There’s no place I’d rather be…

There’s a lot of difficult news around at the moment, so I’m creating the opportunity to share stories of hope, courage and inspiration.

I was inspired to do so by Melisa Kakas, Internal Communications Manager at British Business Bank. If you missed her article, do read How to stay in love with internal communication.

Thank you to the internal communicators who answered my LinkedIn post. I encouraged guest writers to come and share their love for internal communication.

Today I’m delighted to welcome Claire Widd, Head of EMEA Internal Communication at Rackspace Technology.

I’ll hand you over…

Blog by Claire Widd, Head of EMEA Internal Communication at Rackspace Technology

There’s no place I’d rather be…

When I started my career, external communications and marketing were my passion and for years this remained unwavering until a chance resource gap meant I was given the opportunity to work on some eye-opening internal communications projects and I felt like the mothership was calling me home.

Fast forward over half a decade later and I have been in love with, fallen out of love with and fallen back in love with internal communications.

If you’re reading this, know you aren’t alone.

Working in internal communications is an incredibly rewarding career. You get to see your organisation at its very best, you get to work across every level – enabling a rich tapestry of conversation to take place and helping others to share their stories – bringing the organisation to life.

What sits hand in hand with this however is seeing the organisation at its worst.

As an internal communicator, we experience change before most of our peers and change is tough. Just because you’re helping to deliver the news, doesn’t mean you’re immune to it.

Look outside your organisation 

I had an epiphany moment when I attended a course with internal communicators from organisations all over the world. It is very easy to be inward looking and keep a relentless focus on things that are or aren’t working within your own organisation.

Communicators just like you are having the same conversations about employee opinion surveys, managing change, the global pandemic and whether that all company email really is the best tactic to use – build your network, share with and learn from others!

You don’t have to take a course to build your network. There are so many brilliant resources just waiting for you.

The Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) mentoring scheme, social media and agency relationships are incredibly valuable to me. I can learn, vent, celebrate and share with others who understand exactly what I’m going through.

Further reading: Check out the IoIC website.

Celebrate often 

I work alongside an amazing team and every month we talk about our monthly momentum. We celebrate all of the brilliant things from that month and look ahead to the month coming. It’s a fantastic way to round off our week and remind us all of the impact we have and why we should be proud of what we do.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of using feedback as a way to dive right into lessons learnt and pick apart the slightest thing (that 99.9% of people won’t have noticed) but sometimes it can be as simple as saying ‘let’s do more of this again!’

Take the win and own it, it’s infectious and others will celebrate with you too.

Negative feedback isn’t personal 

Whether you’ve poured hours, weeks or even months into working on something it’s easy to take feedback personally, especially when it’s negative.

Earlier I mentioned that as internal communicators, we see organisations at their very best and at their worst. If we all take a step back, everything we do is tied to change and so too is feedback that we receive from within our organisation.

Feedback isn’t aimed at you as an internal communicator but is often reflective of the mood within the world around employees.

If they’re feeling worried about something at work, they aren’t going to be jumping for joy when a new channel launches or your snazzy new leadership blog talks about how great the future will be. Remember, you’re already coming through the other side of the change and employees need time to catch up.

I’ll be totally honest, it took me some time to accept this last point and from time to time I still have to remind myself of this.

The final thing I want to leave you with is a really important reminder and something which I was incredibly appreciative of a colleague for sharing with me.

Your organisation chose you, so keep being you.  

When you applied for your role, you were hired over tens and sometimes even hundreds of other communicators.

Your organisation chose you as an expert in your field and as someone that they want to be in arguably one of the most critical and visible roles they have.

There will be days when something goes wrong or there’s a typo in an email but you’re human and we’ve all done it (I did it in my very first all company email subject line – ouch!) but you need to keep moving forward. The employees in your organisation rely on you and your leadership team rely on you too.

Quite frankly, there’s no place I’d rather be.

Post author: Claire Widd.

I love this Claire, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with my blog readers.

Do look her up on LinkedIn.

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First published on the All Things IC blog 7 February 2022.

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