The Value of Understanding the Employee Experience with Ben Matthews, Senior Director of Internal Communications at NVIDIA

Episode Summary

This episode features an interview with Ben Matthews, Senior Director of Internal Communications at NVIDIA. Ben has spent his entire career in communications. He is a recognized industry leader and speaker who has previously worked for Google, eBay, and Crown Castle. In this episode, Ben and Amanda discuss building an internal comms program from scratch, how to prove value to leaders, and why internal communicators are the imagineers of business.

Episode Notes

This episode features an interview with Ben Matthews, Senior Director of Internal Communications at NVIDIA. Ben has spent his entire career in communications. He is a recognized industry leader and speaker who has previously worked for Google, eBay, and Crown Castle.

In this episode, Ben and Amanda discuss building an internal comms program from scratch, how to prove value to leaders, and why internal communicators are the imagineers of business.


“10 years ago, everyone that was saying they were internal communications, suddenly changed to be head of employee engagement. And now, I think you’re seeing that change again from people changing from internal comms and employee engagement, to employee experience. And that’s great because that shows progress. But, it’s only progress if we’re doing more than changing our names. If we’re genuinely out there looking to influence. And the truth is, no one can own employee experience. It’s too broad a subject for any one team to own. Where I do think we play is we can act as that connective tissue and glue to bring different people together.” – Ben Matthews


Episode Timestamps:

*(01:43): Ben’s background

*(03:32): Ben’s current role at NVIDIA

*(04:15): Segment: Story Time

*(04:46): How Ben built an internal communications program from the ground up

*(09:11): Segment: Seat at the Table

*(10:40): How internal communicators can show value to leaders 

*(16:22): How internal communicators are the imagineers of business

*(18:59): Segment: Ripped from the Headlines

*(22:09): How Ben shifted his strategy in 2020

*(33:28): Segment: Asking for a Friend



Connect with Ben on LinkedIn


Amanda’s LinkedIn


Episode Transcription

Amanda Berry: Ben, thank you for joining me today. How are you doing? 

Ben Matthews: I am doing well. Thank you. It is a beautiful day in Northern California, 

Amanda Berry: And it's a cold day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I want to, first off you have such an interesting background. So I want to start there, you know, long as people bounce around between different levels of corporate before finding communication, but every professional position you've had has been in comms.

Amanda Berry: So talk a little bit like how you got started in comms, what your interest is, and then maybe just a quick preview of your background. 

Ben Matthews: Sure. I like a lot of communicators and internal communicators from back in the day, I kind of fell into internal communications. I never sat talking to the careers counselor going.

Ben Matthews: I want to do internal communications. It just kind of happened. And it happened because I was working for a bank in the UK and I was actually working in the call center there. And we had these huge manuals on our desks that were literally like, Two feet long of different kind of policy and process documents.

Ben Matthews: And I'd always been slightly geeky and slightly into the internet. And that was a new finger at that time. And I just heard about internets. And so I kept pitching to the boss of the call center that I could take all this stuff and put it onto an intranet. And then I had to explain the concept of what an intranet was.

Ben Matthews: And then I had to explain the concept of what the internet was at the time. It was showing my age already. Eventually, they let me do a pilot. And that kind of was my in, into internal communications. So it went from there to setting up an intranet for the whole of the bank. And then I dabbled in PR and government affairs as well before eventually deciding that internal comms was probably where I got the most satisfying.

Amanda Berry: It sounds an awful lot, like my back on it and started a bank in the UK, but just having it for a while and sort of falling into I'm making some offers to do that. So that's very interesting. I'm excited to learn more about your current roles or your current role. Can you just talk a little bit about your current role at.

Amanda Berry: It's 

Ben Matthews: going to be a slightly limited conversation. Cause I've only been there a few months. I joined Nvidia right before they were named America's best workplace by Glassdoor. So I kind of feel as a communicator, there's no worst times to join a business, but when they get an accolade like that, because the best you can do is help the business maintain that.

Ben Matthews: But. It's a truly special business and is growing rapidly. And my role there is to really support the team, develop the team that's there and wrap a little bit more structure to allow us to continue to grow and scale that for me is the heart of what I'm trying to do. 

Amanda Berry: I'm going to move into our first segment called story time.

Amanda Berry: So let's move into, back to your, your, uh, previous role. You had VP of internal communications at crown castle. When you got there, there was no internal communications. That's not super uncommon. I mean, I've had experience of building internal communication programs and I'm sure a lot of our listeners have, or they might be in a position where that's going to happen to them, right.

Amanda Berry: To a company doesn't put thought into it. So now that's what you're here to do. Talk a little bit about what it's like to build an internal communications program from the ground. 

Ben Matthews: First, if you ever get the chance as a, as an internal communicator do it, it's a phenomenal opportunity and it comes along so rarely the key I think, is to understand business objectives and why the business is trying to get to, and then marry up what the internal comms team is looking to do to those business objectives and start small and build.

Ben Matthews: But at the same time, have really high aspirations for yourself and for the team. I don't think any established business avatar really has no internal communication. So there's always things happening. There's always communications going on, but the key is to bring those together, to go and talk to your stakeholders.

Ben Matthews: And crown was really where I kind of saw. To the concept of employee experiences, a development of internal communications. And so therefore going and partnering with the it folks, partnering with the facilities, folks with the HR teams with security, all of those are super important. So the employee experience, 

Amanda Berry: is there something that when you look back on that, that you would have done differently?

Ben Matthews: Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing. There are always things that I would have done differently. I think. I would have pushed more on continuing to build out kind of different channels. I was super lucky that crown to have a CEO who's really looking. In a similar way to, I look at things, which is what is, what if we tried this, I was able to do things crowns that were well outside.

Ben Matthews: The traditional sphere of internal communications crown was, was building a new office building. And the CEO asked me to be involved in that and to bring that into. Employee perspective to the physical office space we were building, which is great. Cause I think internal communicators really do bring a different view to others.

Ben Matthews: And that's not that others aren't doing their job. It's just, the adjuncts are slightly different. I've used a slightly different. And when you bring all that together, that's where you get truly good stuff happening. So I would have done more of that to answer your question directly. I think internal communicators.

Ben Matthews: Like, I'm pretty experienced folks. We need to get out of our boxes more, but go and use that curiosity that, you know, I've heard, listened to the podcast. Many times. People always talk about curiosity on here and that's true. Use that curiosity. Let me go 

Amanda Berry: back to something you said about your partnering with it and.

Amanda Berry: That's is something that we do talk about on here a lot. And I'm curious if you have any advice for people who are looking to build stronger relationships with it, partners or HR partners, or even leaders, when you're doing something like this, like what advice would you give someone who's looking to build those relationships?

Amanda Berry: I 

Ben Matthews: think the first thing is, and this is going to sound super obvious, but spend time building the relationship, just go and talk to people without having a, an explicit or implicit agenda. There's a desert book by a very famous coach in Silicon valley. It was always about him. Bill Campbell and bill Campbell would always recommend that.

Ben Matthews: Start meetings, just talking about anything other than the thing that we're there to do, because it builds rapport. It builds understanding. You get to know who people are, what their interests are. And that's really important. I think particularly the more senior you go in any organization, it all becomes about reputation and reputation is built on trust and trust is built on understanding of that person.

Amanda Berry: Yeah, absolutely. As you're working with leaders and thinking about that, is there a lesson you've learned that you would like to share with the 

Ben Matthews: group? I've been lucky enough and continue to be, to work with some amazing senior leaders. And I think the thing. To understand with them is the amount of time pressures they have, the amount of Headspace they have available for the things that you're looking to talk about, being able to listen, to understand, and then to action from those things is really important for senior leaders.

Ben Matthews: And I think the more senior leader is the more they're looking for you to listen to their point of view, understand what they're trying to do and then challenge or activate it. Right. I 

Amanda Berry: want to move to something called seat at the table, 

Producer: the table, the table seat at the table. 

Amanda Berry: This is something that comes up a lot.

Amanda Berry: The role that internal communications plays and business business strategy business. Some of business, right? Thinking about internal communications as business partners and not so support staff, right diplomats with no power. How do you, how have you successfully gotten a seat at the table and been able to serve more as a, as a business partner than support staff, helping leaders write emails?

Ben Matthews: I think this is something that communicates sometimes do to themselves. Again, we put ourselves in this box because it's often comfortable. It's a much more comfortable place to be. And I naturally skew introvert. There is always a temptation for me to kind of just lock the door and focus inwards, but okay.

Ben Matthews: Internal communications. It's just this fascinating area because there's a few things at play. One you're right with diplomats, internal communications rarely has any direct power. Like internal comms are the diplomats of the business. It is the exercise of soft power and that's why it comes back to relationships.

Ben Matthews: And those relationships become. 

Amanda Berry: I do want to keep touching on this. Cause I think this is so important, this idea of helping internal communications get power. And I know one of the ways, you know, that I've been thinking about this and we've been talking about this a bit more in the, this industry is, you know, showing return on investment and showing our value.

Amanda Berry: And I'd love to hear what you do in that space. Like how do you show value? The value that internal communications bring to the business to leaders, to employees? 

Ben Matthews: The value we bring is really an understanding of our employees. And therefore, the first thing I'll always look to do in any business is, is to get out there and talk to people.

Ben Matthews: Google always used to call them canaries group of people that had signed up to be the Canary in the coal mine on things that we were thinking of doing or asking. What if questions, what if we did this? How would you feel? That's super important. That level of insight is not present. And I don't feel you can get it from surveys a lot of the time.

Amanda Berry: Yeah. That's an interesting point. I've, I've actually had a conversation with someone recently. I had like people in business know when I'm in an organization where I feel like they trust me to tell me how they're feeling so I can almost use them as that Canary in the coal mine. Hey, what do you think about this?

Amanda Berry: If we did this, or what did you think about that presentation? And they would be able to give you. Fulfilled unfiltered feedback just to come me temperature gauge around the business. And maybe that's what you're talking about, but 

Ben Matthews: you can formalize that right. With anything. There's a flip side to it. So how many times have we, as internal communicators had to face into the leader, who's talked to three people and therefore that view shared by those three people is mirrored in the other thousands, 10,000 hundred thousand people who work for the company.

Ben Matthews: There has to be a bit more process around it than just I went and had a conversation with a couple of friends and something like a, like things like enduring focus groups, which are like groups of people who in essence sign up to say, I want to give you my opinion on all these things. So you skip around this concept of, we can't ask these people too much because they'll get survey fatigue.

Ben Matthews: It's like, People who've signed up to this and saying, no, I want to be asked my opinions, bring it on. And so to be able to set those groups up around a business is really powerful. And it allows you to gather near real-time feedback and some companies are doing it real time. I remember seeing at Microsoft and Satya, the CEO.

Ben Matthews: Used to have like a sentiment meter in his company all hands, and you could literally see what the employee base was loving and what they weren't living in terms of the messages that were getting delivered. I have 

Amanda Berry: analytics that's credibly powerful tool for leaders to. I remember doing that kind of stuff like with live polling.

Amanda Berry: Right. I remember back in the day we could have little polling buttons. This is a little bit different. Understand how they're feeling a bit more, you know what they're liking bit more sentiment check, as I think is what we're, while you're mentioning there. 

Ben Matthews: Yeah. Analysis people have a virtual dial that they turn between five and one or one and 10, depending on their sentiment of what they hear.

Ben Matthews: How do you think 

Amanda Berry: that would change leaders, that they had that immediate sort of feedback if you're in a meeting and they're getting immediate feedback, how might that impact what's being done? 

Ben Matthews: I think mostly is I've worked with, honestly, looking for that more leaders have always come to me and said, what do you think than waiting for me to send them a report?

Ben Matthews: What did I do? Well, what did I not do? Well, where can I improve? I I've been blessed in terms of the leaders I've got to work with, but there's always been an openness to listen to. The internal communicators in the business, they're around these things, leaders like a sense of immediate feedback and anything you can do that doesn't require for sending out a survey and then waiting a week for that survey to come back.

Ben Matthews: It's not that that's not a good way of doing it. It's that if a leader likes that immediate feedback, find a way to deliver it, you can still do this. You can still do the survey. You can track benchmarks, all of those great things, but there is something for the leaders that they like that immediacy, because again, they are time poor and they move on very quickly.

Ben Matthews: So if you come back to a leader two weeks later with here's what you did on that all hands two weeks ago, like they will have moved on and it will therefore be difficult then for them to associate feedback, because they're just not there. They've dealt with a hundred issues. 

Amanda Berry: Yeah, incorporating that in and using that for the next time.

Amanda Berry: It's a lot better when it comes immediate. I completely agree. So let me just ask one more question about this. Talk about the professionalization of internal comms. What are the best internal comms teams doing to cement their status in the industry? I 

Ben Matthews: think we all professional generally. I don't think there's anyone listening to this podcast right now would consider themselves anything over the professional.

Ben Matthews: I think where we. Still learn. And this goes back to talking about having a seat at the table. I don't need a seat at the table per se, because that alone might not be valuable. What I need is, is the ability to influence at the right time and the right level. And if that's done in like virtual meetings, that's great.

Ben Matthews: But there are many other ways to influence around that. There is a need to really look at internal communications from a strategic perspective. And there is a need to look, not just at internal communications, but where we can play from the overall employee experience. I do worry at times that we get these sort of name trends going on in job titles and that.

Ben Matthews: 10 years ago, everyone that was saying they were internal communications suddenly changed to be head of employee engagement. And now I think you're seeing that change again from people changing from internal comms and employee. Again, you went to employee experience and. That's great because that shows progress, but it's only progress if we're doing more than changing our names.

Ben Matthews: If we're genuinely out there looking to influence, and the truth is no one can own employee experience. It's, it's too broad, a subject for anyone team to own. Where I do think we play is we can act as that connective tissue and glue to bring. Different people together to bring the HR team together. The it team security facilities, whomever it may be.

Ben Matthews: We can be the Imagineers of a business. The people who help dream the big dreams, Disney Imagineers are the folks that ask those. What if questions? But it takes an army of decorators and engineers and electricians and technicians and computer science. And model makers and all of these other things to turn that imagination into reality, I believe that internal comms can be the imaginers of the business.

Amanda Berry: I love that. I absolutely love that idea. When you said, imagine there's I immediately thought of Disney and what the Imagineers do there, but you're right. Employee experience is huge. I mean, that starts, that starts when people are interview, right? The employee experience starts to me in the interview process.

Amanda Berry: Arguably 

Ben Matthews: starts before it starts at the mirror is force to consideration. Of the company. So before candidates become active candidates, It runs until well, after those people have left, there are a number of companies out there doing alumni networks. Now for people who've left the business because they've identified that one, they are phenomenal brand ambassadors.

Ben Matthews: If you leave the business because you, it was just your time, but it was just time to move on and you enjoyed your time, but you've got something new, something bigger, something better that another company is offering. You still retain. Generally, if the company was good, a passion for that company that you will share with other people.

Ben Matthews: I have this, I have this with Google. I think Google is a wonderful company and I would advocate for anybody. Who's looking for a job to consider Google, even though I no longer work. 

Amanda Berry: That is the beginning of a lot of the employee experience, right? Me hearing you say that impacts how I would think about Google.

Amanda Berry: If I were to apply there, that's a really great insight. I want to move on to the next segment called rip from the headlines, 

Producer: extra, extra, read all about it. 

Producer: Our stories ripped from the headlines ripped from the headlines. 

Amanda Berry: Because I want to talk about Google and I have a question about Google in your time.

Amanda Berry: There I'd be remiss if I didn't ask about it. Your first few months at Google were marked by a lot of different things happening, right? Pandemic, racial inequality and protest civil unrest. There was a lot going on. So how did you work with leaders and guide them through this challenging time? 

Ben Matthews: You're absolutely right.

Ben Matthews: I joined Google. February, 2020 that late February, 2020. So it always amuses me when people ask the Google offices as good as I've heard, it's like, honestly, I have very little concept of that because I did two weeks in the office and they'd be closed them down 

Amanda Berry: for the next day. Can use Google vehicles.

Amanda Berry: I can do my laundry there. Play video games. 

Ben Matthews: I got more experience of what Google offices look like from the film, the internship than I, than I did from the amount of time I was able to spend there. But it's absolutely true, like 20, 20, 20, 21, and honestly, 2022, where, and will continue to be massively challenging for the roles that we do the pandemic, at least in knowledge, economies, knowledge.

Ben Matthews: We are not ever going back to 2019 as my view, that's things have changed hugely in terms of how people, how people view work, how people view the relationship between their role and the business and themselves. This is limited. I want to just acknowledge, there are a lot of people that physically need to continue to be where they are.

Ben Matthews: And so things like hybrid work. It's not going to be something. The effects industries to the same degree, but I think where there are roles that can be done remotely. I think hybrid work is here to stay. But the honest answer is we still don't really know because we still haven't truly returned to work except in some limited areas globally.

Ben Matthews: And so people are saying future of work will be done by June. Like everybody we'll be back in by June and we'll know it's like now we're probably not going to know for a year because. Something as simple as commuting, right? I, I haven't commuted properly and over two years now, so I probably got rose-tinted spectacles about what chemo was never that bad.

Ben Matthews: And I'll happily get back to how many people may return to work and then decided to commute quite frankly. So. And then be like, well, this is not what I wanted. I need more flexible. Yeah. 

Amanda Berry: It's a lot of time you spend doing stuff like that. Um, I do joke and say, I just have a commute. It's about two and a half minutes.

Ben Matthews: You've got a bigger house. 

Ben Matthews: That's like 15 seconds. 

Amanda Berry: get some coffee. And that I sit down at my desk. That's about stupid. It's it's an interesting point. I mean, this idea that we'll probably a large part of the people work population may not be going back to an office, at least not full time. That's been a big shift for internal comms, right?

Amanda Berry: It was a huge sort of awakening of, oh no. Now we have to meet them in a different space in a different way. Right. We have people who now have kids at home that they're teaching. We're competing with them doing laundry, just being humans, where that human space. And now we're doing everything digitally.

Amanda Berry: Can shed some light on how that first year to us, for you just trying to like tweak your strategy or think about things differently 

Ben Matthews: for me with the pandemic, what became super clear and then was actually reinforced by some of the things we saw with underrepresented communities around the world, quite honestly, was.

Ben Matthews: Leader communication became much more important and that ability to see leaders and for leaders to do town halls and ask me anything and all hands and things on a more regular basis became one of the key ways that we look to tackle. Because we've put this distance that this screen here imposes on us.

Ben Matthews: And so all those things that were happening in their office or those get togethers, they just weren't happening. The risk of leadership is always that they appeared remote, right? Because there's so many levels above me or they're over there and this different office in this different country on this different continent.

Ben Matthews: And so the ability for leaders to focus more of their time and energy. On reaching out and connecting through this screen that we have now to listen. It was so important. And again, that the leader I worked with at Google quite honestly taught me as a communications professional. Some things about listening, about listening, about understanding, and then about doing something about what they were hearing.

Amanda Berry: Can you share some of that? I'd love to, I'd love to hear. 

Ben Matthews: But the thing that I really discovered was that we all feel a little bit lonelier, but we all feel a little bit more disconnected. And so just the act of a leader saying I used to do all hands every month. I'm going to do them every two weeks and I'm going to spend half of everyone just like listening to your questions and answering your questions and I'll bring over people then, because that's really important.

Ben Matthews: What I'm saying is. Listening to you is at least as important as the business priorities and the things we need to talk about because I'm devoting equal time to those two. And that was super powerful for me. And then what I believe it builds is rapport between the leader and the employee base. However large that employee base is roughly it's a few hundred, whether it's tens of thousands.

Ben Matthews: The other thing I learned, the importance of being able to genuinely answer questions. One of the most interesting tactics I saw was a leader who would bring subject matter experts on as many of us do for all hands, but. He would at key moments advocate for the employee view rather than what the subject matter expert would say.

Ben Matthews: So he would listen intently to the question and if the subject matter expert wasn't answering the question. He would gently prod to say, we need a better explanation on this, or just doesn't make sense, or I feel them please might be thinking this. And again, it builds a level of trust and rapport that the leader is prepared to question the status quo.

Ben Matthews: Now you have to be careful with that because it's really uncomfortable for the subject matter experts to be prodded in this way. So you have to prepare them that this might happen, but ultimately. That then means that you get less of these non-answers that am pleased, tend to really dislike in those sorts of open sessions and forums.

Ben Matthews: I believe it was a net positive, even with that discomfort, that folks experience. 

Amanda Berry: Yeah, that's such a great point. I feel to me, that's been a big part of this pandemic, right? Kind of what you were saying. They're not following status quo, right? Taking what's there and saying, well, we can just do that virtually the same way.

Amanda Berry: We've always done it because now people are at home. It's just hearing my friends who have switched jobs or family with a new employee experience. That's something that pains me to hear that. Well, instead of just doing the in-person first day here's here's the company history and how you register. And may can just do it virtually now.

Amanda Berry: And this is taking a step back going, is that the best new employee experience we can give? I assume Google was doing very interesting stock during this 

Ben Matthews: time large companies, they would normally bring cohorts of new starters. Nooglers at Google together. In-person. And give them, this is a phrase that probably won't work outside the UK, but in the UK, it's referred to like a sheep dip where you dip that person into the culture of the business and just immerse the minutes just enough, like not so much that it's overwhelming, but enough so that they, they start to understand.

Ben Matthews: And that's, that's much easier to do that. And so every company I believe has struggled to kind of take that and build something that is equally engaging. It becomes really difficult. It comes back to moving away from that traditional, like it's 3d. Like you can bring people together for three days and sitting down in a big hall and talk to them and have fun activities and like do all these great things and get them signed scavenger hunts, get them signed up for their benefits and let them go away with a cool hat at the end of it, that says they're new to the.

Ben Matthews: When you move that online, you've got to think about it differently. And therefore it becomes not three solid days, but how do we put this into more bite sized chunks that fit around the many different circumstances that our audiences going to be in all of the extra logistical challenges of getting things physically to people.

Ben Matthews: And again, it comes back to the employee experience. Internal comms, can't solve an onboarding experience. HR can't solve it on their own. It takes the IC folks, the HR folks, the comms, folks, leaders, all of those people working together to deliver it. But again, I think it's about bite size. I think it's about getting things physically to people in good time and good doors.

Ben Matthews: So just fulfilling those. And then I think it's giving people, again, access to subject matter experts to leaders, doing some cool things that are just surprise and delight moments that kind of break out of the monotony of kind of just sat at the screen. I think the more we can steer away from sitting people down to.

Ben Matthews: 1520 minute chunks of prerecorded content. 

Amanda Berry: A lot of us who are hybrid or remote fully, it's been a lot of time on these screens and find ways to break that up. I have friends and family zoom for just get togethers are and have been since the beginning of pandemic. And sometimes I just can't set a screen anymore.

Amanda Berry: There has to be a way, you know, even at work to break that up and try something to. Let me ask you, what are you doing in the DNI space to ensure that there's inclusiveness and the stories we're hearing are from a diverse group of people are in different experiences. I want 

Ben Matthews: to start with a disclaimer on this one, because despite the job I do, I feel I remain far too ignorant and that I'm not necessarily always doing enough, right.

Ben Matthews: Because. I don't have the experiences that a lot of people I've talked to have had. And so the best I can do is try and empathize, but I have not had those experiences and therefore I will remain ignorant. What I can do is work hard every day to become a little bit less ignorance to focus on what can I do today?

Ben Matthews: Honestly, both personally and professionally companies' needs. Diversity, including inclusion and belonging professionals, right? They need people who can tell me when I'm doing something wrong or when something that, I mean in the very best way is going to be interpreted in a different way. That's really important.

Ben Matthews: Diversity inclusion, belonging professionals. Like I need those to help me understand to help. Better do communications to help my community medications be truly more inclusive because just as a product of my own experiences, I speak as the ultimate entitlements of British middle age, white guy. Like I have to acknowledge that at the same time.

Ben Matthews: I think there's things we can all do. Right? So as professionals, we can focus. On our own teams and checking, like you're not just checking, but constantly striving to make our teams more diverse. And there's all sorts of ways we can do that. Broadening on that works on LinkedIn, outside of like the traditional group of folks that we know that is one way I'm speaking personally here, not for, for any company.

Ben Matthews: If I would traditionally look to bring five people. For an interview for a job, what therefore is the problem in me finding seven people and making sure at least two of those people are diverse. In whatever sense we want to define diversity. Therefore I'm not disadvantaged anyone. I'm just trying to broaden the pool.

Ben Matthews: And the honest answer is when you do that, you find that those two extra people are additive to the process. It's really about just having the opportunity to help your team become a more diverse. I love talking about 

Amanda Berry: this to people. I love hearing what other people are doing in this space. Cause I'm like you, I know my entitlement.

Amanda Berry: I know where I come from. I'm I'm, you know, white woman. I know that when I've worked at places that have had their own diversity inclusive office, I partnered with them the way I would partner with like HR and it, like, they were always in the room with me to help me understand or help guide or help call me in when, when I was thinking about things and be in and out way.

Amanda Berry: And I think that's super important. 

Ben Matthews: Yeah, and it, it comes down to like helping our leaders understand that as well. The company does an element of what gets measured gets changed or gets done. And so leaders in a business have an ability to truly drive change. And to drive that by measuring and shining a spotlight on and saying, no matter how good any quantitative progresses that it's, it's not good enough and it's not fast enough.

Ben Matthews: And making people feel uncomfortable that we can always move faster. We can always do more to address some of these things. And as communicators we can help our leaders shape that help our. Better listen. And again, it comes back to listen, understand, and then action. And this is one where leaders need to do that.

Ben Matthews: Leaders need to ensure they're listening. They need to ensure they're understanding. Then they need to do something about it. 

Amanda Berry: It's going into our last segment, asking for a friend,

Producer: Hey, asking for a friend.

Amanda Berry: If I'm a brand new internal communications person sitting here, just sort of delighted and excited. That's one piece of advice you would give me to help me be successful. I might 

Ben Matthews: give you two, just, just cause I'm, I'm a, I'm a natural rule breaker. The first. To look at how you do things differently. Like we've talked about the, what if stuff, but not being satisfied, looking at your audience, looking at how you surprise and delight your audience.

Ben Matthews: Some of your audience may be watching an HBO series. That's called peacemaker. It's like this very irreverent superhero, anti superhero, really series that's on HBO. It opens every episode in the most unsuitable hero kind of series way possible was this incredibly awkward dance routine that all the main characters are doing.

Ben Matthews: They're all kind of out of character. They're just dancing to eighties, hair metal band wigwam. And I was so fascinated about why that was the artistic choice that they did, that I dug out an interview with James Gunn and he said, He did it because he didn't want people to hit that skip intro button that everyone uses.

Ben Matthews: Now, whether it's on HBO, max, Netflix, Hulu, whoever that everyone just skips the intro. And so all that hard work of the actors and the. Like people don't see the names. And so he deliberately said he wanted to do something that was so out there. So arresting that people would not hit that skip intro button and four or five episodes in now.

Ben Matthews: I've not hit that once. And so he's doing it right with me and for new internal communicators. That's the thing. How do you. Find ways to arrest your audience. How do you have that peacemaker moment in your communications that makes them not hit the delete button or not hit the skip button? That's my first bit.

Ben Matthews: And then second bit of advice is just understand who you are and what you love. I know it sounds cheesy, but just knowing what's the next thing for you? Some people. Career goals. And we'll start as a communicator saying, I want to be a chief communications officer at a major fortune 500 business. Some people are like have that level of focus.

Ben Matthews: And by the way, I applaud those people because I am not one of them for me. It's always about what is the thing that, that challenge me is me. Next. That brings me. That will get me up out of bed in the morning with a yay rather than a oh Lord. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? My career path has been, it's not been a straight kind of ladder.

Ben Matthews: It's more like watching. Pac-Man go through them, go through. Chased by ghosts. So understanding what is that thing for you? If you've got that clarity. Great. If you don't that's okay. Just figure out what the next thing is. That brings you joy. 

Amanda Berry: I hear this a lot. When I talked to him on this, this podcast.

Amanda Berry: Oftentimes not knowing where you're going next is the right path. Just because you leave yourself open to so many opportunities. 

Ben Matthews: So to me and lateral moves have become a bit of a like that's HR term for you. Can't get a promotion. So move somewhere else. That's the cynical kind of view. But honestly, some of my most.

Ben Matthews: Insightful and productive moments have come from taking a lateral move or from deciding that, that next thing that brings me joy is not going from a L four to an L five or an L five to an L six. But you know, if I look back to my time at eBay, I always wanted to work for a us tech company. So I did that.

Ben Matthews: And then the next thing was, I'd love to work in the us. And so that became my career aspiration, not I need a promotion. It's how can I find a role that I'll love that I can do from the United States? That's really important. And that was the thing that bring me joy and that opened up so many more opportunities down the road.

Ben Matthews: Yeah. I think 

Amanda Berry: that's a great piece of advice don't Fu with those opportunities just because you think that's not what you're supposed to be. I think that that's fantastic. That's a great piece of advice. I have truly enjoyed this conversation. I've learned. I know a sheep dip is now. It's been a lot of fun.

Amanda Berry: I'm going to try to, I'm going to try to use that in a sentence today. At some point 

Ben Matthews: you will just confuse Americans. I have a list of banned UK words that I don't use when I'm talking to people from the U S sheep that was on it pretty. 

Amanda Berry: Okay. That's good to know. That's good to know, but I'm going to try to use innocent and be like, oh, you don't know what sheep dip is.

Amanda Berry: Well, let me tell you, but this has been a lot of fun, lot of great stuff. I really enjoy hearing your stories and listening to, to your expertise. But before I let you go, where can our listeners find you if they want to reach out? 

Ben Matthews: So then there's always the, the very best way to reach me, search Ben Matthews and Nvidia.

Ben Matthews: And you will find me if you've turned up the climate, the world renowned climate scientists by Matthews. That's not me. Although sometimes I wish. 

Amanda Berry: I reached out to them and asked for some current communications about advice. I'm sure it happens a lot. Well, thank you again for joining me. This has been great.

Ben Matthews: No worries. Thank you for, thank you for the chat.