Steffen_Støvelbæk_on_the_mic_open_internal_communication
Steffen_Støvelbæk_on_the_mic_open_internal_communication

On the Mic: Steffen Støvelbæk from Nilfisk

Recently, Nilfisk was listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange – an exciting event both internally and externally. We're so glad to have Steffen Støvelbæk, Head of Communications at Nilfisk, sharing what he sees as key when communicating a stock exchange listing internally.

By: Kristina Malther, Associated Partner & Senior Communication Advisor (16 January 2018)

Why do you find it exciting to work with employee communication?
Because it is about people! And about interacting with people and interaction between people. Effective employee communication is really the glue that connects people with the company and the strategy. I find contributing to creating this alignment and bigger purpose and adding value for everyone a big privilege. I am responsible for both external and internal communication globally across Nilfisk. However, it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between these two disciplines, as messages of course need to be fully aligned and transparent across all channels.

What was your latest success and what made it a success?
Recently, Nilfisk was listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. A listing process mainly targets investors, analysts, and other external stakeholders but we also wanted to make this an internal event. We managed to turn the listing into a successful internal celebration of a milestone in the history of Nilfisk. I think that was a great achievement and something that has left a positive mark on the company.

Why was it important to communicate the Nilfisk Stock exchange listing internally?
These types of events are not often communicated on internally because of their strong financial scope and at Nilfisk, a lot of the employees outside of Denmark didn’t really care when we communicated about the listing plans. Most of them found it irrelevant to them. We decided to use the listing as an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of all Nilfisk employees in making this happen and to create a sense of excitement, pride, and unity around it; across all our 60+ locations worldwide. Technically, this was a demerger from Nilfisk’s former owners NKT, and we also wanted to make sure that this was seen as something positive, and not as a threat.

What did you learn during the process?
I learned that it really pays off to make an event like this a people-centered celebration, paying tribute to the employees and what they have created together – instead of only focusing on finances and investors. It is also important to get the managers onboard as early as possible in the process to support local communication activities across all sites. We used a mix of live webcasts, prerecorded videos and interviews, and Q&A’s. The unity it created across our many different locations was great.

What were your greatest communication successes in communicating internally about the listing?
We succeeded in encouraging employees across the world to use social media and share their celebrations locally. This created a nice vibe on the different SoMe platforms and a strong sense of unity internally. We really saw that aligning and bridging internal and external messages supported our employee promise and brand.

What is your best advice/tip to other employee communicators facing a Stock exchange listing?
Remember to celebrate! With the busy day-to-day grind, we often forget to celebrate and mark our achievements and successes. As human beings we all like and need that, and a listing is a great opportunity to do this. The bottom line is that the employees have all contributed to and created the company that now is financially strong enough to be listed and attract investors. That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?

‘On the Mic’ is a series of blog posts that invite internal communication professionals to share their take on employee communication, their view on trends within the field and what rocks their boat. Feel free to send us tips on who should be ‘On the Mic’ next.