Our latest ‘day in the life’ interviewee works at CSL Behring, a global biotech company named by Forbes in 2019 as one of the best employers in the US for diversity.
Let’s find out more about what it’s like to work in digital for an employer of 20,000 people in a rapidly changing industry.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Piers Dickinson: I am the head of global digital communications for CSL Behring, a global biotech leader specializing in rare diseases. I have responsibility for both internal and external digital channels.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Piers Dickinson: I am part of Corporate Affairs & Communications located in the USA, and report to the Chief Communications Officer.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Piers Dickinson: For this role, you need a deep understanding of digital and how it can add value across the company both internally and externally. You also need to be able to take strategy and concepts, and turn them into operational reality.
There’s always something new in digital so it’s a never-ending change management process and being able to paint a compelling vision is important. Collaboration is everything and being able to influence others in a positive way and create followership is an essential ingredient for success.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Piers Dickinson: My days are very varied. They include catching up with my immediate team as well as a broad range of stakeholders on lots of different projects. I might be working on something strategic in the morning and be elbows deep in some digital tools later that day.
Part of my team is in Australia so my days often end with calls with them – they’re 14 hours ahead so you have to get used to talking to people who are not in the same day as you!
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Piers Dickinson: We are a highly patient centric company and sometimes patients come in and talk to us. It gives me a tremendous sense of purpose to listen to them talk about how what we do makes such a positive impact in their lives. We also have pictures of them all over our campus so as I walk to my office in the morning it’s a great reminder of why I’m there.
One of the biggest practical challenges is working globally with such extreme time zone differences – there are always people just getting out of bed, some just about to get in and everybody in between! The flipside to that is I really enjoy the multi-cultural international aspect of the job.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Piers Dickinson: Make things better – always! User experience whether it’s for our external stakeholders or employees, is really important.
Adoption. Volume is important but engagement is more meaningful. Are people finding what they need, how they need it, and when they need it. What do they think of our content reflected in how they share and amplify it.
Understanding who is engaging with us and our relationship with them. There are also a range of compliance related metrics we look at such as web accessibility.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Piers Dickinson: We have a suite of best-in-class tools such as Sprinklr for social media, Sitecore for web experience management, and Social Chorus for employee mobile news communications.
How did you end up at CSL, and where might you go from here?
Piers Dickinson: I used to work for DuPont which is now part of DowDuPont, soon to become three separate companies later this year which equals a lot of restructuring!
CSL is growing rapidly, has a fantastic mission, great people, and there is lots to be done. You never quite know what’s coming next with digital so I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with CSL and helping bring to life the latest digital technologies for the benefit of all our stakeholders.
Are there any digital transformation success stories you look to for inspiration?
Piers Dickinson: I am a fan of the big ones we all know about like Amazon with their extraordinary digital processes and Uber with their amazing digital user experience, but I also enjoy experiences with very small companies who have embraced digital customer service and really do a great job, proving that companies of all shapes and sizes can do it.
Do you have any advice for senior marketers navigating digital transformation?
Piers Dickinson: Digital is everywhere so ‘digital transformation’ can mean a lot of different things so a first step is to figure out what it actually means for your organization.
Due to the breadth I think you also need to break it into more manageable parts that appropriate stakeholders can own and drive. For example, transforming your production line with digital technology and doing the same for your websites is all digital transformation but the internal stakeholders are most likely different. There does ideally need to be a holistic strategy for how this all fits together and gets operationalized, and somebody needs to have accountability for owning that in its entirety.
If you’d like to take part in our ‘day in the life’ series, get in touch.