Stepping up july 2020 event summary

By Dan Holden, Helen Chown and Sara Tehrani

,August 22, 2020 

Missed our July Stepping Up session for execs and officers?  Here’s a summary of the conversation with Dan Holden, Helen Chown and Sara Tehrani.

Thanks to everybody who joined our Stepping Up virtual session. Our July lunchtime event saw some lively conversation and questions from IC professionals looking to take the next step in their careers. 

Casting the net – the job search

Some of the conversation centred around job searches and the current market. Committee member, Sara Tehrani, VMA Group shared that although the market has been significantly impacted during the pandemic – particularly in certain sectors, roles are out there. Particular skills that recruiters are being asked for by hiring managers include change management experience as well as broader generalist comms skills. Some great guidance on searching for IC roles can be found in this guide. 

We also discussed how to plug gaps in experience by being proactive and sharing your interest in helping out with projects at work that will help you build experience in areas of interest. A little additional ‘discretionary effort’ can go a long way! 
This list of key skills and competencies might help you frame your application.

Sara spoke about competency-based interview questions and recommended the Star model. 

What’s the set up? IC Team Structures

Another theme that came through in the conversation was about the different ways that IC teams are set up to best add value to the business. We talked about the importance of being able to identify the needs of the business and make recommendations, but also the importance of how the team structure helps the individuals in the IC team develop their interests and strengths.

Some advice from the panel includes:

Dan: It’s important to look inwards at the skills your team have and what they enjoy doing. You can then review these against the needs of the business and how the team can then support these. I’ve heard of various approaches and there isn’t one size fits all. 
You could look at a business partner model, where team members work closely with assigned divisions or departments, an approach that’s often used by HR teams. Another approach is an agency style model, where projects are assigned to team members based on workload and skills, very handy if you find the majority of your teams’ workload is from projects. If you have a flat structure then you could assign leads for areas such as content, channels and engagement, meaning you can mix the workload and still have individuals looking at longer term development across the function.

Helen: I’ve found the work of both Bill Quirke and Kevin Ruck helpful when looking at different team structures. 

The M Question 

 Being able to measure communication effectively was also on the minds of some on the call. An extremely important factor in stepping up as a more trusted advisor, it makes a big difference being able to say: ‘The data indicates that…’  versus ‘I think that…’. 
CIPR Inside has a range of resources that can help build up measurement skills. Our ‘Measurement and ROI Report’ contains a range of models that you can either adopt or adapt to work for your own organisation. You can also check out the launch webinar for the report and CIPR and IOIC members can access the full report in their respective CPR portals.

Thanks again to all those joined – watch out for future Stepping Up sessions later in the year. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to connect with us on Twitter @CIPRinside, LinkedIn and our new Guild group and ask the IC community!
If you missed the session, you can download the presentation here .