THURSDAY 26 MAR 2015 3:58 PM


Tom Crawford, consultant and founder of The Brain Miner, kicked off the third annual Internal Communications Conference, accurately contending that, “employees have the ability to both destroy and enhance reputation.” The conference moved through communication strategies, case studies and advice for internal communicators, to help ensure that their own employees don’t destroy the reputation of their respective organisations.

The first speaker, managing director of agency Firehouse and former human resources director of the BBC, Lucy Adams, is no stranger to the difficulties of reputation control. She mused on various leadership techniques to make an impact on your employees, and the difficulties of doing so when you have twenty thousand to influence. Through her experience she made a simple discovery: “people are messy.” And, you must match this humanity through leadership. Adams’ belief is that it is “better to get things slightly wrong, than to be accurate and inhuman.”

Katherine Auer, the head of employee and executive communications at Zurich Insurance, took the delegates on to issues of restructuring a comms team within a multi-faceted company. She stressed the benefits of change for internal comms, but maintained that while “creativity is good, it needs to be in a structured mind.” Restructuring of internal teams must be measured to ensure its success – for both internal and external comms.

The morning then took the audience through more stories of success for internal communication leaders. The room was joined by Drew Macmillan of Virgin Trains; the “screw average, create amazing” mantra they work towards resonated with the audience and on Twitter, Tony Cooke, the human resources director of adidas Group, talked about effective communications with offline global employees, and the audience ended the day by sharing their own experiences.

The wealth of speakers and attendees made for an active conference and an involved audience, who can take away the practical advice received and put it into practice for their own organisations.