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How Virgin Atlantic Airways connects employees with innovative internal communication tools [interview]

By April 23, 2015 No Comments

Virgin Airways internal communicationsThe Internal Communications Camp will be held on May 18, 2015 in Barcelona. This intensive one-day conference for Internal Communications and Employee Engagement leaders will offer team-building exercises, brainstorming sessions and inspirational presentations. One of the speakers is Viktoria Tegard, Head of Internal Communications at Virgin Atlantic Airways. imgZine got the opportunity to interview her on Virgin Atlantic’s approach to internal communications.

Virgin Atlantic Airways has always been a leader in innovation. How do you use internal communications to inspire innovation in your workforce?

We have an ethos of being brave and trying new things that will benefit the customer. In recent years this has, for instance, included pioneering trials of wearable technology like Google Glass, as well as Apple’s iBeacon technology, which helps us communicate with customers at the airport.

Internal communication plays an important role in nurturing and encouraging a corporate culture that drives innovation. In recognition of this, innovation is a crucial part of the strategic narrative we use for internal messaging in digital as well as face-to-face channels.

Could you give some examples?

Talking openly about innovation and findings from trials of new ideas and initiatives, both when things have been successful and when they need more work and input, is incredibly important. We always consider things from the customer’s perspective and encourage everyone at Virgin Atlantic to play a part in coming up with new ideas and provide feedback. Our senior leaders also spend a significant amount of time listening to our people. This is crucial when it comes to inspiring innovation from our workforce. It not only ensures our leaders are in touch with the customer and what’s really going on in the business, it also ensures our people and their ideas are heard.

Google Glass at Virgin Atlantic Airways

Google Glass at Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic Airways has over 9,000 employees, which is a great sales force. How are they involved in promoting your business?

Our brand is one of our biggest assets. We measure extremely high levels of pride in our brand amongst our employees and know that they are keen to share information about Virgin Atlantic through their own networks. We proactively work with our colleagues in Marketing, PR and Social Media to make sure we maximize all opportunities to build brand engagement internally. We often do this in a fun and uniquely Virgin way to make sure we build enthusiasm and support amongst our people.

We’re also currently in the process of rolling out and embedding an employee advocacy program to motivate and educate our people on how to share our brand content, primarily using social channels. It’s all about encouraging and empowering our people to advocate the exciting things we do as a business.

Richard Branson, the President of Virgin Atlantic Airways, at the launch of our 787 to Atlanta.

Richard Branson, the President of Virgin Atlantic Airways, at the launch of our 787 to Atlanta.

What do you think the future holds for internal communications?

Three things that will be key when it comes to the future of internal communications:

  1. High levels of employee engagement

    Companies who want to remain competitive and successful need to ensure they involve, motivate and inspire colleagues. At Virgin Atlantic we recognise the strong link between employee engagement and the superior customer service our people deliver. This will continue to stay top of the agenda.

  2. A holistic view on communication

    The lines between internal and external communications are increasingly blurring, particularly due to the impact social media is having. It’s never been more important to take a holistic view on communication without necessarily thinking of activities as internal versus external.

  3. Supporting businesses through change

    Organisations increasingly have to be flexible with the ability to successfully drive and implement change. Great change communication is a critical success factor and an area that I think will continue to grow and develop.

Do not miss an exciting opportunity to join Viktoria Tegard, as well as other leading IC professionals from Heineken, HP, Zurich Insurance and many more at the Internal Communications Camp, on May 18, 2015 in Barcelona.

Virgin Atlantic Airways internal communications interview

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