Tamsin Webb – PRINZ Member, Wise Management Services Communications Manager
As a very new manager leading a team of communication advisors, I was really looking forward to this session…
It started with Christine Dayman, an academic from Murdoch University, presenting the highlights from her recent survey of 50 communication professionals in Western Australia. There were really no surprises here. Work-life balance seemed to be a common desire for a lot of the interviewees but the desired result looked very different to each person. For example, some people want to be able to neatly separate their professional and personal lives while others want to be able to blend the two, working from home if needed but then being able to use business hours to attend to personal matters.
Some of my team are in their twenties so I was interested to hear that their Western Australian counterparts were willing to work harder to build their career capital before they needed to take time out to become mums later on. Women in their twenties also reported being more balanced too but then I can’t help wondering how many of them are balancing the demands of a career, a family and ageing parents?
Both sexes reported managing time as a major challenge while more women found emotions spill over into different areas of their lives, for example, worrying about work when they were at home with their family or worrying about their family when they were at work.
Robyn Sefiani, from Sefiani Strategic Public Relations, provided a number of practical tips on keeping your best talent. It was all about creating the right culture for people to flourish:
- Build a great culture
- Mentor, mentor, mentor
- Trust people to be the best they can be (support them to achieve it)
- Focus on people’s strengths
- Complete annual performance appraisals. Use the 360 degree approach including clients having input, discuss career planning – highlights, worries etc. It’s all discussed in a one-on-one with the boss over lunch; apparently this is one of the highlights of the year at Stefiani PR!
- Recognise and reward
- Communicate within the team
- Offer flexibility for work-life balance
- Be willing to give back – employees are looking for an employer with a social conscience
“Always employ positive people,” were Robyn’s parting words.
Closing the panel session was Susanne Roberts from Talent Partners, who rounded out the presentation by providing some general advice for communication professionals looking for a job.
Susanne’s tips were: tailor your cover letter to the position you are applying for (apparently lots of people don’t do this), add financial knowledge to your skill-set and develop strategic thinking skills – understand what it means and how you can contribute to a strategic plan.
This session had a piece of advice for everyone, if you are just starting your PR career or new to managing people.