Internal Communications Officer-Manager

The Job and What's Involved

People working in internal communications departments are responsible for engaging and informing employees. Organisations of all sizes, from government departments, local authorities to charities and commercial companies, rely on good internal communications to function effectively.

Internal communications officers/managers use a wide range of communication techniques and channels, from employee newsletters and briefing notes to internal websites.

Depending on the size of the internal communications team, specific duties may include:

  • Devising creative ways to convey messages to keep staff up to date with important news and to share information.
  • Writing meeting briefing notes and e-mails to cascade information from senior staff to employees across the organisation.
  • Managing the compilation and distribution of internal staff newsletters, writing and editing content, arranging photography, overseeing design, print and production.
  • Managing the development of an intranet and its content - proofing, editing and posting articles.
  • Encouraging two-way and multi-way communication through, for example, surveys, suggestion schemes, workshops and social networking tools.
  • Gauging reactions to internal communications, using feedback to recommend and implement new initiatives.
  • Providing advice to employees regarding the organisation's branding and identity.
  • Organising and managing seminars, events and presentations, which could involve booking facilities and equipment, working with agencies and preparing management slide-shows and presentations.
  • Working with colleagues across the organisation to contribute to specific projects, especially employee engagement work.

Managers will usually be accountable for setting and managing budgets and developing and implementing a communications strategy, which complements overall business objectives. This may include helping directors and line managers to ensure communication approaches are both suitable and well received.

Most internal communications people work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. Like many creative jobs, working additional hours to meet tight deadlines may be expected.

Internal communications is typically an office-based role. However, attending meetings at different sites within an organisation, meeting with creative agencies or attending corporate presentations and employee briefings can be a big feature in some jobs.

Travel may be required, even worldwide, especially if working in an international firm. Part-time work and job sharing may be possible once experienced.

Internal communications officers might expect to earn around £15,000 a year when starting out in a junior role. With experience, internal communications officers may earn between £22,000 and £32,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

The majority of industry sectors employ internal communications people, including financial companies, manufacturers, retailers, service providers, the public and civil service sector, charities and IT, so jobs are available nationwide. Large teams are generally concentrated around major town and cities. In smaller organisations, some may combine internal communications with other aspects of PR and marketing.

As well as working 'in-house' within dedicated internal communications departments or as part of the communications or human resources team, they may work within specialist communications agencies, which provide paid consultancy services to organisations. These jobs are more likely to be centred in large cities.

Jobs are usually advertised in communication, PR and marketing publications like CorpComm, Marketing, Marketing Week, PR Week and on the British Association of Communicators in Business (CiB) website.

Education and Training

There are several routes into internal communications. Often, people join as communication assistants/officers, or switch into internal communications from writing, marketing or public relations roles.

Employers often value business awareness, creative flair and evidence of good interpersonal skills just as much as academic qualifications, with many setting their own entry requirements. Due to high competition for jobs, graduates, especially those with a marketing and communications, PR or business administration degree, may be at an advantage.

Some degree programme's last four years and include a year's work placement. Postgraduate courses in marketing communications are also available. There are also relevant BTEC Higher National Certificates/Diplomas (HNC's/HND's) in marketing, and foundation degrees in business and marketing.

Entry to a degree is usually with a minimum of five GCSE's (A*-C), including maths and English and two or three A levels, or equivalent. Applicants for HNC/HND courses and foundation degrees usually need a minimum of one A level and three to four GCSE's (A*-C), or equivalent.

Candidates should check with individual colleges and universities for specific entry requirements.

The Diploma in creative and media may be relevant for this area of work.

For people entering internal communications without a relevant degree, the British Association of Communicators in Business (CiB) offers an entry-level qualification.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

While working in internal communications, it may be possible to study for relevant professional qualifications. CiB offers two tiers of accredited qualifications, including:

Entry-level Foundation Diploma of Proficiency in Internal Communications aimed at assistant, junior team members or someone relatively new to internal communications.

Advanced Diploma of Proficiency in Internal Communications aimed at established team members and those working in a managerial capacity. (Completion of the CiB Foundation Diploma means automatic eligibility; other applicants can take CiB's pre-entry examination.)

Two higher-level tiers are currently in development or being planned. See the CiB's professional qualifications section on their website. CiB also offers a wide range of short courses ranging from effective writing skills to communicating change, strategic communications planning and how to organise better events. A full listing of courses is updated regularly on CiB's website.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) offers two levels of new qualifications, including:

  • Internal Communication Certificate
  • Internal Communication Diploma, a six-month specialist qualification taught at Masters Level

Both CIPR qualifications combine face-to-face teaching at their PR Academy with online learning. See the qualifications section of the CIPR website for entry requirements and study options.

Internal communications practitioners may also study for professional qualifications from The CIM. See Marketing Executive/Manager profile for details of relevant courses.

Online seminars and conferences are accessible to members of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An internal communications officer/manager needs:

  • Excellent written, editing and verbal communication skills.
  • To be articulate, creative and show initiative.
  • A good understanding of the sector and organisation they work in.
  • Enthusiasm and diplomacy.
  • To enjoy working in a fast paced environment.
  • Good team and networking skills.
  • An organised and methodical approach, with good project management skills.
  • Attention to detail.

Your Long Term Prospects

Communications or marketing assistants can, with experience, work up to internal communications officer. There may be opportunities to move into different roles, such as communications officer, press/media officer, or events manager, or eventually internal, external or combined management positions within communications.

Overseas projects or placement opportunities may be possible for those working within international head offices. Once experienced, it is feasible to apply communication skills learned to similar roles, including brand management, public relations, advertising or marketing.

Many successful communications practitioners eventually become self-employed or provide consultancy services to other organisations.

Get Further Information

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM),
Moor Hall, Cookham, Maidenhead,
Berkshire SL6 9QH
Tel: 01628 427120
Websites: www.cim.co.uk

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR),
52-53 Russell Square, London WC1B 4HP
Tel: 020 7631 6900
Website: www.cipr.co.uk

International Association of Business
Communicators UK (IABC-UK)
Website: www.iabc.com

Mad.co.uk
Website: www.mad.co.uk

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