Adding digital skills to the comms team is the long term ambition of many. But one authority is making it a reality.
by Clare Yau
Considering what digital skills and types of digital roles we needed was a key issue in both planning and delivering our ambitious Digital First project, to transform our website, online customer journeys, use of social media, staff intranet and more.
From the outset, we knew that the critical issue – after getting organisational approval and backing for the project - was ensuring we had the right people with the right mix of skills.
So, we set about researching what types of digital expertise and roles were out there. We found some interesting results.
Our research included participating in a Digital Leaders webinar on digital talent, reading Smart Insights information on structuring a digital team and considering Government Digital Service’s range of digital job descriptions.
Not surprisingly perhaps we found that depending on the business needs, different organisations employ differing degrees of digital specialists and roles. More tricky, was to decide what we need at Nottinghamshire County Council.
In the end we settled on a range of roles which are integrated within our multi-disciplinary Communications and Marketing team (which includes a range of account managers, media and marketing specialists). These are:
- Senior Digital Officers (lead digital strategy and resource planning)
- Digital Content Officers (plan, deliver and evaluate digital content)
- Digital Design Officers (create digital services through interaction and visual design)
- Digital User Experience Officers (ensure a positive customer experience)
These contain a range of core digital skills, but include a focus on a digital specialism. This gives us both flexibility and a clear focus. The roles also work closely with (and even co-locate on key projects) with ICT technical specialists and customer service centre (telephone advisors) staff. In addition we work with external digital experts where we need particular expertise, so far this has included social media strategy and a card sorting exercise.
Our digital colleagues work in an agile manner, with projects and tasks allocated on a two weekly sprint basis between an A and B team. This ensures everyone works on both business as usual and digital development – giving a fair balance and breath of work, whilst ensuring business continuity.
We feel the approach we have developed to digital skills gives us the best of all worlds – although ensuring we have the right resources throughout the project lifetime remains an ongoing challenge. You can keep in touch with how we get on through our Digital First blog.
NB If you’re interested in working with us – which includes some remote/home working opportunities – we’re currently recruiting additional Digital Content Officers, and another Senior Digital Officer and Digital Design Officer. Closing dates are very soon, so please act quickly if interested.
Clare Yau is group manager marketing at Nottinghamshire County Council.