Developing a career in internal communications
I recently caught up with Sophie Moore, an internal communications professional, on her first few months at SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins, as well as her first experience in a merger and acquisition environment.
It’s also interesting to hear from someone who has chosen IC as a profession, rather than falling into it as is normally the case!
What does your role involve day-to-day?
My day-to-day role involves a huge variety: writing articles, engaging stakeholders, discussing campaign briefs, maintaining our intranet, creating content for our internal social media, analysing our readership stats, advising on webinars, creating agendas for our IC community meetings and writing even more content!
What have you learned so far?
I’ve learned that you have to be in it to win it! I find that to be able to engage employees you have to be passionate about IC. Although the subject matter can sometimes be challenging, if you’re passionate enough about engagement, you can always think of creative ways to communicate that to your audience, and that can be through your writing, your choice of channel and tailoring it perfectly to your audience.
What would you say your challenges are, both as a business and an Internal Comms team?
Experiencing a M&A is challenging because there’s uncertainty from employees (at its best) and anger and frustration (at its worst). There will inevitably be a lot of change, whether this is your financial year changing, general day-to-day processes or restructure within the company.
From an IC perspective, I find the main challenges can be demanding employees who want answers that you’re unable to provide and coordinating rebrands as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Any advice you would give to someone wanting to get into Internal Comms at an entry level?
I believe you need the following qualities to be successful in an IC role: writing, stakeholder management and organisation. My advice is to work on these until you feel confident that you can apply them within your role and progress.
If you’re not in a communications role but are looking to be, I’d suggest ensuring you get involved in as many IC things as you can within your current company. If you’re in a small business where they don’t have an IC team, you could always volunteer to do a monthly newsletter, or if you’re in a bigger company, ask the IC team to show you what they do and what their role entails. Showing a proactive interest is always a good start to get you on the right path!
Keeping up to date with the online IC world is also a good idea. There are a few good blogs out there; Rachel Miller's ‘All Things IC’ has plenty of good content for you to get stuck into, including FAQ’s, interviews with IC professionals, and can be a good source for any advice and inspiration. There's even an IC job board!
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your career?
I would advise myself to get familiar with the channels used, what they are used for and the main audience you are engaging with as well as you possibly can. I’d also advise to look externally for new IC tools that may be out there and be of benefit to you/your company!
It’s also important to engage with communicators not just internally but also externally. IC events are a great way to network and meet new people in the industry and this is a great way to stay motivated and inspired.
By Kristy Carmichael.
To find out more about how we can help you to develop your career in internal communications, please contact Sara Tehrani for permanent opportunities or Andy Macleod for interim opportunities. To find out about our internal communications practice, please click here.