Who's who Wednesday

Welcome to our weekly 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!

Name

Rich Baker

Company

National Grid / Insititute of Internal Communication / Hiyu

Job Title

Communications & Engagement Manager / Board Director

Time with company

1 year / 2 years / 2 years

Connect with Rich

Take five

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

Happy.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

My home.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

I'd like to be able to fix the big problems in our society!

If you could be a fictional character, what would it be?

Superman!

If you could have any super power what would you choose?

See answer above!

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

Lead others how they want to be led.

What’s the secret to a good life?

Finding your purpose, and laughing with loved ones.

Tell us a bit about your role:

I'm passionate about connecting people with purpose, and I'm involved in a number of different things that keep me busy!

At National Grid I lead communications and engagement for Customer and Stakeholder Transformation. It's an exciting and demanding role, in a complex and fascinating business. I work with people all over the organisation to build a common understanding and appreciation of customer experience, and enabling colleagues to share their own 'change stories' across a variety of channels.

At the IoIC, I'm a board director, working with Jennifer Sproul, the CEO, on strategy and development of the regions across the UK. It's a great opportunity to work with some passionate internal communications people, and make a difference to our profession. 2017 was a pivotal moment for the IoIC, with record growth in membership and I'm proud to say I was part of the team that helped make that happen.

And if all that wasn't enough, I am a director of employee engagement/experience agency Hiyu. We partner with organisations and agencies to develop and implement employee communications strategies that help improve organisational performance.

What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?

I remain passionate about three things.

1. Delivering great work. We know the impact effective internal communication can have on organisational performance, but only if we begin with the outcome and consider how we're going to evaluate what we do. I think we're improving, but there's still a way to go.

2. Values-based leadership - I've been leading teams for over 25 years and I've invested heavily in my own self-development. I believe that now, more that ever, we need strong leaders with an absence of ego in this increasingly complex and changeable world.

3. Continuing to support, mentor and advise people who are involved in employee experience and communication. I get two or three requests a day for support of some kind, whether that be coaching, mentoring ,consulting or recruiting. That's a privileged place to be! It can be tough to fit it all in, but I think if we all help each other out a little bit, then we'll all reap the benefits.

Who, or what, has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?

Across all of the organisations I work with, the unstoppable march of change has had the greatest impact. Whether that be technological, social, political or societal, we need to get comfortable with being in a constant state of change.

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

I have plenty I'm proud of, but here's a few from the last year:

• Leading the successful delivery of two UK-wide multi-channel communications campaigns at National Grid.

• Working with a favourite client again at Hiyu on developing an internal communications strategy was great fun.

• I'm also proud of the work the IoIC volunteer region directors and their teams do.

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

Don't believe you're too old to start - but don't believe it's easy to do well.

I'd recommend starting in a role where you get plenty of exposure across lots of areas, and back that up with some solid learning. Some of the best internal comms people I know didn't begin their careers in IC, but found their passion later. They bring transferable skills and an appreciation of what life is like for people outside of the profession.

What do you think are the top three trends in internal communications to watch out for in 2018?

1. Leadership and line management capability. I think we're finally going to address it!

2. Helping people navigate change. Things are speeding up, not slowing down.

3. Identifying and working with influencers. With the lack of trust in our workplaces and society, employees turn to their colleagues. What is internal comms doing to tap into that?

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