Our latest Candid Conversation guest is Internal Communications Consultant, Sacha Boljevic. Sacha has been working within the internal communication profession for the last 11 years and shares his insights, stories and advice with us.
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. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked in comms or where you are in the world, we’d love to hear from you.
Over to you Sacha…
How did you discover internal communication as a profession?
I first stepped into the world of internal communications 11 years ago when employee communication came under my remit within a UK dairy company. Looking back, the work we did there for employees was really limited – focusing on the fortnightly employee newsletter. My enthusiasm for internal communications grew when I later joined a hotel booking website – the culture there was all about creating and innovating, and having fun in the process! The scope of what we could do helped me open my eyes and develop my skills and passion for internal communications.
What do you love most about working in the internal comms profession?
I love that I have the opportunity to do both strategic planning and hands-on activities – I help an organisation make decisions that do right by its employees as well as being creative. I particularly enjoy working for an organisation with a social purpose where I can make a positive difference in the workplace for its people internally and, in turn, externally.
Do you have a memorable moment to share about when an IC project didn’t quite go to plan?
It’s great to be able to look back and laugh, but at the time, this was stressful! At a previous organisation, I was planning a screening at the cinema for employees to launch the new brand strategy – we couldn’t get the content loaded into the projector, making us run very late.
Hundreds of staff were waiting in a queue to get in, so I sent them to the bar for a complimentary drink while we got the projector sorted. Eventually, it was my laptop that was hooked up to the projector and I was running the show! At the time, I was mortified that it wasn’t the slick experience I had intended. But looking back, I’m sure the staff weren’t too upset about getting a free drink for their troubles, and it was fun learning how to operate the cinema screen!
What’s been a highlight of your internal comms career so far?
I’m currently working for one of Scotland’s biggest charities in an area I am personally passionate about. I’m in the process of leading a complete internal comms overhaul – a great opportunity to start from a blank page organisation-wide with comms and implement some exciting and creative stuff.
Having gone out and spoken to hundreds of colleagues about what they need from internal comms, I’m looking forward to implementing changes that make a difference for them.
Plus, to be part of a team and wider culture where people’s passion and expertise are bursting at the seams – it’s fantastic.
What do you feel has been the biggest change to our profession you’ve seen or experienced in your career?
A big change but also a positive one is a need for organisations to be open, honest and transparent with employees about its strategic thinking and plans. The need and value of internal communications to help deliver this is becoming clearer to organisations. Internal communications professionals need to keep reiterating what their offer is in a world of constant change.
How would you define internal communication to someone who didn’t know about it?
I recently wrote a blog article about this because it is a hard question to answer, so I have some prepared answers for you! Nobody likes being kept in the dark – internal communication ensures that knowledge of how an organisation is doing is appropriately shared with staff. It helps us know where the organisation is going and why, ensures methods are in place for colleagues to have their say and be listened to, and that information is shared in an open, honest and consistent way.
When decisions are made, internal communication helps colleagues understand why and who’s responsible for what.
It also provides a window to seeing company behaviours in action – helping create a trusting workplace culture we enjoy being part of.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting out in internal comms?
Listen carefully to the needs of stakeholders and audiences, study the value of internal communications, and focus your efforts on closing the gap. And always be willing to learn and change something that no longer works.
What are your top tips when it comes to continued professional development to stay up to date on everything internal comms related?
Looking back, I think I was a passenger of my professional development for too long. We are all in our own driving seats for our professional development – identify where you want to grow and why and take the necessary steps to get there – create your own professional development strategy. I also believe it’s in your employer’s interest to invest in your continued professional development but if they are unwilling to or don’t have ample resources, I would recommend making a case for it or moving somewhere that understands this need.
If you could go back in time and speak to yourself when you started your IC career, what advice would you give?
Read more books of every kind!
Thank you Sacha for sharing your Candid Conversation with us.
You can connect with Sacha on LinkedIn.
Upcoming Measurement Masterclasses at the All Things IC Hub
We speak about measurement with our clients and Comms friends constantly and so we’re delighted to offer our first Measurement Masterclasses. We’ve designed this course to support and help internal communicators.
Perhaps you’re unsure whether you’re measuring the right things or struggling with turning your insights into actions, would like to know how to measure or are utterly stuck and unsure where to start. If you’re looking for practical advice and inspirational ideas, you’re in the right place.
Join All Things IC Communication Consultant Dan Holden who will guide you through some of the theories behind effective internal communication measurement and practical guidance and examples to help you show the value of your internal communication.
We’ll also be announcing our Online Measurement Masterclass later this year. Sign-up to our monthly newsletter The water cooler to stay update on all our latest news, training and resources.