Focus On

With this year’s Internal Communications Conference just a few weeks away, we’ve decided to sit down with some of our world class industry speakers for a “Speaker in the Spotlight” interview to hear more about their role, responsibilities and what they are most looking forward to about the event. Today we are joined by Taryna Surtees-Moss, Global Internal Communications Manager at AstraZeneca…

Can you provide us with an insight into a ‘day in the life’ of your role?

As I’m sure most communicators will say, it is very hard to describe a day in the life of a communicator as two days are rarely ever the same, especially in the current climate! My day might start by sharing news such as the approval of a medicine or results from a trial to our 80,000+ employees, it will often include a number of calls with my team, the teams I business partner, and external stakeholders, and I have the opportunity to lead and be part of some really exciting global projects which help to update, engage and recognise our incredible employees. It may also involve analysing data and stats, and researching the latest trends to ensure we’re providing the best experience for our employees in this ever evolving space. Coffee tends to feature heavily too!

How has Covid affected your internal communications strategies?

There has been a huge impact on communications as a result of Covid, and I do believe this will leave a lasting impact. The biggest factor has been the speed in which we communicate. With the situation changing so rapidly, it’s been essential to provide timely updates to colleagues to ensure they understand what is happening and how this might impact them. The volume of updates and changes has also led to the need for more bite-sized and video content. But most importantly of all has been the change in messaging. Never before has there been such a focus on mental health and wellbeing, and I believe this is one of the few positive things to come out of the pandemic.

Finally, with the change of the workplace, and homeworking and hybrid working models becoming more common, it will be essential to ensure any strategy uses the right channel and the right content to keep in touch with their employees in multiple surroundings.

What do you think the future will look like for employee engagement?

I think some of the changes the pandemic has bought about will be here to stay, such as keeping things bite-sized and timely. We all want to know what is happening, when it’s happening but everyone is increasingly time poor, so finding engaging and snappy ways to keep colleagues informed will be a priority. I also hope the focus on wellbeing remains a priority.

I think we will also see more investment in technology for employee engagement. For so long the focus has been on finding interesting solutions for external comms, but this has taught us all that we need to keep on top of the trends and platforms our employees want and use. This will become increasingly important as workplace evolves.

We’re very excited about hear your thoughts and opinions on the panel discussion! Any chance we can get a sneak peek about what you will be specifically discussing?

I’m really looking forward to the discussion and seeing the direction it will take. I am particularly interested in discussing how we adapt our communications, platforms and tactics for the more flexible workforce. I am also looking forward to discussing the new exciting ways to engage our employees now and in the future.

What are you most looking forward to about the event?

I am most looking forward to learning from the other attendees. The world of communications is constantly evolving so I am really interested in hearing how other communications professionals are adapting to these changes, finding new ways to engage their employees, and understanding what has worked and what hasn’t. I am also interested in finding out more about how organisations are measuring their communications. It should be a really interesting event!

Taryna will be taking part in the exclusive panel discussion focusing on “How Internal Communicators are Evolving their Strategies to Align with the Future of Work” on Wednesday 15th September – you can register your FREE ticket to the event and catch Taryna’ discussion live here

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