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2020 according to FutureNet

Becky Leonard, FutureNet committee member, looks back and celebrates what the network – and indeed the entire IC profession – has achieved in 2020.

Eleven years, sorry months ago, I wrote up FutureNet's resolutions for 2020. Let's get 2020 off to the best start possible, wide-eyed, un-socially distanced Becky said.

But as I opened the blog today, ready to wince at the pre-Covid aspirations, I was pleasantly surprised. These resolutions may have been written with no idea of the bonkers year that lay ahead, but FutureNetters – and in fact the entire IC profession – have achieved them. Just in slightly different ways.

1. We learned

In January, we talked about how internal communicators are busy, with not much time to set aside for their own development. Well, for many, this year gave a new meaning to the word 'busy', but it didn't stop us learning.

In fact, rather than learning 'little and often' as we suggested, the on-the-job lessons came thick and fast this year. We learned how to support an overwhelmingly remote workforce, how to deal with an ever-changing crisis, how to launch company-wide channels at a moment's notice, how to better support employee wellbeing… and so much more. We'd need a year's worth of blogs to do it justice.

Throughout the year, you told us what you were struggling with and friends from the IC world came to our aid with special sessions just for our network. Lyn Roseman shared public speaking tips, Liz Havern talked us through crisis communication, and Amanda Coleman taught us how to plan a recovery communications plan.

Plus we were joined by experts such as Oli Howard and Charlotte Butler in our FutureNet Asks podcasts, with Oli talking about the importance of strategy and Charlotte about diversity and inclusion.

2. We pushed boundaries

We wanted everyone to say 'yes' to something that worries or challenges them. I think I'm safe in saying we all said yes to that this year, whether we wanted to or not.

This year's events – and lessons like those listed above – have made us push boundaries and try new things. And it was no different for the FutureNet committee. Like so many of you, we had to rethink our approach this year, taking our support totally online for the first time.

Actually, trying new things gave us one of our favourite FutureNet offerings yet. We were getting so much from our online 'ask the expert' sessions, but we still missed the spontaneous chats and connections that come from informal networking. So we launched FutureNet Hangouts in the summer as a way for us to come together, swap success (and horror) stories, ask questions we didn't know how to get answered, and have a cathartic rant with people in the same boat.

3. We gave back

When we first talked about this resolution, we talked about giving back by supporting the profession and the next generation of communicators. 2020 has seen FutureNetters and other IC professionals do all that and more.

Internal communication was firmly in the spotlight in 2020. We supported our organisations through a unique crisis. We helped to give employees support, connection and some certainty, at an incredibly uncertain time. And we helped each other, pooling resources, reaching out on social media, and coming together at virtual events.

FutureNet specifically did work towards those original resolutions too. Our committee members Kim and Binu supported the next generation by speaking to students at University of East London and University of Cardiff about the opportunities in an IC career.

And Harriet created vital resource lists for FutureNet members, including 'Black Lives Matter – Resources for Communicators' to help organisations support black and minority employees in their organisations.

A HUGE thank you

Thank you to everyone who has supported FutureNet this year. To those who took part, joined the conversation and helped each other out.

We know there's so much more we can do, and we can't wait to get cracking in 2021. In the meantime, stay safe, eat a mince pie (or five), and give yourself a massive pat on the back.

2020: you did it. 

Our future as a profession is bright
Why my job in internal communications means I neve...
 

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Tuesday, 07 December 2021
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