As a communications specialist with Prudential’s Workplace Solutions Group, I have been supporting the communications team’s 5 directors through a period change. New communications systems and platforms are being put into place, businesses have been realigned, and I’ve been assisting the team through these transitions.
Laying New Foundations
Standard Operating Procedures: Worked with the team to develop SOPs, best practices and guidelines for email and the intranet.
Partnerships: We have been working closely with business partners who wish to publish communications through our channels. To streamline this process and to make sure communications remain consistent, I worked with the team to develop templates and guidelines for supporting our business partners.
Capabilities: I’ve been working with the communications team and business partners to add to our content “tool box“.
Systems: We’ve recently migrated to SharePoint and have been using Salesforce: I’ve assisted in the development of SharePoint sites and ExactTarget emails.
My day-to-day responsibilities as a communications specialist are:
- Content: I help craft content for the business group’s intranet site and am responsible for making sure the content is formatted according to best practices.
- Communications Calendar: I am responsible for managing our team’s editorial calendar, for making sure emails and intranet content are published in a timely manner.
- Events: I assist in the communications and logistics of events, putting together invites and communications plans, securing the necessary rooms, resources and personnel and providing onsite assistance.
- Email: I help the team draft and edit emails before formatting and sending to the the proper audiences.
This has been a contract position that began in June 2017 (extended until August 2018). It is the first Fortune 500 job I’ve held, and there are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Here are the lessons that have helped me the most:
- Setting Expectations: In order to manage my workload, I needed to learn to set expectations. Agreeing to complete something by end-of-day is rarely wise because my workload fluctuates quickly. Managing expectations and giving myself a buffer means that I don’t leave my clients waiting longer than they were expecting to.
- Saying No: I had to learn when I had too much on my plate, when I needed to have flexibility in order to fulfill my primary responsibilities: I had to learn when to tell someone that I did not have the bandwidth to assist them. This has helped me focus on the important tasks at hand and to provide quicker turnaround on the projects that matter most.
- Using Checklists: Business-wide emails and intranet pages have high-visibility and many moving parts. I created checklists for both, and this ensures that even if seven things are going on at once, I have a quick way to slow down and make sure all of my boxes are checked.
- Giving Updates: This is a great way to stay transparent and to help clients keep their plans on track. As a habit, keeping clients updated fosters accountability and ensures that the people I am working with will know immediately if and when a project is delayed.
- Not Overvaluing Perfection: I’ve a pernicious attention to detail. If something isn’t perfect I will try workaround after workaround, and then call partners in marketing to see if they have a workaround. However, I’ve learned when to nip perfection in the bud. Not every paragraph is going to square well around an image, and there are always more challenges to tackle on the next project.