence 5%

This compelling segment is among the key findings from Ragan’s third annual Communications Benchmark Report, an exclusive study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council, that reveals a range of sentiments and best-laid plans during a very dynamic time.

Download a copy of Ragan’s third annual Communications Benchmark Report executive summary here. To obtain a full copy of Ragan’s 2021 Communications Benchmark Report become a member of the Communications Leadership Council. Click here for more details.