#inspiredbystories

Project: Job Swap

by Sabrina Carlton

How does it actually work in other companies? What do they do the same way, what do they do completely differently? Michaela Schwinge (corporate communications at Deutsche Telekom) and Anja Kroll (strategy & CEO communications at AXA) tested this out in their job swap project. Here they report on their experiences and what surprised them the most


Michaela Schwinge, corporate communications at Deutsche Telekom and her job swap project
Michaela Schwinge

Michaela Schwinge (Deutsche Telekom)

What were your expectations prior to the swap?

I was hoping to see another company’s style of communication, as I have worked with Telekom for a long time. I started my studies right after school here. I also wanted to get to know other, new communication formats and thus get new momentum for my work. And my expectations were fully met.

What surprised you about this experience?

I was surprised how similar the methods of communication are – there were many similar ideas and processes. It is exciting to see how the colleagues approach and implement things.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from this experience?

I am a planner. Everything must always be thought through by me before I implement it. In AXA’s communication and innovation team, I experienced experimentation and a “just do it” mentality that I would like to take with me to my job.

Would you recommend a swap to others? If so, why?

Absolutely. It really did me good to get out of the daily routine for a few days. Most of all I was enthusiastic about the many expert discussions with communication colleagues. It’s lovely to talk to someone who has a real understanding of your work. There you’re on a completely different level than when you talk to non-specialists.

Anja Kroll, strategy & CEO communications at AXA and her job swap project
Anja Kroll

Anja Kroll (AXA)

What were your expectations prior to the swap?

To get a look behind the scenes of a corporate communications department that, with around 130 communication specialists, is one of the largest in Germany.

What surprised you about this experience?

The openness of all the colleagues and the depth of the professional discussions that were allowed to take place. Everyone was very open-minded and interested in exchanging ideas across company and industry boundaries.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from this experience?

Regardless of which industry you work in, there are numerous topics and challenges that are similar for many specialists. For example, the question of how to better connect corporate communications and other content-producing units, as well as to increase potential. In this respect, I have found the exchange and consideration of a new perspective of this to be extremely profitable.

Would you recommend a swap to others? If so, why?

Absolutely! A well-prepared job swap can provide much inspiration in a short time, open up new perspectives, help you to question your own points of view, and be a starting point for further exchange. I thought it was great to be able to interact with a communication specialist outside my own industry. Additionally, there were a number of points of contact – for example when it comes to CEO communication. That was good, as this way the exchange was more experience-based and very concrete, rather than abstract. 


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