07 May 2024

IPO comms in focus: Employee Communications

Communications are central to the success of an IPO, so what do companies considering a new listing need to know? To mark our partnership with the London Stock Exchange on their IPO Forum on 9 May we asked a selection of our experts for their top tips.

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Two days to go until the London Stock Exchange IPO Forum and in the latest in our IPO communications advice series, MHP’s Head of Change and Employee Engagement, Naomi Goodman, explains what companies considering an IPO should be thinking about when it comes to employee communications.

Watch the video here:

You can also read the full episode here:

Why are employee communications important to an IPO process?

An IPO is a hugely exciting experience for any company. It’s a great testament to the strength of your brand, your products or your service. It’s great recognition of your journey to date and your potential for growth. And it’s a great testament to the high calibre of people you have in your organisation who have been driven to help your company succeed.

So, don’t underestimate the importance of engaging your employees with your IPO. It’s their collective ability that’s helped to get you where you are today and it’s their ongoing commitment that is going to help you to sustain your success.

What should companies considering an IPO be thinking about when it comes to internal comms?

Once an IPO has been initiated there are lots of rules and regulations about what can and can’t be communicated and when. In order to mitigate any risk, as soon as you’re aware that your company may enter into an IPO, it is never too soon to get an integrated communication strategy and plan in place. Here are three areas to get started on straight away.

  1. Know your stakeholders. It sounds simple but this is more than simply segmenting your audiences. It’s about trust and influence. Map your internal and external stakeholders, determine who is in the circle of trust and how best to effectively equip them. And know who is in their sphere of influence for when you’re able to involve a wider pool of leaders before you engage employees.
  2. Manage the message. There will be limitations with what you can and can’t say during an IPO. Develop a flexible messaging framework, one set of key messages that can be tailored to the various stakeholder groups. Ensure you have a captivating, compelling set of messages ready that really captures your journey and vision. The why this, the why now, the what and the when and importantly the benefits to the business and your people. And don’t forget to thank your employees, the people that have helped the business get to this point.
  3. Actively listen. IPOs are an opportunity to celebrate, especially on listing day. Go big, have some fun. However, through the employee communications process, don’t forget to actively listen to your people. Yes, IPOs are exciting. Yes, there can be many financial and developmental benefits for an employee, which you should repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly communicate. However, do not underestimate the uncertainty that a significant change like this can cause among employees. Give them the channels and the space to share their thoughts and have these thoughts heard and answered.

Remember, evidence and experience shows us that colleagues join and stay companies that care. A thoughtful, considered approach to how you engage employees in an IPO reaffirms that. So remember, know your stakeholders, manage the message and actively listen.

MHP is delighted to be partnering with the London Stock Exchange on its flagship IPO Forum on Thursday 9 May 2024. With a full afternoon of insights, panels, and networking, an expert team of legal, financial and communications advisers will join a host of private companies considering an IPO, as well as members of the investor community and recently listed businesses to discuss the IPO process and the challenges and opportunities of becoming a public listed company. Find out more here

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