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Nicholas Wardle, head of employee engagement & communications at housing association One Housing, received a Fellowship from IoIC in 2019, following over a decade of working in internal communication. 


In this Q&A, we find out why he’s remained in the profession for so long, and where he sees it heading in the future.  

What does it mean to you to be an IoIC Fellow?
 
It means a lot! As IC professionals, we talk a lot about the benefits and importance of a recognition culture, so I think it is great that within our industry there is an opportunity like this to be recognised through our own professional body. 
 
It’s an honour to join so many movers and shakers in the IC industry – there sure are some great names already on the list.
 
 
Where do you see internal communications heading in the future?
 
This is a pertinent question for the times we are in. I’ve read a number of blogs and articles about how our industry has been proving its worth through the Covid-19 pandemic, so we need to maintain that momentum. 
 
At the same time, though, I’ve heard numerous accounts of internal communicators being made redundant as a result of the pandemic, and I think it’s worth looking at whether we’re seeing the same number of job cuts in other departments. We know the pandemic has been difficult for a lot of organisations, but we have to consider why they might be cutting IC jobs in particular. 
 
It’s one thing to show your value to your business, but it is another entirely to evidence it. I’m quite tough on our industry, and I’ve believed strongly for years that we need to focus on gathering hard evidence that supports what we know to be true about the value of IC – senior leaders are swayed by this, and it’s what most will be looking at when times are tough. So much of our work is great and impactful, but we’re still not doing it justice when it comes to evidencing it. 
 
Fortunately, IoIC is partnering on the Employee Experience Opportunity, and part of this includes the return on investment on the work that IC professionals do. I recommend people follow this work as it progresses, as it will tackle some of the challenges we face. 
 
 
What does IoIC need to do to support IC professionals through future challenges, and how would you like to get involved?
 
I volunteer for IoIC’s London committee – we try to put an event on each quarter to offer practical support to practitioners, start conversations and get people thinking, so I will continue to support professionals through this and help them navigate what could be a tough time ahead. 
 
When it comes to IoIC’s support, it would be interesting to flip the question and think about how IC professionals can support IoIC and the wider industry. As internal comms professionals, we should be more active about reaching out to IoIC and helping it to be as effective as it can be for us. 
 
If there is something you are proud of, tell IoIC – it’s always looking for case studies of good work. And, similarly, if there is something you don’t know or something you’re struggling to get support with, raise this. IoIC can then identify the problems its members are facing, and work on providing support and resources to help. 
 
 
How long have you been in the industry, and why have you chosen to stay in the industry for so long?
 
I’ve been in internal comms for about a dozen years now. What keeps my interest is that the way we communicate is ever-changing, and there are so many different tools and channels at our disposal. It continues to evolve, which keeps it exciting. 
 
What I find slightly frustrating, however, is that internal comms channels are usually quite far behind the curve, and often teams aren’t able to make the most of what is available because of an organisational lack of investment.  We need to become a bigger industry voice to demand the right tech and tools for employees. 
 
I also enjoy the profession because it often finds itself in a privileged position when it comes to the connections and involvement it has with senior leaders. Because of the nature of our job, we get to know what’s happening across the organisation before most people do – something about being in on the secret before others is really exciting. 
 

‘We get to know what’s happening across the organisation before most people do’

 
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