In this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast, Katie Macaulay chats with IKEA’s Daniela Rogosic and Guy Britt on their experience creating effective internal comms for the multinational retailer.
Daniela Rogosic, CEO Communication Leader, shares her experience working closely with IKEA’s CEO, building a relationship with him and the importance of taking the time to understand his goals and work ethics. Daniela discusses the positive impact this has had in connecting the wider company with the CEO, ensuring that his personality shines through in all his communications, both externally and internally.
Guy Britt, who works as Global Head of Co-Worker Communication, argues the importance of language in internal comms all the way down to people’s job titles, including his own, in effectively communicating his role to colleagues. Guy shares their success reaching more than 170,000 colleagues across 32 territories – the majority of whom are ‘unplugged’.
Together, Daniela and Guy’s infectious energy and passion is nothing short of inspiring. Throughout the episode, the dynamic duo gives listeners insight into how they have successfully created an open culture of honesty and transparency throughout the company whilst bringing vibrancy and fun to everything they do.
Here is a breakdown of some of Daniela and Guy’s key tips to follow their lead:
#1 Shaping your comms to reach all audiences
In a company of more than 170,000 employees, the majority of whom are ‘unplugged’, creating campaigns that effectively reach all colleagues entails a creative approach. These unplugged colleagues are mostly on the shop floor meeting customers, working in the warehouses, working in the restaurants and dressing the store, so traditional internal comms strategies are usually a no-go. With such variety and diversity in job responsibility across the company, Guy states how effective introducing a human element to their internal comms has been. Most comms reach employees through their managers; relying purely on digital channels isn’t really an option for them.
Daniela and Guy have worked collaboratively with teams across the globe to cater content to relative regions whilst maintaining the beliefs and messaging of IKEA. Their series Flatpack TV, which has been a wildly successful internal comms webcast, has made headings across the internal comms world as an innovative approach in reaching co-workers company-wide.
#2 Developing the founder mentality
Typically, organisations that have a strong founder mentality reap the benefits of a core base of values that intrinsically become a part of the company’s DNA. For those companies that lack the founder mentality, there are ways to develop it.
First off – value-based hiring. Guy emphasises how leaders should ensure that the candidates they are hiring have the quality that the organisation is looking for. Steering away from an old-fashioned mindset and instead starting each working day with an open mind, looking for new opinions, new skills and new ways of taking on projects and approaching problems.
Daniela adds that as a leader in a company, you have to live the company values and act on them. Although IKEA is an enormous, multinational company they still strive towards simplicity and consistency albeit challenging at times. Never underestimate the value of simplicity and agility in internal communications and leading with your messaging from the very top.
#3 Amplify voices and stories at a grassroots level
Guy states that comms strategies shouldn’t just be a stream of pushing things out; instead, it’s important to stay on top of your channels, look at what colleagues are saying and go from there.
IKEA use local comms champions in getting messaging across all regions and departments across the company. Anyone can be a comms champion, so looking out for any great ideas that co-workers may have is a crucial aspect of shaping their comms strategies. Guy recalls an example of a co-worker at IKEA who proposed that colleagues on the shop floor should wear badges of pictures of themselves smiling as colleagues’ smiles could no longer be seen under masks.
#4 The relationship between internal and external comms
Daniela highlights the importance of interconnecting external comms with internal comms. Whilst visiting a region or doing media rounds with CEO, Jesper Brodin, Daniela has ensured that a visit to co-workers in that region is always a number one priority. She emphasises the importance of capturing all dimensions of communications when possible.
Guy adds the importance of informing your co-workers of changes happening within the company before any media announcements. He insists that co-workers should never hear about structural or company announcements via the media – they should be the first to hear of changes.
#5 Advice to listeners who are new to leadership communications
The most important thing when it comes to leadership communications is authenticity. It’s not about altering the leader’s language but enhancing the qualities that make them unique, spirited and personable.
How can you make them feel more authentic in their voice and presence in order to be more credible? For Daniela, this question has been a crucial aspect of successfully maintaining and flourishing the relationship between the CEO and co-workers across IKEA.