Valentine’s Day 2019: Why we love solving employee challenges

Tomorrow millions of people across the world will open heart-adorned cards and exchange sweet nothings across candlelit dinner tables in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Hanging pink shiney love heart decoration among other smaller hanging love heart decorations

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Whether you’re celebrating with your special someone or engaging in some self-love practices, it’s hard to deny the good feeling that comes from being in love. Whether that’s with another human, your pet, your ‘rare’ keyring collection (just me then!) or your career.

My love for studying human behaviour in the workplace led me to internal communications (IC). But this isn’t solely IC’s domain. Like it or not, we’re part of a wider community of professionals who, like us, love solving employee-related challenges.

To celebrate the Day of Love, I spoke to three fellow People-focused professionals – working in IC in the US, work psychology and HR – to learn more about what they do and why they love it so.

Dania Frink, Internal Communications Manager based in the United States

Meet Nikita Mikhailov, Psychometrician

Meet Natalie Ellis, HR Consultant

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Dania Frink – Internal Communications Manager, Adecco Staffing, US (a subsidiary of The Adecco Group)

Dania Frink Internal Communications Manager, Adecco Staffing U.S.

Dania Frink (IC in United States)

Tell me about your current role

I’m primarily responsible for informing and empowering our almost-1,700 employees. This can include anything from advising senior leaders on their internal and external communication strategies, to designing professional development resources to partnering with HR on our talent acquisition strategy. The list is truly endless!

What do you love most about your role? 

I get to touch every aspect of our business – from executive leadership to field sales and everything in between. This gives me a comprehensive view of the business and means I’m learning new things every day. Being a natural storyteller, I love the fact that I get to tell Adecco Staffing’s story and amplify the diverse voices of our employees. I also like the unpredictability of my role.  No two days are the same which keeps things exciting!

What fascinates you about humans in the workplace?

The notion of work/life balance really interests me. Although I understand why people choose to separate their work persona from their ‘true self’, I’m a strong believer that our personal motivations and passions outside of work can enhance what we do on the job.

Take the accountant who uses the communication skills gained from writing science fiction in her spare time to come up with a clever solution to communicate a complex budget formula to her team. Or the executive assistant who through his work as a youth basketball coach is able to resolve conflict in the office and on the court.

Multidimensional employees who feel able to bring their whole selves to work are an invaluable asset to the business and are a key component of an authentic and positive company culture.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a job in your field?

  1. Listen more than you speak
  2. Write often, even if it’s short journal entries

By practicing these two tasks in tandem, you’ll learn how to synthesise important information and communicate it clearly and concisely to your audience.

  1. Be flexible.

Technology is constantly evolving the way that people communicate. Mastery in this profession is possible, but you must commit to being a lifelong learner.

Self-portrait by Dania Frink using watercolours

Self-portrait by Dania Frink using watercolours

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

I’m a visual artist [Dania studied Animation & Studio Arts at university] so enjoy making things. Painting, drawing, graphic design, animation – I love it all and wish I had more time for these things. I also like spending time with my loved ones, travelling, learning more about the African Diaspora, listening to live music and cooking.

Connect with Dania:

Twitter@daniawfrink

LinkedInlinkedin.com/in/daniawfrink

Websitedaniawfrink.com

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Nikita Mikhailov – Psychometrician and Explorer of the Human Condition

Nikita Mikhailov

Nikita Mikhailov (Work Psychology)

Tell me about your current role

I apply psychometrics* in an occupational setting with a special focus on Personality Dynamics. I work with individuals and teams across various industries, including the financial sector, charities and start-ups.

*Psychometrics is “the branch of psychology focusing on the design, administration and interpretation of qualitative tests for measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude and personality tests.” (Dictionary.com)

What do you love most about your role? 

I love how through my knowledge of psychology, I’m able to identify areas of leverage that my clients can use to help overcome their challenges. I also love the variety that comes from working with people – everyone is different and sees things in a unique way. Hence, a little bit of psychological insight can be very valuable. It can help organisations select better talent and help individuals better understand themselves and better navigate their world.

What fascinates you about humans in the workplace? 

It’s ‘human’ which means everyone has their own take on reality. Leadership, stress, the workplace – we think these are objective concepts experienced in the same way but they’re very subjective. Once we bring people’s subjective realities to the fore, we can have better conversations about where we are currently and where we want to get to in say 6 or 12 months’ time. This is particularly true when thinking about company culture.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a job in your field?

Organisational psychology is very broad – it covers anything from employee engagement to recruitment. Identify and explore key areas that interest you. Be as specific as you like. For example, you may be interested in the stress levels of ambulance drivers, or you may want to know more about employee engagement levels among professional services employees. Just take your time to explore.

Once you know your areas of interest, use relevant keywords to find people already doing what you find interesting and reach out to them on LinkedIn. You’ll most likely strike up a bond based on this shared interest – which is much better than sending them a cover letter or CV.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I don’t see what I do as work. I’ve always followed my interests and whatever I find intrinsically meaningful. Getting paid simply allows me to do this.

Connect with Nikita:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikitamikhailov/

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Natalie Ellis – HR Consultant, AHR Consultants

Natalie Ellis HR Consultant

Natalie Ellis (HR)

Tell me about your current role

It’s different every day. I can be advising on anything related to employment relations one day and then giving our clients strategic support the next.  It all depends on what the client needs. I’ve no idea what I’m walking in to when I arrive at the office – and I love that!

What do you love most about your role?

I love the variety of my role. I’m really lucky that I can advise clients in different industries and environments, so there’s never a dull moment.

What fascinates you about humans in the workplace?

When you’re involved in working with and managing people, it presents many challenges and that’s what fascinates me and keeps me interested in my career. Most HR professionals would probably agree with that. It’s great to figure out solutions to complex challenges which help employees and their employers.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a job in your field?

Make sure you’re certain that a career in HR is what you want. It takes a lot of hard work, focus and commitment to succeed in the field. Also, HR isn’t all cozy chats and cups of tea (sadly!). We face some incredibly difficult situations at times so you need to be resilient and remember to not take things too personally!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I blog, blog and blog some more! I also love to help inspire others to build a career in HR – I’m speaking at a few events this year to do just that. I’d like to speak at more conferences in the near future and, of course, continue to spread more HR acts of kindness!

Connect with Natalie:

Her Twitter: @natalieellishr

Her blog: www.natalieellishr.com

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Thank you DaniaNikita, Natalie and for sharing your career love stories with me.

If your work focuses on People, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Wishing you a lovetastic Valentine’s Day – whatever you do!

5 easy-peasy ways to make your intranet irresistible to employees

Happy New Year!

I hope, like me, you’re still filled with Christmas cheer and excited about what 2019 has in store.

This year, I’ve decided to continue focusing on my 2018 goals – one of which was to incorporate more academic insights in my internal communications (IC) practice and this blog.

I made some great progress with this goal last year, including presenting academic insights into factors influencing intranet usage to digital communication practitioners at an event run by Advatera, an international business networking company.

Cover slide for my presentation on using academic insights to improve your intranet

If your 2019 goals include launching or relaunching your intranet, here’s 5 practical tips from my presentation to help you build that all-important business case.

1) Secure senior management buy-in and ongoing support

Despite recent reports of declining trust in business leaders among employees, it’s difficult to deny the power and influence of those at the top. The behaviours of senior leaders signal to employees what is (and is not) acceptable within an organisation and are a key component of the company culture. If your intranet is to be a success, your leaders not only have to see it as an important communication tool, they have to allocate sufficient resources to help maintain it and consistently promote and use it.

Studies:

A study involving nearly 400 employees at four Malaysian companies showed that high levels of senior leadership support were related to intranet use (Masrek et al, 2008).

A study examining intranet usage in the UK building surveying sector found that firms with the highest level of intranet usage had high levels of perceived senior management support, in the form of funding and promotion of staff training (Wilkinson et al, 2002).

2) Invest in a collaborative and integrated platform

As IC practitioners, we’re often responsible for facilitating collaboration between colleagues from across the business. We’re also privy to employees’ complaints about having to navigate several siloed digital tools to complete simple tasks, either by themselves or in their teams. Humans are hardwired to choosing the least effortful option when making a decision – the ‘path of least resistance’ – so make choosing your intranet a no-brainer for employees by ensuring it’s easy to connect and collaborate with colleagues and move between existing web applications.

Studies:

In an international benchmarking study involving 6,000 employees across 22 companies, an intranet’s collaboration quality – the extent to which it enables user collaboration – was the only factor to influence intranet use and user satisfaction (Urbach et al, 2010)

The extent to which an intranet provides easy access to existing information systems was found to be a stronger predictor of intranet quality and usage than other technological features like integrated search and notification alerts in a study exploring intranet usage in 168 organisations (de Carvalho et al, 2008).

4) Regularly collect user feedback 

The saying “feedback is the breakfast of champions” – often attributed to leadership expert Ken Blanchard – is as true for IC as it is for business management. Evaluating how messages and communication outputs are received by employees is a key part of effective IC. Through continuous monitoring, we can make the necessary tweaks to our communication channels and content to ensure future success.

Studies:

A study involving intranet users at a New Zealand university found that the perceived usefulness of the intranet positively influenced users’ intentions to use the intranet, which is a strong predictor of actual intranet use (Neill & Richards, 2011).

In Urbach’s (2010) study, user satisfaction predicted intranet usage and individual performance.

5) Seek out your digital natives and tech enthusiasts

The rise of digital technology is a phenomenon that continues to divide public opinion. For some people, it’s a nightmare realised; for others, it’s a necessary and welcomed evolution. For those under 25, it’s just life. Employees in the last two groups are key to generating enthusiasm about your intranet, so it’s worth taking the time to find them and get them involved where possible.

Studies:

Employees who are experienced Web users are more likely to use the intranet, according to a survey of 3,000 intranet users in Korea. Web experience was also linked to the intranet’s perceived ease of use (Lee & Kim, 2009).

In Masrek et al’s (2008) study, employees who were confident in their ability to use the intranet to reach their goals and were willing to embrace new IT were more likely to be frequent intranet users.

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Now it’s time for you to make your 2019 intranet goals a reality!

Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below or contacting me using this short form. I’m also happy to share my presentation and copies of the studies listed below.

Find out more about Advatera

The Big Yak 2018: what I learned connecting with other internal communicators

Like Charlie Bucket in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I was one of 160 internal communication (IC) professionals lucky enough to bag a ticket to this year’s .

Run by comms veterans Rachel Miller, Jenni Field and Dana Leeson, the unconference brings together IC pros from different orgs, sectors and geographies to share best practices, views on the profession and, occasionally, war tales.

Having thoroughly enjoyed my first Big Yak in 2016, I had high hopes for this year’s edition – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Here’s my key takeaways from the breakout sessions I attended:

IC crowd intro

“There’s over 1,000 years of communications experience in the room today. Make the most of it.” – opening speech by Benjamin Ellis, tech expert and Big Yak advocate.

IC measurement

“Be kind to yourself – we can only pull some of the levers for action and change. The rest is up to employees.”

(Tip: some people suggested the AMEC Framework as a good way to help track how well you’re pulling said levers)

Getting ahead in your IC career

“Your career is distinct from your role or the company you work for. Don’t let your frustrations with the latter drain your passion for the former.”

Here’s some of my go-to resources for my IC questions and professional development:

How to cultivate champions

Comms champions: “It’s not just about the evangelists – you can learn from the naysayers, too.”

Employee advocates: “Let employees know they can share corporate news as they see fit, and trust they’ll do good.”

Working smarter in IC

“It’s about being more corporate connector and less corporate news hound.”

Managing an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) community

“Don’t be thirsty (for users) and ignore the haters.”

IC and diversity

“We’re all learning and that’s OK.”

“IC may not own D&I but it is responsible for creating inclusive comms strategies and content.”

“How can orgs balance between the drive to create a ‘one-company’ culture and encouraging employees to ‘bring their whole selves to work’.”

I suggested this session (hence the multiple quotes), as I wanted to stimulate discussion on:

  • diversity in the IC profession and how this affects our IC approach and content
  • how different organisations are communicating their D&I strategy internally

It was an insightful session with honest debate which I’d love to continue online (and in person). What do you think about diversity in internal communications? I’d love to hear your views.

Big thanks to The IC Crowd (Rachel, Jenni and Dana) for organising such an inspiring and engaging event. The IC community are a great bunch and I had a blast catching up with old friends and making new ones. A special thanks go to the authors of the tweets I’ve borrowed – re-purposing is a truly a comms bods best friend!

Until next time!

For more information about the event and to catch up on all the Big Yak goss:

 

 

 

 

Employee engagement and personality: all for one and one for all?

As some of you know, I was recently awarded a distinction for my CIPR internal comms certificate course (yay!). For my final assignment, I explored the various tactics that internal communicators can use to help employees physically, cognitively and emotionally harness themselves to their individual roles and organisation (i.e employee engagement).

But what if some people are just un-engageable?

We each think, feel and act in our own unique way, so it seems logical that we’ll react differently to attempts to help us connect with our CEO or commit to organisational change. Emerging research suggests that our personality traits the ‘relatively stable cognitive, emotional and behavioural characteristics that help establish our individual identities’ – can predict our level of engagement at work. Here’s how…

Conscientiousness

Neuroticism

Extraversion

Agreeableness

Openness to Experience

 

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is one of the five basic personality traits – or factors – proposed by psychologists Robert McCrae and Paul Costa in their influential Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality. The other traits are: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience and Agreeableness. According to FFM, these factors capture the essence of all human personalities; we differ only in terms of the amount/level of each factor, as determined by personality assessments.

Behaviours: the epitome of an ‘ideal employee’, people with high amounts of Conscientiousness are efficient, dutiful, deliberate and achievement-striving.

Evidence: Studies consistently show that employees with high levels of this trait are more likely to be engaged at work. For example, work psychologists Ilke Inceoglu and Peter Warr explored engagement levels in over 700 employees from several countries, including the UK, and found that Conscientiousness – particularly the achievement orientation subcomponent of the trait – was a better predictor of work engagement than the other Big Five factors, age and gender.

Underlying mechanism: One suggestion is that employees high on Conscientiousness are motivated by the need to achieve goals which is also a core component of the work engagement concept. It may also be that conscientious workers have a strong sense of responsibility and therefore are more likely to absorb themselves in their job tasks.

 

Neuroticism

Behaviours: people with high levels of Neuroticism tend to be tense, irritable, shy, and lack self-confidence.

Evidence: Researcher Saar Langelaan and colleagues analysed the personality and engagement survey scores of 205 Dutch employees, and found that those high in Neuroticism were low in work engagement. This finding has been replicated in several other studies.

Underlying mechanism: According to Langelaan, work engagement is a positive affective-motivational state characterised by high pleasure and high energy use. Neuroticism is strongly linked to negative affect (NA), a short-term mental state characterised by fear, nervousness and anger (or low energy use). Highly engaged employees tend to report low levels of NA.

 

Extraversion

Behaviours: people high on Extraversion are generally sociable, enthusiastic, energetic, adventurous and outgoing

Evidence: Studies exploring the link between Extraversion and engagement has produced mixed results, with some showing Extraversion to be as good a predictor of engagement or weaker. However, researchers Stephen Woods and Juilitta Sofat found that the Assertiveness sub-factor of Extraversion – characterised by being driven, competitive and energetic – was more strongly associated with engagement than the Gregariousness sub-factor (being sociable and chatty) and the broader Extraversion trait.

Underlying mechanism: According to Langelaan and colleagues, people high on Extraversion are more likely to experience positive emotions and are therefore more likely to experience the positive state that is engagement. Another explanation centres on the psychological condition of meaningfulness, an important predictor of engagement defined as the positive feeling that one’s work is worthwhile and important. According to Woods and Sofat, employees high on the Assertiveness sub-factor are more likely to be engaged because their high energy and ambitiousness leads them to attach greater meaning to their efforts at work.

 

Agreeableness

Behaviours: people high on Agreeableness tend to be forgiving, warm and flexible.

Evidence: Along with Openness to Experience, this trait has been found to be a weaker predictor of engagement than the other three factors. However, leadership expert Andrew Wefald and colleagues tested several personality-engagement statistical models using survey data, and found Agreeableness and two other personality traits – Conscientiousness and Extraversion – were linked to engagement.

Underlying mechanism: According to business psychologist Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, and colleagues, engaged employees tend to be efficient task-completers. Since most work tasks require teamwork and agreeable employees encourage teamwork, they’re more likely to be engaged.

 

Openness to Experience

Behaviours: the quintessential creative, people high on Openness are intellectually curious, imaginative, artistic and excitable.

Evidence: Pakastani economist Nayyar Zaidi and colleagues found that employees with high levels of Openness were more likely to be engaged than their conscientious counterparts. Likewise, Dr Chamorro-Premuzic and colleagues (2015) found that openness was the second best predictor of engagement.

Underlying mechanism: According to Zaidi, William Kahn, the so-called ‘godfather of employee engagement’, saw engaged employees as innovators within their organisation; therefore, employees high on Openness – who are naturally innovative – are more likely to be engaged.

 

Implications for internal communicators

At first glance, it’s not good news for us IC bods. If, as the abovementioned research suggests, an employee’s unique and enduring personal characteristics significantly influences their level of work engagement, the task of driving up employee engagement (a staple in many IC job descriptions) may be trickier than we thought. Personality traits are thought to be consistent across time, and so if people who are low on Conscientiousness or high on Neuroticism are recruited into an organisation and then become disengaged, attempts by internal communicators to help them connect with their roles and the organisation may prove futile.

However, before we all tear up our engagement strategies and go on a well-deserved holiday, it’s important to note that while the findings presented suggest that some personality traits are better predictors of engagement than others, none of the studies concluded that having high levels of one trait would prevent you from being engaged full stop. That’s because, even though our personalities cause us to view our work, colleagues and employer in a unique way, we’re all capable of being engaged at work.

Professor Brad Shuck and colleagues propose that communication within an organisation can help engagement develop in each employee, irrespective of their personality make-up – via two routes:

  • It can motivate employees to be engaged by aligning their values with the organisation values
  • It can give employees the freedom to engage, achieved by creating trust and integrity within the organisation through transparent and consistent communication.

This cuts to the heart of what we do as internal communicators. We live for providing line of sight to employees and removing communication barriers between senior leaders and employees.

So there you have it. We’re all engageable. But we’re also brilliantly unique, with our own life experiences, views and set of personal characteristics which influence our behaviour at work. As internal communicators, it’s important that we remember this when trying to help our people engage with our organisation.

Studying Internal Communications – my story


Last Friday, I graduated for the second time. It was noticeably different to my first graduation ceremony for my undergraduate degree. No cap and gown, no crying mum and no worrying about what I’ll do with the rest of my life. However, unlike my undergrad, I joined the CIPR Internal Communications (IC) certificate course not really knowing what IC was or whether I’d be any good at it. In fact, I applied for the course only a few months after ‘discovering’ IC, and I was only two months into my first general comms role when I started the course last October (when you know, you know, I guess!).

I remember feeling nervous as I travelled to my first lesson; multiple doubts churning in my head. Am I ready to return to academia? Do I even like IC? Is this going to be a waste of my money and precious Saturdays?

The answers turned out to be simple – ‘yes’, ‘yes’ and ‘absolutely not’ – and here’s why:

The lessons
The course consisted of four all-day Saturday sessions over four months. While this may sound painful, the engaging and informative course topics meant that it was anything but. On the course, I learnt how to help employees become more engaged at work; how to implement internal social media into a company and how to write a strong corporate narrative. I particularly enjoyed exploring organisational tone of voice and learning how to create a robust communications plan (FYI: setting SMART objectives is not as easy as it sounds!). It was a steep learning curve for me, and there were a few times when I felt overwhelmed by all the information. However, this soon faded once I took time to assimilate my new knowledge and do some further reading.

IC Certificate Course

The assignment
At the end of the course, I had to write a 3,000-word critique examining one aspect of IC theory in the context of a real-life organisation. Having thoroughly enjoyed learning about engagement, I chose to focus on the interplay between IC and employee engagement at my workplace. On the advice of a friend who had recently completed my course, I began preparing for the assignment as early as I could. The preparation process was reminiscent of my uni days, not least because I spent hours researching and writing the assignment in my old uni library! In the end, I got a distinction, so all my hard work and sacrifices were not in vain.

The students
I’ve written elsewhere about how friendly and enthusiastic internal communicators are and my ‘classmates’ were no different. There was a real sense of camaraderie in my teaching group and everyone was up for sharing successful techniques, funny employer stories and course notes. We were an eclectic group in terms of professional backgrounds, seniority, geography and industry. As well as IC officers and managers, there was a Dutch consultant who flew in for the lectures and an employee of the Royal Household! As the most junior communicator, I initially felt that I had little to offer the group, so I kept quiet. But after reflecting on my previous work experience and psychology studies, I realised that I had some great insights to share and I began actively participating in class discussions.

The opportunities
Although I’ve only just officially completed the course, I believe that it has already opened up many doors for me. Since applying for the course last summer, I’ve been offered two comms jobs, been highly commended as a future leader at the CIPR #InsideStory Awards and have won a staff award for innovative comms. This recognition is a testament to the knowledge and skills that I acquired on the course, which I’ve reinforced with work experience and further reading. Moreover, I self-funded my studies which shows that I’m committed to my professional development; a key competence for many IC jobs.

The contacts I made while on the course have also been invaluable. As an in-house internal communicator, it’s easy to become detached from the profession. By connecting with keen learners from industries different to my own, I’m able to learn new ways of working which I can apply to my organisation (and vice versa).

Final thoughts
I’d highly recommend studying IC academically, particularly if you’re a career-changer like me. Signing up for the course was a big leap of faith for me; thankfully, it was a worthwhile investment. I’m now a more confident and effective IC practitioner. I’ve decided to postpone further academic studying for now so that I can continue to embed what I’ve learnt into my practice. That being said, I’m a nerd at heart, so I reckon it won’t be too long before I’m back studying again!

**P.S. I’m looking for a mentor – ideally a senior IC professional – who can help me move into an IC management role. If this sounds like you, I’d love to hear from you.

All Things IC blog

This blog post was first published on Rachel Miller’s All Things IC blog (9 July 2017) – http://www.allthingsic.com/how-to-study-internal-communication/

Reflections on IoIC Live 2017

First published on LinkedIn on 15 May 2017.

Institute of Internal Communication Instagram frame

Last Thursday and Friday, over 100 communication professionals came together in Bristol for IoIC Live, an annual conference run by the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC).

This year’s event focused on the core skills that internal communicators need to engage their colleagues and to add value to their organisations. Delegates were treated to a great programme of speakers and workshops on a variety of topics, including mobile technology strategy, storytelling and the psychology of communication.

As a member of the IoIC event committee, I organised two sessions and was able to attend some of the talks (when I wasn’t ushering delegates between rooms or on roving mic duty!).

Here’s what I took away from my six favourite sessions. As I like a challenge, I’ve tried to capture each session in one sentence (wish me luck!):

Day 1:

  • ‘Design for people who are mobile; but remember they won’t care after 96 seconds.’

Session: What you need to know about successfully adopting mobile technology in the workplace – Sharon O’Dea

  • ‘When it comes to ROI for face-to-face comms, outcomes (e.g. changes in behaviour) mean more than employees’ general event feedback.’

Session: The value of face to face – Dale Parmenter, drp group

  • ‘Logic is not king – 86% of our decisions are driven by emotions.’

Session: Get inside the head of your CEO – Graham Cox, Boundaries Edge

Day 2:

  • ‘People are people – to communicate more effectively, combine an understanding of psychology and common sense.’

Session: Psychology of communication – using psychology to gain influence and trust – Nicole Utzinger, EMEA Communications Consulting

  • ‘Do in/with an email what you would in a face-to-face conversation.’

Session: How do we solve a problem like too many emails? Nick Crawford, Sally Otter and Sam Thomas

  • ‘Your people are the most valuable tool for enabling organisational change, so make the most of their drive, empathy and resilience.’

Session: Ready for change with strengths-based training, Jane Sparrow, The Culture Builders

Ultimately, the conference has reinforced my view that psychology and internal communication are closely cousins. When it comes to informing and engaging your people, having a basic understanding of universal human behaviour and cognition and those specific to your people is hugely beneficial.

To that end, I’ll be exploring these topics as part of my new blog site (launching in June). I’ll be sharing more details about my blog on LinkedIn and Twitter soon, so watch this space.

* Special thanks go to IoIC for giving me the opportunity to work on the event. I look forward to working on the IoIC Live 18!

CIPR Inside AGM: my thoughts

First published on LinkedIn on 14 March 2017.

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Internal Communications group banner

Yesterday I attended the annual general meeting (AGM) for CIPR Inside, the CIPR sectoral group for internal communicators and employee engagers.

The AGM is a great opportunity to discuss the current state of the sector, chat to fellow internal communication (IC) bods from across different industries and learn more about the fantastic work that CIPR Inside does for its 800-so members.

Here’s a rundown of/some of my thoughts about last night’s meeting:

  1. The group’s conference in October was a resounding success. A whopping 180 people attended the event – entitled ‘Closing the Gap’ – and explored how IC can help connect people and departments within their organisation. I’m gutted I didn’t go, not least because the panel of non-comms bods sharing their experiences and thoughts on IC sounded like my kind of session!
  2. Last month’s #InsideStory awards was another jewel in the CIPR Inside’s crown. The team received a record-breaking 100 award entries this year from a variety of brands, big and small. I feel very honoured to have been nominated and highly commended in the Future Leader award category. Well done to all the other nominees, winners and CIPR Inside for organising a brilliant event that even Storm Doris couldn’t beat!
  3. Four new executive committee members were selected in a short and uncontroversial election (a seemingly rare phenomenon these days!). See the CIPR Inside website for more details.
  4. The new committee chair outlined some of their priorities for 2017/18, which included developing resources to help members do their best work, including case studies and toolkits, and participating in more Task and Finish Groups for CIPR projects which impact IC professionals
  5. IC professionals are some of the most passionate, resilient, funny and friendly people I’ve met. I find networking within the IC pool easy – everyone is always up for a chat and willing to share their own experiences in order to help you develop professionally and personally.

I look forward to writing for the CIPR Inside blog, joining a Task and Finish Group (my #insidestory award prize – yay!) and attending more of the committee events in the coming months.

If you’re planning to go to any events but aren’t sure about whether it’s for you, I’d be happy to have a chat about it. I’m not a CIPR member so my opinion will be based purely on my own – very positive – experience.

SOPPY MOMENT ALERT: Yesterday’s AGM was extra special for me, as it was a year ago at the last AGM that I fell in love with IC and decided to pursue it as a career. It’s been a fun and eventful 12 months and I look forward to seeing where this journey will take me!