Rosie Valentine has only been in internal communications for 14 months, having come over from the marketing team at Paddy Power, a 5000-employee online betting company. With that in mind, there wasn't a sniff of newbie in the air hearing about the seemingly strong grasp of the industry she's got in such a short amount of time. Rosie was another speaker I enjoyed listening to at November's SMiLE London event where she shared her personal endeavours around Paddy Power's internal email and the power of internal comms in general.

The first thing Rosie did when she became head of IC over a year ago was research, research, research in the form of focus groups, face to face interviews and town halls - and a survey (of course!) In doing that, she found out that the company had Yammer, an intranet with 28 groups, and emails and posters were used for EVERYTHING. Sound familiar? The other challenge she discovered was that people felt left out if they weren't located at Paddy Power's HQ in Ireland.

Rosie decided is was important to start showing the value of IC and quickly. There was an existing event for the top 70 managers to set a strategy and goals, but the rest of the employees were never included - so she decided to make some changes. The day after events like this, the IC team would make sure that a deck of important plans and messages were sent to managers so that they could communicate everything to their teams.

Since then, Rosie has also set up a monthly meeting for leaders outlining their roles in the company's IC plan. By making it as easy as possible for leaders to get involved, she has quickly eradicated any negativity.

Paddy Power also sends out a weekly email now, thanks to Rosie. 'Paddyflash' goes out every Friday using Newsweaver, a platform that enables communicators to create visually impactful employee emails (and measure them). The email contains content from the social and marketing teams, and the CEO, giving it a firm human voice and a conversational tone. It carefully positions both serious and fun topics side by side and shares all external marketing campaigns with employees before they go out, which is something Paddy Power hadn't done before. 

Since its birth, and seeing that video always saw the highest click rates, Two Foot Tackle has been created; a new premier league video that goes out within the email every Friday with interviews sharing tips and Paddy predictions. 

The 'Paddyflash' team meet every Tuesday to shape the next Friday's letter, refine content and make it attractive for employees. Producing an email this way allows you to see what your audience is interested in, what works and what doesn't.

You want to see the stats, don't you? 'Paddyflash' has a 65% open rate, 28% click through rate, and content from the CEO and HR achieves a whopping 82- 93% open rate. For event invites, the newsletter has a 75-82% open rate and a 25% click through rate too.

Rosie's general advice at the end of the session was this:

  • Do your research and set out a strategy
  • Don't try and do everything at once - tackle one challenge at a time
  • Asking for feedback is very important
  • Face to face is still key

Thank you, Rosie, for sharing your experiences with us, and Simply Communicate, for a brilliant day. If you liked this blog post, click below to read my other one on ABB's presentation at SMiLE London.