The Internal Comms Podcast

Episode 66 – Combatting IC isolation

The Internal Comms Podcast is back for what promises to be an incredible Season 8! In this kick-off episode, host Katie Macaulay welcomes ICology’s Vice President of Community and Engagement, Kristin Hancock, to the hot seat.

Kristin’s official bio, “just a small-town girl, living in a fabulous world”, encapsulates her infectiously positive attitude. She staunchly believes that we are always in the right place at the right time, and has brought this ethos to corporate comms over the past 15 years.

Kristin operates ICology together with her partner in both life and work, Chuck Gose. Built off the back of many IC practitioners reporting feeling isolated at work, ICology began as a podcast and has since been reimagined as a community-building tool for IC practitioners to come together, share advice and make connections.

In this unique and interesting discussion, Katie and Kristin cover everything from the surprising skills that can get IC professionals in the room with the C-suite, to how we can better understand colleagues with the help of a “baggage claim” approach.

Come for Kristin’s charming personality – stay for her profound wisdom.

As ever, if you have any thoughts or comments on this episode, share them using the hashtag #TheICPodcast. And make sure you’re following us @abthinks.

Season 8 is jam-packed with fascinating guests, so be sure to subscribe to The Internal Comms Podcast today.

Download transcript

Katie  00:03
This episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is brought to you by my very own Friday update. Would you like to get a short email from me, never more than five bullet points long, giving you my take on the week’s news from across the world of communication? This might be the latest reports, books, podcasts, conferences, campaigns that have caught my eye during the week.

Katie  00:33
I always limit myself to just five nuggets of news. So you can read it in record time, but still feel hopefully a little bit more informed, maybe even a little bit more uplifted as you end your week.

Katie  00:49
Now, this is a subscriber-only email, which was initially intended just for colleagues and clients. I don’t post this content anywhere else. So you do need to sign up. But that’s super easy. Simply go to abcomm.co.uk/Friday and just pop in your email address. It’s equally easy to unsubscribe at any time. So give it a try that sign up page again: abcomm.co.uk/Friday . And thank you very much if you do choose to be a subscriber.

Katie  01:37
Welcome to The Internal Comms Podcast with me, Katie Macaulay. For more than 30 years I’ve been helping organisations improve the way they communicate with their people. In that time there has been a revolution in the way we communicate at work.

Katie  01:56
There was a time when too many organisations saw their employees as mere extensions of the machinery. Thankfully today, smart leaders know that their employees are their only appreciating asset. They know organisational success rests on the judgement, the insight, the motivation, and the continued development of their people.

Katie  02:21
This show is all about exploring how to best connect with employees. How to inform, involve and hopefully inspire them. I invite leading lights from the world of business, communications, and academia to sit in my hot seat. Today my guest is Kristin Hancock. Her official bio begins “just a small town girl living in a fabulous world”. Kristin is always looking for magic moments in the employee experience.

Katie  02:56
Kristin has 15 years experience in corporate comms, and in 2020 she revitalised the ICology brand, alongside its founder, Chuck Gose, her partner in life and work. Now I’ve wanted Kristin on the show for some time. I’ve heard her speak at various events over the years, and I’ve always been struck by her vivacity and insight, and her genuine passion for our profession.

Katie  03:26
We cover a lot of ground in this episode, from how to talk about internal comms to your boss and other executives, how to build a supportive community around you, some rules for life and what may be written in the stars for you. So without further ado, I bring you Kristin Hancock.

Katie  03:52
Kristin, welcome to The Internal Comms Podcast. It’s such a pleasure to have you here.

Kristin  03:58
I’m so excited to be here. Thank you.

Katie  04:01
My first question is really a kind of geographical one, I guess. I know I’ve got listeners, literally all around the world, over 55 countries worldwide, so let’s start with where you’re based. Because you are a Canadian, working and living in the U.S. Yeah. And I’m just wondering, do you see or hear things in Indianapolis that you either rarely or perhaps never see, when you were in Winnipeg?

Kristin  04:27
That’s an entirely separate podcast episode. I think we could probably have an hour long podcast episode about the differences between, well, Winnipeg and Indianapolis, but also Canada and the United States. That’s a whole other topic. But there are lots of words that I use that I’m sure you find in the UK if you are visiting the US that you use and then realise ‘Oh, that’s not a term here’ or no one knows. And pronunciations So I’m, I say “pr-oh-cess” instead of process, for example, and then as soon as I say that, inevitably, someone will say, where are you from? Because they know I’m not from the US. I still say things like, parcels and they’ll say packages here. And I do hear a lot of “y’all” down here. And that’s not a Canadian or British word to my knowledge.

Katie  05:23
But you have sidewalks in Canada presumably, not pavements.

Kristin  05:28
Oh, good question. Yes, I would say sidewalk. You say pavement? Interesting.

Katie  05:37
Next time you’re in the UK, we can have that conversation.

Kristin  05:40
So like I said, there’s a lengthy list I’m sure that we could make.

Katie  05:43
I know you’ve worked across the comms disciplines. But I’ve heard you say that internal comms is absolutely your passion. And I just wonder why is that?

Kristin  05:53
It comes down to two reasons. Number one, I love people. And number two, I got tired of crying at work. That’s the truth. Like many people, I have seen what happens when internal comms is a priority and done well and taken seriously. And I’ve also lived the effects of internal comms being ignored, and not taken seriously and not made a priority. And that’s when people end up crying at their desks at work. Right? So I think that’s been my biggest lesson is recognising that when we make internal communication a priority, everyone benefits and people are happier to come to work.

Katie  06:34
And I guess we’ve noticed that more over the last couple of years with a pandemic and other things, too.

Kristin  06:40
Absolutely. It’s exacerbated anything that existed.

Katie  06:44
Now I read an interview where you said that internal comms professionals often don’t pitch their roles in a way executives can grasp – do feel free to fact check that quote, to start with. If it is accurate, how should we be pitching our roles talking about what we do to executives?

Kristin  07:03
Katie, I will trust that you have fact checked this. So I’m assuming I said that somewhere along the line. We are getting better at this at tying our roles as internal communication professionals to business outcomes, I think we’re we are increasingly getting better at that. There are elements of internal comms that we will never be able to measure, unfortunately, I at least I believe that. But there are increasingly becoming more elements that we can measure. And the more that we focus on those, the more that we will be able to produce ROI on our activities and show value for our roles.

Kristin  07:42
So I think if we have a greater knowledge of other business functions, then there are more conversations that can happen with executives, and C-suite people. So I don’t have a background, of course in finance, or HR or IT, but I know enough to have a conversation about those topics. And I think that’s what I see professionals can benefit from, is learning some of those other disciplines, just enough to be able to have conversations with people at executive levels.

Katie  08:14
Just digging into that measurement piece a little bit more, you said the things that we definitely can measure. And then other things, maybe it’s a fool’s errand to try and measure. Is there anything in particular that springs to mind when you say “that absolutely can be measured”? And if you’re going to try and measure that you’re probably wasting your time?

Kristin  08:31
Oh, that’s a great question. And I know there are people in our industry who specialise in measurement, so I would probably defer to them for some of those specifics. But there’s, I mean, can you measure emotion? I don’t know. I think there are some disciplines that would argue you can. And then I think there’s an element of human emotions and humanity that can’t be measured. And I’m not sure that we’re supposed to be able to measure that because it’s felt. And so those are the pieces of our roles and our activities that there is a bit of a gut feeling on.

Kristin  09:06
Having said that, anything with metrics behind it can be measured. And so anytime that we are tasked with obtaining data, launching a new project, or anything like that, there are all kinds of numbers that we can glean from those projects that can feed into topics like “how do people feel when they come to work?”

Katie  09:28
It’s interesting, because when I interviewed Professor William Kahn on the show, the kind of father of the term employee engagement, what is he called it personal engagement, and there is a distinction he makes in his mind between the two. He said that he had no interest and didn’t think there was any point to try and measure engagement. It’s an emotional state we move in and out of all the time at work. So I think that chimes exactly with what you’ve just said.

Kristin  09:55
It does. And I think that we are doing our industry a disservice if we are reducing employee engagement to a single metric or a number. I have a little chuckle to myself when I see companies post “Oh, our employee engagement is 72%”. Because, there is no way – there’s no universal way, right? So who are we comparing that, number two? There’s no universal metric for that. And what information have we gathered that says our employees are 72% engaged? I just, I think we are, like I said, it’s way more complex than that. And I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we’re trying to come up with a single number to somehow represent this very broad, complex topic.

Katie  10:40
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. You mentioned that you’d like to see internal comms professionals take a keen interest and build their knowledge about other disciplines. Are you thinking about any particular areas where you think that knowledge needs to be built? And I’m wondering, at the moment, is there anything in particular, is there a topic or subject that you’re investigating?

Kristin  11:01
If you are finding yourself as an internal comms professional becoming frustrated with an area of your organisation, my challenge to you would be to learn more about that area of your organisation.

Kristin  11:15
So I am relatively constantly frustrated by finance, because I am not a numbers person. And nor do I strive to be. But because I am frustrated by that I know it’s an area that I need to keep learning about. Now, again, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to become a chartered financial accountant, that’s not it at all. But I need to know enough to have conversations with my CFO.

For example, at one point in my career, I reported to the CFO of an organisation which is very strange to many people. And I think still strange in a structured world of why an internal comms, or communications person in general, would report to a finance person. And that’s why I love sharing that with people, because often people will ask, well, what should the reporting structure be? And I don’t think there’s one answer for that.

Kristin  12:08
I reported to the CFO. And that was probably my favourite reporting structure, because the person in that role, knew enough to know when he didn’t know. So he knew enough to know when to bring me into conversations, and respected my discipline as I respected his discipline.

Kristin  12:29
Now, an interesting thing happened when I reported to him during the conversations about professional development, I really wanted to go to, I believe it was World Conference, I think that was the professional development event that I wanted to go to. And he said, “Okay, I’ll make you a deal. You can go to World Conference, if you attend this finance course.” What a deal to be offered to an internal comms person. I was like, oh, no, do not make me go to take a finance course. But he said, Okay, if you take– the course was called, it’s very fun. It’s almost tongue in cheek, when I look back on it, the course was called ‘financial management for non financial managers’. So it was a course specifically designed for people who are not in finance. It was two, I think, two or three days. So I thought, okay, I will expand my mind, I will go to this course, begrudgingly.

I attended the course I was, quite literally in tears at the end of the first day, because I was so frustrated, it was out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know many of the people in this course. They weren’t finance people, but they were engineers, or they were in science. So they had a background of knowledge. They weren’t coming in with an English degree. So it was it was exhausting, and frustrating. And I was in tears at the end of the first day, and I wanted to just leave and go home. But I stuck it through, it was the best professional development that I’ve ever taken, because it made me a better business person. It helped me have conversations at the executive level that resonated with people who were in leadership because they understand numbers. They understand ROI, they understand when something has to bring value on the balance sheet.

Kristin  14:13
So it was it was a frustrating situation at first, but turned into a really valuable experience. And I will also say because I reported to the CFO, and this is another tip for people who are hesitant to learn more about finance, the more you can have the conversation, the more money you can ask for. So the closer you are, the fact that I reported to the CFO, well, who controls the budget? The CFO. I can have all kinds of conversations with this person about budget and resources and allocating money. So that was the other benefit of that situation.

Katie  14:46
Now, I believe you’ve got a view on how not to create a comms strategy. And I’m asking this question because we can see from the downloads on our website that the ‘How to write a comms strategy’ download is probably the most popular, I think very easily the most popular. But I’m getting the impression from what I’ve read about you is that you’d rather IC folk don’t necessarily follow any standard template. Do you have any advice for listeners about to embark on developing this strategy or updating it?

Kristin  15:18
That’s a fascinating statistic that that’s your most popular download. I’m not surprised though, you probably aren’t either. I know as comms people, and especially as internal comms people, we love a good template, we love when there’s something that we love, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel and good for us. That’s fantastic. I’m glad that we don’t waste time reinventing the wheel.

Kristin  15:40
My concern is that there’s no one-size-fits-all. So your industry is unique. Your employees are unique, all of that. I think it’s fantastic. If you have a broad template to work from for the structure of something, I would also explore and encourage people to look for the experts in that area.

Kristin  16:00
Building a strategy is, no different than measurement and metrics, is a very specialised area of internal comms, and there are so many experts who are consultants and work for agencies in our industry, I would encourage people to rely on some of those people. And I would also say rely on some community feedback and critique when you’re building that kind of strategy, because there are people who have done it before. And there will be people who do it after you. So I think the more willing we are to share the work that we’re doing, the more our entire industry and our community benefits from those conversations.

Katie  16:38
Kristin, that is the perfect segue into my next question. How did you know? Because I want to talk to you about ICology, of course I do. Now this has evolved over the years. Can you share with us that evolution? How did ICology start, and what is it today?

Kristin  16:55
ICology started, as many people know, as a podcast in 2015, I believe. So my partner in life and work, Chuck Gose, started the podcast as a way to elevate the profession, to interview and explore what roles people have in our profession, to educate others. And it was fantastic. It was a great podcast. I know lots of people were very avid listeners of the podcast.

Kristin  17:20
As you know, Katie, having a podcast requires an exceptional amount of work and dedication. And so it ran for I believe, three or four years and fell dormant because other priorities take over, life gets busy. All of those things happen. It was quiet for a couple of years.

Kristin  17:38
Fast forward, when I ended up immigrating to the US, I could not work for a significant period of time, because it was illegal for me to do so. And so we decided it was a good time to build a business. Why not? While I’m not having anything to do all day. So ICology really transformed. Our original business plan, which makes us laugh a little bit now, was to have an event space business, which is really funny, because we were originally going to launch mid to late 2020.

Kristin  18:08
Well, thank goodness, yeah, thank goodness, we did not launch an in-person event space business in 2020.

Kristin  18:15
So the timing of that actually worked out for us, because we had to go back to the original plans in the drawing board and ask ourselves, what is the core of what we’re trying to do with ICology? What are we? What is the goal here? And the goal really was we want to bring people together. We’re trying to create community, and we’re trying to do it in a different way. And so when in person events became something that was just not feasible at the time, we thought, okay, well, let’s build the community. Let’s get people together. What does that look like?

Kristin  18:46
So now ICology is a largely online community of very passionate internal comms professionals. It’s become a way for people to connect and to learn together. I am happy to share that we are finally going to be doing in-person events this month in September, which is exciting. It took a while to do that. I think it also took a while for us to figure out what ICology was and where it’s going.

Kristin  19:11
I will be very honest with people that for the first year of building this community, I really didn’t know where it was going. I didn’t know what people really wanted out of it. I knew we wanted to bring people together. So I spent a long time, probably a year, year and a half, really listening, paying attention watching. What are people finding value in? Where are these conversations happening? And so now it’s exciting. I feel like we really found our stride and I think we’re on a really exciting track to be able to do things online and in-person but ultimately, both with the goal of having a supportive community for people in our industry.

Katie  19:51
It’s an interesting concept and a really valuable one because internal communications by its very nature tends to stay within the walls of an organisation. So it’s quite hard to see what others are doing in your peer group. So I can imagine that’s a massive attraction.

Kristin  20:08
It is. And that’s an interesting point you bring up because we often find that at in-person events and conferences, it’s a little bit like pulling teeth to try and get people who are in internal comms to share what’s going on inside their organisations.

Kristin  20:24
Now, sometimes that’s because they’re not allowed to, which is fair, but also then that presents an interesting struggle for our industry. Because when you’re not allowed to share what you’re doing outside the organisation, how do we learn? What is the best practice? What is the standard? What’s the baseline? The other part of it is, I think, internal comms tends to attract – this is my own opinion with no science behind it – internal comms tends to attract people who have the most wonderfully soft centres and the warmest hearts. And I think that’s what makes our industry so inviting, and so magical. I also think that it can be our biggest struggle, because we are often not the people to sing our own praises. And we’re often not the people who are going to put our hands up and say, “I did something amazing. That worked really well”. Right. And we don’t, you know, you see that in PR and marketing, right? Those folks know, they put their hands up, they’re happy to share that’s, you know, it’s a standard to try and share who’s done the best work.

Kristin  21:28
Internal comms is very different. It’s a very unique industry. And that’s what I love most about it. And it’s also our biggest challenge. So part of what I hope ICology helps people do is find their voice and find that confidence to be able to share with our industry and put their hands up and say, “I’m doing great work. Here’s what it looks like.” Or “I’m really struggling with this. Has anyone else done this? And can you help me?”

Katie  21:52
It’s so funny, you’re making me think of the difference between internal comms award ceremonies that I’ve been to, and PR ones, and–

Kristin
Aren’t they shockingly different?

Katie
One’s all about rah, rah, rah and chandeliers. And yes, all the rest of it, and the other one’s very sedate, and everyone’s got everyone else’s backs and no one’s tooting their own horn.

Kristin  22:14
Right. And that’s, and that’s the magic of our industry. But it’s also such a challenge for us. I’m like, “No, we’re doing amazing things. It’s okay to brag about yourself, trust me.”

Katie  22:24
Do you find that you have a typical member of ICology? Do people tend to be at a certain stage in their career?

Kristin  22:32
I wouldn’t say there’s a typical member in terms of seniority in their career, I will say there is absolutely a common thread. And the common thread that I’ve seen over the last year and a half is we’ve resonated with folks who previously felt very isolated at work.

Kristin  22:52
We know that in internal comms, because relative to marketing, PR and external comms it’s a newer field, and so you are often the only person at your company who is doing internal comms, and you may be doing other things alongside internal comms, that may not even be your exclusive role. And so those people, there’s no one for them to bounce ideas off of there. They often, as we talked about earlier, they often don’t even report to someone who has an internal comms background.

Kristin  23:23
So it can be a very isolating role and a very isolating place to be where you feel like you’re making it up sometimes. And I think that’s what I’ve seen with people who have joined ICology is there are people who are looking for that community, there are people who are looking for their peers. They’re also people who are typically looking for more out of the industry or wondering where to go next.

Kristin  23:46
So it’s not so much whether they’ve been in the industry for a certain number of years, it’s more that they’re at a point in their career where they don’t really know what the next step is. Again, our industry is relatively new, so you know, there’s not a clear path, like there might be in marketing, where you’re a Marketing Associate, and then a Marketing Specialist, and then you’re the Manager, and then you’re the Director, then you’re the VP, right. Internal comms, there isn’t always that path. there’s starting to be, but it’s not as common. And so I think that’s where we’re all looking for “what is next for me personally, but also what’s next for our industry?”

Katie  24:22
Yeah, that’s so interesting. I’ve noticed throughout this entire conversation about building community, you haven’t used the word networking. And I’m wondering, I’m wondering if that’s deliberate. I have a feeling you don’t like that term, and you prefer another term?

Kristin  24:37
It’s intentional.

Katie  24:39
It’s intentional. What? Tell me what you don’t like about the phrase, first of all,

Kristin  24:43
Here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t like the phrase networking. It’s that I think it’s become a term that is dreaded. And so now, I just try not to use it because I think sometimes I worry it scares people off. I think it’s so important that we give language to things, of course, but then I think what happens is this term networking gets overused.

Kristin  25:02
I think sometimes we spend too much time debating what term to use, whether it’s networking or employee engagement versus employee experience versus, you know, all these terms that we coined, and they’re all important. But they can be very vague and I think networking can be very vague. So it’s less that I don’t like the term and more that I know it conjures up fear. So I try to use other words like connecting. Or I ask people, “What is the goal?” So if you think if you’re thinking to yourself, wow, I really need to network more, dig deeper, and ask yourself what does that mean? What do you mean by you need to network more? Are you trying to learn a new skill? Are you trying to get a new job? Are you trying to get a promotion? Are you trying to, you know, find a mentor? Those are all very unique things and unique goals.

Kristin  25:54
So if, you know, finding a mentor is a goal, then reach out to people one on one that you admire in the industry, ask them if they have time or, my pitch, join ICology, we’ve got a great mentorship programme. It’s learning a new skill again, is that reaching out to people in those industries? Is it finding associations that offer classes in that particular skill? Are you looking for feedback? Do you need to find a community where you can post strategies or documents that you want people to share? So it’s less about networking, and more about being more intentional about what the goal is when you say networking?

Katie  26:30
Yeah, what I like about that approach is, from the recipient’s point of view, if you’re reaching out to somebody with a very specific ask, you know, I admire your ability or your knowledge or experience in Y. And I’d love to find out more about Y, that’s probably going to elicit a better response. Because it’s directed, it’s targeted, it’s meaningful. You’ve done your research.

Kristin  26:52
100%.

Katie  26:53
I’m like, I really like that approach.

Kristin  26:55
And I think that anyone in our industry, and I’m sure, Katie, you would agree with us, too. If you had someone reach out to you and say, “Hey, I really admire the work that you’re doing in our industry, would you be willing to chat with me for 20 minutes?” Of course, of course, you would, I would, I would think the vast majority of people in our industry would be honoured to have that request and help someone out, or, I’ve got this document, would you be willing to read it and give me feedback on it? Of course. Right? So I think that’s, that’s like you said, there’s a more direct or intentional way of clarifying what you’re looking for when you’re talking about networking.

Katie  27:31
I was looking at the various roles you’ve had over the years, Kristin, and sort of wondering about the various internal comms challenges you’ve faced. There was one in particular that really stuck out, you were the comms manager for the College of Registered Nurses in Manitoba. So just to paint the picture for listeners, you’ve got an audience here of around 14,000 registered nurses, so they’re not technically your employees at all, but they are licenced through you. You’ve got their personal email addresses, but not their company email addresses. And they work all over the province. And just to put this into perspective, for listeners, Manitoba, nearly three times bigger than the UK. And of course, they work in healthcare, so they’re not sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. Now, many listeners will have either remote, mobile, non-desk-based audience. So on behalf of them thinking about this challenge. Where did you start?

Kristin  28:32
Well, first of all, I want to give Katie props here for doing the most research for any podcast I’ve ever been a part of. Katie knows more about Manitoba than anyone else in the UK, now, you get a badge of honour.

Kristin  28:48
So yes, the College of Registered Nurses, for anyone in the UK or the US, is our licencing body for registered nurses. And as Katie mentioned, Manitoba is a huge geographic area. And also much of it is very remote. So there are registered nurses who are working in areas that either don’t have internet or have very spotty internet, cell signals are often not great in some of those areas, or even if they are at a major healthcare setting, they’re not sitting at a desk.

Kristin  29:21
The role that I was in managing communications for the organisation was not a new role. So I was fortunate to have a predecessor who set up a very robust system for communications. And really, the broad statement for how we reached all of them was that we did not rely on one single form of communication. And so you know, when people talk about print being dead, I’m like, no, it’s not. It’s not dead and it never will be because at the time, I don’t think they do anymore, but we produced a quarterly magazine for registered nurses in the province and it was mailed to all 14,000 of them and that was part of how we shared information. Now that’s not a great way to share urgent communication, of course. But it was a great way for us to share more long-form information and dig deeper into some topics that they might need to learn about.

Kristin  30:10
We relied on internet for some, right, we did webinars and things like that. We also relied on phone trees, we relied on fax machines, on, you know, print, on in-person communication, there were times where we would do, they would jokingly call it a road show, that we would travel to different areas and say, we’re going to be in this town and you know, please come out, we’re having a town hall, whatever it is. So it’s really about it’s about meeting people where they are, and it’s about not relying on a single medium to get your message across. Because it just would never, if we relied solely on email, we would be missing 1000s of people for urgent information.

Katie  30:50
It’s so funny. Just today I was having a conversation with a client about print. And she’s got this very remote dispersed workforce. They’re not plugged in in any way. They don’t have any work email addresses for them. There’s certainly no intranet, no mobile app, nothing like that. And we were talking print, and it is absolutely right, in certain circumstances, isn’t it? And the way digital communication has moved on, you can now integrate print within a digital suite with things like QR codes, etc, etc. So really interesting.

Kristin  31:25
Yes. 100%. And yeah, that was a big part of what we relied on, right? And there’s an element of print as well that because of the work that we were doing, and the nature of it being, at times, very formalised and needing to be traced and tracked. Print is the way to do that, in many cases, right? We would have to mail things, have them signed, you know, whatever that is, and have people sign for them. Yeah, it’s an old form, but it is useful in many cases still.

Katie  31:56
So Kristin, getting personal. If I asked you, what’s a baggage claim? Does that mean something to you?

Kristin  32:08
It does, it absolutely does. This is a term coined by – everyone’s getting a little glimpse inside Chuck’s and my marriage, now – this is a term that Chuck and I coined fairly early on in our relationship, because we are all carrying baggage.

Kristin  32:23
I hear people use this term about someone having baggage like it’s a negative thing. It is a fact of life, that when we have life experiences, we carry those emotions and that baggage with us throughout life. Now, the goal of that then is to claim what is yours, and carry it with patience and compassion and a little bit of humour never hurts as well.

Kristin  32:46
So in relationships, we acknowledge when we’re carrying something forward into another relationship that should have been released as a baggage claim. So we will say “is that a baggage claim?” Or you will own it yourself and say, “You know what, I think I’m having a baggage claim moment, because this is something I’m carrying forward that I shouldn’t.”

Kristin  33:05
The funny thing is we’ve realised this happens at work today. This happens. It absolutely does. It happens in our professional lives. If you have had an experience in a job with, let’s say, a micromanaging boss, and you leave that job and you go to another job and your new boss is not micromanaging. But you are hypersensitive to that activity, because it’s what you know, right? That’s, the baggage you’re bringing into this new role. So it is on us, it is our responsibility to claim what’s ours, process it, manage it, deal with it and leave behind what isn’t ours to carry.

Katie  33:41
That is so interesting. I’m thinking about all those focus groups where I walked in and started to talk about, you know, the implications of some new transformation programme, and everyone is hyper cynical, and you know, feeling very negative about the whole experience that’s about to come. And you realise that they’re focusing on something that happened to maybe five years ago, where there was a change that was really badly managed, and half of them, more than half of them, probably didn’t even work for the organisation at that point. But that experience has become part of the ether in the culture. So these baggage claims are really relevant in terms of our audiences as well, aren’t they?

Kristin  34:24
And wouldn’t it be great if we started every meeting or big project with “Okay, everyone, we are all laying our baggage on the carousel and who would like to go first and acknowledge that you are bringing preconceived ideas, stereotypes, expectations, like what are you bringing and let’s leave it all on the table. And then let’s start fresh.” That would be a great way to start meetings and projects.

Katie  34:48
It would be a cathartic moment for everyone I think.

Kristin  34:53
Absolutely.

Katie  34:54
I’m an incurable romantic. So I really want to believe that internal comms was what brought you and Chuck together. But was that really the case?

Kristin  35:05
That actually is the case, yes, I will feed your hopeless romantic ideals. Yes. We met at a communications conference years ago. And Chuck was speaking, and I actually I don’t know if people know this part of it, I actually heckled him on Twitter. And I made a joke about his, I tagged him in it, I made a joke about his presentation. And that’s how the conversation started. That was our first interaction was on Twitter. So it was fueled through the internal comms industry. But ultimately, I guess it was Twitter that brought us together.

Katie  35:39
It’s lovely to hear some positive things coming out of Twitter at the moment, that’s all I can say. I noticed a photograph on Instagram, this is going to sound like I’ve been stalking you, so apologies. My research goes deep sometimes. But there’s a framed message on a table in your home, I believe that says Rule One: We are kind. And that got me wondering, are there other family rules? And if there are, would you be comfortable sharing them with us?

Kristin  36:08
So first of all, social media is for stalking. So I applaud your efforts and digging deeper. So that photograph on Instagram was actually from our wedding celebration, which we were finally able to have after postponing for several years due to COVID.

And we, when I moved to the US, we created a bit of an instant family, Chuck has two kids. And so this week, we kind of became this interesting blended unit. And as anyone knows, well, I guess in any family situation, even if it’s not a blended family, challenges come with blending people and roles and living spaces and all of those things together. And so one night, the four of us had a bit of a coming together moment that was fueled by a frustrating scenario. And so we decided that evening that we needed some house rules, and we developed the four of us these house rules, we put them – originally they were on a whiteboard – we’ve since had a beautiful framed print made of these rules that isn’t our kitchen. And so there are 13 of them, I won’t go through all of them, but they have things like we put our phones down during meals, we make fun a priority, we say we’re sorry, we share our emotions, we make our guests feel welcome. You can tell that we wrote it in 2020, because one of the rules is ‘we wash our hands’, which it would have never been a rule before 2020. But that was something that we added that year.

Kristin  37:34
So it’s rules that, some of them are a bit tongue in cheek, you know, some of them are very emotionally authentic. But it was a fun, and very real way for us to decide what we wanted the house to be like and what we wanted the four of us to be like as a team and as a unit. I think in many ways you could translate that exercise into your professional space, and maybe develop some team rules for your workspace, even though I know we’re not always physically in the same space anymore. But the sentiment of it still stands.

Katie  38:07
I love that. And I agree I couldn’t help thinking these could be team rules. These could be company rules. Absolutely. What’s different about a rule and say, you know, we wash our hands, or we are kind, we put our phones down, is that they’re not nebulous values, like professionalism and integrity, that compassion, which means 59 different things to 59 different people. It’s a rule. I mean, it’s clear whether you’re doing it or you’re not doing it. And that’s, I think that’s quite powerful there’s power in that simplicity isn’t there.

Kristin  38:37
And there’s also power in the four of us doing it together. Right? It wasn’t it wasn’t Chuck and I saying “Alright, everyone, here are the rules of this house.” And here’s what everyone has to abide by. So one of the other rules, one of the kids wanted the rule to be that we always have strawberries available as a snack. And I said well, so that’s fine. If that’s really important, that’s fine, but there are external circumstances that might make that impossible at times. We live in Indiana, we do get winter here. I can’t always get fresh strawberries. So the rule actually says ‘We try our best to have strawberries available’ because I said I’m happy to keep that as a rule, but it needs there has to be a little bit of flexibility

Katie  39:16
Flexibility with the fruit, guys.

Kristin  39:18
Exactly.

Katie  39:21
Before we skip to those quickfire questions, I have to ask you about another one of your passions, which is astrology. Now you write, another quote, so you know again, if this is wrong, do tell me: “Astrology describes how the sky narrates the human experience. It validates who we are, and offers guidance so we can achieve our highest potential.” That sounds absolutely amazing, doesn’t it? What’s sparked your interest in astrology? And yes, tell us more.

Kristin  39:53
Like many people my interest in astrology came out of a time in my life where I felt very helpless and maybe a bit hopeless, and I was looking for guidance, I was looking for reassurance, I just was, I was trying to feel comforted during a really, really challenging time.

Kristin  40:13
So I actually flew from Winnipeg to Toronto for a four or five hour astrology reading, which sounds as nutty as it was. And so that sparked my curiosity, that would have been back in, was it 2015, or 2016? So it’s been a few, it’s been quite a few years now. And since then, I’ve just never stopped being curious and learning about it.

During the pandemic, when I was living in the US, and for this year, almost a year and a half that I couldn’t work, I was looking for things to fill my time and realise there is a four-year certification programme, that I could start and become an astrologer. And so I started that, and I’m in the middle of it. And it’s been fun, first of all, but it’s also been so validating, because there’s just this link between astrology and everything. You know, if you are doing Myers Briggs at work, or you’re doing the colours, personality test, or all of those things, they all tie in together, and astrology, in many ways is no different. It offers some insight into who we are as people, and how we interact with others. And I think more than anything else, this world could use more people who know themselves more intimately before we interact with others, because it promotes this radical self-acceptance.

Katie  41:32
So is the idea that the moment that you are born into this world tells you, and how the stars are aligning, the planets are aligning at that moment, tells you something quite deep about yourself. Is that am I barking up the right tree?

Kristin  41:50
Yes, that’s a great way of describing it. Yeah. So your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky at the moment that you took your first breath. And from that snapshot, we can see parts of your personality, we can see some challenges that are inherent to who you are, we can see the gifts that you have. And we can also see the narration of a story that will unfold throughout your life and some of the opportunities that might be presented to you.

Katie  42:17
You said you were going through a difficult time. What made astrology help was, being, I guess, clearer about who you really were and what the future might look like, again, am I– would that be fair?

Kristin  42:32
Yes. And I would say it’s, it was two things. Part of it was, like I said, this radical self-acceptance, where the woman that I met with pointed things out about myself, some of which were a little uncomfortable. As we all know, we have parts of ourselves that are a little uncomfortable to acknowledge. But it was a way of looking at myself, that wasn’t critical. It was a way of looking at myself in an exploratory way and in a way that reminded me that that’s who I am. And so some of these challenges that I’ve beat myself up for can be superpowers if I look at them in a certain way, and if I work with that energy, and if I know that it’s there.

The other part that I find validating about astrology is that everything comes in time and everything is cyclical. And so when something is really challenging, and when you’re in the middle of an absolute storm, it’s not going to be forever. And that’s part of what I find reassuring about looking at astrology as I can look at, okay, you’re in the middle of something right now. And I’m telling you that because I’m validating for you that what you’re experiencing is very real. This is very challenging right now. And you’ve gone through challenging things before, and you will get through this challenging thing as well.

Katie  43:49
It’s that thought, isn’t it: this too shall pass?

Kristin  43:52
Absolutely.

Katie  43:52
There’s a perspective that’s so helpful. I really like that. And knowing yourself really does help when it comes to things like professional development as well, because we don’t want cookie cutter comms professionals, do we?

Kristin  44:07
Absolutely not.

Katie  44:08
We want people to explore their unique traits.

Kristin  44:11
And we want people who are moving into leadership who are very self-aware. We want people who are emotionally intelligent, who know themselves who, as much as they can, can see the blind spots. No, that’s an oxymoron. But you know, to know your strengths and to know the challenges and to be able to work with people who complement that, or to be able to acknowledge when you’re experiencing conflict at work, what your role in that conflict is.

Katie  44:37
Again, I’m thinking about Professor William Kahn because I sort of listened to what he was telling me about great leaders and I said: “So to summarise, we’re talking about great leaders have this ability to be open and honest and are comfortable with uncomfortableness and all these wonderful things.” And he said: “Yes, Katie, that’s all correct. You’ve missed one thing out that’s really, really important: They are comfortable with their own human messiness, first of all.”

Kristin  45:05
Oh, that’s beautiful.

Katie  45:07
Exactly what you’ve just said is that they’re absolutely comfortable with who they are, all the nice and the not so pretty parts of themselves. Yeah. Really interesting.

Kristin  45:16
Yes, absolutely. So I am someone who is very uncomfortable with conflict. I am very conflict averse. I want everyone to just get along. And for things to be nice and smooth and happy. And I don’t want anyone to yell at anyone. That’s not how life works. And so I spent many years in my adult life beating myself up saying, well, I should be more comfortable with conflict, and I should be more assertive in conflict situations. And then part of what I’ve learned about myself is that that’s just not who I am. I’m not so– I’m always there’s always going to be some level of discomfort for me when it comes to conflict. That’s okay. It’s because I care so much. So how can I use that discomfort to remind myself that I’m feeling uncomfortable because I really care about this person? So channel that into this conversation.

Katie  46:05
Yes. Such good advice. Can we skip to those quick-fire questions?

Kristin  46:11
Yes please.

Katie  46:14
What would most surprise people about Kristin Hancock?

Kristin  46:18
I drive a pickup truck. I think that would surprise people.

Katie  46:26
Fantastic.

Kristin  46:28
Every time I go somewhere people assume the truck is Chuck’s. I’m like, no, actually, it’s mine, I came with it from Canada. Yeah. I also have an extensive knowledge of quotes from The Simpsons.

Katie  46:45
Oh,

Kristin  46:46
that’s that is also maybe something that would surprise people.

Katie  46:51
Are you going to share a favourite quote with me? I’ve got to ask.

Kristin  46:55
Well, I know that’s a good question. Do I have a favourite Simpsons quote? My favourite episode is the chilli cook off. So for any Simpsons fans out there, that’s my favourite episode.

Katie  47:06
Links in the show notes, guys. I mean, all the important links, astrology, The Simpsons, it’s a smorgasbord or whatever it’s called.

Kristin  47:16
Yes, it really is.

Katie  47:18
So how would you complete this sentence? World class internal comms is:

Kristin  47:26
World class internal comms makes people feel like you are talking directly to them.

Katie  47:33
Oh, nice.

Kristin  47:35
That’s what I think. I think the people feel like you hear them, you see them and you are talking directly to them.

Katie  47:43
I love that that comes down to really knowing your audience, doesn’t it?

Kristin  47:46
Yes.

Katie  47:47
Yeah. So is there a book that all comms professionals should read?

Kristin  47:53
Something I just finished reading is a book called Fans First. And the author is Jesse Cole. And it is a book that is not at all about internal comms, but it will change your view on how you create and mould your employee experience at work. The basis of this book is it’s written by the owner of a minor league baseball team in the United States.

Kristin  48:18
The team name is called the Savannah Bananas, okay. And their entire existence is counter to how baseball is run in this country how the business of baseball works. They don’t sell sponsorships, they have all-inclusive ticket pricing. They do all of these incredible things for fans that everyone said when they launched that’s never going to work. Right? You have this is the way that the business of baseball works. This is how it has to be done. And they said no, we’re not doing it that way. We’re doing it our way. Because we are going to do this with fans at the forefront of everything we do.

Kristin  48:55
Now internal communicators, we are not all working for baseball teams and fans, right? But if you look at your employees as fans, what are we doing for them? Are we truly creating a culture that is fans first or is employees first? And I think in many ways we’re not. But in many ways we can and there are very simple, easy ways that we can make that happen. So I would encourage everyone to read that book and I will give my husband credit for that because he actually purchased the book. But I read it first because I found it on the kitchen table first and now I recommend it to everyone.

Katie  49:36
But it’s interesting, the word fan, again, you said earlier I think you know language is really important. And we talk a lot in internal comms about advocates and ambassadors and champions. But actually fans is a much more active participative and emotional word, isn’t it, and if you can create a fan it’s so much deeper than an advocate, isn’t it? I love it.

Kristin  50:00
It is and when you have fans, those people are going to go out– think about the things that you are a fan of, or the artists or whoever you are recommending them. “Oh, you’ve got to listen to this song, you’ve got to watch this show you’ve got you know”, so if you have employees who are fans have the culture and fans of what you do as an organisation and coming to work. That’s more than half the battle.

Katie  50:26
Yeah, if you if they can be fans of your purpose in the world as an organisation that’s hugely valuable. So finally, we give you a billboard, and you can put on this billboard, a message for everyone to see. It’s entirely yours to be as creative as you’d like to be with it. So what message are you going to put on your billboard?

Kristin  50:48
I will put my personal mantra that I say to myself, when I’m having a challenging day: ‘you are in the right place, at the right time, all the time’.

Katie  51:00
Lovely. I like that .

Kristin  51:01
A great thing to read. I think everyone needs to be reminded of that when we are impatient, frustrated, whatever it is, or if we are experiencing a joyful time and fearing that it might end or fearing that something bad might happen. No, no, you’re in the right place, at the right time, all the time.

Katie  51:20
Also, that chimes with me when it comes to mindfulness and those moments in the day just to be a bit more present. And not let the day just slide by.

Kristin  51:30
Absolutely.

Katie  51:31
Kristin, this has been an absolute joy, this conversation. Thank you so much for your time.

Kristin  51:35
Thank you, Katie. This was so much fun.

Katie  51:40
So that’s a wrap for this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast. My thanks to Kristin, and to you for choosing the show. Plays of The Internal Comms Podcast this year have risen by an astonishing 750% this year.

Katie  51:57
Anyway, for show notes and a transcript of today’s episode, head over to AB’s website. That’s abcomm.co.uk/podcasts.

Katie  52:10
And finally, I have a very special announcement to make. There is just time to register your interest for AB Thinks Live.

This is a special free event exclusively for in-house internal comms pros. The date is Tuesday, 4th October, and it’s in Central London. I will be speaking along with a great lineup of presenters or leading voices in employee comms. Our theme is ‘ripping up the rulebook’. We will be sharing how we aim to think differently and buck conventional wisdom in comms.

All you need to do is email events@abcomm.co.uk to find out more. We have only a few spaces left, so to register your interest for this I suggest you may want to send that email today. The address again events@abcomm.co.uk .

Katie  53:14
So until we meet again, my lovely listeners, do stay safe and well. And remember, it’s what’s inside that counts.

 

Jump to

Communicating as a Canadian in The States [04:01]

What drives Kristin’s passion for internal comms [05:43]

How IC professionals should be talking about their roles to executives [06:44]

Is measuring employee engagement actually possible? [08:14]

Why IC professionals need to build knowledge in other disciplines [10:40]

How to create a comms strategy [14:46]

ICology: a backstory in brief [16:55]

How we can liberate IC from the walls of an organisation [20:08]

Combatting IC isolation at work [22:52]

The problem with the word “networking” [24:22]

How to approach a potential mentor [25:54]

Print is not dead – especially for remote, desk-less workers [29:21]

What’s a “baggage claim” and why should we make it in comms? [31:56]

Setting effective rules and boundaries at work [36:26]

Linking the astro and the professional spheres [40:35]

Quickfire questions [46:05]

Links from this episode

Subscribe to Katie’s Friday update

Explore the ICology community

Tune into this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, with Kristin’s partner Chuck Gose

Listen to Katie’s conversation with Professor William Kahn

Download ‘How to write a communications strategy’

Take a look at Kristin’s astrology work

Watch this hilarious clip from Kristin’s favourite episode of The Simpsons

Get your hands on a copy of Jesse Cole’s Fans First

Recent episodes

Episode 94 – The stories that shape us

February 21, 2024

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by leadership communications coach and co-founder of Engage Kenya, Agatha Juma. Agatha credits an emba...

Listen now

Episode 93 – The sound of success: Why it pays to listen to employees

February 7, 2024

We’re back for Season 11 of The Internal Comms Podcast! And kicking us off with a very special episode, this week host Katie Macaulay is joined by not one, not two, but three gue...

Listen now

Moment 35 – The four Cs of content: How internal communicators can create comms that land

January 31, 2024

Looking for tips on creating internal communications that land – and stick? In this Moment from The Internal Comms Podcast, Steve Crescenzo shares a few things you absolutely mus...

Listen now

Moment 63 – Are you listening? The power of questions in leadership: Mike Roe

January 24, 2024

“I realised I was probably a pretty crap listener,” Mike Roe tells Katie Macaulay in this Moment from The Internal Comms Podcast. We often go to leaders and start by asking th...

Listen now

Moment 57 – Language matters: Building two-way engagement at IKEA

January 17, 2024

At IKEA, choosing the right words when communicating with the workforce is everything. Guy Britt, IKEA’s Global Head of Co-worker Comms, tells Katie Macaulay the use of ‘co-wo...

Listen now

Episode 92 – Revolution coming: How AI is transforming internal comms

December 20, 2023

If you have ever attended one of Shel Holtz’s presentations, you will know that, more often than not, it’s standing room only. Shel has a remarkable ability to anticipate what'...

Listen now

Moment 61 – Human-centric businesses do better: Victoria Dew

December 6, 2023

Does your approach to internal communication have the human touch? It’s essential to the humans you employ, says Victoria Dew, CEO of Dewpoint Communications and an internal com...

Listen now

Episode 91 – How to build a one-person IC powerhouse

November 22, 2023

Ever feel like, as an internal communicator, you’re fighting an uphill battle all by yourself? This week’s guest on The Internal Comms Podcast has exactly what you need. Host ...

Listen now

Episode 90 – A shared vision: ED&I and IC in action

November 8, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by Sim Sian, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Mitie, and Yvonne O’Hara, formerly Mitie’s Grou...

Listen now

Episode 89 – Netflix-style IC: Snackable, on-demand and authentic

October 25, 2023

In this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by Access Group’s Global Head of Communications and Engagement, Paul Downey. Paul caught Katie’s ...

Listen now

Episode 88 – It’s fixable: How to tackle hard problems

October 11, 2023

In this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by Anne Morriss. Anne is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and the Executive Founder of the Lea...

Listen now

Episode 87 – Tracing the legacy of internal comms

September 27, 2023

It’s often said we must understand the past to build the future, and that sentiment sits at the very heart of this episode. This week on The Internal Comms Podcast we welcome pr...

Listen now

Episode 86 – How to crush your next public speaking gig

September 13, 2023

Season 10 of the Internal Comms Podcast kicks off with one of Katie’s most compelling conversations yet. Shil Shanghavi is a public speaking specialist, storyteller and head of...

Listen now

Coming soon: Season 10 of The Internal Comms Podcast

September 6, 2023

Our summer break is drawing to a close, Katie has dusted off her mic and we’re ready to launch Season 10 of The Internal Comms Podcast! This season, we’ll be welcoming more o...

Listen now

Moment 18 – 3% of employees are driving 90% of conversations: Mike Klein

August 30, 2023

In this moment, we catch up with Mike Klein, former political consultant, modern-day communications stalwart, and two-time guest on the Internal Comms Podcast. Mike breaks down h...

Listen now

Moment 17 – How we create meaning: Sue Dewhurst & Liam FitzPatrick

August 23, 2023

What’s our one true purpose as internal communicators? It’s the question we’re all seeking the answer to. This moment takes us back to when Katie first welcomed Sue Dewhurs...

Listen now

Moment 13 – The message must change at each leadership level: Dr Kevin Ruck

August 16, 2023

If there’s one thing we’re clear about at AB, it’s that communication should not be a one-way street. And that’s what this moment is about. We head back to Episode 13, w...

Listen now

Moment 06 – On tolerance, kindness and being enough: Henry Normal

August 9, 2023

As communicators, we could often do with slowing things down a little. In this moment, Henry Normal – author and co-founder of production company Baby Cow, which he founded with ...

Listen now

Moment 01 – What happens inside is reflected outside: Rachel Miller

August 2, 2023

Have you heard of an inside-out approach to communication? It’s no secret that today’s internal comms messages seep into the world outside the office walls. After all, anythi...

Listen now

Episode 85 – Lessons from a trailblazer

July 26, 2023

We’re ending Season 9 of the Internal Comms Podcast with a bang this week, as Sally Susman takes to the hot seat for her second appearance. Sally is Executive Vice President an...

Listen now

Episode 84 – Ethics in action: Insights from a global compliance leader

July 12, 2023

In modern business, integrity is non-negotiable. As legislation ramps up in lockstep with colleague and customer demands, operating an ethical business in line with global regula...

Listen now

Episode 83 – ESG: How IC can drive the agenda

June 28, 2023

Define ESG… Well, it stands for environment, social and governance. But can you really define what ESG actually is? Put very simply, ESG is a set of criteria used to evaluate a ...

Listen now

Episode 82 – The truth about resilience

May 31, 2023

It seems everyone’s talking about resilience, the ability to bounce back from misfortune or adversity. But as Bruce Daisley explains to host Katie Macaulay, there’s something w...

Listen now

Episode 81 – Unilever: Inside a global success story

May 17, 2023

With over 130,000 colleagues, and a 100-year history, Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. And this week on the Internal Comms Podcast, we get a peek ...

Listen now

Episode 80 – The inside track on comms at Mercedes F1

May 3, 2023

“The days we fail are the days our competitors live to regret,” said the late, great Niki Lauda. And that’s what this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast is all about. Thi...

Listen now

Episode 79 – Lifting the lid on comms consultancy

April 19, 2023

Ever considered what it takes to become an effective communications consultant? Then this week’s episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is for you. Host Katie Macaulay welcomes Si...

Listen now

Episode 78 – Comms with courage

April 5, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes Audacity’s Jason Anthoine. Jason has spent three decades working in internal communication, employee experie...

Listen now

Episode 77 – Here for the culture

March 22, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes culture-chameleon Shane Hatton. Shane is many things – author, international speaker, trainer, leadership co...

Listen now

Episode 76 – Employee experience: For the people by the people

March 8, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes Nicholas Wardle. Nicholas is Head of Employee Experience at Brand Experiences, and co-author of ‘Monetising ...

Listen now

Episode 75 – Inside the world’s most famous corner shop

February 22, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes Sam Bleazard. Sam’s role as Employer Brand Content Producer takes him behind the scenes of ‘the world’s ...

Listen now

Episode 74 – Culture with sticking power

February 8, 2023

The Internal Comms Podcast is back for Season 9! To kick off this season, we welcomed BizJuicer’s Andy Goram to the hot seat. Andy’s passion for building businesses ‘from t...

Listen now

Season 8: In the rear view mirror

February 1, 2023

With Season 9 of The Internal Comms Podcast right around the corner, host Katie Macaulay has taken the opportunity to reflect on the wisdom and insight shared over our latest seaso...

Listen now

Episode 73 – Forging your own path

December 21, 2022

The season 8 finale features Jennifer Thomas, Head of Communications for the Data & Analytics branch of the London Stock Exchange Group. Born in London to Guyanese parents, Jennif...

Listen now

Episode 72 – Making your way to the top

December 7, 2022

Episode 72 of The Internal Comms Podcast sees host Katie Macaulay joined by Adrian Cropley, CEO and founder of Cropley Communication and the Centre for Strategic Communication Exce...

Listen now

Episode 71 – Effective comms starts with knowing yourself

November 23, 2022

This week’s guest on The Internal Comms Podcast is Joanna Parsons, Head of Internal Communications & Culture at Teamwork. Joanna made Irish history as the first ever Head of Inte...

Listen now

Episode 70 – Reaching across the aisle

November 9, 2022

Shelby Scarbrough, author of 'Civility Rules! Creating a Purposeful Practice of Civility', shares her deep insight and experience ‘reaching across the aisle’ on episode 70 of T...

Listen now

Episode 69 – Measuring what matters – actions not feelings

October 26, 2022

Episode 69 of The Internal Comms Podcast sees IC heavyweight Mike Klein return to the hot seat. An internal and social communication consultant based out of Reykjavik, Mike is help...

Listen now

Episode 68 – Host in the hot seat: Reflections on 250,000 plays

October 12, 2022

In this very special episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, the tables have turned. Katie Macaulay is in the hot seat, and AB’s Senior Content Editor Freddie Reynolds takes over ...

Listen now

Episode 67 – The ABC of research: Ask, believe, change

September 28, 2022

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay invites qualitative research expert Mari Lee to sit in the hot seat. Mari’s specialism is in ‘development com...

Listen now

Episode 66 – Combatting IC isolation

September 14, 2022

The Internal Comms Podcast is back for what promises to be an incredible Season 8! In this kick-off episode, host Katie Macaulay welcomes ICology’s Vice President of Community an...

Listen now

Season 7: The rewind episode

September 7, 2022

The countdown is on, and The Internal Comms Podcast will be returning from its summer break with Season 8 imminently. And while its eighth instalment promises wisdom unbound from a...

Listen now

Episode 65 – Remote but not unreachable

June 22, 2022

In the final episode of season 7 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks with Lily Goodman D’Amato, Delivery Trainer at US-based digital pharmacy Medly. Lily b...

Listen now

Episode 64 – Releasing your inner sceptic

June 8, 2022

In the latest episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks with Martin Flegg, founder and co-owner of The IC Citizen internal communications consultancy. With...

Listen now

Episode 63 – Lessons in leadership

May 25, 2022

In episode 63 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay meets Mike Roe, who had a 28-year career in the police force and is now CEO of Tensense, a data insights company. ...

Listen now

Episode 62 – Textbook IC: rewriting comms for a new era

May 11, 2022

In the latest episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks with the duo who wrote the book on internal communications – literally. Sue Dewhurst has worked i...

Listen now

Episode 61 – Embracing the messiness of being human

April 27, 2022

In this week’s episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay sits down with Victoria Dew, founder and CEO of Dewpoint Communications. Her firm is focused on helping ...

Listen now

Episode 60 – How to have better conversations

April 13, 2022

In this week’s episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay sits down with Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres, co-authors of Conversations Worth Having, Using Apprecia...

Listen now

Episode 59 – Strategy & IC: A masterclass in collaboration

March 30, 2022

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaluay looks into the dynamic between internal comms and strategy – at its best a symbiotic relationship that drives t...

Listen now

Episode 58 – The state of IC: what’s behind the numbers?

March 16, 2022

In episode 58 of The Internal Comms Podcast, we dissect the results of the latest State of the Sector report, the definitive global survey of the internal communication landscape, ...

Listen now

Episode 57 – Unboxing internal comms at IKEA

March 2, 2022

In episode 57 of The Internal Comms Podcast, listeners can take a peek inside the world of IC at IKEA, as host Katie Macaulay chats with a dynamic duo from the multinational furnit...

Listen now

Episode 56 – IC at the sharp end

February 16, 2022

In this first episode of season 7 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to Jim Shaffer, an internationally recognised business adviser, leadership coach, author ...

Listen now

Leading Lights – Highlights From Season 6

February 9, 2022

Get ready to tune in to our next season of The Internal Comms Podcast. While Season 7 promises an amazing array of guests, this special episode highlights some of the best moments ...

Listen now

Episode 55 – Mission Possible

December 1, 2021

In the final episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks to Sally Susman, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Pfizer. ...

Listen now

Episode 54 – Brain care: Mastering your mind

November 17, 2021

In the sixth episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to Phil Dobson, founder of BrainWorkshops and author of The Brain Book: How to Think and W...

Listen now

Episode 53 – Suicide Prevention: Reflecting on an award-winning campaign

November 3, 2021

***The content in this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast may be triggering for those who have experience of suicide.*** In the fourth episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms...

Listen now

Episode 52 – How do you create comms with purpose?

October 20, 2021

In the fourth episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay catches up with Maliha Aqeel, Director of Global Communications and Digital Channels at Fix Net...

Listen now

Episode 51 – Why are we here? How purpose and values drive healthy cultures

October 6, 2021

In the third episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay catches up with communications expert and IABC Fellow Jane Mitchell. Jane began her career with...

Listen now

Episode 50 – A guru’s guide to internal podcasts

September 22, 2021

In the second episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to Brian Landau, an authority in podcasting and expert on all things audio content creati...

Listen now

Episode 49 – Engagement: how it started, how it's going

September 8, 2021

In this first episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to the father of employee engagement, organisational psychologist Professor William Kahn....

Listen now

Industry experts – highlights from Season 5

September 1, 2021

The curtain is about to go up on the new season of The Internal Comms Podcast, with some fantastic guests joining host Katie Macaulay to talk about all things communication. For t...

Listen now

Episode 48 – Changing minds: using behavioural science in IC

May 12, 2021

It has always been Katie Macaulay’s goal for The Internal Comms Podcast to help improve the way organisations communicate with their people, and this week she does so by explorin...

Listen now

Episode 47 – Conversation with a comms rebel

April 28, 2021

Katie Macaulay’s guest this week is a leading light in efforts to advance the careers of under-represented groups in IC. Advita Patel is a qualified coach, mentor, public speake...

Listen now

Episode 46 – Influential Internal Communication

April 14, 2021

This episode sees the return of the brilliant business communications strategist, international public speaker and podcast host Jenni Field. The immediate past chair of the Charte...

Listen now

Episode 45 – Sharing the magic

March 31, 2021

The life and career of this week’s guest has been a literal roller coaster. Mark Webb fell into PR and media relations by chance, after spotting a job ad for the new Eurodisney ...

Listen now

Episode 44 – How to prove your presence

March 17, 2021

Katie Macaulay’s guest for episode 44 of The IC Podcast is Canadian comms expert Prarthna Thakore. After beginning her career in Calgary and then moving to London, Prarthna has ...

Listen now

Episode 43 – Kate Jones on the state of our sector

March 3, 2021

Every year since 2008, internal comms pros have responded to the Gallagher State of the Sector report. Because it’s been running for 13 years, and because similar questions are a...

Listen now

Episode 42 – Once Upon A Time In IC

February 17, 2021

Katie Macaulay kicks off Season 5 of The IC Podcast with a riveting conversation with business storytelling specialist Gabrielle Dolan. Gabrielle is a highly sought-after internat...

Listen now

Looking back, looking forward: highlights from Season 4

February 10, 2021

With the new season of The Internal Comms Podcast just around the corner, we wanted to whet your appetite with a selection of the best bits from Season 4. For this special best-of...

Listen now

Episode 41 – At the heart of the crisis: NHS comms during Covid-19

December 23, 2020

The NHS has never been far from our hearts and minds over the last few months. As the national jewel in the UK’s crown, the National Health Service has battled many difficulties ...

Listen now

Episode 40 – Founding fathers – building the first IC agency

December 17, 2020

What prompted the creation of the first IC agency back in 1964 and what convinced those first chief executives that they needed external help communicating with their employees? W...

Listen now

Coming soon in season 4

December 9, 2020

Coming soon in season 4 of The Internal Comms Podcast

Listen now

Episode 39 – Evidence-based IC

November 25, 2020

Recent research shows measurement is particularly challenging for many internal comms professionals. Katie’s guest on this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is Benjamin Ellis...

Listen now

Episode 38 – The secret thoughts of successful people

November 11, 2020

Amid the turmoil of 2020, with IC pros thrown into the spotlight as we strive to keep colleagues informed and connected, it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling a degree ...

Listen now

Episode 37 – The art of negotiation

October 28, 2020

If you want to take your communication skills to the next level, then this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is for you. Katie’s guest is a formidable negotiator and expert ...

Listen now

Episode 36 – Navigating the digital landscape

October 14, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast we meet digital expert Frank Wolf. Frank spent seven years as a business consultant at Accenture. Then at T Mobile, he was responsible...

Listen now

Episode 35 – How to do less, but do it better

September 30, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast we meet Steve Crescenzo, a witty, straight-talking and charismatic speaker, workshop leader and coach from Chicago, USA, who has spent...

Listen now

Episode 34 – Cross-cultural comms

September 16, 2020

The Internal Comms Podcast is now in its fourth season – and to kick it off Katie sat down with Tasneem Chopra for some honest and open conversation. The self-styled “professi...

Listen now

Choice cuts: highlights from Season 3 of The IC Podcast

September 2, 2020

Before the curtain lifts on Season 4 of The IC Podcast, we wanted to leave you with some food for thought from Season 3. And what a season it was; we had a whole host of remarkabl...

Listen now

Episode 33 – IC’s founding father

July 8, 2020

The goal of this podcast is to bring you meaningful, in-depth conversations with people who are helping to shape the world of internal communication: practitioners, leaders, author...

Listen now

Episode 32 – Leadership in unprecedented times

June 24, 2020

President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Jenni Field has more than 16 years’ experience in communications. She is the founder and director of Redefining C...

Listen now

Episode 31 – What's next? IABC roundtable on the impact of Coronavirus

June 10, 2020

The Internal Comms Podcast has gone truly global with our latest episode featuring three speakers from three countries. In episode 31 Katie tables a roundtable discussion with Jen...

Listen now

Episode 30 – Your biggest, best, boldest self

May 27, 2020

Chief Executive of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Adriènne Kelbie has an exceptional understanding of the true power of communication and engagement. The first woman to ...

Listen now

Episode 29 – Crisis communication at the coalface

May 13, 2020

Katie’s guest this week is someone who is no stranger to crisis communication. Amanda Coleman was the Director of Corporate Communication at Greater Manchester Police when, on M...

Listen now

Episode 28 – The Godfather of IC

April 29, 2020

Katie’s guest this week is one of the world’s leading authorities on internal comms and the management of change: Bill Quirke. As managing director of IC consultancy Synopsis,...

Listen now

Episode 27 – Stepping up in a Crisis

April 14, 2020

This week Katie speaks to renowned communicator Shel Holtz. As listeners continue to grapple with keeping workforces informed, galvanised and feeling connected during the corona cr...

Listen now

Episode 26 – How to thrive in IC (Part II)

April 1, 2020

This episode is recorded as the majority of the UK is in lockdown while the country attempts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie Macaulay’s guest, Rachel Miller...

Listen now

Episode 25 – Crisis Communications: Covid-19 Special

March 25, 2020

Katie Macaulay recorded this special episode on Friday 20 March 2020 in response to the rapidly developing situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Her guests to talk all thin...

Listen now

Episode 24 – A view from the top

March 18, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, Katie puts her first CEO in the hotseat: Marc Barone. Marc is chief executive for continental Europe at AECOM. This Fortune 500 comp...

Listen now

Episode 23 – Courage, confidence and communication

March 4, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast Katie talks to one of world’s most qualified communicators, Priya Bates, from Canada. Priya has an Accredited Business Communicator...

Listen now

Episode 22 – State of the Sector

February 19, 2020

State of the Sector is the longest-established and most in-depth survey of the internal communication profession, based on responses from more than 1,000 professionals around the w...

Listen now

Episode 21 – The cheerleader for IC

February 5, 2020

During Seasons One and Two we covered a lot of ground in IC and beyond. As we begin Season Three, brace yourself for more fascinating insights as we delve into the very heart of co...

Listen now

The highlight reel – nuggets of wisdom from Season 1 and 2 of The IC Podcast

January 29, 2020

Since the launch of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay has interviewed more than 20 fascinating guests from the world of IC and beyond. Now, as we gear up for Season ...

Listen now

Episode 20 – Advocacy in action

December 18, 2019

Katie’s guest this week is Keith Lewis, UK Social Media and Social Business Manager for Zurich Insurance – one of the world’s largest insurance groups with 55,000 employees i...

Listen now

Episode 19 – The appliance of neuroscience

December 4, 2019

Katie Macaulay’s guest this week is a neuroscientist with extensive experience in the field of organisational change. Hilary Scarlett began studying the brain in 2009 after read...

Listen now

Episode 18 – Editing organisations

November 20, 2019

In this episode we get up close and personal with someone who helps improve the way we communicate at work. Mike Klein worked as a political consultant in the US, but for the past...

Listen now

Episode 17 – Black Belt Thinking

November 6, 2019

As individuals, this week’s guests have impressive CVs. Sue Dewhurst is an experienced internal communicator who, for many years, has been training and coaching thousands of lea...

Listen now

Episode 16 – A Passage to India

October 23, 2019

With this podcast now reaching listeners in 50 countries worldwide, host Katie Macaulay has chosen to go international for this episode. Her guest is creative services entrepreneu...

Listen now

Episode 15 – The Power of Two

October 8, 2019

This week, Katie meets Claire Hyde and Louise Wadman, joint heads of IC at KPMG UK. Possibly the most senior IC job share in the country, Claire and Louise have more than 45 years...

Listen now

Episode 14 – How to start a movement

September 24, 2019

Katie’s guest this episode is Nita Clarke – whose services to employee engagement have earned her an OBE from the Queen. Nita has a long and fascinating career. She co-authore...

Listen now

Episode 13 – A check-up with the IC doctor

September 11, 2019

The Internal Comms Podcast is back with a new series of fortnightly conversations with leading lights from the world of internal communications, engagement and leadership. AB Mana...

Listen now

Season 02 Trailer

September 6, 2019

Season two of The Internal Comms Podcast is almost here!

Listen now

Episode 12 – Listen and learn: insights from 30 years in IC

July 24, 2019

In this extra special bonus episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, the tables are turned on Katie as she takes the spotlight as an interviewee. Posing the searching questions is J...

Listen now

Episode 11 – Putting the soul back into Patisserie Valerie

June 25, 2019

For this special bonus episode of The IC Podcast, Katie interviewed Paolo Peretti, Managing Retail Director of Patisserie Valerie, in front of a live audience at AB Thinks Live, ou...

Listen now

Episode 10 – Internal comms at the sharp end - recorded at IoIC live

May 21, 2019

For the final episode of season one, Katie Macaulay travels to Bath for IoIC Live and interviews two of the conference’s speakers, Martin Fitzpatrick and Matt Batten. Both Marti...

Listen now

Episode 09 – How to win colleagues and influence people

May 7, 2019

Social influencer marketing is a new and rapidly growing means of getting your message out to your audience. It’s changed the face of advertising and has everyone from up-to-the-...

Listen now

Episode 08 – The Joy of Work

April 23, 2019

Katie’s guest this week is an extremely versatile communicator. In his day job as European Vice President of Twitter, Bruce Daisley has overseen the development of one of the wor...

Listen now

Episode 07 – What social purpose (really) means

April 9, 2019

Running the UK’s largest retail and financial services network with more branches than all of the UK’s banks and building societies put together, the Post Office is at the hear...

Listen now

Episode 06 – The craft of communication

March 27, 2019

In episode six, Katie travels beyond the boundaries of internal comms to find out how to write more engagingly, tell better stories and use humour to deliver your message. And who ...

Listen now

Episode 05 – Learning comms lessons from PR

March 13, 2019

In episode five, Katie aims to find out what internal communications can learn from external communications. So she sits down with ‘mister public relations’, Stephen Waddington...

Listen now

Episode 04 – What it means to be the voice of IC

February 27, 2019

The Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) is the voice of the IC profession – dedicated to strengthening confidence, credibility and community. And on 12 March, the IoIC cel...

Listen now

Episode 03 – What the State of the Sector report means for IC

February 13, 2019

Episode three lands as Gatehouse’s latest State of the Sector report is published. Katie invites Jenni Field, a tireless, high-profile personality of the IC landscape, to discus...

Listen now

Episode 02 – What it takes to be an IC leader

January 30, 2019

Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with internal communications, Katie’s guest in episode two will no doubt be a name you recognise. In a career spanning 30 years, Russell G...

Listen now

Episode 01 – How to thrive in IC

January 16, 2019

In the first episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, Katie meets Rachel Miller – a prolific blogger, educator, keynote speaker and one of the most respected voices in internal com...

Listen now

Trailer

January 11, 2019

An introduction to the new Internal Comms Podcast.

Listen now