A year in comms…

Jenni Field

2010 was the year I returned to an in-house role in comms. It has been an interesting year and one that has proved to me the importance of the role of the internal communicator. So what did 2010 bring to those of us in this profession?

Nothing like a bit of travel and weather chaos to keep us busy. I’ve put this under January although 2010 has seen several incidents throughout the year including more snow in December and volcanic ash cloud causing air traffic chaos. Rachel Allen did a great blog only a few weeks ago on communicating in a blizzard.

Social media is still making a name for itself and February saw the first social media conference for internal communicators hosted by Melcrum. 2010  has also seen sharepoint taking a front seat. As Melcrum launched the first of many courses around the platform it seems to be the solution to online internal comms everyone is talking about.  However it wasn’t on my list. It’s a very robust tool and one that I am sure works well if you have a large budget but simplicity is often easier, with many authors and contributors, I’m looking forward to what WordPress will bring to the table for our new intranet in 2011.

The Local Government’s Association of banned words for 2010 is published. Every year the organisation publish a list of words they feel should not be used when communicating to the general public. So you can forget bench marking, blue sky thinking or best practice as all made the list this year.

Email came under fire this month after business consulting and technology services firm Concentra published a report outlining that employees are spending an average of six hours or more a week reading and sending internal emails. The equivalent of 41 working days, or just over eight weeks, every year.

When i came into my current role everyone said we send too many emails – and we do. So looking at tools that can move email to instant messaging, forums or other online space is something that was high on my agenda when looking at a new intranet.

The British Association of Communicators in Business (CiB) formally became the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) aiming to champion better communication between employers and employees. A great move in the fight to give internal comms a professional qualification.

A change in government and the changes in policy has provided many topics for internal announcements; national minimum wage increase and VAT changes to name a few. There will no doubt be more to follow in 2011, but as an internal communicator sitting alongside an HR team it is very clear that policies change more than I ever knew!

Don’t be such a buzzkill, take a chill pill and chillax. Might mean nothing to some but these are just a few of the words added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2010.

This month saw the return of the Channel 4 series, Undercover Boss. A series that I always try to catch and one that really highlights the distance between those at the board level and those on the ground. It is great to see the different view the bosses take after going undercover and when I heard Stephen Martin from Clugston speak at the SCM summit in 2009 he said he learnt more in two weeks working on construction sites than spending four or five years in the office! Check out his top tips from a previous blog of mine with theblueballroom.

Melcrum’s SCM Summit for 2010 took place giving everyone food for thought on the industry. I blogged for the event so a full overview can be seen here.

The use of symbols in the global world came under fire this month as David Cameron’s poppy wearing in China struck a different cord with the audience. Meaning a sign of remembrance in the UK and opium wars in China the connotations couldn’t have been further apart. As a communicator working in a global business it is important that we recognise the different culture we operate in, and make sure everything we design, brand or create works across every culture.

So what does 2011 have in store?

I hope that next year, when people ask what I do and I say ‘I work in internal communication’ they no longer say “what’s that?”.

2 comments on “A year in comms…

  1. Well done Jenni for being the first up with a personal viewpoint of the year. I agree, with theblueballroom approaching its 10th anniversary, internal communications as a discipline should need no explanation. In fact there has never been a better time to be in the sector, with private and public sector validation of what we do, citing more and more proof that what we do creates competitive differentiation against most metrics. Recent book by Forrester Research – Empowered – also supports the positive impact of inclusive and collaborative communications cultures. 2011 is going to be a great year for us!

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