Building Internal Trust with Executives

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The Cohesion Podcast is the foremost online audio show filled with proactive thought leadership and actionable tips for the field of internal communications, IT, and HR professionals. Simpplr's Corporate Brand and Communications Manager, Amanda Berry, hosts and discusses a range of topics with internal comms leaders getting their thoughts and insights on all things communication. 

In the sixth Cohesion Podcast, Amanda’s guest was Guido Ditto, Senior Manager of internal communications and employer brand at Coursera. What was interesting about this podcast is that it was not your traditional question-answer session.  It was more shared stories of paths, both professional and personal, between friends. Each tale revealed moments of truth, demonstrating how a range of past experiences can play a formable role in fashioning a lens of communication and empowering your voice.

Guido’s journey began like so many others through education. At New York University, he earned his undergraduate in journalism and dramatic literature and his M.B.A at the Stern School of Business. Through a series of internships, Guido realized that age should not matter in the workplace. Everyone has a perspective that deserves to be heard. 

“It’s really what you bring to the table,” Guido said. “Your skill, your expertise, your perspective. I’ve found that even now, to this day, I’m usually the youngest person in the room where it happens. Luckily those experiences and those internships taught me that it [age] is irrelevant. You know, you really can fight your fight in the room just as well as everybody else can. So I think that’s what I appreciate most about my internships is that sort of empowerment to make a contribution, to share your idea, and to speak up no matter your level, your role, your title, or your years of experience.”

He further shared that as an intern or early career professional, you must have confidence that you are not the only individual with questions and uncertainties around decision making. Everyone has a form of “Imposter’s Syndrome.” Guido discovered that the key to self-confidence is the realization that everyone, from parents to C-levels, struggles. He believes you must lean into your “gut-check” and understand the process of developing personal conviction permeates every aspect of life as an adult.

When Guido began working for NYU, he grew close to its students and faculty, creating a solid bond with the community. He did not realize it at the time, but his role was preparing him for his future. Coursera is an E-learning platform that allows access and degrees from exceptional universities and companies. It is known for its ability to partner with learning institutions to bring opportunities for job-relevant online education to employees and businesses globally. Guido’s career at Coursera is an extension of what he accomplished before at NYU—utilizing internal communications to build community.

At Coursera, Guido began building out the communication role by adding metrics to his work. He admits that there are many ways to do this. However, Guido discovered that it was best to measure against desired outcomes. He considered it a “privilege” to gauge what is not normally considered. 

For example, measure how many people open an email from your CEO or your chief people officer, but also calculate whether the email’s message was successful or that campaign worked. Another example is if you are aiding your HR team to create a campaign about open enrollment for health care benefits deadlines, don’t look at the outcome of an open email. Instead, look at the result of how many people successfully enrolled in benefits. Guido tracks the actual intent and desired effect of every message. 

Guido believes that messages are meant to build community. This belief points back to his days at NYU. However, the measurements aren’t always found in extensive surveys but small unique clicks on articles or emails. He also believes that you need to measure broad surveys such as if employees feel supported, their connection to leadership, and how much they trust the executive team. Tracking it may be more difficult, but the benefits or desired outcomes are incredibly valuable over time.

Communication is a core service for Guido, especially in a time of growth. He shared that as your organization scales, you must battle the noise that prevents the message from getting out and being heard. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the remote work requirements, the length of communication’s reach became as important as the message itself. It had to extend from the office setting into people’s homes. Communication was no longer just about company messaging. Instead, it was about personal communication and connection. The human aspect was emphasized to prevent people from feeling isolated and lost. And the tool used could not be ignored—the intranet. 

What was the name of that intranet platform, and was it a success for Guido and Coursera? Well, you need to tune into the Cohesion Podcast to discover the answers. Find it here on our Cohesion Podcast webpage, or listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.


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