I have been passionate about internal communication for more than 20 years, and have some strong views about what makes a difference.
For me, internal communication isn’t about designing posters, organizing live events, or entertaining employees.
It’s about bringing those who do the work together – whether in words or physically. It’s about creating clarity about expectations, standards and values, identifying the essential language and defining a common agenda.
It involves strategy: deciding who to communicate with, as well as what to say and how to engage.
It also involves dialogue and networks – as opposed to being purely top-down or relying on ritualized town halls for the appearance of interaction. And it also involves making the most of interactive technology when it’s in place.
The goal: achieving outcomes with maximum effectiveness and minimum friction. That’s what changes the terms.
- VEON (VimpelCom): editorial and narrative leadership for 60,000 employee company across 14 countries
- Maersk Oil: organizational narrative and content
- Cargill: developing new internal comms channels for European business units
- Avery Dennison: continuing support to European label and materials business
Change Communication is a kind of internal communication that focuses on getting things done, within tight timelines and an often-dynamic and always-challenging stakeholder environment.
Combining a change initiative’s need for speed and structure, the affected populations’ need for a pathway through the transition, and the overall imperative to maximize success while minimizing friction requires a combination of strong planning, a resilient narrative and a solid understanding of the interactions between leaders, stakeholders and the larger organization.
Having led change communication efforts for mergers, transformations, system implementations and functional realignments, the key is striking a balance between integrating communication into the change process, having a selective, well-defined strategy, and being opportunistic in adjusting plans and narratives to accommodate change.
That’s what makes a difference, and changes the terms
- Maersk Oil: Project Focus (company-wide transformation)
- Avery Dennison: M&A communication
- Shell: IT Transformation support for Exploration and Production
- US Department of Transportation: COMPASS System Integration Program
- easyJet: Go airline merger communication
Communications Audit, Surveys and Qualitative Analysis
Research is core to my proposition – looking not only to measure what’s working and how people feel, but to get insights about missed and hidden opportunities, and how best to use existing resources and new technologies.
I did my first communication audit more than 20 years ago, a look at internal and external communication for a European affiliate of a major pharmaceutical company. Since then, I have designed and delivered numerous surveys, audits and qualitative research projects for international clients and to look more broadly at how internal communication can generate more value and impact.
Projects and roles include:
- Tetra Pak
- IC Kollectif
- Maersk Oil
- Skill Pill
- VEON (VimpelCom)
Influencer Research and Mobilization
There’s a growing understanding in the world of internal communication that is changing it forever – a realization that three percent of the population, the key influencers, drive conversation and representation for 90% of employees.
I don’t see this as something to marvel at. I see the Three Percent Rule as something to work with. A tool and opportunity to increase impact and credibility while reducing intrusion and cost.
Partnering with vendors who specialize in the unique data analytics these initiatives require, I work with companies to identify their informal leaders. I then help them define how to best connect them with senior management, and to combine the real informal leadership with other groups like ambassadors, champions and the users of online platforms. I also partner directly with clients to activate these new connections.
Writing, Editing and Native English
If money is the currency of transaction, language is the currency of action.
Brevity and simplicity are important, but clarity and consistency are paramount.
Working in Europe with clients ranging from startups to public agencies, I approach writing, editing and native English localization strategically – focusing on the intent and desired impact rather than on simply producing error-free text, and offering alternative phrasings and approaches while working with the text at hand.
Can work with both main flavo(u)rs of English: US and UK.
Previous clients: AKKA, Avery Dennison, DirektZu, Jaja Finance