We thought it was time you had the opportunity to meet Kelly Freeman, one of our amazing Intranet Strategists who is continually travelling around the UK & Europe to support our customers in getting the most out of their intranet. I asked Kelly a few questions about herself to get some insight into her role and Kelly as a person.
This would also be a great exercise to do in your company. Employees can answer a series of questions to create a blog to post on their intranet profile, this is especially useful in engaging remote workers.
Read on if you would like to know more about the life of an Interact Intranet Strategist:
Could you describe what a typical day in the life of an Intranet Strategist is like?
As an Intranet Strategist every day is about helping our customers have successful intranets, regardless of whether I am visiting a client for intranet strategy consultancy or working in my home office reviewing a new intranet’s information architecture or homepage.
If I have meetings away from home I’ll usually travel the night before so I can get to my customers first thing in the morning. My day will begin by waking up at a hotel before travelling to the customer’s offices to conduct a full day meeting with the intranet management team. We run sessions on reviewing current systems and processes, architecture planning, launching and governance as well as bespoke consultancy depending on the customers’ needs. These days usually start at about 9am and finish at 4pm and then I’ll have some travel; either to the next appointment or home.
If I’m not at a customer meeting, you’ll find me at my home office desk (I am a remote worker) writing reports on intranet strategy sessions I’ve run or reviewing surveys and other information provided, ready to meet with a new or existing customer. If I’m at home I usually try to take a break at lunchtime to get some fresh air and walk my dogs for 20 minutes.
Describe yourself in 3 words
When it comes to intranet consultancy I would say I am practical, realistic and creative!
What do you think you offer your customer that’s different from other Intranet Strategists?
Having been an Intranet Manager previously for Superdrug, a leading beauty and health retailer, I have first-hand experience and knowledge of what it is like to run an intranet project, launch an intranet and maintain it. I believe my experience of working in internal communications and with high performing HR teams is beneficial as I understand employee engagement and corporate communication issues and what it is like to use social intranets to meet some of those challenges.
I also have lots of experience working with board level executives (I was an Executive PA for many years).
I’m quite a creative person at heart so I tend not to think in ‘straight lines’. Engaging people imaginatively is my strong point.
What were your biggest successes while you were working for Superdrug?
I think one of the best moments was the first time I secured supplier funding for an intranet based competition that we could market to staff. The supplier paid for everything and we were able to give basic product training to hundreds of staff for a very small amount of money per person. We’d never been able to train people quickly and cheaply before so this was a real game-changer.
Awards like Interaction Best Intranet Manager, a special mention from Ragan and being shortlisted for Retail Week Innovation in Technology were also nice moments. Things like that can really help remind you that you’re doing a good job, even when you’re going through a busy or difficult time!
Describe a light bulb moment you have had recently
I get them all the time and they are often to do with discovering something about employees’ views and how this can help shape an entire intranet launch and roadmap. After all, if intranets are not about serving employee needs, they are not doing the job for which they are implemented.
For example, in a recent review consultancy process we were able to really understand what was important to employees, which on this occasion started with the basics like being able find the information they needed quickly. Therefore we decided to the focus on these simple areas for the launch of the intranet and then introduce other collaborative and innovative tools into the mix at a later stage.
I love moments like that because they absolutely lay the foundation of the direction of the project. Review consultancy is in my opinion one of the most beneficial sessions a customer can take with us, as it helps the company and the intranet strategist (me) get a really good understanding of the requirements for a new intranet and carves a clear path for the beginning of the life of the intranet. Data is the bedrock of this; never assume you know what people want and need, how they will behave and what they will embrace. Always get data!
What do you do when you are not helping people create great intranets?
I am married and have a teenage son and two dogs so a lot of my free time is spent with them. We like long walks in the Surrey countryside, movies and eating out. My husband and I are addicted to a good TV series like Breaking Bad, House of Cards or Game of Thrones.
I like a pub-quiz so we occasionally meet with a group of friends at our local pub on Tuesday night. I also see my sister and nieces regularly for Sunday lunch.
I like to run and am training for a half marathon and I’m also into ‘up-cycling’ old furniture such as cabinets, bureaus, tables etc. I love turning something old and ugly into something beautiful and useful (a bit like intranets…).