By Claire Karges
In any company, whether large or small, communication plays a crucial role in both daily and long-term goals. Without it, how can a business hope to portray their visions and ideals to potential stakeholders? How can employees gain any understanding of what their superiors expect from them? However, communication exists in many different forms within a company, and some of the lesser-known aspects might surprise you as much as they did me when I interviewed Linda Reding, the Senior Director of Web, Portals, and Usability, and some members of her communications team at the Medica Health Plans insurance company in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
At Medica, Reding works with some of the bigger clients, such as CVS Pharmacies, to improve the usability and aesthetic value of their company websites, leads her team in making improvements to Medica’s own website, and manages budgets and reviews within the communication department. While I was with her, she showed me some printed screenshots of the current CVS website and explained how seemingly small changes, such as uniformity in font and text colors and the titles of different dropdown menus and tabs, can make a huge difference in the functionality of the site overall.
Reding’s position is important in Medica’s communication department because the Internet has become one of the first places where people go to seek out information, and the setup of a company’s website can make all the difference in how it is viewed by potential customers.
During my time with Reding, I was also introduced to some of the members of her communication team, including Kelli Salvo, a manager of commercial communications, and Maggie Johnson and Jen Olson, who are both senior communication specialists. Each of these three women gave me a different lens through which to view the world of communication and showed me how they all come together to benefit the company as a whole.
Kelli Salvo works in the field of external communication, which includes creating and editing specialized websites that inform companies about their healthcare benefits, writing brochures about Medica’s services and letters to companies about changes or errors within their plans, and educating current members about the benefits they are given through Medica. This branch of communication is more widely known within the general public, but also requires large amounts of editing that some people may not consider.
Maggie Johnson and Jen Olson both work in the field of internal communication, with Johnson updating a social media-style website that is used by the company’s employees and informing people about events within the company, and Olson providing members with advice on medical services and insurance benefits. While this branch of communication might not be as well-known, it is important for maintaining morale within the company.
Reding told me that the best part of her job is being able to lead people and watch them grow; I think this sentiment sums up the importance of communication and the powerful relationships that it develops between different people every day.
Here is an audio clip from my interview with Linda Reding in which she discusses what she’s most proud of within her career: