Strategizing Effective Internal Communication to Engage Employees

Interview with Paula Erickson, VP, Global Communications & Brand PR, at Beam

Online PR News – 08-April-2013 – Orlando, FL – Strategizing Effective Internal Communication to Engage
Interview with Paula Erickson, VP, Global Communications & Brand PR, at Beam
Aligning the brand promise with internal audiences has proven to
be an asset in the staying power of some of the Worlds most
successful companies. Your brand starts with the people that
represent your organization, and continues through consistent
communication, training, and development of a strong team. An
engaged staff has proven to provide commitment and devotion to
an organization. It has become important for organizations across
every industry to change their internal strategies to promote
Paula Erickson, VP, Global Communications & Brand PR at Beam
answered a series of questions written by marcus evans before the
forthcoming 8th Annual Internal Branding and Employee
Engagement Conference, May 9-10, 2013 in Orlando, FL. All
responses represent the view of Mrs. Erickson and not necessarily
those of Beam.
What is the top challenge for you when trying to leverage innovation communication
channels within your organization?
Paula Erickson: Adoption. Employees are so busy and the pace of business is moving at lightning
speed. When introducing new channels, it’s important to have a “burning platform” as to why a new
medium is needed. Second, I always ensure that the new channel is both engaging and meaningful
to those it is directed toward. And third, I always measure effectiveness in order to refine and
continually raise the bar.
When getting your employees to commit to the internal brand, what are the key tools of
communications for you?
PE: The best asset I have for driving meaningful employee engagement is our quarterly town hall
meetings, which are webcast around the world. They are true productions in every sense of the
word! We pull the theme together in every aspect of the hour long meeting, integrate sizzle videos
to open and close the meeting, utilize humor, have fun and balance with meaningful content.
Response from these forums has been outstanding! Post-town hall surveys show that 9 out of 10
employees can articulate our company’s vision and growth strategy and directly know their role in
driving our priorities.
How do you measure your employees’ motivation and appreciation for your
organization, and how does your organization emphasize importance?
PE: Every 18 months, we take a companywide employee engagement survey. This provides
incredible data on employee engagement levels with the company, their direct manager, their
benefits and our overall employee value proposition. As a result of the feedback, we take action
planning very seriously and will address those pockets of the organization with the lowest
engagement scores, while at the same time highlighting and recognizing those at the top.
What does “brand” mean to you and your organization?
PE: Everything! Our brands date back more than 200 years, founded by families and entrepreneurs
more than seven generations ago. We view our roles and responsibilities to be the ultimate stewards
of these products. We want to strengthen these brands and be the best brand ambassadors we can
How are you improving the on-boarding process to help new talent believe and live the
PE: In the past year, we’ve been overhauling our on boarding process to ensure our company
values. Building brands and culture is ingrained in new hires from day one. This includes hosting a
quarterly Taste of Beam new hire event. This is where employees can meet with our CEO, ask
questions, sample and learn about our brands, and get up close and personal with our leadership
team in their first 90 days.
How are you designing internal branding programs to enhance the employee lifecycle?
PE: A year ago we surveyed employees and asked them what matters most to them and what
programs would they like to see implemented. As a result of their direct feedback, we have
implemented a number of internal branding programs to deepen their employee engagement. These
1) Beam Cares Days – every employee now receives two days off a year to give back to the
communities in which they live and work
2) Brand Ambassador Program – every employee receives $500 a year to spend in the on- or offpremise
on our brands, and we also send our new product innovations around the world for
employees to taste and sample
3) Beam Unplugged – employees celebrating milestone years of service (starting with five years and
in increments of every five years after) receives unplugged days above and beyond their regular
paid time off to get away from work and “unplug” in the way that is most meaningful to them with
family and friends.
Paula Erickson was appointed Vice President Global Communications & Public Relations of Beam Inc.
(NYSE: BEAM) in December 2008. Beam is one of the world’s largest premium spirits companies,
which encompasses some of the world’s most iconic brands, more than 20 production and
commercial facilities around the world, and a global team of 3,400 employees.
For more information please contact Sara Matuszak, Marketing/PR Coordinator, marcus evans at
312-540-3000 ext. 6683 or
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