The Bayer Case
“Less is generally more”, says Mary Lou Panzano, Vice President and chief of internal international communications at Bayer. The multinational pharmaceutical company that is worth 6.3 billion euros, understands that they have to be deliberate when communication because that, unlike when they started 150 years ago, the threat today is not lack of communication but overcommunication.
The lab that synthesized aspirin for the first time at the hands of Felix Hoffman now has more than 110,000 employees in 277 cities. Bayer knows that these numbers present a large challenge for communication, especially internally, and because of this they pay special attention to it.
Under the methodology “Construct, Measure, Learn” the pharmaceutical company developed a program that involves nearly 200 employees that give feedback about the messages and information that they share internally. This “Internal Nielsen Group” (referring to the ratings group of the United States consulting firm), tries to define problems that they will later creatively measure in order to continuously develop good communication practices
And how do they do it? An interesting example is the technique that Panzano uses to work on her internal communication: measure the number of unsent emails. Each time a member of her team goes to send an email that isn’t aligned with the strategic priorities of the company they discard it, ensuring that employees only hear what is truly important.
Today, the volume of communication is overwhelming. Bayer’s answer to this problem (and the objective) is not to simply communicate more, but more effectively. And for that, we do not only need good practices, but a good internal communication strategy.
Since 2008 Mary Lou Panzano was part of Bayer, in the internal communications department for the United States. In 2013 she became the vice president of the company and managed the internal communications for all of Bayer at a global level.