Change Communications Professionals: The Top Skills in the Post-covid Job Market
As we begin to ease out of lockdown and contemplate what the new normal should look like, businesses across the country are all faced with the same question: what should the return-to-work policy be? We have proved our ability to perform our duties remotely, often juggling work with family life, so it’s no surprise that many organisations are now downsizing to operate in a hybrid working model.
As a consultant specialising in change communications recruitment, I have noticed a surging demand for communications professionals in this space. While the criteria of each role will vary depending on the specific needs of those businesses, there are several commonalities in technical experience and character traits that everyone is looking for.
IT and Digitalisation Skills
Supporting a hybrid working model has serious implications on how colleagues share information, collaborate and interact. Businesses will need to ensure their workforce is provided with the appropriate digital capabilities to communicate effectively. This may involve rolling out and refreshing social channels such as Workplace, SharePoint or Jive, as well as desk booking apps to manage numbers in the office.
Having the right skills in delivering cultural change is arguably just as important. We’re still in a period of change and uncertainty, as some of us remain anxious about travel or contact with others. Change communications professionals need to be sensitive to these concerns and have the right tools to address them, with a particular focus on employee wellbeing.
Speed of Integration
All change communications professionals are brought in to deliver on specific projects with pressing deadlines, and this is no exception. As companies set their return to office date, IT support will need to be in place, with desk management systems rolled out, and guidelines for Covid-secure policies. Therefore, the individuals will need to be able to quickly integrate into the organisation, establish relationships with stakeholders, and start delivering immediately – even when their work is carried out remotely.
Being both Strategic and Tactical
Change communications professionals often operate autonomously. While they may be able to tap into existing resources, they would typically have ownership of all communications relating to their project. They need to be both strategically-minded to create the communications plan, as well as tactically competent to roll it out. It’s a fine balance to find someone who is experienced enough to dictate what a plan should look like, but not too far removed from the day-to-day delivery.
For smaller organisations, this could be the first time they appoint someone within a communications capacity. Therefore, some pockets of the organisation may be unaware of the value of the role, so it may take a bit more work to gain their buy-in. The professionals will need to be resilient and have a strong relationship building skills to demonstrate how they can help. Credibility, gravitas, and the ability to engage with stakeholders at all levels is crucial to success.
If your business is looking for additional support in communicating your return-to-work policy, or any other requirements in the communications function, please feel free to reach out.
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