A fresh look at internal communication

Rebecca Swisher examines how we keep each other in the know

July 29, 2014 | When you have more than 1,400 people exchanging information with each other, things can get complicated. UCAR’s new internal communications specialist wants to streamline and strengthen the mechanisms that communicate news from around the organization and help build a sense of community with colleagues.

Rebecca Swisher
Rebecca Swisher. (©UCAR. Photo by Bob Henson.)

Rebecca Swisher joined the President’s Office in February. She arrived with nearly 25 years of communications experience with Girl Scouts, Xcel Energy, the University of Colorado, and MillerCoors. At UCAR, her first task was a big one: working with the Google Apps transition team to orchestrate communications related to the organization-wide switch that took place in June.

“The transition to Google Apps was a success for several reasons. We had strong commitment from our leadership, we had the appropriate resources assigned to the project, and our comprehensive change management efforts created the ideal scenario for a change of this scale,” says Rebecca.

With Google Apps now in place, Rebecca is carrying out a thorough evaluation of our internal communications vehicles. These include Staff Notes Daily, Staff News, the Bogdan Blog, town halls with management, and monthly email updates from the President’s Council. She’s been meeting with a variety of staff members over the past couple of months to find out which communication products they find most and least useful and where any apparent gaps might be filled. She is also analyzing quantitative data provided by Google Analytics on our staff pages

“As technology advances and individual needs evolve, our communications tools also need to change,” Rebecca says. “I started my career in communications before email and cell phones, when most communication took place in meetings or via publications. Now email, social media, and teleconferencing are the norm.”

Tips and tools for transitions

The fast-growing field of change management is one of Rebecca’s specialties. When Xcel Energy introduced a company-wide software upgrade, she led the related change management effort, and at MillerCoors she helped coordinate the Golden Brewery’s Change Management Quad Team. On July 30 and August 4, Rebecca is leading a change management workshop open to all staff through the EOD Training Catalog.

“UCAR’s mission is what really made me want to work here,” says Rebecca. “I’m inspired by the science and the organization’s research to better understand climate, weather, and the atmosphere. Every day at UCAR is a learning experience for me.”

If you see Rebecca in the hallway or the cafeteria, she hopes you’ll say hi. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people here.  I am forging new working relationships with lots of great people, and I look forward to meeting more people around the organization and learning more about what they do.” And, she adds, “I like that people enjoy working here.”

You can share your thoughts on internal communications—and, of course, any news tips you might have—with Rebecca at ext. 8609, rebeccas@ucar.edu.