Internal comms – the dream job?
As her week’s work experience as an intern at 44 draws to a close, Lois Smith reflects on what she has learnt about the world of internal communications and reveals whether she could see herself working in an industry where much of the magic is in the words…
What did you dream of growing up to be when you were four? When I was asked on my first day of work experience here at 44 what I wanted to be when I was little, my honest (and yet rather embarrassing) answer was a fairy. Impractical? Maybe. But as far as four-year-old me was concerned, I was going to have real wings and a sparkly dress – and no one was going to tell me otherwise. You might say I was a very stubborn as child, I prefer to say ‘determined’.
Now, for a young person (I’m 17 going on 18), the range of options available work-wise can be confusing and admittedly a little daunting. While you can’t train to be a fairy, you can study a whole range of different degrees – from ‘Dairy Herd Management’ in Cheshire, to ‘Ethical Hacking’ in Dundee.
When my dad suggested that I should look into internal communications after reading something I had written, I have to admit that I was initially confused. IC was not an industry that I’d heard of and it hadn’t featured in any of my ‘creative job’ Google results. Was this a job that would give me the chance to write creatively for a living? I was intrigued.
The IoIC website was a good place to start as it gave me a good overall understanding as to how the industry operates. It told me that:
“At the most basic level, you have to communicate well at the right time so employees know what is expected of them and what is happening in the organisation.”
Before going on to say: “At a deeper level, for employees to feel engaged with their workplace and give their best, they have to believe their organisation cares about their views and understand how their role contributes towards overall business objectives.” So far so good…
More research revealed that 92% of senior leaders now see the benefit and importance of IC and 60% of professionals believe that its influence will grow within the next year. I was also interested to find out that IC is a largely female-dominated business.
I have had a very positive experience here at 44 and I certainly do think that there could be a future for me in this line of work. Being here has allowed me to develop my skills in research, writing, design and proofreading. I have also appreciated being valued as a team member and part of a friendly working environment. It has also been good to have conversations with people who are clearly passionate about their profession.
It’s been great to see a close connection between the 44 team and their clients. I’d be interested to find out if this honest, friendly and approachable style applies to the industry as a whole.
In the meantime, I will continue to build on many of the skills that I have learnt here so that I can apply them to school, uni and eventually the workplace.
I have the mentality that practical solutions can be born out of dreams. So, while I now know that I might struggle to make a living as a fairy, communications is a magical industry that values creativity, a good work ethic and the ability to turn bad grammar into good grammar. These are qualities that every good fairy really should have!