Focus On

With this year’s Internal Communications Conference just a few weeks away, we’ve decided to sit down with some of our world class industry speakers for a “Speaker in the Spotlight” interview to hear more about their role, responsibilities and what they are most looking forward to about the event. Today we are joined by Jennifer Reischel-Berg, Senior Manager Internal Communications for NextGen – Financial Professional Services at Euromoney…

Can you provide us with an insight into a ‘day in the life’ of your role?

Having joined Euromoney just over a month ago, I’m on a big learning curve! I have been spending most of my days delving into the strategy, culture, taking part in introductory meetings, connecting with forums, understanding changes employees are currently going through or have recently experienced, and reading my way through the intranet. For NextGen, I have been completing a gap analysis, channel audit, content review, creating an editorial calendar and collecting and grouping communication and business intel and insights to draw conclusions for a communications strategy. It’s all about finding out how I can improve the flow and cadence of information, removing barriers, showcasing our people and customer stories, and empowering and equipping everyone to own the changes and connect to our strategy. The beauty of joining somewhere new is that it’s like putting together a big puzzle where you keep discovering new parts and then figuring out how they (could) fit together.

How has Covid affected your internal communications strategies?

When the pandemic first started in early 2020, I was working in the central Corporate Affairs team at M&G plc. I remember us initially pondering over whether Coronavirus needed its own channel on our global news platform! Then things really took off and I suddenly found myself involved in helping to create a global crisis communications plan and a calendar of company-wide social and wellbeing activities with leaders hosting morning team yoga sessions and as everything ground to a halt with the first lockdown. And whilst going through this sudden “re-set” and balancing home schooling with client deadlines, our working life still had to continue – making the change doubly hard to digest for everyone. Joining Legal & General remotely at the beginning of 2021, I experienced starting at a new business without actually physically ever meeting anyone. This gave me new insight into adapting my strategy having to think outside the box such as sending participants actual breakfasts to their home for the monthly CEO virtual breakfast. Technology suddenly became a necessity rather than a nice-to-have for communication and collaboration and like many other internal communicators, I grappled with the practicalities of making sure we were all connected, creating shared community platforms so everyone had access to the monthly CEO video update.

But looking back, the more lasting effects on my internal communication strategies were more subtle. Such as – tackling the precarious “always on” scenario where everyone is suddenly accessible 24/7 – as we literally had nowhere else to go. To address this, I went through the trial and error process of experimenting with wellbeing fortnights, no meeting Fridays or “walk and talk” team meetings – and turning notifications off after 6pm. What I learnt was that there is no one size fits all and that wellbeing is a very personal matter which means something different to everyone’s needs. I am still learning every day and a big challenge I am currently brainstorming for is how to create the best virtual onboarding experience for new joiners in particular, graduates and first time jobbers who don’t have any previous experience to fall back on and may miss out on learning by osmosis.

What do you think the future will look like for employee engagement?

I believe 2020 will be remembered as the year that everything changed for employee engagement as we knew it. Our working mode as we knew it ended and triggered a complete rethink to address new complex social, cultural and structural organisational changes. The pandemic has made people re-evaluate their priorities, how they live their lives and what matters to them. This translates heavily into a workplace setting. In the future, employee engagement will centre even further around the brand identity of a company and how this then translates to the employee. The majority of people will choose where to work based primarily on the following factors:

  • Can I create a seamless work/home life experience that is flexible to scale up or down, left or right depending on my daily and changing needs?
  • Do I feel ethically and emotionally connected to the purpose, vision, values of the organisation to the point where I not only identify but become an ambassador or even evangelical?
  • Does the organisation listen to me and foster a culture of wellbeing, psychological safety, and inclusive leadership?

Ultimately, it’s no longer about just employee engagement and making sure everyone understands the strategy and what the customer needs. It’s about the full people experience. The employee has now become as much the customer – as the customer.

We’re very excited to hear your thoughts and opinions on the panel discussion! Any chance we can get a sneak peek?

One of the main points I will be talking about is how we are engaging our people with “Working 3.0” – the new way of working at Euromoney where we are moving to a 2.5 day weekend and hybrid working scenario globally as a borderless office. I will also be covering leading internal communications for an organisation working part time 3 days a week.

What are you most looking forward to about the event?

Communication and engagement professionals coming together as a community and bouncing off each other to formulate and develop new ideas and solutions. It doesn’t get any better than the collective brain in full action!

Jennifer will be taking part in the exclusive panel discussion focusing on “How Internal Communicators are Evolving their Strategies to Align with the Future of Work” on Wednesday 15th September – you can register your FREE ticket to the event and catch Jennifer’s discussion live here

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