106 Communications

6th Sense

106 seconds with… Rich Baker, Head of Internal Communications, Carlsberg UK

May 2015 | 106 seconds, Internal Communications

Rich Baker MBA is Head of Internal Communications at Carlsberg UK. He’s passionate about enabling conversations that drive engagement and has over 20 years’ experience in large, complex organisations.

Rich, a proven intrapreneur, has led the development of award-winning employee publications, smartphone applications and the world’s first instant donation-matching website. He was also an early pioneer of the use of social media for customer service in the UK.

Rich is invited to speak at seminars and conference on communications, employee engagement and the future of work. He also writes articles on internal communications, leadership and engagement at linkedin and www.ethical.ly, curates #internalcomms & #employeeengagement at hiyu.co.uk and tweets @richard_baker.  You can connect with him at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/richardbaker

Carlsberg looks and feels like a great brand. What’s it like to work there?

As you might expect, it’s probably the best company in the world to work for! It’s a very fast-moving, complex business. Carlsberg UK doesn’t just have iconic brands like Carlsberg in its portfolio; it also has San Miguel, Somersby Cider, Tetley’s as well as a thriving wines and spirits range and craft beer range. It also has large porterage business that delivers a huge range of drinks to customers the length and breadth of the UK. All of this makes for a very interesting time; we’re never short of stories to tell and things to talk about!

What are your biggest priorities for the coming year?

We have three priorities: continue to add value as an internal communications team by strategic partnering leaders; secondly, identifying better IC metrics; and thirdly, cutting through the noise to have even greater impact (supported by the previous two priorities!).

There’s an ever-greater importance on showing value – especially to prove the worth of internal comms. How do you do it?

Here at Carlsberg, we have a motto ‘semper ardens’, coined by Carl Jacobsen in the late 1800s. It means ‘always burning’ and it’s about our desire to continuously improve.

I believe it’s important that as internal communicators, we get really close to the business issues, and understand what we can do to help solve those challenges. It may be about awareness, or skills development, or driving conversations around a particular issue. Then it’s about finding the right metrics to support measurement, and improving and adapting our approach based on that feedback.

We live in a mobile, on-demand world. How does that change the focus for internal comms?

A lot! The way people communicate has changed outside of work, and so it needs to change inside of work. It’s about communicating less, but with greater impact, and really engaging people in the things that matter to them. It’s about the conversation. And of course, we do that in lots of different ways; face to face, online and via smartphone apps.

Is email really dead?

No. It’s probably the most important channel after face to face. We just need to use it more effectively! Too often we use it for conversations, when we should be using IM or the phone.

Finally, ‘if Carlsberg did holidays’, where would yours be?

I’m sitting in my office looking out of the window at the May rain; so I guess right now I’d like to be on a beach with my wife and young son, soaking up some rays, drinking a glass of Carlsberg!

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