Receiving a Fellowship after more than two decades working in internal communication was a proud moment for group internal communications and engagement partner Joe Salmon. Here, he tells us what becoming a Fellow means to him, and what he finds rewarding about working in IC.
Why did you choose to pursue becoming a Fellow, and how did it feel when you found out you had been successful?
I’ve worked in internal comms for over 20 years and been a member of the IoIC for half of that time. I've had my eye on becoming a Fellow and joining this elite group of IC professionals for many years.
It’s special as it's judged by highly experienced professionals in the IC community. The short wait following my interview felt like forever, so when I found out I had been successful I was excited and proud. I remember feeling empowered – like I had just levelled up and earned my stripes.
What led you to a career in internal comms?
I like to say that internal comms found me. Very early in my career at Vodafone I was happily working in customer services when I was approached to do a short secondment in internal comms.
Suddenly the focus switched from dealing with customer enquiries to listening and communicating with colleagues. My role was to help deliver change, build a great culture and drive employee pride and advocacy for better business outcomes.
It all felt very natural and gave me opportunities to think of cool and creative ways to really inspire our contact centre employees. At the same time, I got to work with senior leaders and influence the company’s internal comms approach, which was really satisfying. I knew this was home for me.
Outside of becoming a Fellow, what has your biggest professional achievement been?
This is an easy one. I had the honour and privilege of leading on BT's Torchbearer Campaign – an internal comms campaign that formed part of their London 2012 Olympics sponsorship. As someone who loves physical exercise, health and wellbeing, this was an exciting opportunity.
It was my first big global campaign. The objective was to engage and instil pride across our 100,000-strong global workforce, while inspiring and encouraging our UK employees to volunteer and get involved.
Through the campaign, I got to work with and interview elite-level athletes, including the legendary two-time Olympic gold medallist Daley Thompson. He was a personal role model and someone who inspired me as a child.
The experience of being involved in what I view as the greatest show on earth will be very hard to beat.
Why is a commitment to continuous personal development so important?
So much has changed over the past 20 years: how employees consume news and the mix of formal and informal channels, the importance of understanding and embedding organisational culture, attracting, nurturing and retaining a diverse workforce, senior leader visibility, the pace of change and, more recently, our ways of working and future of work. These are just a number of the opportunities we have to enhance how employees feel and perform at work.
Internal comms experts need to keep evolving and learning so we're ahead of the game. This will allow us to be that trusted adviser who understands our audience’s needs, challenges, concerns and behaviours. It will also allow us to stay on top of business strategy, brand, culture, aspirations and values too.
All of this puts us in a great position to connect people and purpose in order to drive and deliver better business outcomes.