Today I am launching a new blog – the Comms Insider. The Comms Insider is where I will discuss all things internal communication and employee engagement.
I’ll be writing about a mix of traditional, new and emerging theories and practices and how these can be adapted and applied in today’s rapidly changing business world to drive engagement and tangible business outcomes.
I’ve found that there is a lot written about theories and models in internal communication, but little about how they can be applied in practice. I want to address this gap.
Using my experiences as an in-house practitioner, I’ll be providing practical tips and guidance to help other internal communication professionals to apply theory in the real world and make a greater impact across their organisations.
I’ll also be sharing learnings and experiences from my MBA and my internal comms diploma that I am currently undertaking, and discussing a range of other interests.
My career so far…
So you can get to know me a bit better, I wanted to talk about my journey into internal comms.
Many people in internal comms often say that they fell into it by chance, but that wasn’t the case for me. Early on in my career, it was clear that it was the perfect profession for me to combine my interests and passions and make the most of my talents.
From a young age, I loved writing and telling stories and decided in my early teens that I wanted to be a journalist – a sports journalist in particular. And so that’s what I studied at university.
During my studies, I gained work experience as a reporter and really enjoyed it, but I also gained experience on the other side of the fence in PR.
After several placements in both fields, I was drawn towards PR. I liked the more commercial and strategic nature of the work and it still allowed me to fulfil my passion of finding and telling stories.
And so, my first job out of university was in PR at an agency in Leeds. I loved how fast paced it was and the creativity it drew out of me, but something was still missing.
In search of that something, I had an urge to explore the commercial and business side of things that had initially drawn me away from journalism and so I embarked on a part-time MBA.
Very quickly I realised that I had a real passion for business and was fascinated by how organisations worked and what made them tick.
As the course went on and I learnt more about business strategy, leadership and HRM, it was clear to me that at the heart of almost all high-performing organisations were engaged, motivated and valued employees.
And without any explicit mention, I started to realise the possibilities of stories and communication – my skill set – in creating the environment and culture to make that happen, and in helping employees and businesses to succeed.
In that moment, I had found what I wanted to do.
I immediately began searching for in-house communications roles linked to supporting businesses and their people. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, whether it was a role in HR, PR or corporate communication.
Luckily, I stumbled across the perfect opportunity – a two-year graduate scheme made up of four different 6-month comms roles, which covered all three of those areas, as well as a term in the Executive Office.
I was sure that at least one would give me what I was looking for and indeed it did. I loved all four positions, but the one that gave me most fulfilment was my stint in the Executive Office.
I was responsible for working with the Executive team to enhance their communication and engagement with employees, with the primary objective of building understanding and engagement with their vision and strategic plan.
I had found my place. I could express my creativity and storytelling while having a direct impact on the success and effectiveness of the organisation.
After completing the graduate scheme, I secured an internal communications officer role at a much larger organisation and haven’t looked back since.
Following two more years honing my knowledge and skills, I moved on to my current role as Internal Communications Manager at the University of Bradford, where I have managed staff and student communications for the last two years.
At this point in my career, I’m now looking to establish myself as a thought leader in the world of internal comms, drawing on my experiences at the sharp end of the profession, as well as my knowledge and expertise in business as an MBA graduate.
What’s coming next…
As well as writing about key themes within internal communication, I’ll be bringing some of my own interests into the conversation, starting with the role of internal communication in creating truly diverse and inclusive workplaces.
Outside of comms, I have carried out significant research into diversity and inclusion in football spectatorship and have subsequently worked with a number of professional football clubs to help them diversify their fan bases and create more inclusive environments.
It is an area that I have developed a very keen interest in and in my next blog post I’ll be discussing some of the learnings from my research and how they can be applied in internal comms to ensure that organisations aren’t just paying lip service to diversity and inclusion, and are instead driving positive and productive change.