Communicating values across continents, an interview with GSK’s Janet Morgan

With just a week of early bird ticket sales and a little over a month until our annual internal communication conference Making an Impact on 13 October, Rob Smith, editor at CIPR Conversation, interviewed Janet Morgan from GSK, one of the speakers at our conference.

 

It can be a tricky business communicating to your organisation about overall strategy and values when the staff are all in the same building, let alone when your workforce numbers more than 100,000 in more than 100 locations around the world.

That’s one of the challenges faced by those in internal communications at pharma and healthcare giant GSK, explained Janet Morgan, GSK’s Director Global Content Strategy and Planning. Janet, who will be speaking at CIPR Inside’s conference in October, recently spoke to the Conversation about the complications of planning communications in a global organisation.

Janet Morgan

Janet Morgan

As well as having a large and internationally diverse workforce, at least 20 per cent of GSK’s staff are not desk based, so have neither a work computer nor phone.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is how to communicate to those groups, providing them with the relevant information about our business strategy and values while not overwhelming them with noise,” said Janet.

While regular organisation updates can be a challenge when on this scale with language and cultural differences to be overcome communicating the core values of a business requires a well thought out comms strategy.

To do this, communications at GSK has been working with their business leaders – and not just the C-suite.

“We’re working with our leaders to support them – this extends across the organisation, often down to heads of site, like manufacturing plants. Because ultimately those leaders are the ones influencing smaller groups within our employee base,” she said.

“We are helping them to communicate both what’s important to the company and marry that up with what might be strategically important to that particular site at that particular time.”

And when it comes to talking about company values, the work is part of ongoing effort to ensure the values, and what is meant by them, are understood in every part of GSK.

Janet commented: “It’s not just about having our values, it’s about getting employees to understand what it means to live by those values at work. We’re aiming to create a culture and the overall confidence in the workplace to do that.”

Measuring the impact of internal communications is difficult and something that Janet acknowledges is an on-going project – but part of the answer can be found by speaking to employees.

“A huge part of our role in communications is in listening to our employee base and hearing how messages have been interpreted,” she concluded.

Janet will be speaking at this year’s CIPR Inside conference along with a host of other leading lights of the comms business. You can find more details and how to get your tickets here.

 

The original post featured on The Conversation

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