Teresa Birkeland is an Associate Consultant for Internal Communications at Liberty Mutual Insurance where she supports the deployment of Liberty Management System, the Liberty’s process and continuous improvement initiative. Liberty Mutual is a Corporate Member* of IABC.
What functions are you responsible for?
For communications strategy and content used for Liberty Management System transformations throughout the company.
Describe the communications structure of Liberty Mutual.
Each of Liberty’s strategic business units employs teams of expert communicators, who are often part of the marketing organization within the unit. My group is part of the HR organization.
Do you have a sense of how communications has evolved at Liberty Mutual?
I’ve only been with Liberty for 15 months, but in that time I’ve seen our department’s internal social media tool experience an increase in use. There are many thoughtful and well-written blogs posted for various projects and initiatives, and the metrics show a significant increase in followers. The success of the tool is a direct result of a solid strategy and implementation plan, which is essential to any social media tool making an impact on the organization.
What communications tools work most effectively for you?
I’ve found SharePoint to be an effective tool. It was new to me when I joined Liberty and at first I found it confusing. But, with some practice, I’ve come to appreciate its effectiveness and now I rely on its functions to share and maintain content.
What communications changes have you seen in your career and what changes do you think have influenced the communications profession?
The use of electronic and digital communication vehicles have improved communications strategy, planning and content, as well as the timelines in which they are delivered. Writing and graphics need to be more concise and direct, and turnaround times are often shortened due to the faster delivery vehicles.
Do you see the communications field being very different in the future?
Definitely. As our communications vehicle options expand to include additional social media tools, it will prompt changes into how we strategize and development content.
How long have you been a member of IABC?
My membership started in 2009.
Why did you join?
I was looking to expand my network for a job search and I happened upon the IABC website. I was very excited to find an association, and people, who did the same work as I did.
What is the importance of a corporate membership?
A corporate membership lends itself to building an IABC community within an organization. In addition to learning more about the best practices and approaches of others, it’s also a great way to learn about other business units and their communication needs and strategies.
*Corporate memberships start at $300 per individual and the rates decrease as the group size increases. The corporate membership provides shared costs on webinars and training and can promote comradery among company employees across locations.