Both the IoIC (Institute of Internal Communication) and FEIEA (the European Association of Internal Communication) share one aspiration: to help internal communicators be the best they can be. IoIC does that in the UK and FEIEA in Europe.
In both associations, my role is similar. I am involved in strategic direction and planning, raising the profile of the association, building relationships within the industry and externally, and delivering action plans that add value to members. I've been president of the IoIC for more than eight years now, and take over as FEIEA president in April this year. They are both voluntary roles to manage alongside the day job (as MD of Sequel Group), and I'm really proud to have been elected for both.
What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?
Continuing to prove the value that great IC brings to organisations big and small is still on the agenda. It is getting easier to demonstrate its positive impact on engagement, productivity and culture - there's a healthy amount of stats and data proving it - but putting it into practice every day through the little things that fit the audience and the organisation can still be a hard step to make.
Making IC more human, not driven by new technology, platforms, social trends or channels, is also on my personal agenda too right now.
What has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?
Seeing how employee experience is reshaping the workplace. Organisations know that they need to step up the employees' experience across all touch points to more closely mirror the consumer experiences that people have every day. Employees, regardless of their generation, want to feel valued, to have the right information and tools to do their job, and to have a sense of purpose.
What’s your proudest achievement or best day in your current role?
When a plan comes together!
IC may have been around for a while - the IoIC is celebrating its 70th birthday this year and FEIEA is 71 - but the pace of change socially, technologically and economically keeps IC feeling fresh.
In IoIC, we are measured by the experiences of our members and the value we add so the fact that the past 12 months have seen membership numbers exceed our plans, well, that's something to be proud of.
How would you advise someone considering a career in internal comms?
Get used to wearing many hats. Sometimes you will need to be the shaper or enabler, other times the challenger or disrupter, but if you like people it's the job for you!
Network and connect inside and outside the industry, get a professional qualification and - well, I would say this - join a professional body. I started my IC career working for a corporate and felt really isolated so the IoIC brought me community, better understanding of my craft, and new skills.
What do you think the top three trends in internal communication will be in the next year?
1. Managing five generations in the workplace for the first time ever: challenges for differing comms preferences and styles, as well as tone, channels and inclusion.
2. Maintaining trust in leadership: trust in the wider world is being a bit tested right now, so building and maintaining trust and communication between employees and managers is a pivotal relationship for business success.
3. WIIFM? We're seeing the rise of a 'Me-conomy' which includes more flexible thinking about how - and where - we work. IC specialists can help connect the dots and make comms more relevant and meaningful.