Who's who in IC?

Welcome to our regular profile about who's who in internal comms.

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Name

Sarah Lazenby

Company

Roche Diagnostics UK & Ireland

Job Title

Internal Communications Specialist

Time with company

2 years

Take five

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

A marine biologist, until I saw David Attenborough wading through the shallows with some deadly jellyfish swarming around him. So I swapped that idea for a swim in shark infested waters as a journalist for The Sun newspaper.

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

To go back in time to a Saturday night when I was 13 and choose not to wear a boy scout's uniform to a fancy dress party. Mum was right. I didn't get a kiss from anyone.

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

Pippi Longstocking: "Grown ups never have any fun. All they have is a lot of dull work and stupid clothes and corns and nincum tax."

Who would play you in a movie?

Apparently there's already a list according to my father-in-law. It starts off with Hattie Jakes and doesn't really get any better.

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

I have lots of different costumes and do a lot of dressing up with fire. That's because I live outside London and we have to make our own entertainment. Really we do. Here I am (far left in the picture with a ship on my head) marching at Lewes Bonfire in 2018.

Tell us a bit about your role:

Roche Diagnostics UK & Ireland is a fascinating business and my role is to help connect people with its mission to put customers and patients at the heart of everything we do.

What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?

Change, change, change and more change.

I've never gone for roles which don't have change at their core. I occasionally fantasise that one day I will walk into a business and nothing will move for months or even years. But how dull would that be?

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

People embracing the fact that they can all make a difference to how effective internal communication can be and see the value when it works well and will do something about it if it's not so great.

I liken it to getting your plumbing right. The purists don't like the analogy but sometimes it really is about simple but practical efforts to improve the 'flow' and making sure it's not a comms team doing it all.

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

It's every time I am able to see when I have made a difference and recognising that there is still more to do.

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

It's not easy... but when you make a difference it really gets noticed.

I would always encourage people to get out and about in their organisation from the start. Find out what makes people tick, how they work and what matters to them, what is and isn't being said. And build a network to help you - start by asking people who they trust the most. A lot of these folk will never appear on an organisational chart but they have huge influence and can be a real power house when it comes to connecting people to business goals. Find them and befriend them.

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

1) People realising they have members of the public working in their organisation. There often isn’t that same connection between employer and employee as there was in times gone by. That means being bold and challenging with your leaders to encourage authenticity, honesty and a working atmosphere where it’s safe to speak up and diverse opinions are valued - all vital ingredients if an organisation is to survive and thrive.

2) An integrated approach to internal and external communication – particularly in these uncertain times – with employees and customers at the heart of your stories.

3) Practitioners really getting to know their business. You need to understand it, it’s people, what is and isn’t being said and link it to real, tangible outcomes to add real value.

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