The Importance of Internal Comms and Employer Branding at BG Group during the Merger with Shell [INTERVIEW]

Hester Gras

Since the merger with BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell has become the world’s largest oil and gas company. A strong brand with a universally recognized logo. During the merger, internal communications was key in order to maintain engagement among employees. In an exclusive interview with Paul Osgood, former Global Head of Internal Communications at BG Group, we discussed the importance of internal communications and employer branding.

Which key elements of internal communications do you think are essential in the oil and gas industry?

You have to remember that a great deal of the Oil and Gas population is remote and often works shift patterns that make regular communication and traditional communication channels more challenging.

Essentially, local leaders need to feel confident that they are sufficiently briefed to be able to engage in local communication and that they are sufficiently skilled to be capable and trusted as communicators. The Oil and Gas industry is predominantly populated with technical experts and so communication skills are less of a focus in career progression and leadership. There lies the challenge for the internal communications team in supporting this environment and getting the most from the leaders in the business.

To what extent is (employer) branding and employee engagement important for internal communications?

In my experience, this depends on the industry. When I was working at Philips, the global brand was key to aligning the organization and engaging employees with each other and with external employees. In Oil and Gas, I found that there was immense pride and loyalty throughout the business, based on the experience of employees working in an environment where safety and performance were front and centre. It’s almost an Oil and Gas Brand as opposed to a local business brand that wins out here.

But, employee engagement/employer branding was absolutely a topic on our agenda. We used a monthly engagement measure based on delivering an NPS (Net Promoter Score) for the business and this was administered to half the BG population each month. The demographic and geographic splits to this data made it very easy to highlight areas where our messages were not landing or where there were additional concerns to be addressed. We used a simple model of data collection, data analysis, local sharing with leaders, and then local action planning for communications. In parallel, we monitored the overall organization to ensure that global communications could benefit from this data as well.

How did you personalize your internal communications?

Jive as an enterprise-wide social media platform was relatively new in the business and became an excellent digital collaboration tool during the transaction. I would also point to video production as a means of quickly capturing messages and then distributing these across platforms and devices that are available to employees. This takes a very agile leadership to be successful and we were lucky that BG’s leadership team were happy to work and help create this content, often at very short notice.
You can hear from Paul, at the BOC’s Internal Communications Conference, on 22-24 March 2017 in London. This high end event enables you to adopt cutting-edge leadership skills, lead and manage sustainable change, facilitate winning Internal Communications strategy, transform and shape the future of the function.

With this inspiring interview the Employer Branding Special has come to an end. We hope you enjoyed reading all about the subject. Are you interested in finding out how our platform could optimize your Employer Branding strategy? Don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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