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Helen Deverell

Name

Helen Deverell

Company

Helen Deverell Communications

Job Title

Independent Internal Communications Consultant

Time with company

3 years

Take five

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

First a dancer and later a journalist.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

It’s not very exotic, but Dorset is my happy place. I spent childhood holidays there, so it holds a special place in my heart.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Run your own race. Happiness will never come from comparing yourself to others.

What’s the one thing not many people know about you?

I do a lot of creative writing in my spare time and have ambitions to write a novel. In 2017 I wrote a children’s book for my friend’s charity Miller’s Stars. The book is called ‘A star called Miller’.

If you could choose a mentor who would it be?

I’m really lucky to have had some great mentors in my career including Rachel Miller and Nick Andrews, but if I had to pick a famous person it would be Michelle Obama – I’m reading her autobiography at the minute!

Tell us a bit about your role:

As an independent practitioner, I work with organisations on specific projects or pieces of work to help them communicate effectively. This includes conducting internal communication audits, devising strategies, running workshops, and creating content. I’m really privileged to work with a wide range of clients who are passionate about the work they do and the organisations they do it for.

I am also the Vice Chair of the CIPR Inside committee and we’re focused on driving the profession forward by providing resources and events that enable internal communicators to do their job to the best of their ability.

What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?

Measurement and ethics. As an industry we’re not where we should be with measurement. It’s often symptomatic of not having a clear strategy with SMART objectives, and not having the right relationships with colleagues in other departments in order to get the right data. Without a strategy and meaningful measurement we won’t be seen as a strategic function.

As members of CIPR will know, we have a code of conduct that we sign up to when we join so being an ethical communicator is integral to what we stand for. Ethics is a big topic and it can feel daunting to know what the right thing to do is, especially when it’s your CEO or a senior stakeholder asking you to do something that doesn’t feel right. I’d like to see more conversations about ethics and resources to help internal communicators manage ethical situations. Last year the CIPR Inside committee created a guide to ethics for internal communicators that can be downloaded on the CIPR Inside website.

What has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?

I worked with Jackie Le Fevre from Magma Effect to understand my personal values and how they translate into my business values. It really helped me to understand the way I work and to articulate it through my brand. I can’t recommend working with Jackie enough.

What’s your proudest achievement or best day in your current role?

I’m proud of having set up my own business that enables me to support other internal communicators. It’s a lot of hard work, but worth it when you get to see the difference you can make.

How would you advise someone considering a career in internal comms?

Do it! It’s an exciting time to be in internal communication as we’re starting to be recognised as a strategic function. I would suggest getting involved in the internal communication community through networking, joining a professional body, doing a qualification, attend industry events, read blogs – basically soak up all the knowledge that’s available and use it to be a credible and strategic internal communicator.

What do you think the top three trends in internal communication will be in the next year?

Measurement. We talk about it a lot, but I hope 2019 is the year when I attend conferences and see case studies where objectives have been set up front with clear measures of success that go beyond the IC function to demonstrate the impact we can have on the wider business.

Digital. Tools like Office 365 have the potential to change the way employees work and how we communicate. I recommend building strong relationships with your IT team ensuring you’re clear on their digital roadmap and they’re clear on the role you can play in embedding digital change into an organisation.

Convergence of internal and external communications. I think we will see this happen more and more as the lines between the two continue to blur.

© pfk the communications agency.