Welcome to our regular profile about who's who in internal comms.
If you'd like to be featured, just complete the online template and send your favourite photo. If there's someone you'd love to know more about, let us know and we'll do the rest!
Peterborough City Council
Time with company
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I knew I loved writing, so either a journalist or an English teacher. I did the first one, but then made the decision to move into PR.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
An instant contact list and good working relationships when I started a new role. These are the things that take time to build up but are invaluable!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter (or....will you still be worrying about this on your deathbed?) A useful mantra to keep things in perspective.
If you could have any super power what would you choose?
The ability to multi task successfully for long periods of time!
If you could choose a mentor who would it be?
Richard Branson for his innovation in employee engagement, such as letting staff choose how much holiday they take throughout the year. Plus it would be great to have access to a private island with which to reward staff who had gone the extra mile!
The launch of our Stand Up for Peterborough campaign
Gillian Beasley, Peterborough City Council Chief Executive (front right) with our Change Champion Network
Tell us a bit about your role:
I’m Media Manager for Peterborough City Council. As well as dealing with media queries and planning proactive communication campaigns, I’m also managing the internal communications function on a temporary basis. We’re recruiting for the role of Internal Communications Manager, so I'm calling for anyone reading for this who is interested, or who knows someone who might be, to apply on jobs.peterborough gov.uk
What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?
The council will be moving to its new home at Peterborough's prestigious Fletton Quays site from July. We have purpose-built accommodation there in a building called Sand Martin House. As with any office move of this scale, there's a big internal communication drive in getting staff prepared for the move. At the moment, we are encouraging staff to not only embrace the move, but also to adapt to working in an agile way (i.e. work at any location they like, rather than a fixed desk). The move will be phased, beginning in July and will be celebrated with a setting up a series of events to welcome staff into the new building, including a time capsule which will be put into the ground during a launch party when all the moves are complete.
Another significant item on the comms agenda is our Stand Up For Peterborough campaign, which encourages staff and the public to help us to lobby for fairer funding from government.
Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, in terms of population growth, and demand for certain council services is rapidly increasing. However, current government funding takes no account of population growth or demand levels,instead our funding is reduced year-on-year. The campaign has been especially useful in explaining to our workforce the reasons for our budget proposals, which include plans to increase our shared working with Cambridgeshire County Council and other local authorities as part of the Local Government Shared Services.
Who, or what, has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?
Our budget. This has involved working with the internal communications team to communicate our budget plans for the forthcoming year to staff. By getting these messages out to staff before the media, we can ensure our people are informed of the plans and understand the reasons behind them at the earliest possible stage.
What’s your proudest achievement or best day in your current role?
Pulling together the internal and external communications around the budget. I'd been in the role for less than a month when I was required to do this, so it involved a crash course in getting to know all the different elements of the council and how the budget plans impacted on this.
How would you advise someone considering a career in internal comms?
Be resilient and have a clear vision. Relationships matter, so invest your time getting to know the right people and discussing the bigger picture. It's easy to get dragged into reactive day-to-day tasks that may not add real value
What do you think are the top three trends in internal communications to watch out for in 2018?
1) Encouraging staff to work agilely and dispelling the myths around this.
2) Analytics and insight. We’re a small team with a big agenda, so it’s really important that we regularly check the effectiveness of internal comms and report back on how we’re making a difference.
3) Helping all our people to understand that internal communications is not a function that sits solely in the internal communications team, it takes everyone in the organisation to make it work effectively.
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