“The communication response to the crisis as important to the organisation’s strategic and operational response” 

On the 21st May, we will be welcoming 10 guest speakers to our ultimate virtual experience event, simplyIC live.  

Here, Chad Rogerson, Head of Employee Communication and Strategy, Planning & Insight, Proposition & Engagement Community at Nationwide gives us a taster of what we can expect to hear. Trust us when we say that this is one session you will not want to miss!  

If you haven’t booked already, claim your free ticket today by booking here.

  1. Tell us a bit about your role at Nationwide 

I feel lucky to have an interesting and varied role at Nationwide. I lead Employee Communications, which comprises our Business Partnering, Change, News, Campaigns and Digital Channels teams; and also lead our Communication Strategy, Planning and Insight team, which supports all Marketing & Engagement teams across our key audiences: members, consumers, employees, media and politicians 

  1. What’s at the top of your to-do list today? 

Right now, I’m busy scenario planning for the expected government easing of the lockdown restrictions from next week onwards. As a retail financial services firm, we’re classified as part of the critical infrastructure of the country, so we have to keep our core services running. Consequently, we can now broadly split our employee audiences into three main groups: branch colleagues, who are still keeping our branches open on the High Street; admin site colleagues, who are still working in our offices, either in call centres or maintaining our critical services; and homeworkers, which today comprises about half our workforce. Our response to all three audiences has been, and will continue to be, very different. Landing the right messages at an organisation-wide, and audience specific level, is challenging to say the least!  

  1. How are you juggling work and home life right now?  

Tricky! I have three young kids (twin girls who are seven, and a boy who is 3) so my video Team Calls are regularly interrupted by little people running into the room at the wrong moment. My wife is also working at home too, so we’re juggling childcare and working together. There are aspects of it I love – spending so much more time with the family and generally the simplicity of life in lockdown. But there are also elements that make it a lot harder, not least finding the headspace to focus on work. Many people are in a similar, or much more challenging, position though, so I can’t complain.  

  1. What good do you see coming out of this crisis for internal communications?  

Transformative. The pandemic will change many aspects of work life, home life, communities and society as a whole for good. And the world of Internal Comms is no different. I’m lucky in that Internal Comms was already well respected within Nationwide, but its importance has elevated to a whole new level over the last few weeks. Our CEO and Executive Team has viewed the communication response to the crisis as important to the organisation’s strategic and operational response. Internal Comms is going to continue to play a critical role as business transition out of the crisis into a completely new world, where the importance of engaging and motivating employees will be greater than ever before.   

  1. What advice do you have for Internal Communicators today? 

That’s a tough one. I certainly don’t have all the answers. What is working for us is a) Being brave. Taking a few risks to try things you have not tried before. I don’t think there has ever been a time where there is such opportunity to have a go at new ways of doing things. And b) Realising insight is power. If you can be the person who knows how employees are feeling and why during the crisis, then you’ve got an open door anytime to your CEO and Executive Team. The ability to turn employee insight into intelligence is key, so you can influence decision making and help navigate your organisation through all the challenges and complexity of the situation we now find ourselves in.  

  1. What do you wish you’d known six weeks ago? 

Crikey, that’s a tough one. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if I could go back I’d be tempted to not change anything I knew back then. The experience, despite the terrible way Covid-19 has impacted on people’s lives across the nation, has been so transformative for me as a leader and the way my team operates. The amount we have learnt and achieved in 6 weeks has been incredible. The unknown, coupled with the pressure to work at extreme pace and to innovate, was what has driven this sharp learning curve so I wouldn’t want to not experience that again.   

  1. Can you spill the beans about what you are going to talk about at SimplyICLive? 

Now that will be telling! I’m going to share some of our learnings and experiences at Nationwide over the crazy last few weeks. The crisis has pushed us to innovate, find new channels to reach our audiences, transform our ability to get real time insight, and completely changed the way we work with and collaborate with our external communication colleagues. Some things we’ve tried have worked, some things haven’t. I’ll endeavour to give you an open window into what we’ve learnt and share some of our creative content too.   

  1. What are you looking forward to about SimplyICLive on 21st May?  

Lot’s of things, but I’m most intrigued to see if you can pull it off! I was due to speak at a number of other conferences over April, May and June and they’ve all been either cancelled or pushed back. So, I was inspired that SimplyIC is being brave and putting on a virtual event instead. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.  

To find out more about Nationwide. you can visit their website here.