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A candid conversation with Kathryn Prosser

We’re delighted to introduce Kathryn Prosser, Senior Manager Employee Communications and Experience based in the United Kingdom as our latest Candid Conversation. 

Launched in June 2022, we hear each month from communication professionals about their career highlights, insights and advice they wish to share with the wider comms community.  

We’d love to hear your internal comms stories and experiences for a future Candid Conversation feature. Complete our submission form, and one of the team will be in touch. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked in comms or where you are in the world; we’d love to share your story.  

Over to Kathryn for her Candid Conversation. 

A photo of Kathryn Prosser with her job title 'Senior Manager Employee Communications and Experience'

How did you discover internal communication as a profession?  

Like a lot of people, I kind of just fell into internal communications. My first role was in the PR department of a national charity, and my next role was as the sole marketer for an insurance company. Whilst it was a great experience, it didn’t really resonate with me and back then, internal communications wasn’t really seen as a profession.  

It was something that happened off the side of the desk either by someone in HR or the Marketing department. A couple of roles on, and I found my ‘home’ in employee communications and have been working in that area for over 10 years now. 

What do you love most about working in the internal comms profession? 

The fact that you get the freedom to be curious and find out what’s happening across the whole organisation. No two days are ever the same, and with the breadth of stakeholders I work with, there’s never a dull moment as I’m always spinning lots of plates.

There’s also that immediate gratification you get when people engage with your communication activity, and you know that you’ve made a difference, even if it’s to just one person.

Do you have a memorable moment to share when an IC project didn’t quite go to plan? 

Ooh, that’s a tough question… there’s always stuff with hindsight that you could have done better or slightly differently. I don’t remember having anything that went completely wrong or off plan. 

What’s been a highlight of your internal comms career so far? 

When I joined my current organisation back in 2015, there were just 450 employees and no internal communications function or channels (other than email).  

Nearly seven years on, we’re at over 1200 employees, and there are now three of us in the internal communications team. Having been on the journey of being part of the creation of an internal communications function from scratch has been extremely gratifying.  

What do you feel has been the biggest change to our profession you’ve seen or experienced in your career? 

There generally seems to be a lot more respect for internal communicators post-pandemic and we are far more valued than we ever were before. 

There’s an increasing understanding that we’re not simply ‘post boxes’ for communicating out tactical communications; we can actually add a lot of value to an organisation by driving strategy and outcomes and being trusted advisors to our senior leaders. 

How would you define internal communication to someone who didn’t know about it? 

Internal communication is all about influencing what employees think, feel or do. It’s not simply about informing; it’s about driving outcomes and engagement.  

It’s also about engaging employees with the organisation’s purpose so that they know why and how their individual and team performance contributes to the organisation’s overall success.

Successful internal communication also gives a voice to employees and allows for a two-way dialogue. 

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting in internal comms? 

Ask lots of questions and put your hand up to get involved in as many things as you have the capacity for. Get to really understand your organisation, the good and the bad things about it. Get to know a range of people across your organisation to build up your network; you never know when you might need their support or input for something you’re working on.
Having no budget, or limited budget, is not unusual for internal communications, so sometimes you might feel like the poor relation to other colleagues in Marketing. However, this can give you the opportunity to be creative and learn new skills, so don’t let this put you off. 

What are your top tips for continued professional development to stay up to date on everything internal comms related?  

This is something I personally need to do better at. There are lots of resources available for internal communicators, including podcasts, articles, courses and networking events. The top tip from me is one I need to take on board myself, and that is to find time for continued professional development! 

If you could go back in time and speak to yourself when you started your IC career, what advice would you give? 

Not to take anything personally and have broad shoulders. Not everything is in your gift to do or change, nor should it be, so don’t be afraid to push back, question and/or say NO. 

Thank you Kathryn for your Candid Conversation.

You can connect with Kathryn on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to share your internal comms stories and experiences for our brand new Candid Conversations series, complete our submission form, and one of the team will be in touch.

Post author: Dan Holden

First published on the All Things IC blog 10 July 2022.

 

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