Portland Profile: Justin Talbot

Portland Profile: Justin Talbot

What excites you about joining Portland?

I think it’s the ideal time to be joining Portland – with the impacts of the pandemic during the past few years, the value and importance of Internal Communications and Employee Engagement has never been so critical for organisations and I can’t wait to re-shape and firm up our offer to clients. I’ve been here for almost two months and the breadth of expertise and talent we have is absolutely fantastic, and being part of a team like this is the most exciting thing for me.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?

Listen. Check for understanding and keep checking. It’s a key skill for a communicator. Ask yourself do you genuinely understand the issue at hand? Did you put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see it from their perspective? There are so many nuances in how we communicate and receive information. For me, listening and understanding are the two most crucial skills in employee engagement.

What is your favourite part about your role?

It’s not just about newsletters and emails… It’s great fun too. In my previous role at Marks and Spencer I got the senior leaders of the Digital and Data team to create a TikTok style video to promote their annual conference – it got over 25,000 views from across the business (including store colleagues), and they received a record number of signups to the conference.

Why is employee engagement an important issue for employers to be thinking about at current?

The pandemic has drastically changed the landscape of how and where we work. We also saw the great resignation last year, with many people deciding to move on from their current roles. Employers need to ensure they have a strong employee value proposition (EVP) and that their people understand this. They also need to think about how they engage their people, many of whom are working flexibly and perhaps haven’t even been back into an office. The key is for organisations to show people the value they bring to that company and the role they play in helping to achieve success.  

What do you do to switch off from work?

I had twin girls right at the start of the first lockdown, so I rarely get any time to switch off these days! In the days when I did have more freedom I used to do a lot of hiking, mountaineering and ultra-running, something I’d love to get back into (if my dodgy knees will let me). For now the biggest thing I climb is the slide in the garden with a daughter in each arm. 

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