The practice will, said MS&L Group global CEO Olivier Fleurot, cover the full range of internal and external employee comms, bringing together functions that are often fragmented within organisations.
'In most companies today you have internal comms handled by HR,' said Fleurot. ‘Then you also have the comms team, and many other tools and websites that people can use in terms of recruitment, HR, motivation and mobility. It's very difficult for them to have a consistent approach.'
MS&L's Brand & Talent unit will attempt to bridge these gaps, through 24 dedicated teams in 20 countries across its global network. The division already counts such clients as BP, EADS, Coca-Cola and Renault, thanks in large part to the expertise of SAS.
SAS client partner Kevin Keohane will lead the new offering.
Fleurot also pointed out that several trends are combining to emphasise the critical need for consistent employee comms across multiple markets. ‘You can't communicate with your staff the way you did in the 20th century,' he said, noting the influence of digital media.
In addition, he said, recent economic fluctuations meant that ‘no industry can avoid rethinking its business model', with economic power shifting from the West to the East.
‘There will be a war of talent more and more in Europe and the US,' he said. ‘Companies will move to services and when you focus more on services, you are more reliant on people and quality of people.'
Fleurot admitted that the new practice would inevitable compete with HR consultancies. ‘We will be approaching HR directors; that's where SAS started with most of its clients.'
The launch marks MS&L Group's latest attempt to globalise the many pockets of local and regional strength within the agency's newly formed global network. The group also includes such agencies as Capital MS&L, Publicis Consultants and Winner & Associates.
‘I'm trying to build a global network made of many operations that used to operate as silos in the past,' said Fleurot.