A Day in the Life…of Tanya Burak

Today we are launching a brand-new feature called ‘A day in the life…’ an opportunity for you to find out what other Internal Communicators get up to in their day-to-day working life…and hopefully bring our fabulous network of IC’ers closer!

First up is our very own committee member, Tanya Burak who is Director of Internal Communications at Savills.

If you would like to take part in a future feature please drop us a note via ciprinside@gmail.com. 

Who are you?

Tanya Burak, Director, Internal Communications – Savills plc.

I am responsible for:

Savills plc global intranet ‘connect’, and our internal communications strategy.  I have one other colleague, dedicated to the UK, while I support the rest of the world.

Savills plc, a global real estate services provider, operates in more than 60 countries, and 600 offices. In total, my audience is about 12,000, globally, 5,000 of which are in the UK.

As we operate in a very decentralised environment, I rely a lot on the support of our local PR and Marketing colleagues, who manage the internal comms remit locally, and local IT to help with our intranet.

My day:

Begins at 6:30 am – I’m very set in my morning routine, with the goal to make it out of the house as quickly as possible!  I live in South East London, and travel in to one of our two offices, either in London-City at Liverpool Street, or our Global HQ, near Oxford Circus.  On the commute in, I will check in with colleagues in Australia & New Zealand, and Asia to see what is happening in their markets, and answer any urgent requests.  My morning commute also gives me a chance to read CityAm, BBC, and trade publications, for me to see how we are trending. Once in the office, I’ll receive queries for support for UK and Europe until the US come online about 2pm. I endeavour to leave at 6pm, but rarely the case!  And head home for a quiet dinner and TV with my partner, Simon.

My week:

Part of my mandate is to ensure that all Savills people are aware of our success and initiatives in all our markets, so I start my Monday, Wednesday, Fridays by circulating a key news article to all of our local contacts to post to their local country intranet homepage.  In addition to the intranet, depending on the time of year, and demand from the business, I may email up to 3 communications a week, to select or global audiences.

The rest of my time is filled with working with our country businesses, or global teams, to improve communication within their communities, or on cross border initiatives.  One of our themes for the year is to improve our people’s understanding of the services and sectors we operate in, so that they are confident in referring our professionals and services to their clients. I also work individually with end users, who are struggling to find their way around our systems or business, or require information for presentations and pitches – I always make the time as their feedback in invaluable, in making improvements and designing new functionality. I am also responsible for the technical aspects of our platform, but thank goodness, our new Intranet Manager will be starting 1 September, so will take some of the pressure off.

What I am working on

While email and intranet are our key channels, I am slowly encouraging users to ‘work out loud’ and start publishing their own content, being it status updates or using the blog functionality.  Content does not need to be formatted in a formal email and be signed off to be relevant and read. I am also encouraging users to download our new intranet app.  We had thought it would be an easy ask, but found that some users were uncomfortable with the technical steps to download.  A new campaign is on the way. Once a month, I edit and email our Global News Round Up, and in our next edition, I’m asking for feedback, as it is now nearly 2 years old, and could do with an update.

How I made internal communications my career

I began my career in Toronto, Canada, working in the Research department of a property firm.  I had a love of geography, planning, architecture, so it seemed like a natural fit.  I then got to know the business and industry quite well, and moved into operational and marketing roles. I relocated to the UK in 2006, and found a role with Savills as their first dedicated Internal Communications Manager, for the UK.  I also pursued my CIPR designation, as being from Canada, having the CIPR on my CV was recognised in the market here. I left Savills for a few years, and worked with KPMG, where my contract roles ranged from supporting the Global Marketing Team, Knowledge Management and UK CSR teams.  In 2011 I returned to Savills, and since then, have been rolling out our global intranet, and developing our internal communications strategy and programme.

Why I joined CIPR Inside, and the committee

I joined CIPR Inside, and the committee to further my professional capabilities, and also to meet and network with other internal comms professionals.  It is important to me that we work together to promote our skill set and capabilities.

My proudest moment

Launching our new intranet, and people liking it!  And, launching our new mobile app.

The best part of my job

My role is always changing, and evolving with the business – every day is different.  It helps that I love what we do as a business, and that we are so diverse in our offering.

The worst part of my job

Not having enough hours in the day!  I would love to be reviewing our stats, and metrics, and writing up case studies to show how internal communications can benefit parts of the business I haven’t yet reached.  While I am great at promoting other initiatives, I need to spend more time promoting internal comms!

What I would do, if not for internal comms (Plan B)

When I was young, I wanted to study classics and become an archaeologist!  But, decided years and years of research (and digging) wasn’t for me.  What I did discover by studying Latin was my love of words and language, which has also helped me understand the cultural differences in the way we communicate.  I can’t career wise say I’d want to be anywhere else, but in the future I would love to make the time to write and interpret the world via interiors, travel, culture, architecture, and urban development blogs or books.

How I make internal communications count where I work –

Finding time for measurement is always difficult – but is a necessity.  My belief is that to have our discipline seen as a true profession, alongside HR, IT, Finance, Marketing, PR, I have to make time for and deliver key metrics and statistics to our stakeholders in the business.  Not only do the metrics help me understand the effectiveness of our internal campaigns, but they also help me develop a profile within our business as a key partner, rather than just a ‘format and send’ resource.

You can connect with me:

Via LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tanya-burak

To book onto our Making it Count conference, which takes place 1 November, click here.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing Tanya.

    It’s great to hear how we all face similar challenges within internal communications regardless of the size of the business.

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