This week in the latest of our life stories podcast I’m interviewing Tom Murphy, director of global communications, Microsoft Services.
Tom started his career at Text 100 in Ireland and then worked for a couple of start-ups and mid-sized firms in their in-house teams before joining Microsoft Ireland in 2005.
He moved to Microsoft's head office in Redmond in the US in 2009 and is now Global Communications at Microsoft Services. Tom joined us on the phone from Redmond.
Here is a summary of what Tom and I discussed:
[00:00:56] What was it that he did at Microsoft Ireland that meant he got a tap on the shoulder to go to the US.
[00:02:15] Why Microsoft has a career profile where you spend a couple of years learning a job, you spend a couple of years doing the job and then you look for your next move.
[00:03:18] How, in Redmond, Tom can go skiing 40 minutes from his front door and gets a guaranteed four or five month summer .
[00:03:39] Why in a big company you get a lot of opportunities to work in a whole range of different areas.
[00:04:28] Tom tells us about his experience of working for Microsoft in the US for 10 years.
[00:04:46] Tom identifies the big differences between working in-house and agency side.
[00:05:46] Why in-house your perspective needs to be a mile deep and an inch wide rather than the opposite when you have in agency.
[00:05:59] Why the pressures you feel in-house are very different from the questions you feel agency side.
[00:06:11] Why Tom believes that communicators should try and spend time both on the agency side and in-house.
[00:08:24] How TV shows like Ab Fab created a false impression of PR for Tom and almost meant he didn't target a career in public relations.
[00:09:54] Why Tom believes he has been "the luckiest man alive to have fallen into a career in PR".
[00:09:58] How PR provides such a diverse set of work experiences, that very few jobs can compete with.
[00:10:43] Why you must retain your inquisitiveness to be at the forefront of communications.
[00:10:53] Why PR and communications folks are typically at the leaders table when decisions are made.
[00:11:01] How senior PR people input into major business decisions and shape strategy.
[00:11:20] How the profile of public relations within Microsoft has changed in the last 10 years.
[00:11:57] Why PR has always been a major strategic function for Microsoft.
[00:13:11] How Microsoft has made a "massive investment" in storytelling.
[00:13:32] How Microsoft uses data and insights to help it inform both its PR strategy and business strategy.
[00:14:05] How does an in-house team use data?
[00:14:17] How Tom is amazed at “how half are PR professional seem to be embracing data and half are ignoring it”
[00:16:00] How data gives Microsoft a balanced scorecard of the business.
[00:16:53] How many different KPI’s do Microsoft find useful?
[00:20:11] Why Tom finds his current internal communications role enables him to get very close to the challenges of the business.
[00:20:46] How do you create better employee communication within a business of 16,000 people.
[00:22:02] Why the prominence of change in modern business means that communications is more important than ever.
[00:22:48] How the nature of employee comms has changed in recent years.
[00:24:37] Why modern employee communications is getting more complicated by the day.