Internal Comms That Have No Fear
From a startup incubator in Paris to the worldwide leader in digital performance advertising, Criteo’s growth has been nothing short of astounding. Today, they’re probably one of the biggest tech businesses you've never heard of.
However, growth of this kind of scale comes with equally big challenges. Such as making sure that internal systems and processes can keep up with that growth, while also making sure that everyone in the business is aware of those systems and knows how to use them… and that’s where Chatter came in.
In the last 12 months alone, we’ve helped Ellie, Senior Director of Internal Communications, and her team to launch a new HR system called cHRIS, a new way to manage expenses called Vikings, a new CRM tool called HOUSE (we helped them kill off their old one which was called Dexter!), and a brand new way to onboard employees called FlyCriteo, which makes sure that their new starters' careers really take off… (oh, and a heck of a lot more, too!)
With so much going on, it was essential to ensure that each of these new systems gained traction across the business, and that each employee developed a good understanding of what those systems could do for them.
It all meant that we not only had to launch and embed brand new ways of working – we had to scale up all their communications activity so that it made a huge impact on 32 offices across the globe. What’s more, we also needed it all to work as part of an overall communications strategy that used the kind of pop culture references the guys in Criteo love.
Trust us, it was one of the most exciting jobs we’ve ever worked on!
We recently caught up with our friend and all round lovely lady, Ellie, for a bit of a chat…
How did you get into the industry?
I actually fell into the industry about 15 years ago. I was working for the CTO of 3UK and was writing his comms, creating newsletters for his team, and also organising events for an office where around 1,500 people worked. One day he asked me ‘what do you actually want to do in your career’? I didn’t know that Internal Comms was the name for what I was already doing naturally (and loving!), but he supported me in applying for my first Internal Communications role and I never looked back. I’d found something that I was passionate about then and I’m still passionate about now, and something that still challenges every day me but also plays to my key strengths.
What would you do if you didn’t do this?
A travel writer! Visiting cool places, talking to the locals, writing creative stories… whilst being paid for it!
What’s the best piece of advice you've received in your career?
I was told to ‘listen, really listen’. As a communicator, and an extrovert, it’s sometimes easy to think silence is uncomfortable and to try to fill it. But I’ve learned that silence can also create time for ideas to form, for others to come forward, and for reflection.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the sector?
In many companies, the Internal Communications ‘department’ is just a lone person or a very small team. I’d advise anyone new to this sector to find a mentor or someone in the industry in another company (or even find a LinkedIn forum) to bounce ideas off so that you don’t feel that you are completely on your own. You’ll find people who have tried all sorts of tools, methods, channels and suppliers – their suggestions could save you a load of time and they’re always keen to give you solid advice on how to approach problems in alternative ways.
What's the best thing about working with Chatter?
I love the energy and creativity of the Chatter team. They have a knack for getting to the root of a request need really quickly and are able to turn it into something creative, quirky, beautiful or sometimes, something very simple that avoids any misinterpretation. I see them as a natural extension of my team.
What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment?
I’m binge-watching Homeland. I thought that life would end after Breaking Bad finished… but I’ve found my new addiction!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I am an avid, avid fan of ‘Labyrinth’ with the late, great David Bowie. I wore out my first video I played it so often. I had the outfit worn by Sarah. I have the T-Shirt. I have the mug. Still obsessed 20-something years after first seeing it. David Bowie in tights!
Three words to describe yourself?
Engaging. Energising. Exuberant.
What fact would surprise most people about you?
I trained in Classic Opera singing and have sung on TV!