IC Magazine sat down with Jennifer Sproul, Chief Executive of the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC), to find out about her career to date.
Q. How long have you been in your current role and what does it involve?
A. Since May 2016. I lead the IoIC, ensuring we run to a high standard, every day. I’m responsible for the financial and commercial operations and I work with our volunteers, the board and head office on delivering our portfolio of activities. Fundamentally, my role’s about supporting and driving the development of the organisation.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. No two days are the same. I also enjoy being involved with our qualifications, assessors and candidates, helping people with their career paths. I find it refreshing that every person I’ve met genuinely wants the IoIC to succeed; everyone wants to feel their profession matters.
Q. Is there anything you don’t enjoy?
A. I have a list as long as my arm of things we could be doing and real direction for the future, but I have to be realistic. The challenge is balancing pace, resource and budget. To make sure it continues to grow, sometimes I have to slow myself down.
Q. What did you do previously and how did you get into internal communications?
A. My experience is in professional bodies and marketing; I was at the Market Research Society (MRS) for 13 years. Running a membership body is very much like working in IC. You have a broad group of stakeholders and have to look at your channels and engage members.
Q. What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
A. Becoming Chief Executive of the IoIC. Being given that responsibility and trust by a board choosing you to do the job it needs makes you feel good. There are many proud moments to come and have been lots already: regrading our membership, revamping our communications and working on our CPD programme.
Q. What are the benefits of good IC?
A. It’s a means to creating an informed, engaged and connected workforce to drive organisational performance. We’re launching a new profession map to visually articulate the purpose of IC.
Q. How has the world of IC changed since you started working in it?
A. I haven’t been in IC long, but I’ve been in professional bodies and publishing, and new channels and technology have transformed the landscape.
Q. How important do you think the digital boom has been to IC?
A. It’s been great for connecting with remote workforces, sharing messages instantly, facilitating conversations and enriching lives. But it’s challenge to relinquish control. I don’t believe we should be ruled by digital; not everybody needs it. It allows for metrics, but we shouldn’t be led by this; analytics should be balanced with conversation and qualitative feedback.
I love print – we’re bringing it back with our new IoIC publication, to help create pace with thought leadership. Through print, we can offer true breadth and depth of content, which you can’t do with digital. There’s a place for everything.
Q. What would you say to someone wanting to start a career in IC?
A. Do it! If you’re curious, creative, analytical and strategic, and you like people, IC offers the perfect balance. It mixes HR, PR and marketing; you won’t get that skills mix elsewhere.