Like many I have undergone a huge transformation during the past 16 months. I may have been planning it before Covid-19 hit but my move to consultant and running my own business happened as the pandemic took hold. It is interesting to see the way the situation has impacted across the profession in the report out today.
PR in a Pandemic is the latest report published by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and as always there are some interesting insights. As with all such surveys, reports and insights it is what is done with them that really matters. I wonder how we all can make use of the data and insights to make a difference?
Half of those who took part said there had been an increase in the amount of their time spent on crisis and issues management. That is not surprising. Also to be expected is the focus on the risks from mental health issues and that one in five people had made a job change in some way. What the past 16 or so months have done is reminded us how fragile life is and for many if they were not happy or fulfilled in what they were doing they will have felt spurred on to make a change.
The theme is that PR has been given a boost during the pandemic because it has demonstrated what it can do when faced with a crisis, change and challenges. For many it has given them extra gravitas among managers and leaders, and for most it has meant additional work pressures. As someone who has worked in crisis situations for some years, this is not unusual. When things are at their worst is when PR and communication can, and should, step up to help navigate a way forward.
But it does surprise me that when asked about what they expect to be focused on in the times ahead we resort back to PR campaigns. The post-pandemic is a time to build on the strategic position that communication has had. A focus back on tactical delivery risks losing the recognition that has been gained.
We are only just heading towards a recovery phase, and I maintain that for most this is still a way off. It is not the time to take our eye off those previous challenges we may have faced before Covid, or to try to rush away from dealing with the pandemic. We all know more tough times may lie ahead and as a profession we need to build on the amazing work that has been taking place. Above all we need to use this valuable information to make continued improvements.