Communications Specialist at Swiss Re

Meet Richard Mark Heard

First Contact with ghrgoup
Before Richard got to know the ghrgroup, he joined several big companies. For example he worked 20 years in the Internal Communications department for a financial services company in Germany.
Richard moved to Switzerland and was fully employed at Swiss Re for over 6 years. A few years ago Richard reached retirement age and thanks to the ghrgroup he had the opportunity for further collaboration as a contractor.

His Tasks
Richard is working as a communications specialist at Swiss Re in Zurich. His activities are focused on editing and producing publication works for clients. Mostly the publication works are firstly written by the experts. So that the publication is more reader-friendly, the language needs to be modified. The content may be about earthquake, flat price risk as well as any kind of risk.

Richard also writes reports for Swiss Re’s Website (www.swissre.com). Furthermore, there is a blogging platform called “Open Minds”. This platform is a place to exchange views on the risk that people will face in the future. Swiss Re has launched the platform to its 150 Years Anniversary. As we all know there are different types of risk. On this Open Minds platform four issues are chosen to the current generation, funding longer lives, partnering for food security, managing climate and natural disaster risk advancing sustainable energy solutions, and others risks. As the name “Open Minds” suggests, anyone can go on to the platform and discuss about these issues. As a start of a campaign Richard was asked to kick off a discussion. Sometimes he writes provocatively to get the discussion started.

Another part of his tasks is to manage the social media profiles and organizing meetings where an expert is invited so everyone from the company can listen on a particular subject. Other additional tasks are to ghostwrite speeches for the executives. This task takes a high degree of need to be able to accept criticism and comments on various draft of the speech. Moreover it is important to meet strict deadlines for finishing a speech on time.

Challenges
As in other jobs difficulties can arise. When Richard has to edit a publication it may happen that the expert had used a language in a high level. So the biggest challenge is often to convince the clients about the product that you have created. It might occur that the expert is of the opinion that his publication is well written but in fact it is not reader-friendly for the audience.

For Richard it is important to cut out what doesn’t fit, sometimes what is nonessential to the purpose of the story. He enhances the major points, drawing attention to places where the audience should focus. So whether it is a corporate publication or a journal article Richard has to make it clear, appropriate for the reader. Another challenge he sees is that an editor has to produce quality in a short period of time.

“Most of the time my work is really challenging but it is always a great feeling to see something you have written that is a part of myself.”

Another fun activity is to write speeches, which are not necessarily about insurance. As a speechwriter you are a creator of a written script which is used by executives who must give speeches to an audience.

Collaboration
Collaboration between internal and external staff is straightforward as Richard observes people treating each other fairly.Most of the external contractors here at Swiss Re used to be there, because they are known in the company. It is not a problem but sometimes there can be problems if you have to deal with someone in the company who is completely new to you. But it is the joint work between internal and external employees which Richard feels is particularly pleasant.

Richard about ghrgroup
Richard looks back on his time at ghrgroup as a positive experience. “I really appreciate that I received full support from the ghrgroup from day one and that I could always rely on for any issues or concerns that might arise.” Thanks to ghrgroup Richard did not have to give up his job following retirement.

Go back

© GHR Global Human Resources AG 2022