It’s January – which for many professionals means thinking about how we want to progress in our careers and, ultimately, hitting the books as we aim to make it a reality.
Yes, it’s learning and development season. Only here at spottydog communications, it’s a focus that really does last all year round at our PR agency and certainly isn’t just for January.
Learning and development is something we take very seriously around here. How can we truly deliver best of breed communications if we’re not continuously staying on top of the latest developments and innovations that are impacting our industry?
In fact, we think it’s so important that we make it a key part of our job descriptions. Members of our consultancy teams are provided with membership of our industry body, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), when they join. They must then complete its Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme each year by attending events, giving talks and reading industry books, among a wealth of other activities.
Those working in specialist roles, such as video and graphic design, are not left out. They receive an equivalent training budget which is used to directly support them in developing their skillsets and working towards their own specific career goals.
Activities that have been completed over the last 12 months have included the PRCA-run account manager training for those being promoted from executive level, as well as Google Analytics training delivered by an offsite expert to help us when it comes to crunching those all-important digital numbers.
The success of this programme is there for all to see. Within our team we now have seven practitioners who have been accredited by the CIPR. To achieve this, they must complete two years of CPD activities covering everything from ethics and evaluation to media relations and digital content.
I completed this myself last year in what was one of the biggest achievements of my career to date. Not only did it provide me with a professional accreditation that validates my experience and abilities, but surviving a grilling from some of our industry’s most highly-regarded individuals gave me an enhanced feeling of confidence in my own capability.Three of these spottydog pups have gone beyond this and achieved CIPR chartered status. This is an incredible piece of recognition which involves an assessment day where you’re questioned in real time by some of the membership body’s most experienced professionals.
Looking across our communications agency teams, it is clear to see that this approach works when it comes to moulding and retaining the best talent. Our average length of service is well above the industry average of 18 months, while paths for progression mean that several members of our team have developed their roles considerably while delivering award-winning campaigns within the business.
Just look at the likes of Isla Williams, who started out as an account executive and now looks after one of the UK’s biggest bathroom brands, or Maddy McCrann-Smith, who has worked her way up from intern to highly-regarded account manager within two years of graduating from university.
Their journeys show how a dedicated approach to learning and development can reap dividends, both for their individual careers and the amazing campaigns they are able to work on. And, ultimately, it puts us in the best position possible to realise our motto and deliver best of breed communications by pedigree people.