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ABCI 6 March 2009. Internal Communication at the European Commission. 1. 1. Who are we?. Approx. 33,500 staff (+ 8,000 pensioners) 41 DGs and services 2 main sites: Brussels and Luxembourg Numerous other sites, including: Ispra, IT and 4 other Joint Research Centre institutes

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6 March 2009

Internal Communication at the European Commission



Who are we
Who are we?

  • Approx. 33,500 staff (+ 8,000 pensioners)

  • 41 DGs and services

  • 2 main sites: Brussels and Luxembourg

  • Numerous other sites, including:

    • Ispra, IT and 4 other Joint Research Centre institutes

    • Grange, IRL

    • Representations in all 27 Member States

    • Over 120 Delegations around the world

What are our main challenges
What are our main challenges?

Budget and resources: zero growth in resources

Internal context: implementation of reform process

External context: Need to communicate with citizens and stakeholders, to ‘go local’

What are the structural challenges
What are the structural challenges?

41 DGs and services spread over different sites, with:

  • differences in ‘local’ identity and culture

  • hierarchical structures

  • complex information flows

What are the policy challenges
What are the policy challenges?

For internal communication, trying to balance:

  • information role

  • communicating the administrative reform process

  • role in broader process of organisational change management

What are the human challenges
What are the human challenges?

Managing internal communications as a change process in a context of high staff diversity:

  • cultures (national, professional, social)

  • languages (27 official + minority langs)

  • employment status

  • educational profiles

What is our strategic approach
What is our strategic approach?

At Commission and DG levels:

  • building a collaborative network of internal communication professionals through the Internal Communication Network (ICN)

  • sharing and supporting best practices

  • making necessary connections with our colleagues working in external communication and human resources management (virtuous triangle)

How has internal communication developed
How has internal communication developed?

1999-2004 – growing role in support of reform process

2005-2007 - external communication challenges provide springboard (2005 Communication Action Plan) for further focus on internal communication

July 2007 - Commission adopts an Internal Communication and Staff Engagement Strategy

Now - using internal communication strategy and practices:

  • to motivate and engage staff

  • to support gains in efficiency and effectiveness

  • to improve staff satisfaction

What does the strategy cover
What does the Strategy cover?

5 main areas:

  • A communicating management

  • Linking internal and external communication

  • Staff as ambassadors

  • Improving flows of information

  • Monitoring and evaluation

What are we doing
What are we doing?

1.A communicating management

Priority focus on:

  • raising awareness of management’s crucial role in promoting and tapping into staff engagement

  • providing training and learning opportunities

  • supporting implementation of internal communication best practices

What are we doing1
What are we doing?

2.Linking internal and external communication

Priority focus on:

  • raising awareness of links between internal and external communication

  • building practical cooperation at corporate level between DGs ADMIN and COMM; and with all DGs through ICN

  • encouraging cooperation between IC, EC and human resources communities in DGs

What are we doing2
What are we doing?

3.Staff as ambassadors

Priority focus on:

  • providing support and training to ‘ambassadors’ (website resources)

  • targeting different audiences at corporate and DG levels (division of labour)

  • raising awareness of role of all staff as ‘ambassadors’ or ‘advocates’ for the organisation

What are we doing3
What are we doing?

4.Improving flows of information

Priority focus on:

  • developing tools to simplify access to targeted information and provide collaborative working tool (briefings, corporate portal project)

  • fostering greater two-way communication

  • developing the ICN ‘community of practice’

What are we doing4
What are we doing?

5.Monitoring and evaluation

Priority focus on:

  • raising awareness and improving competences in monitoring and evaluation

  • developing a common evaluation toolkit for communication activities (common set of metrics for IC)

What levers do we have
What levers do we have?

The IC and Staff Engagement Strategy itself is reinforced by:

  • Internal Control Standard 12

  • revised training offer for managers and communication staff

  • work of ICN, with annual seminars and workshops

  • collaborative behind-the-scenes efforts


The Strategy:

  • is an ambitious change management project

  • but has limited resources

    This means :

  • focusing on priority actions

  • using strategic leverage and networking

  • accepting change is gradual and incremental

Thank you merci dank u wel

Thank you! Merci !Dank U wel !


European Commission

Directorate-General for Personnel & Administration