Professional tennis player, unfortunately my tennis club went bankrupt when I was 10 and ever since I’ve falsely blamed that event for my lack of success on the court. I also wanted to be a pilot, but I had asthma and was told it wouldn’t be an option for me. When I was older I wanted to be a journalist, and I had a brief stint as a music journalist for various niche online publications in Sweden before deciding to go into communications.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My first London-based role was with Experian, where the HR Director told me that once you are comfortable in a role it’s time to change. That sounded like a very stressful existence to me, but somewhat inadvertently it’s advice I’ve followed, which has enabled me to develop my skills and learn from some great people in different fields. So, there is some value in avoiding comfort in your work life.
If you could have any super power what would you choose?
I have a terrible memory, which is frustrating as I read lots of books and magazines with great insights for both in my personal and professional life that I immediately forget. So, a great memory is definitely up there.
What’s the secret to a good life?
I’ve always believed there are three things that make people happy on a general level: singing, dancing and playing an instrument.
Until recently I didn’t do any of those things, but I’ve now taken up swing dancing, and it’s amazing how impossible it is to be in a bad mood while doing it, despite my lack of dancing skills. I’m also a firm believer in the positive impact of regular exercise, reading and drinking a good beer. Not at the same time though.
What’s the one thing not many people know about you?
I’ve got a mild airplane obsession, which means that I can identify a ridiculous number of airlines based on the design of their planes. I think it harks back to my pilot dream as a child. Now it’s something I use when spending an evening in a London park, pointing out which plane belongs to which airline to the astonishment of my friends.
Tell us a bit about your role:
I’m part of the internal communications team at Linklaters, a global London headquartered law firm with around 5500 employees. We’re a team of six, and I line manage three colleagues who are responsible for our main channels and for business partnering across the firm. My role is focused on building and developing the team and helping us become more versed in the world of metrics and measuring impact. I’m also involved in several strategic projects where I provide communications advice and, together with my line manager and another manager in the team, help develop the strategy for the function.
What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?
Becoming an expert in our audiences, something I’ve always said is important but rarely lived up to. As a team we are well connected and valued by many senior leaders, but we lack some key insight into our audiences and the impact of our work. It’s something we’re looking at both in terms of channel measurement, but also by regularly meeting and interacting with key groups around the firm to understand what’s on their agendas.
I’m also looking at what we can stop doing, it’s easy to want to do more without doing less of something. Our natural inclination is to help, but IC is not about making everyone happy, it’s about focusing on things that drive performance and make people excited about the firm’s strategy. It’s a challenge to find the right balance, but I’d like us to focus more on impact and less on output.
Who or what has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?
The number of change projects following a strategy refresh in 2017. It’s a great opportunity to provide value, but it’s also stretching our resources and ability to provide the kind of support we want to deliver. It also makes it challenging to give people a clear sense of the firm’s direction and helping them understand what is important and what isn’t. The fact that we are consulted early on, and that our advice is sought-after, is a tribute to our team but also a challenge considering our relatively small size.
What’s your proudest achievement or best day in your current role?
I was very happy the day we got the green light from our risk team to introduce our first ever dedicated internal email platform (Poppulo) to better measure and understand the impact of our email communications. It’s the first cloud-based system they have approved, and the complex approval process required support from many people in the firm, as well as from Poppulo.
Otherwise it’s incredibly rewarding to hear about the value our team deliver to key stakeholders in the firm. I’m fortunate to work with colleagues who consistently deliver beyond what’s expected and even though my impact on this has been limited due to my brief time here, it’s great to hear that our work and support is recognised and valued.
How would you advise someone considering a career in internal comms?
I’d say choose an organisation that values internal communications, and a line manager you connect with. Many organisations face an increasing amount of change, with low levels of engagement, and internal communications can play a key role in managing that. It’s a field that will continue to grow if we take on that challenge. In my view IC professionals sometimes focus too much on tactics and practical tips, so if you come into the field with a different perspective on the impact you can have, I think you can make a real difference.
What do you think are the top three trends in internal communications to watch out for in 2018?
Understanding audiences and impact: the tools for measuring impact and audience sentiment are constantly improving and it’s never been easier to become experts in our audiences. These insights change the conversation with senior leaders and give you a platform to become a strategic adviser.
Mobile: how to communicate and engage internal audiences on mobile is something IC professionals need to seriously consider. The majority of people now use their mobiles as the primary way to consume news and updates, but most internal communications teams are still focused on email and intranets. If IC does not lead this move someone else will.
A volatile political and business landscape: how we keep colleagues informed about what political decisions such as Brexit, and trade conflicts such as the reorganisation of NAFTA, mean for our organisations will become more important. If we do that based on our understanding of our audience, on platforms where people want to consume information, we can reduce the amount of uncertainty that these events inevitably lead to.