Employee storytelling: Interview with Nicholas Creswell, VP of talent and development at Thomson Reu

Written by
Changeboard Team

24 Jul 2013

24 Jul 2013 • by Changeboard Team

Put your knowledge in motion

For our employees, we aim to create an environment in which they can do work that matters to them, progress in careers without boundaries and have the flexibility to perform. This is all founded on the basis that in this organisation there is no such thing as a typical career. The business has breadth, with a wide range of functional and geographical options on which people can build and direct the career of their choosing. So, our career message focuses on the concept of ‘put your knowledge in motion’ – encouraging potential employees to take ownership of their career and apply what they know to the topics they care about the most. As the range of options can be confusing, having a simple, consistent message is crucial.

We help employees share their career stories inside and outside of the organisation and describe what’s available here through their own experience. Our careers microsite www.careers.thomsonreuters.com is filled with quotations and images of employees in their work environment.

Storytelling through technology

We depend on technology to deliver content to the right users at the right time. At Thomson Reuters, we provide information to 20 million professionals around the world in sectors such as finance, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science, so they have the knowledge they need to shape the world around us.  In total, we employ 60,000 employees in 200 offices in over 100 countries of which about 15,000 are technologists and we hire about 2,000 technologists each year around the world. We offer them enormous career opportunity. Yet the results of our research suggests we are not known among technologists as a place to build a great career – even when they are in the recruitment process, it’s still challenging for our recruiters to convey the breadth and depth of long-term opportunities available. 

In response to this, we’ve built the Tech Careers iPad app, which tells the story of 20 technology projects from the perspective of more than 70 technology employees in 15 locations globally. We believe the design of the app showcases what creative use we make of technology, particularly in a mobile environment. It is aimed specifically at candidates already in the recruitment process, and we promote it on job descriptions, through recruiters, on social media and even on iPads at career fairs.  It’s having a big impact on our recruiters’ ability to sell and close candidates who’ve made the initial contact with us.

Blogging to boost diversity

As a global organisation that thrives on diversity, it’s important that our brand resonates with a worldwide audience. Along with engaging and developing a varied spectrum of employees, building a strong employer brand among candidates is a central element of our diversity strategy.

One way we do this is to promote our job opportunities at events which attract a diverse pool of potential candidates. For instance, at the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference in the US, we were a platinum sponsor with a major presence. We ran an internal competition for two employees to blog live to external audiences from the event and used our Knowledge Effect blog to profile the stories of our female technologists during and afterwards. To convey our message of work that matters, we ran an essay competition asking conference participants to suggest how technology could be used to prevent violence against women. The two winners were flown to London to attend a conference on the topic organised by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It’s not just about branding, but finding powerful ways of conveying the impact our employees can have on the world.

Embedding brand with talent

Our career messages and the look and feel of our brand materials are built in conjunction with our corporate brand management team. These are based on insights gained by research surveys, interviews and focus groups with hundreds of employees globally. To raise awareness, our ‘Share Your Story’ campaign asked hundreds of employees around the world to use our social intranet to submit stories of how they or a colleague were bringing our key brand messages to life.

The most rewarding aspect of developing talent is seeing individuals flourish. An email from one individual saying: “I attended your workshop and changed career as a result” means as much as any well-received strategy presentation. This job is all about people and the impact on the individual means everything.


Building employer brand: top tips

Keep it simple: the more elaborate the messages, the more confusing they can get

Keep it real: don’t depend on taglines and design, instead share stories of real employees talking with passion about what they do

Keep going: it takes a long time to embed your brand – getting the message across takes repetition and persistence.