A look back at IBM’s internal communications strategy in 2015 [interview]

Hester Gras

fotoIn a few weeks, we’ll leave 2015 behind and face a brand new year with new opportunities for internal communications. What did 2015 bring and what are some of the biggest learnings we can draw from this year? We had a chance to interview IBM’s Brand & Communications Manager Eveline de Buyzer to hear about some of the internal communications challenges and opportunities IBM Benelux experienced.


What was the biggest challenge for IBM’s internal communications in 2015?

“IBM went through a strategic transformation in the past year. We established focused business units at the beginning of 2015 designed to further strengthen our ability to build innovative solutions for our clients. One of our biggest internal communications challenges was to inform our employees about the changes since many of our employees are not at our offices on a daily basis. This group of employees is not exposed to the “in office” communication and for internal communications messaging mainly reachable via email and our bi-weekly newsletter. We implemented a “Country Twitter” – a new channel for engaging IBM’ers to make information about our company more shareable and enabled us to update ‘employees on-the-go’ and offer details about the transformation via their mobile phone or tablet.”

Effective ambassadorship starts with internal communications

“Inside IBM, we develop programs and execute tactics to build advocacy for the company and equip IBM’ers with knowledge, skills, capabilities and assets to work effectively and deliver results in line with our strategy. Internal communications lies at the basis of this so-called ‘workforce enablement program’, because we need to communicate IBM’s values and practices and share them with our employees. As a result, our internal communications have become the starting point for the IBM’er ambassadorship.”

Connected workforce

“Over the past few years IBM has changed the way in which we communicate with our employees. Instead of just informing employees on important news (top-down communications), we also want to give them the possibility to provide feedback, voice their opinions, and share their wants and needs (bottom-up communications). For instance, for the past 3 years we conducted the IBM’er Engagement survey to collect information and feedback from our employees.

Another good example is our Connections environment, our social network platform where IBM’ers share knowledge, take decisions and innovate by posting blogs, setting up a discussion in a forum or executing a vote for new ideas. Connections goes beyond the traditional organizational boundaries and also includes informal networks within the organization. The IBM BeNeLux Community also helps us to better align to the (communication) needs of the IBM’ers in the Benelux.”

IBM’s internal communications in 2016

IBM’s transformation will continue to shape internal communications in 2016. Next month, Eveline the Buyzer will share IBM’s biggest challenges and opportunities for 2016. Don’t miss the upcoming post, subscribe to our newsletter to receive it in your inbox!


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