Nathalie Maerki is responsible for talent acquisition and driving strategic HR projects at Ricola AG, one of the most modern and innovative manufacturers of herb drops in the world. Nathalie graduated from Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz with a degree in work and organizational psychology together with personnel psychology. Before she started her career at Ricola AG, she worked at the Swiss IT startup, Siroop, supporting the set-up and structuring of the HR team.
At Ricola AG, Nathalie supported the team during the launch of the employee communication hub, Beekeeper, and helped to ensure the development of internal communication and HR related topics. We took this chance and asked her to tell us a bit more. Enjoy!
1. Why do you think employee communication is important today?
The global world of today and especially the rise of global teams leads to a working environment where different cultures, perspectives and values meet and come together. In order to maintain a sense of togetherness and avoid losing orientation amongst the multicultural sub layers, the importance of continuous exchange between employees increases.
2. What defines a “Community” for you?
A community for me is where people come together and have a common understanding of each other’s goals, values and standards. Because every company has a unique company culture, the concept of “one size fits all” cannot be applied. Therefore it is so important to understand the company’s internal communications strategy in order to clearly target and nurture it within a community.
3. What are the current challenges in internal communications?
Change. Even if we are doing well, change is everywhere and nothing is ever set in stone. For example, the digital nature of today can be very challenging and distressing for long-standing employees that need to get accustomed to digitized processes. Part of our task is therefore to guide our colleagues through change and take away any existing fear from it. However, even more important is to focus stronger on ensuring that all colleagues are aligned with the Ricola vision and goal, because we believe that this is what motivates and inspires everyone to achieve more together.
4. What has changed since Ricola started using Beekeeper?
Since we implemented Beekeeper we can clearly target our communication. The many different departments can interact more and better with each other, also for our international teams abroad.
Beekeeper provides the platform to give a voice to every single employee and therefore encourages everyone to express their opinion, which in return actively shapes our unique company culture. We deliberately did not set any restrictions to what our colleagues can and cannot post, which inspires trust and strengthens the relationship between the organisation and the individual. This decision positively reflects our culture: we seek more bottom-up communication vs. only allowing top-down communication.
Additionally, Beekeeper gives me endless opportunities to share HR related topics. I can effortlessly create and conduct employee surveys and have the ability to receive immediate feedback from all colleagues. The exchange with the leadership team as well as the communication between HR and marketing has simplified and become more efficient.
Overall, Beekeeper supports Ricola’s change process and movement for a higher awareness of technology and digitization for all our employees.
5. What do you appreciate most about Beekeeper?
The Beekeeper app has an extremely self-explanatory interface, which makes it very easy to use for everyone. Also, the fact that it can be branded with our own corporate design is an additional advantage to us. What we appreciate most about Beekeeper is that we can easily reach and engage with all our employees, including employees that don’t have email access. Now we can target our communication to specific department or groups and set up posts and automate them for later execution. As an HR professional, I really appreciate the analytics dashboard as it also allows me to follow up on the communication and see how effective it is. The product features by Beekeeper are constantly growing, and so do the opportunities for us at Ricola. Because of the intuitive interface, I feel very confident with the advanced tools, however even if there are times when I have a question or two, I can always rely on their fast Customer Success Team to give me excellent advice and guidance into the right direction. Beekeeper is a Swiss company which really celebrates innovation and therefore fits so well with our Ricola mindset, balancing local heritage and celebrating innovation.