Adeela Warley: We must support the comms talent we worked so hard to recruit

In the face of a buoyant jobs market it is vital that people feel valued

Adeela Warley

The year began with two stories celebrating great communicators. The first, a personal heroine – the writer, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou – became the first Black woman to appear on a US coin.

Closer to home, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam’s departure from his role as England’s deputy chief medical officer prompted much appreciation.

His plain speaking, tempered by striking train and football analogies, cut through the complexity of Covid-19 with clear and compelling public health messages that captured hearts and lingered in minds.

I’d like to think that charities are making time to pay tribute to their communicators and recognising the outstanding work they are still doing to raise the profile of their organisations and sustain public support during the pandemic.

This recognition is important – because early results from our latest salary and organisational culture survey, which asks charity comms and marketing professionals how others perceive their role in the sector, are mixed.

Among the more than 400 people who answered our survey, there has been a small drop in the perceived value of comms and in the investment in personal development.

One PR manager stated: “People still don’t understand the role of comms, even after demonstrating our worth in the pandemic.”

Not good.

The cross-team collaboration that flourished during the crisis now risks ebbing away.

An unintended consequence of remote working is the limited opportunity to “learn by osmosis” – overhearing how colleagues do their jobs is highly valued by new recruits and those starting out in their comms careers.

More positively, there is a growing confidence in asking for working cultures that provide flexibility and prioritise mental wellbeing.

It makes sense to sustain the best working practices, exploit the benefits of hybrid working and invest in the comms talent we worked so hard to recruit.

With the jobs market looking buoyant, this is a no-brainer.

Adeela Warley is chief executive of CharityComms

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