When good things come to an end: moving on from simply
It is with a heavy heart to announce that I will be stepping down as head of content and community at the end of this month.
After what has been the mother of all years, I am leaving to focus on a couple of exciting opportunities which have come my way through my own business, Become Communications.
Although I have yet to announce full details of my plans, needless to say I’ll still very much have my feet in our world - so you won't be completely rid of me!
The evolution our industry has experienced over the last 18 months has been truly fascinating and there are some specific shifts which I've been drawn to the most.
Having worked in comms for nearly 20 years, never have I seen anything which has shaken the very core of how we work like Covid-19 has. More often than not it has been impossible to predict what the messaging might be the day after next, let alone weeks or months down the line. It has been a privilege to be able to listen to the challenges you've experienced and play some role in supporting you through.
As difficult as it has been, I do believe there are many positives that have come out of the pandemic. And it these which we need to pay attention to in the months/ years to come:
- Hybrid/ remote working IS possible: Finally! The realisation that hybrid/ remote working IS possible and in the right set-up, many can thrive if they are just trusted to do their job and given the right tools and support to succeed. This is an issue I have been calling out for many, many years and at long last, I believe the tide has finally shifted. There will always be those who may claim to support such a style of working, but don’t, those who preach about engagement but fail to deliver; however, in time I suspect these organisations will reveal their true colours and we’ll see more employee push back on such employers.
- Tech is a force for good: We have officially spent more hours on screen than the top 5 Hollywood film stars collectively have featured in blockbuster films (albeit sadly, without the pay check...). We’ve long known digital transformation was the way forward but there’s nothing like a forced change in behaviours to make it stick. I’ve loved seeing how the pandemic has made it possible for us to remain connected – even in the times which have really sucked. The surge in new platforms and ideas has been exciting and refreshing. Whereas previously as consultants and practitioners, we’ve seen a push-back in its use, the pendulum has swung the other way with more and more people are actively seeking new, and better tech solutions.
- Our voice matters: perhaps in part of the democratisation of technology, people are being heard. Issues such as Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, mental health and wellbeing are opening doors to powerful and emotive conversations which are shifting how communities work and live together. These issues really really do matter. If we are to play a part in creating great places to work and cultures in which people want to be part of, we need to stop tokenistic gestures and fundamentally change our attitudes and behaviours. Many older generations will struggle with this, but as younger cohorts enter the workplace with their attitudes and minds more open and fluid to perceived ‘differences’, they will play a powerful role in extinguishing outdated, dangerous and biased opinions.
- The power of community: In the early days of lockdown, you could feel the power of communities coming together. We are fortunate to work in a sector in which is naturally supportive, and in my role as head of community, have had conversations with people who have been in need for a friendly ear. While we may not have all the answers now, let's not forget we are collectively greater than the sum of our parts.
So, I leave simply with a heap of learnings and with a close network of communication pros - many of whom I now count as friends.
I have genuinely thoroughly and utterly enjoyed every moment and collaborating with you all. I am so proud of all we have achieved. The simplycommunity has grown by more than 50% over the past 12 months and I look forward to seeing what comes next with simply and the wonderful team that is Laura, Myles, Hollie, Patrick, Jonathan and Marc.