Engagement Builds Collaborative Workplace

David Prosperi

Leadership insights aplenty come from David Prosperi, Vice President of Global Public Relations, Aon plc, during his interview with DePaul graduate student Lindsey Barber. David was one of 17 business executives and public relations leaders who volunteered to sit down with students in my spring quarter leadership class. Results of the students’ research and interviews are appearing this month and next on the Let Go & Lead website.

Here are David’s responses to Lindsey’s questions:

Q: How do you communicate Aon’s vision?

A: We have a tremendous amount of thought leadership in our risk and in our HR businesses. So, it’s identifying that type of content, coordinating the messaging, developing the right brand messaging, and then targeting the right platforms; whether it’s traditional media, social media, or electronic. In order to position ourselves in the way that we want, which is to be seen as one of the leading global professional services firms, we advise companies on two of the most important issues of the day: risk and people.

Q: How does the Manchester United partnership play a messaging role at Aon?

A: The Manchester United partnership really is a powerful example of how we help companies around their risk and people issues. Our partnership with one of the most powerful sports brands in the world really puts us in a unique position. We help the club on issues like succession planning, as well as assist them to identify talent. We help them with their healthcare planning and pensions. On the risk side, there are a tremendous number of risks associated when you have 76,000 people filing into Old Trafford to watch a match. How do we help them manage those issues, while at the same time minimize the risk involved? So, the partnership with Manchester United is a very vivid and a powerful example of what we bring to clients every day.

Q: How do you foster a collaborative environment at Aon?

A: We foster a collaborative environment through engagement. We’re really very focused on how we can engage our global colleagues. We have 66,000 people around the world, 120 different countries, six different continents, and multiple time zones. The power of the Manchester United partnership is that it helps us to engage our employees around a common theme of Aon United. What that means is no matter where you work in the world, and no matter your level of expertise, you’re part of a global network to serve clients. So, if we can identify clients in Europe or Latin America in order to help a client in Japan, that’s the power of Aon United: bringing all that global capability to work on a very local level.

Q: How do you navigate communicating on a global scale?

A: It’s a challenge. I’m not sure we always get it right, but we’re constantly working on ways to improve it. We communicate on a variety of platforms. Our CEO, Greg Case, is very engaged with employees. Whenever he travels around the world, he does town hall meetings with our colleagues. As part of our intranet, we pretty much have our own Facebook program where you can create your own page and talk about the things that you’re interested in-including the capabilities that you can bring to the firm. So, if I am a client-facing colleague, and I have a client in Japan who is looking for some help on how to deal with supply chain interruption, I can type in some key words into our intranet and it will pull up the names of colleagues around the world who have that knowledge and capability. By doing so, we can bring the best of our firm globally to clients anywhere in the world.

Q: When dealing with risk management on a daily basis, does that affect how you communicate with your employees?

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