How to communicate a strategic plan and values effectively to the university community and stakeholders? (EMP project)

Hannamaija Helander - Finland

Mrs. Hannamaija Helander has worked in the field of communications, both in private and public sector, all her professional career  for over 25 years. She has worked as Communications manager at the University of Helsinki since 2012.

She is in charge of the university´s communications and media relations both nationally and internationally, including crisis management. Internal communications is also a vital part of the daily work of her team. She supports and contributes to the university leadership in communication matters.

University of Helsinki is also her Alma mater, since she graduated in 1993 as Master of Political Science, majoring in Communications.

Session Introduction

It is a task of communications professionals to support senior leadership in their efforts to execute and communicate strategic plans and values. In this workshop, we share the best and even some of the worst practices based on our endorsements and experiences. We introduce a toolbox for other universities to use in communicating strategic plans and values.

Session in depth

University strategic plans are seldom considered brilliant and outstanding achievements. How can we as comms professionals support senior leadership in their efforts to execute these plans and avoiding they end up in the dustbin of official documents?

As part of the EUPRIO Mobility Programme III communications professionals from five universities, Università degli studi di Trieste, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, University of Helsinki, University of Manchester and Webster Vienna Private University, worked together to create a roadmap for communicating university´s values and a strategic plan. We addressed the following questions:

  • What are the prerequisites for an effective strategy process?
  • What have we learned from previous strategic plan processes: what do we need to do more, and more specifically what should we NOT do?
  • How do we engage the university community? What dialogue tools and methods can be used
  • How and at which stage do we engage stakeholders?
  • How can we capture key messages in the plan and create feelings like curiosity and awe through communications?
  • How can we prevent “strategy fatigue” and keep people interested in the implementation of the plans?
  • What tools does the management team and supervisors need in implementing strategic plans?

We introduce a toolbox for other universities to use. The workshop participants will discuss best practices and their personal experiences. Participants are also able to add items to the toolbox. We sincerely hope and believe our work in the EUPRIO Mobility Programme III and in this workshop will support universities in boosting and communicating their values and strategic plans smoother and more effectively.