Name: Lauren Maughan
Job Title: Employee Communications Business Partner
Time in current role: 2 years
Lauren works in internal communications at United Utilities as an Employee Communications Business Partner.
How did you land your current job?
Once I graduated university I decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a journalist. I went on to do my NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) and spent a year in work placements for newspapers around the North West.
The work wasn’t well paid, and for most of it I was working for free so I decided to look at other career options. Internal communications was an area that I looked into and one where I could transfer my journalism skills.
I did some work experience at United Utilities (UU) and really enjoyed it, but unfortunately they didn’t have any roles on offer.
In the meantime, I travelled down to London and gained some great experience working as a researcher for a website. This gave me an insight into the digital and online world which has helped me ever since.
A year after I did my work experience at UU a permanent role came up in the internal communications team. I’ve been at the company now for nearly three years. I’ve always stayed in the same department but progressed from creating content, to a more strategic role focusing on digital technologies.
What are the key functions of your role?
I’m responsible for delivering communication activities and campaigns for our employees. I promote the company news and customer campaigns and make sure our news channels, such as the intranet and company magazine, are full of interesting and engaging stuff about our business that employees want to hear about. I’m also looking at how we can continue to evolve our digital channels such as our intranet, app, Yammer (corporate social media programme) and our video channel.
Talk us through your typical day at work
A typical day can be quite varied. I can be at my desk writing a news story or out at one of our treatment works interviewing our employees. More recently my role has involved filming and editing videos and looking after our apprentice and graduate Twitter accounts for our recruitment campaign. Recently we launched Tap In, our employee app, so a lot of my time has been spent developing that and looking at how we can improve and utilise our other digital channels.
How would your colleagues describe you in three words?
Creative, supportive, thoughtful.
Your favourite part of the job?
Seeing my hard work come to life. I like getting the delivery of the employee magazine back from the printers to see what we’ve achieved; although I can’t look through it in case I spot a mistake! I still get a little buzz when I see our employees reading it in the coffee shops.
…and the part you could do without?
Going out to visit sewage treatment works isn’t all that glamorous! The hi-vis jacket and sturdy boots wouldn’t be my first choice of workwear – but you’ve got to be safe!
Plans for the future?
I’m really enjoying my current role and how the world of communications is evolving. We’re no longer seen as business partners for a particular function, our skills are transferrable to a wide range of specialities which keeps the role interesting.
In future I’d like to get more involved with social media. I’ve had some experience managing our Twitter and Facebook channels but I’d really like to get stuck in to some social media campaigns.
Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?
I would say get as much work experience as you can. I ended up doing a year of unpaid work before I landed my first role. It sounds like a lot of effort and when there’s no money coming in it can be tough, but it’s worth it in the end. It’s due to the work experience that I gained my first paid role.
I also do some freelance writing which gets my work out there. This would also look impressive on a CV.
Another piece of advice would be to keep your eyes open – you never know where your next job could come from. I found my first role on Twitter. LLY