Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What the heck do I do?

Since going back to work a few weeks ago I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “What does an internal communications manager actually DO?”

Communicate, right?! Well yes, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Since it seems that there isn’t a lot of familiarity with the world of corporate communications, I felt like this might be a good chance to give my friends and family a little insight into what I spend my days doing. So sit back, relax and let me tell you a story of a career girl in the big corporate world…

Imagine you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company – you’ve got thousands upon thousands of employees located all over the country, possibly even the world. Your days are spent focusing on the future of the organization, streamlining operations, increasing free cash flow… you get the idea. You’ve created a “senior leadership team” to support the company’s goals and forge the way into the future. Together you’ve spent hours meeting to discuss strategies, change integration initiatives, employee engagement. But how are these great plans put into place? Enter stage right – the internal communications manager – me!

The beautiful, intelligent, wildly energetic blonde walks into the room (ok, I had to add that line) and senior leadership lets out a sign of relief thinking… “thank God, someone else has to worry about how to get the rest of the company on board with our plan.” Yes – that’s my job. I’ve come to save the day, to translate all the corporate BS and get employees on the bandwagon. I’m a partner, discussing the information that needs to be communicated and what the SLT needs to think about before hitting the “send” button. I craft the message, I outline the timelines, I select the communications channels and I ultimately send it live before those thousands of people in your company. In a nutshell I’m the traffic controller of the corporate world.

Yes, this includes writing memos, drafting articles for employee newsletters and sending out emails upon emails. It’s a lot of writing, editing and re-writing… not so much fun. But what my job has that most other jobs don’t is the ability to learn every aspect of a company. I work with all departments – I get to know all types of people from executive management to front-line employees. In order to effectively communicate I have to have a detailed understanding of each department and each project. Opportunities like these are priceless.

It’s not a job for everyone. You can’t be shy and you have to have a touch of confidence in your stride, but you also have to be a team player. You have to know when to speak up, and know when to sit back and listen. You have to be eloquent, but not too eloquent. You have to love your company and love to write even more. You have to be able to re-read documents over and over until your eyes hurt because you know that one error can ruin the integrity of the message. You have to be there, ready for anything, willing to jump in at a moment’s notice because when you’re called into a meeting with the CEO you better have your game face on! Luckily there are people in the world like me who live to “spread the good news” and I’m not talking about the Bible here! Call me a corporate cheerleader, I don’t care… I know that without me the best laid plans would go to waste!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back to Work!

Hello Corporate America! It's been a while!... actually about four years to be exact. Today ends the first week of my new position at Wyndham Vacation Ownership and I'm loving being back to work. Not that I didn't like my four years at home with the kids or my freelance business, I just love being part of a large organization with LOTS of people, ideas and projects! In December I took a position as a Manager of Corporate Communications and 2011 started with a bang. It's amazing how energized I am by working again... however there is one drawback... I miss wearing my beautiful sweatpants all day! :)

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