Senior Director, Enterprise Communications


W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE: GWW), headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, is the 10th largest eRetailer and an omni-channel industrial distribution company. Founded in 1927, the company has 25,000 employees partnering closely with customers to provide cost-effective solutions for their maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) needs. The organization is a Fortune 300 Company, and often recognized as one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies.

Position Details

Senior Director, Enterprise Communications
Northern Illinois
Lake Forest, IL

Primary Function:

Develop and oversee the internal communications strategies to support the company’s purpose, aspiration, strategy, and culture. Responsible for the development and oversight of the overarching strategy and tone for all enterprise-wide communications across all geographies and all roles within every aspect of the business. Be the business partner to the CHRO, General Counsel and CFO, partnering closely with executives in the corporate functions as well leaders across the company globally to create relevant program that advance top priority company initiatives.

Lead a team responsible for creating and executing enterprise-wide, audience-specific (wired, non-wired, on the go etc.), and corporate function specific communications programs, including major change initiatives, and engagement and reputation programs. These strategies are expected to lead to a shared understanding of Grainger’s direction and leaders’ and team members’ roles in company success.

Provide counsel on communicating with diverse employee audiences and collaborate with centralized channel management team to ensure communication vehicles are appropriate and available, as well as identify and use new communications technologies as appropriate.

Principal Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Manages a team of 6-10 employees. 
  • Sets internal communication strategy to drive business performance and ensure engaged, aligned workforce of brand advocates. 
  • Sets overarching enterprise communications strategy, including all employee communications and strategic communications, collaborating across the function with other communications leaders to ensure an integrated and aligned approach. 
  • Provides strategic counsel and coaching to CHRO, General Counsel and CFO to ensure priorities and messaging are aligned and articulated in a manner consistent with the overall company strategy and culture. Develops and oversees the strategy, direction and delivery of executive communications to establish and maintain appropriate positioning and visibility across Grainger’s audiences. 
  • Establishes framework to optimize senior leadership voice and advance reputation of the company. 
  • Partner with HR, Legal and Finance to support relevant initiatives that have broad, company impact, including total rewards, business conduct, and company performance. Support respective Grainger Leadership Team members with functional communications strategy, serving as communications expert. 
  • In conjunction with CHRO and Sr HR Leadership, drive evolution of corporate culture in partnership with Grainger Leadership Team 
  • Serve as communications expert for international businesses. 
  • Sets agenda and provides strategic oversight & direction of company-wide communications, evaluating outcomes to ensure relevancy, quality and return on investment. 
  • Responsible for building strategy to strengthen internal communication networks and messages to align performance and behaviors around strategies that drive team member and company success globally. 
  • Gathers team member sentiment analysis to help senior leaders understand team members’ perspective on company direction, strategy, culture, etc. 
  • Measures effectiveness of enterprise and corporate function communications through a variety of vehicles, including communication audits, surveys and informal networks. 
  • Collaborate across the Communications & Public Affairs team to develop relevant metrics and reporting. 
  • Lead a team of global communications Sr. Managers, Managers and Specialists in developing thoughtful communications programs that advance company goals. Includes managing shared resources for the function. Provide leadership, mentorship, feedback and development in support of their professional goals and company objectives. Allocate resources to support various business needs, development, etc. 
  • Partner with relevant corporate functions to craft leadership communications strategy, including Grainger’s annual leadership summit.
  • Find and manage outside professional services as needed to support communication objectives. 
  • Serve on department leadership team, responsible for talent management, relevant budgeting, development

Preferred Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Public Relations or related field required 
  • MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred. 
  • 15+ years of experience in related field preferred. 
  • Exceptional and persuasive written, oral and interpersonal communication skills. 
  • Emotionally intelligent and proven ability to influence and gain trust of different senior leaders quickly. 
  • Proven strong ability to lead, influence and navigate and build relationships across all levels of the organization, including senior leaders and Communication and Public Affairs team members. 
  • Ability to effectively lead, manage and develop a team. 
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution. 
  • Strong business acumen and ability to show up as a business leader & communications expert. 
  • Strong executive presence and confidence to challenge the status quo with senior leaders. 
  • Ability to facilitate and distill multiple perspectives from senior executives into communications that will resonate with broad audiences. 
  • Ability to stay ahead of trends in technology to ensure Grainger is best utilizing channels to reach team members in the most effective and cost-efficient manner possible. 
  • Excellent planning skills, with a proven ability to manage, prioritize and allocate resources. 
  • Proven ability to attract, develop and retain high-performance talent. 
  • Ability to make decisions in a rapidly changing environment and perform in high pressure situations with multiple stakeholders, including senior executives under tight timeframes. 
  • Proven success working in a matrix environment, influencing without direct authority, and leading large scale, complex projects and change initiatives. 
  • Ability to translate complex business issues into readily understandable, creative and strategic communications for a variety of audiences. 
  • Self-reliant, proactive, assertive, and results-oriented. 
  • Optimistic, energetic, flexible, collaborative, easy to work with. 
  • Ability to handle sensitive or proprietary company information in a confidential manner. 
  • Analytical – able to gather, analyze, package and make thoughtful recommendations based on insights from data. 
  • Ability to identify, recommend and manage outside resources to ensure success of projects. 
  • Ability to stand in for VP of Communications and Public Affairs as needed.

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