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Internal comms contracting? Now is the time.

16/10/2018

2018 has been a good year to be a communications professional; there has been a noticeable uplift in the number of communications jobs; especially internal communications jobs. Here at EMR, we’ve noticed a particular trend for interim internal communications roles within the professional and financial services sectors.

The communications industry is traditionally well set-up for contracting as roles are often project – focussed or linked to organisational change. If you’re interested in specialising in this discipline more, or haven’t taken interim positions in the past, now is the time to consider it. Read on to learn about the benefits of contracting and find out from a seasoned pro why contracting in internal communications is an exciting prospect right now.

Rebecca Wilson is currently contracting as Head of Communications & Engagement at EY (EMEIA). We spoke to her on the importance of internal communications in the sector, why contracting in this space is so appealing, and the role of internal communications in the flexible working movement. 

What are some of the trends in internal communications you have noticed since the Global Financial Crisis?

Internal Communications departments have become far more interwoven with the business; they are more collaborative and no longer work in silo. The top internal comms departments across the globe have harnessed the strength of connecting together with HR, Talent, Employee Relations and the business. It is vital. The very top companies are now investing in employee phycologists to support the behavioral and cultural shift that employees are being asked to meet. 

Are there any challenges that you think that will impact the communications industry in the next 12 months?

As more and more businesses get on the front-foot of integrating their Communications, Engagement, HR, and People departments, I see the role of an Internal Communications specialist broadening and being very much the go-to function for specialist advice, guidance and direction. 

What challenges do internal communicators face in this environment?

Businesses are under a huge amount of pressure due to a complex marketplace. Topics such as Brexit, GDPR, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity along with constant new regulations and technologies all cause disruption and uncertainty. Customer behaviour is changing and companies are trying to keep up. This transpires down to employees. 
 
As businesses look to transform the way they operate at speed, the demand and pressure on employees increases; they worry about stability both  of the company they work for and their work security. They are being asked to change the ways they work at pace, do more with less people, and adopt more dynamic and future-forward behaviours that reflect their customer base.  Being in internal communications at this point is truly exciting. Focus needs to remain on honest, clear and simple leadership direction for employees; explaining the why behind decisions, showing what the end game will look and feel like, offering training to boost skills and talking in stories where the information is complex.  

What are your thoughts on flexible working, and what part does internal communications play in this?

In today’s modern working world flexible working is essential; It incorporates dimensions of time and place and also involves doing work differently; focusing on performance and outcomes rather than the traditional artificial measures of success, like time and attendance. In fact agile is more than working in a different way, it is being and behaving differently. It is transformational. 
 
Flexible working offers huge opportunities for both employees and businesses; I see the role of Internal Communications being to showcase the benefits for both, explain options available and enable it to happen. Internal Communications needs to support and champion the change in organisational culture and individual mindset, particularly in senior and middle management – they need to be the role models, engaging with their workforce, empowering people in a relationship of trust and responsibility. 

How do you think the job market has changed over the last few years?

Companies want communications experts who are equipped with change experience and who can connect the dots – across people and business. It is crucial in this marketplace as companies work to transform how they do business against the backdrop of geopolitical instability, economic uncertainty and technological disruption.


Rosanagh Gallivan specialises in interim communications jobs and so speaks to hundreds of candidates weekly. She says that the benefits of contracting in this space are clear:

Flexibility

Clients tend to be more open on background and sector for interim consultants, therefore giving contractors the ability to try industries they may not have considered before. Additionally, contractors can choose to take breaks in between assignments, allowing for more flexible working and time for personal projects such as travel or education.

Financial

More often than not, day rate communications consultants are able to demand higher salary equivalents than their permanent counterparts. Often interim consultants are hired for their specialist skills and project-focused nature, which is especially desirable for any change/transformation projects.

Up-skill

Changing industries and roles every 6-24 months allows contractors to pick up an abundance of skills, from using different tools and technologies to experience different working practices, which they may not have in one longer term role. 

View our latest interim and contract communications jobs

If you’re interested in discussing interim communications opportunities then you can contact Rosanagh here 

Tell us what you think of interim or communications day rates and flexibility by completing our Market Trend & Salary Survey and you could win a £400 dinner for two!

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