STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT
BEST PRACTICES, CASE STUDIES AND STRATEGY FOR COMMUNICATORS
Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
Creating corporate responsibility at
the Department of Justice
Growing the brand at Standard
Reconnecting Building a new culture and brand
employees with How Barclays’ employees keep the
the internal customer promise
Helping employees do more with
brand less at Sony Europe
FROM THE EDITOR
Helping to build the internal
Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
After waves of cutbacks, redundancies and FEATURES
general economic gloom, many companies are
going back to basics. By this, I mean they’re 16 Creating corporate responsibility at the
returning to their core values to collectively Department of Justice
focus employees on what their organization is By Justin Gehde
all about and where it’s headed.
In the past, many companies have relied on attracting and
retaining employees through their external brand strength. 20 Growing the brand at Standard Chartered
Now they realize this is no longer good enough. Recruiting Bank
and getting the best from the most talented employees
By Elizabeth Armstrong
means organizations need to ensure employees experience
the same values that are offered to the customer. Not only
will word spread that the organization really values it’s
24 Building a new culture and brand at iPSL
employees, making it a more attractive place to work, but By Helen Love
employees are more likely to offer great customer service as
true brand ambassadors. 28 How Barclays’ employees keep the
In last issue’s editorial, I said that the current recession
won’t last for ever and companies need to ready themselves customer promise
to be in a strong position to take full advantage of the wave By Sara Moorehead and Steven McGrory
of business opportunity when it comes their way. To do this
they need a strong internal brand and clear values to attract
32 Helping employees do more with less at
and keep the best employees possible.
In this issue By Jane Sparrow
As Kath Parrington, brand experience leader at telephone
banking company First Direct, says in her profile interview
on page 6, building an internal brand doesn’t require SECTIONS
starting from scratch as the external brand builders within
the organization will have already done much of the work. In Touch Leadership
“There’s no need to reinvent the wheel,” reiterates Helen Communication
2 Useful resources for internal
Love as she explains her work at iPSL on integrating
communicators 12 Helping leaders achieve strategic
employees with a new brand (page 24).
We also hear Sara Moorehead and Steven McGrory at The Communicators’
13 Guiding the communication efforts
Barclays Bank describe how they build external relationships Network of a reluctant CEO
with their customers through engaging employees in the
4 The latest hot debates and advice
bank’s brand promise. Professional
I hope you find some ideas in this issue that will go People Development
toward making a difference in your organization. As ever, 6 PROFILE: Kath Parrington 14 How to regain your motivation for
please do get in touch with any comments and suggestions 7 THOUGHT LEADER: Jason Buck work
that we can consider to make the next issue of SCM even and Fraser Likely 15 Insight into what comms leaders
more relevant to what you’re trying to achieve.
Technology want right now
8 Creating a new intranet at West Calendar
Kelly Dyer Berkshire Council 36 Upcoming events
Editor 9 Technology update
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Directory of
Research & Services
38 A list of useful service providers
If you have any comments about any of the articles published in this issue, 10 Three stages to measuring change
or if you have an idea for a future article, please contact: communication
11 Employees trusted role in building
scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
A ROUND-UP OF USEFUL RESOURCES FOR INTERNAL COMMUNICATORS
EVENTS & RESEARCH
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS EMPLOYEES UNCONVINCED ON
CRITICAL IN BOOSTING “GOOD COMMUNICATION COMPANY’S CSR PERFORMANCE
HELPS EMPLOYEES TO Around 50 percent of companies
Only 40 percent of full-time employees feel ALIGN THEMSELVES TO disappoint employees in the area of
their company has a clear plan to corporate social responsibility (CSR),
withstand the recession, says a new study THE COMPANY’S FUTURE, according to a new study led by
by Threshold Communications, specialists coaching, consulting and training
in communication and behavior change. EVEN IF THE ECONOMIC company Krauthammer and Universities
This finding underlines the importance of of Amsterdam and the Erasmus
engaging the workforce during the current
OUTLOOK IS UNCERTAIN.” University of Rotterdam. The study
economic downturn. examines what employees expect from
through company plans with them. their company’s CSR initiatives and how
Honest communication is critical Where respondents strongly agree their well those expectations are met.
By contrast, honest communication has a line-manager communicates in this “Organizations should practice the
definite effect on employee morale. Of way, 74 percent feel high job belief that the economy and the ecology
those feeling strongly that their company enthusiasm and 86 percent have long- are one thing,” say respondents to the
has a clear plan to withstand the term commitment. survey. But, only 26 percent of
recession, 82 percent have high • Of those strongly disagreeing with this companies seem to agree.
enthusiasm for their job and 86 percent statement, a mere 16 percent are Around 50 percent of respondents
feel committed to their company’s long enthusiastic and only 26 percent are claim that their organizations are
term success. committed for the long-term. operational or even exemplary when it
Of those not committed to company comes to CSR practices. The other half
success, only 12 percent say their Listen and respond display a reactive or inactive CSR policy.
company has shared its plans to withstand “This research demonstrated how crucial it An alternative explanation for this latter
the recession with them. is for companies to listen and respond,” group of companies is that they’re simply
James Brooke, director, Threshold, says, says Brooke. He recognizes most failing to communicate with their
“The holy-grail for most organizations is to organizations are under pressure, but employees about what they’re doing
enable employees to feel a great deal of believes they can transform employee around CSR.
enthusiasm for their jobs. The results of our performance by improving their
research suggest that not only does good managers’ communication techniques. If CSR vital in economic crisis
communication engender enthusiasm, it employees feel listened to, the survey “CSR is needed, especially in an
also helps employees to align themselves shows greater commitment to the economic crisis”, adds Professor Rob van
positively to their company's future, even if company, and a much higher level of Tulder from Erasmus University of
the economic outlook is uncertain.” enthusiasm for the job. Rotterdam. “The global economic crisis
He says the research indicates three puts the topic of CSR in the spotlight in
Manager-employee relationships important actions, above all else, for line- an almost perverse manner. On one
Threshold’s survey also demonstrates the manager focus: hand, everybody acknowledges that the
importance of communication between • Genuine listening causes of the economic crisis lie with a
managers and employees. • Encouraging ideas clear lack of CSR. On the other hand it’s
• 53 percent who strongly agree their • Responding to questions fully and fiercely disputed whether the solution to
company has a clear plan are also honestly. the crisis entails stepped-up CSR efforts.
confident their line manager would In the end, the systemic nature of the
answer questions fully and honestly. “These factors correlate remarkably crisis demands longer-term approaches
• Of those saying their company has strongly with commitment, enthusiasm involving all relevant actors”, he says. SH
no clear plan, only 17 percent are and motivation. Now is the time to work
confident in their manager’s answers together,” Brooke concludes. Di Smith
and 48 percent have no confidence The full study can be downloaded at:
at all. The full article can be found at www.krauthammer.com
• Only 29 percent of the respondents feel www.internalcommshub.com/open/news/threshhol
their line manager takes time to talk dresearch.shtml
2 scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
BOOKS EVENTS RESEARCH REPORTS BLOGS SURVEYS URLS
OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF lot of useful information of value to HR
SUCCESS people (e.g. about making judgements of “IT’S A GREAT READ FOR
people), but it’s not essentially about
3 By Malcolm Gladwell, Allen Lane communication. THOSE FACED WITH
(Penguin), 2008, US$16. Outliers: The Story of Success (sold as
Outliers: Why Some People Succeed
By now most SCM readers and Some Don’t in some markets) is ABOUT PEOPLE”
will understand The Law of Gladwell’s latest social research effort. In
the Few and know that to this he thoroughly examines the reasons
communicate change you for the success of some famous people fascinating. It’s not directly about
need only to identify and (e.g. Bill Gates, Robert Oppenheimer and communication and, yes, I know that
connect with Connectors, The Beatles) and others who achieved research conducted in this way is not
Mavens and Salesmen, great success although not so well that rigorous (although he does quote
those few who can tip known. He also explores why some some studies which are). But it’s a great
ideas into popularity (often clever and talented geniuses did not and convincing read, especially for HR
unexpectedly). You’ll appreciate that achieve success. He examines some professionals faced with making
contagious behavior of little changes can ethnic traits and the importance of decisions about people (e.g. how to
have big effects that tip into a dramatic putting in hard work (10,000 hours to develop high-fliers). Outliers is strongly
movement (the “tipping point”). become expert), and discovers that being recommended.
Yes, Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping born at the right time in history helps. Incidentally, I realize that some
Point (Abacus, 2000) has been around a There are ten chapters over 300 pages readers, like me, will have sat at
while now. It’s essential reading for in two parts – “Opportunity” (about Gladwell’s feet and heard him explain his
communicators as it explains how “ideas having the chance to succeed at the right research and conclusions. If you get the
and products and messages and time, and putting in the hours) and chance to hear this very talented young
behaviors spread just like viruses do” “Legacy” (about the impact of societal genius I’d suggest you jump at it.
(page 7). traditions you are subjected to). As with
Gladwell’s second popular book Blink the other Gladwell books there is an Rodney Gray
(Penguin, 2005) is a fun read about excellent index and lots of additional Employee Communication & Surveys
“those moments when we ‘know’ notes. Rodney@rodneygray.com.au
something without knowing why”. It’s a long while since I read a book so
Experts can develop a “gut-feel” that hard to put down. It’s absolutely
goes beyond rational analysis. There’s a
BLOGS & URLS
BLOG: EDELMAN CHANGE AND Discussing the memoir of Ted Sorensen, BLOG: ASK MISS MANAGEMENT
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT the trusted advisor to US President J.F.
Kennedy, Grates says this was a perfect 3http://askmissmanagement.typepad.co
3 http://edelmanchange.blogspot.com/ example of great communication. m/
Sorensen was trusted to attend the This “agony aunt
Gary Grates, majority of the President’s meetings, for the office”
president and which meant he had not only a very style blog allows
managing director thorough understanding of the topics readers to post
of this branch of being discussed, but an appreciation for their questions on
Edelman, was a how Kennedy functioned as a leader. all matters to do
huge success Grates complains that communicators with managers,
when he gave the today don’t have the same closeness or employees, colleagues and other work-
keynote presentation at Melcrum’s connection with their senior leaders and related issues. “Miss Management” as
Change Communication conference as a result find it hard to get a complete the blog’s author refers to herself doesn’t
earlier this year. Fans of Grates (and picture of what’s happening inside their seem to be overloaded with requests for
there were many at the conference) can organization. her advice yet but there’s some
become more acquainted with his Blog topics from authors aside from interesting advice to help those living in
musings on employee engagement Grates include words that should be fear of public speaking, as well as tips
through this blog. His presentation at the avoided by communicators and best for holding on to your job despite the
conference looked at the deteriorating practice advice for shaping a productive current wave of redundancies.
levels of trust that exist in organizations mindset for employees during a
today and one of his blog postings looks downturn.
at trust from another perspective.
scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009 3
A ROUND-UP OF THE LATEST HOT DEBATES AND SHARED ADVICE
the communicators’ We’ve been throwing round some ideas
to support managers in sharing this
year’s plan. One of these ideas was a
“flowchart”. This can be used by
managers to start a dialogue with their
teams about how the targets and goals
agreed with each individual at their
annual appraisal feeds into their team
It was unsurprising to see a discussion on the network this month around how plans, their service delivery plans, the
companies can celebrate Christmas with little or no budget. As resourceful and corporate plan and the overarching
innovative as ever, members were at the ready with several low-cost ways for community strategy (and vice versa).
managers to get festive and show gratitude to employees for their hard work We’ll provide managers with a couple of
over a particularly challenging year. Also shared was advice on how to calculate populated examples so they can see how it
QA the true cost of internal communication. might work in practice and they’ll then be
tasked with having a discussion with their
teams (either in a huddle or in one-to-one
Q I’ve been asked to put together a presentation on our strategic plan as well
as a one-page summary document. Has anyone got a model for how
they’ve achieved this in the past?
meetings) to create individual ones.
We recognized that this is no easy task
for some people, especially those who
operate in support roles (finance,
procurement, legal, etc.) because there’s
no obvious link to our corporate
Helen Coley-Smith 6. Make sure materials are visually priorities, which are very front-line and
ColeySmith Consulting interesting – lots of pictures as well community focused. Hence the need to
It depends to an extent as words. Evidence suggests give managers as much support as
what stage you’re at with employees like pictures when possible with a discussion guide and
communicating your learning about strategy. supporting materials.
strategy – whether it’s about raising 7. Try to encourage a meaningful Initially it is a print and online campaign
awareness of it, creating a line of sight conversation among teams – don't using real staff to explain how what they do
between it and people’s roles, changing just send out slides to a manager and every day contributes to us achieving our
behaviors and so on. These best practice leave him/her to it, unless they’re corporate priorities. The point being to
tips are based on research inside 20 highly competent. Send them focus on people rather than policies and
global organizations communicating support materials such as a processes.
strategy to employees: manager’s guide including context, The second phase, a discussion guide is
1. Use simple language which tips on running an effective meeting, a new concept for us. I’m worried that
resonates. Strip out or clearly explain discussion points, feedback forms ours is in danger of becoming too large
any jargon/technical terms. E.g. and so on. and unwieldy. The aim is to get people
“leverage” might become “make the 8. Make communicating strategy a thinking differently and recognizing their
most of”. continual process rather than a contribution. I don’t want the discussions
2. Allow local businesses/departments one-off event. to get bogged down in detail or for a
to tailor the communication – you 9. Link the strategic plan to other key manager to think it’s too much hard work.
can be “global” at first, but the activities going on in the business, Also, this time around we want staff to
further you progress with for example, values, change be much more involved in developing the
communicating strategy the more programs, so that everything joins up service plans for the future. Currently,
you’re likely to need to allow and makes sense as a cohesive whole. they’re very management-led and often
flexibility locally in communicating it. don’t reflect the priorities staff may feel are
3. Try to make it interesting and Alexa Overington more important. Also, as we know, if staff
compelling – use examples and stories Surrey County Council have the opportunity to contribute to and
to make it more real for people. We’re currently looking at agree what they will be delivering in the
4. Involve leaders in the how we can communicate future they’re much more likely to own it.
communication of strategy. Lack of our new corporate plan to
leadership support to share it is a our staff. In the past it’s been left up to
common cause of failure – take
account of any literacy issues. The
written word may not be appropriate
for each and every employee
managers to take the responsibility for
sharing the plan/strategy with their
teams, which as you can imagine, has not
been very successful or consistent. The
Q How can we ensure
engagement, debate and
challenging questions at an
grouping. I’ve seen companies use plan is written by policy managers so is open panel discussion where
video and radio, for example, quite generally very text heavy with our top 100 senior managers
successfully where literacy is an issue. complicated diagrams and tables all with can ask senior leaders about
5. Make sure that managers have the limited explanation, so we’ve been tasked the vision for next year?
ability to communicate strategy. with making it more “real” to staff.
4 scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
Emma Ridgeon demographic, such as a division,
LATEST ON THE
Independent consultant geography or population group. Are
Arrange attendees on
round tables and get them
there more detailed clusters with certain
attitudinal or behavioral characteristics?
to discuss their top one or Why "web 2.0 needs leadership 2.0"
two questions for the panel, then Sona Hathi posted video interviews from
nominate a spokesperson to stand up
and ask it. This is less daunting if you’re
asking on behalf of a whole team, plus it
gets discussion going.
Q Does anyone have any
communicating a change in
Melcrum’s member event in March, where Dr.
Bonnie Cheuk, Global Head of Knowledge and
Information and Samantha Bouzan, Global
Communications Manager from ERM, delivered
Line up a few people to throw in some our bonus structure from one a presentation on their award winning intranet
easy/funny/controversial questions early where all employees get the site. Members heard how the team have used
on. This helps give “permission” for same amount, to one that’s SharePoint as a collaboration and knowledge
others and breaks the ice. now dependant on employees’ sharing tool and how they gauged what
Have a stack of empty post-its or employees wanted on the site. Also posted is
event-branded postcards lying around an interview with Stephen Cox,
throughout the two days on which people Communications Director at the Council for
can write their question on and drop in a Mary Kuhn World Mission. Members of the organization are
box or stick on a wall before the session. AAA Northern California, based around the world, many work in remote
Make sure you have a few prepared Nevada & Utah locations and have little access to technology.
questions (invite attendees to email in Changes in how people are In the interview, Stephen explains just how
advance when you send out the invites) paid and rewarded do tend diverse his audience is and what channels work
and plan to field at least one each to to get attention! I suggest, however, that best for communicating with them.
your five directors so they all get to moving the bonus to a pay-for-
speak. If you have a bit of budget, you performance structure will make one Hotel Chocolat’s strong loyalty focus
could make it more lively/fun with some group happy – your top performers. It extends internally too
props or staging. We recently used the can be quite demoralizing for this group Coralie Thomson, senior marketing executive at
“Question Time” theme tune as an to see no difference in rewards based on Melcrum attended an event where Angus
opener which got people laughing. individual effort and results. Thiriwell, founder of Hotel Chocolat spoke about
Finally, fight as hard as you can not to I’d suggest focusing on the opportunity how he manages to keep his brand alive for
get the session squeezed or chopped. Live and the business reasons for the change employees. Coralie recalls that Angus explained
events often overrun and it’s always the – answering the question, what does a how Hotel Chocolat uses a brand wheel so that
Q&As or the “open discussion” sessions stronger link between pay and employees have a clear image of what the brand
that tend to suffer because they’re seen as performance provide to the employee, stands for – the outer circle is filled with images
soft agenda items. the organization and the customer? of light-hearted things to do with chocolate, while
Make your case in a simple and the inner core communicates the more serious
Sandra Park straightforward manner – before side of the brand – for example, its attention to
Heineken communicating be aware of some of the quality, its strong ethical beliefs. Employees are
We use a very simple factors that might contribute to encouraged to focus on the customer experience
approach of asking people resistance. These include distrust of and can even take a “diploma in chocolate”!
to form small “huddles” to management, belief that performance
discuss the issues and then to agree two evaluations are subjective and influenced www.melcrumblog.com
or three questions that the group would by cronyism, poor manager “Thoughts and revelations on internal
like to ask. We usually give the groups 10 communication/performance communication and beyond”
or 15 minutes to do this and then management skills, lack of experience
someone from the group will ask the setting specific, measurable and realistic
questions. This ensures that there are performance goals. If some of these JOIN THE COMMUNICATORS’
plenty of questions, no awkward silences factors turn out to be positive (high trust NETWORK NOW
and as no one individual has to raise for example), that’s a good thing and As a valued SCM subscriber, you’re entitled to
their hand, the questions are always very should also be considered. join The Communicators’ Network, an online
relevant and direct. A good solid assessment of the discussion forum for communication practitioners
Finally, with such a large population, attitudes, beliefs and potential risks that worldwide. It’s a lively community that helps
you need to define a segmentation exist in your organization can help you you find answers to your communication
strategy. Start simple with some determine the best strategy for this roll out. questions fast. The discussion is monitored so
corporate-level segmentations. For you’ll receive no unsolicited email, and we will
example, do we have three or four main seek your permission first if we would like to
types within our employees overall, with print any of your ideas in SCM.
different demographic, attitudinal and
behavioral characteristics? Then begin to Email email@example.com to
think about more complex segments. For join and gain instant access to a global
example, within a particular network of your peers.
scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009 5
are too complex for our people to
The alternative perspective on this,
however, is that your customer
Building, maintaining demographic and people demographic
may well be different. For example,
and aligning the people who build Rolls-Royces don’t
necessarily drive them. This doesn’t
internal brand mean you can’t understand the brand in
the same way as your customer, it’ll just
be approached from a different angle.
Again, this is harder when you have
PROFILE : KATH PARRINGTON multiple brands.
BRINGING THE BRAND TO LIFE How do you engage your people with
Each year begins with an annual strategy
AT FIRST DIRECT presentation that’s led by our leadership
team (delivered face to face in a large hall
Having worked in a variety of areas for UK-based telephone banking company, First onsite) and everyone in the business
Direct, Kath Parrington has seen first-hand the positive impact on an organization when participates. It tells us in an adult way
employees truly live the brand. Now brand experience leader, she explains here why it’s what’s going on in the external world, how
so important to understand the customer and offers advice for achieving robust internal we performed the previous year and what
and external brand alignment. our challenges are. All the messages are
reinforced, including: what the brand’s
Why a brand experience team? department. Some companies have an about, what our vision is, what the brand
Some time ago we reviewed the internal internal communication team, but we have values are, what the customer experience
communication function and realized that a brand experience team. We also have a is, and this sets the tone for the rest of the
the team has a wider role in the business social function that organizes external and year.
than is encompassed by the traditional internal events and they make up part of We’ve formed a partnership with the
remit of internal communication. As part the brand experience team. Our external children’s charity Childline because it
of the analysis we realized that what we do brand values are the same as our internal involves children reaching out for help
is fundamentally rooted in the brand. The cultural values: “pride” and “passion” to over the phone, which has a strong
company is frequently being commended name two. emotional connection to our brand. We’ve
for its high standards of customer service done this because it engages our people
and that’s because our people deliver on What’s your advice for achieving and also because it’s the right thing to do.
the brand promise. external and internal brand alignment?
There are 10 of us in the brand You have to start by understanding the What are your current challenges?
experience team serving over 3,400 people. brand so I’d suggest developing a very As with many others, it’s working within
We’re based across two sites in the UK. close relationship with the marketing team, the confines created by the external
At First Direct, customers are relating to if that doesn’t already exist. It will help you market situation and the need to focus
a voice at the end of a phone but we’re appreciate how the customer engages with on cost. This is informing everything we
very good at building empathy and a sense the brand. Do your organizational values do. The difficulty is in recognizing what
of customer importance. It’s important for reflect your brand values? If not, why not? needs to be invested in and supported,
the brand experience team to understand Admittedly, if you’re an organization and eliminating the costs where you’re
how a customer relates intellectually and working across multiple brands, for not adding value. Our values are “fun”
emotionally with our brand. If our example, this is harder to achieve. and “engagement” and the obvious
employees can experience the same belief action is to stop having fun, but that’s
in the brand, they can deliver that to the What can go wrong when companies try not the answer. If you only understand
customers as real advocates. to build their internal brand? the rationale side of the brand, and not
The brand experience team use People sometimes think they have to build the emotional side, you’ll only ever make
traditional communication methods, which a separate internal brand identity. Why do cost decisions and not those connected
are fully informed by and aligned with both this? The marketing team has done the to investing in the future.
rational and emotional considerations. But work for you. If we start from scratch, we
some communications also include risk sending out conflicting messages that
activities that have been designed purely to
engage people emotionally. This creates a
sense of freedom and it reinforces our Kath Parrington is brand experience leader at First Direct bank, UK. She’s held a
cultural values. wide range of operational and support roles within the organization including people
Where does the function sit? leadership, change management and communication.
The team forms part of the marketing
6 scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
more than just receivers, users,
Is the term spectators and target segments? Is our
role simply one of one-way information,
“audience” one news or message dissemination to a
targeted and passive employee audience?
that’s accurate and Shouldn’t we be thinking of engagement
– employees as activists, participants,
acceptable? interlocutors, champions, influencers,
conversationalists, ambassadors or
partners? That is, as active not passive.
“Audience” is no longer good enough
THOUGHT LEADERS : JASON BUCK & FRASER LIKELY If so, the universal application of the
term audience no longer fits our needs.
UP FOR DEBATE: WHAT OUR What does, then? While the term
stakeholder is used to identify employees
with a particular “stake” in an issue and
LANGUAGE ACTUALLY CONVEYS organizational decision, it doesn’t
indicate how stakeholders will behave in
A recent posting on Melcrum’s Communicators’ Network Listserv about measuring regard to the issue or decision. Within
internal news sparked a fairly heated debate. It centered on whether the term internal communication, we need to
“audience” is suitable for internal communicators to use when referring to their encourage and work with stakeholders to
organizations’ employees or whether it sends inaccurate signals about their role. Here to become engaged and to act.
offer their contrasting views on the subject are Jason Buck and Fraser Likely. To describe groups of employees who
become active, there’s another term:
Jason says: As communicators we’re communication, “audience” is still a vital publics. Publics are sub-sets of
engaged in a multidirectional flow of term that helps us understand, approach stakeholders. As noted PR/C scholar Jim
information, concepts and feedback with and serve the needs of those we’re Grunig has said: “publics arise on their
individuals and groups, some comparable communicating with. own.” A public is a “group of people who
in size to small cities. While we can We mustn’t be so concerned with face a similar problem, recognize the
conceptualize our participants and renaming the world to forget how it problem and organize themselves to do
respondents, in day-to-day work with our works. The word “audience”, like something about it.” Certainly social
colleagues and clients, we often need to “communicator”, is just another noun media (wikis; sharepoint; facebook;
give those individuals and groups a name but it gives us a focal point from which blogs; and so on.) have encouraged the
so they can be referred to. For this purpose we can inform our thinking and – for our re-conceptualization of employees, from
I choose “audience”. colleagues, clients and friends – a name passive audience to stakeholder to active
This isn’t to say “audience” is a generic by which to understand our methods. It’s public.
term for an assembled mass receiving our not a confusing or ambiguous neologism Yes, the term audience is acceptable
loudhailer broadcasts, but those we that reinforces the “them and us” for the mass communication of news or
interact with. To determine the most paradigm, but is universally understood messages to employees. For the other 90
appropriate method of communicating, we and useful. So why not use it? percent of what we should be doing each
might also need to divide up our audience day, the terms stakeholders and publics
into segments to better serve our and their Fraser says: Audience is an acceptable are better at describing the groupings of
needs: personas, demographics, term. But, in 2009, is it the only or the best active employees and our communication
geographics, work streams or how ever is term to describe how we group employees? with them. The utilization of all three
best. After all, who are “participants”, Audience can mean: a receiver of a terms – audience, stakeholder and
“stakeholders” or “thought leaders” but message from a sender; the user of a publics – reveals a more up-to-date and
identified parts of the overall audience and media channel; a spectator in attendance well-rounded approach to internal
so audiences themselves? From here we at a performance; and a target segment communication than does the sole and
can make informed decisions whether to of a population. universal use of the term audience.
engage through a town hall meeting, We conceive the audience we want. We
broadcast with a static intranet site, group employees into audiences:
encourage participation between a team employees do not group themselves. An
and its leader or nurture collaboration audience, therefore, is an artificial
through organic or digital channels. construct and is passive by definition.
Shouldn’t we think about employees as
“Audience” helps to serve needs
While the communication industry is Jason Buck (pictured far left) is a UK-based freelance web, digital and
progressing and most practitioners communications professional based in the UK.
(thankfully) understand the inescapable Fraser Likely is president of communication management firm Likely
necessity of working beyond newsletter Communication Strategies in Canada.
scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009 7
with the council’s HR system. Each team
Making the intranet also has its own noticeboard, which all
members can amend and use as they see
accessible and fit. Based on data taken directly from the
HR system, the intranet provides full
appealing to a varied details of all staff through its “People
Finder” search and offers the ability to
employee base change details and inform the HR
department, online. Polls are used to gain
views on a range of topics from internal
policies to the choice of sandwiches
preferred at meetings.
CREATING A NEW INTRANET AT To minimize disruption, employees were
offered the same content they’d had on the
previous intranet system as a default. The
WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL biggest change is the ability for staff to
tailor and manage the content they see. We
When the Chief Executive at local authority West Berkshire Council in the UK decided felt it was important that users didn’t feel
that the intranet needed a revamp, Phil Rumens took on the challenge. Here, he explains they were losing anything when we
how the web development team created an interactive homepage, incorporating Web switched over to MyIntranet. Though we
2.0 technology, to connect employees and encourage cross-functional interaction. encourage our staff to use the
functionality, we don’t force them. If they
wish, they can have exactly the same
West Berkshire Council provides services cross-organization teambuilding and co- content types as on the old intranet. It
over an area of 272 square miles to around operation in areas of the authority that enables us to add new functionality when
145,000 people. It employs around 4,000 would otherwise not naturally interact. For we want and with each roll-out of a
staff who provide a variety of different example, the launch of “Your Space”, an “widget” we post a news item detailing the
services, from educators to electricians, area specific to each team within the functionality. We’ve also established an
and planning officers to social workers. council, means that staff can communicate intranet review group to give feedback and
The website and intranet are hosted in- with each other via this electronic to advise on future changes.
house and content is managed using GOSS noticeboard that allows every person from Since MyIntranet was introduced, the
iCM (intelligent Content Management) each individual team to edit information. number of users remains consistent and
from GOSS Interactive. The intranet has The second stage of “Your Space” has around 25 percent have chosen to
recently been revamped by our web given every user the ability to see each customize their homepage, choosing
development team. other’s space, meaning one team can see different colour schemes, layouts, and
We were one of the first local authorities the noticeboard of another, but not edit it. widgets. As more widgets and options are
in the UK to launch a Web 2.0 style “drag In addition, council-wide forums such as added, the number of people customizing
and drop” intranet home page. The new Items For Sale/Wanted items, Professional their MyIntranet homepage is increasing,
intranet, known as “MyIntranet”, is used Services and Social Events mean staff who although the default options will always be
regularly by 2,500 staff. don’t have face-to-face contact with each the most desired layout for some users.
other are in contact via the intranet.
Developing an interactive homepage Looking to the future
West Berkshire Council’s website had been Maximizing the use of Web 2.0 We’ve had a great reaction from our user
developed considerably since the launch of Users have the ability to customize the group, which comprises information
its current incarnation in February 2006, to look of the intranet to seven choices of managers from throughout the
the detriment of the intranet, which had color scheme, including one designed for organization. They’re continuing to
received very little attention. Our Chief those with visual impairment. provide constructive suggestions for
Executive identified that internal Information regarding council news, development, which is important to keep
communication via the intranet needed to service delivery and specific service data MyIntranet in touch with the needs of all
be improved. are published to users via the intranet. users and avoid us creating additions that
The new content-rich intranet employs Content can be published securely, right may be technically great but of little use
many features associated with Web 2.0, down to team level via information to our staff.
making use of content from many different managers throughout the organization,
sources. Not only are users able to thanks to the integration of GOSS iCM
customize the look and feel of the intranet,
they can now add, minimize and maximize, Phil Rumens is web development manager at West Berkshire Council in the UK. He has
remove, and re-order content widgets in been employed in both the private and public sectors for companies including Vodafone,
any combination they wish. In addition, Amey and UK local authorities Newbury District and West Berkshire Council.
social network-style elements encourage
8 scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
INCREASING ONLINE Although organizations typically provided MCDONALD’S SERVES
DONATIONS TO these answers somewhere within the
site, users often had problems finding
UP MORE BLOGS FOR
CHARITIES this crucial information. EMPLOYEES
User research by usability experts Nielsen What’s restricting the flow of donations? Over the next two weeks, McDonald’s will
Norman Group (NN/g) finds significant NN/g identified what exactly turns people expand the number of bloggers on its
deficiencies in non-profit organizations’ off donating. internal website for North American staff,
website content, which often fails to • 47 percent were usability problems Station M, from three to 15. A few of the
provide the information people need to relating to page and site design, new bloggers may simply write once, it
make donation decisions. including unintuitive information said, adding that the objective was to drive
Non-profits would collect much more architecture, cluttered pages, and diversity on a site dedicated to staff working
from their websites if they clearly stated confusing workflow. across the US and Canada, in English,
what they’re about and how they use • On 17 percent of the sites, users Spanish, and French.
donations. New usability studies by NN/g couldn’t find where to make a
revealed considerable frustration as donation. Example of collaboration in comms
potential donors visited sites and tried to This is a good example of how corporate
discern various organizations’ missions “You’d imagine that donation-dependent and internal comms teams can work side
and goals – which are key factors in their sites would at least get that one design by side. The corporate team selects the
decisions about whether to give money. element right, but banner-blindness or over- blog post topics, such as product launches
An earlier survey by Target Analytics formatting caused people to overlook some and brand initiatives, while bloggers help
found that non-profits got about 10 donation buttons.” explains Nielsen. “To drive content focused on the daily issues
percent of their donations online. Given the improve fundraising, speak plainly and arising at the restaurants.
high growth rate for internet donations, answer donors’ main questions, and In the year since the site launched,
NN/g estimates that if non-profit money will flow your way,” he advises. registration has more than doubled to
organizations improve their websites online approximately 25,000, with crew
donations will constitute the majority of To download the full report visit: members. One posted question, with about
donations by 2020. www.nngroup.com/reports/donations/ 40 comments, concerned what kind of
“Well-designed non-profit websites are gloves to wear in the drive-through to keep
particularly suited for attracting new warm in the winter while handling money.
donors and efficiently supporting small- So it’s definitely worth taking a look and
scale impulse giving. Websites are less seeing how this can, and perhaps should,
effective at sustaining long-term donor “TO IMPROVE apply to many other businesses across the
relationships. For encouraging customer world. Keeping your employees happy and
(or donor) loyalty, email newsletters
FUNDRAISING, SPEAK warm both mentally and physically is an
remain the internet tool of choice,” says PLAINLY AND ANSWER obvious way to maintain morale during
Jakob Nielsen in the latest newsletter. arguably the most complex and frightening
DONORS’ MAIN period in corporate history for 80 years.
In-depth research into what users want James Bennett
To discover how to design non-profit QUESTIONS, AND MONEY
websites to encourage donations, the WILL FLOW YOUR WAY.” To read the full blog visit:
company tested 23 non-profit www.melcrumblog.com
organization websites. They asked
participants what information they want
to see on non-profit websites before they
decide whether to donate. The most
common answers were:
• The organization’s mission, goals,
objectives, and work.
• How it uses donations and
Only 43 percent of the sites they studied
answered the first question on their
homepage. Only 4 percent answered the
second question on the homepage.
scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009 9
RESEARCH & MEASUREMENT
Step Two: Use the desired outcomes
A measurement and the gaps you’ve identified to help
plan the measurement approach against
approach that your approach in communication.
We plot this against the stages of the
considers employee change curve, because your
communication efforts will change as your
reactions to change employee needs change (see Figure Two,
below). You need to adjust your approach
as the change progresses, so at first, you
may not be able to fill in all the segments
of the matrix. You may need to fill in the
ADRIAN CROPLEY AND MELISSA DARK first two to three columns and then revisit
the plan as you move forward.
THREE STAGES TO MEASURING A more focused technique
CHANGE COMMUNICATION The advantage of using the matrix is that
your communication techniques and your
measurement tools are all captured
In this extract from Melcrum’s report Essential toolkits for communicating change together in one place for easy reference
Adrian Cropley and Melissa Dark offer a three-stage matrix for measuring change and easy reporting to management or
communication. Because Cropley and Dark believe that all change communication your change team.
should be created with the change curve in mind, the matrix takes into account that Your matrix will include more detail
change provokes different levels of employee response. on the communication approach, and
your approach will depend on your
The change communication Take a baseline measure to gauge the organization, the type of change you’re
measurement matrix is a great way of current state. There are many ways you running, and the outcomes you’re trying
defining the types of measures we need can do this, and your choice of to achieve. Using the matrix allows you
throughout the various stages of change, measurement tool will largely depend on to focus your measurement strategy on
as described by the change curve. It the type of change you’re communicating. the most critical elements of the change.
looks at the stages of change in Understanding the current state, as well
conjunction with the three key areas of as where you want to get to, will enable 1. For more information on the report Essential toolkits for
change communication objectives: you to prepare a gap analysis which will communicating change, visit www.melcrum.com
1. Think: What knowledge does the be invaluable to you in determining how
audience have about the change? to plan your communication approach.
What knowledge do they need?
2. Feel: What are their attitudes
towards the change? How do we Figure One: Change communication gap analysis
want them to feel?
3. Do: How does our audience
currently behave? What new
behaviors are we trying to introduce?
The matrix allows us to understand the
effect our communication is having, and
gives us insight to where our audience is Figure Two: The change communication measurement matrix
on the change curve. It then helps us to
focus our communication approach, (see
Figure One, right).
The change measurement planning tool
Step One: Ensure you define your desired
outcomes first. It’s critical that you have
identified your end-state – what it is that
you’re trying to achieve. Hopefully, there
will be clearly stated business goals and
outcomes associated with your change.
You then need to break this down into Adrian Cropley is CEO of Cropley Communications. Melissa Dark is CEO
our objectives model – as a result of this of Melissa Dark Associates, a consultancy specialising in employee
change, what do we want people to think, communication. Together they run Melcrum’s Black Belt Internal
feel and do? Communication Training Program in Sydney and Melbourne.
10 scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009
RESEARCH & MEASUREMENT
they don’t hear it first from an official
Where do employees channel, they complain that the
organization never keeps them informed.
want to get their
Official channels do matter
information from? The Edelman study confirms this because
their results showed that 91 percent of
opinion leaders said that communicating
the state of a company’s business
frequently and honestly is an important
factor in the company’s overall reputation.
I think this validates the importance of
ANGELA SINICKAS official corporate communications for
maintaining reputation, even if those
EMPLOYEES’ TRUSTED ROLE IN communications aren’t seen as credible by
more than 26 percent.
BUILDING REPUTATION Implications for social media
Unfortunately, some corporate
communicators have quoted these survey
Trust and credibility shouldn’t be the only factors determining which sources of results to their leadership team to suggest
information we use, says Angela Sinickas. Just because we believe what someone that less information be provided to
tells us doesn’t mean we want them to do the telling. employees from traditional “less credible”
corporate sources, such as newsletters and
Town Halls, and more come directly from a
Earlier this year the Edelman PR agency shareholders who trust them. network of well-briefed employee peers,
released its 10th annual Trust Barometer But do these study results suggest that through channels like social media and
Study. This found that 91 percent of our employees, too, would prefer to learn informal discussions.
opinion leaders1 aged 25-64 in 20 countries company information from their own There are many different facets to trust.
said that being able to trust a company trusted peers? For example, employees might trust a
affects the company’s overall reputation. union or works council as a source of
This was the third highest factor, right Peers are not preferred information about proposed changes to
behind the quality of the company’s Just because a source has credible working conditions, but might very well not
products/services and how it treats its information doesn’t mean employees want trust them as a reliable source of
employees. to get new information from that source. information on their company’s strategy.
The study has interesting – yet When we ask employees for their top While social media can certainly play a
potentially misleading – implications for two current and top two preferred powerful role in shaping employees’
employee communication. When 35- to 64- information sources on a variety of specific attitudes about company issues, they
year-olds were asked how credible various topics, peers or colleagues are never shouldn’t generally be the mechanism to
sources of information were about a selected as a preferred communication broadcast new information to employees.
company, the following percentages said source by more than 2-3 percent of Typically, peers’ biggest impact is going
our audiences were extremely credible or respondents on any topic. The usual to be with attitudes rather than details,
very credible: preference level is 0 percent. shaping their colleagues’ behavior as
• 40 percent said conversations with This is even true at companies where brand champions or grapevine-deniers.
friends and peers. rumors are a significant current source of That’s where they can be very effective.
• 40 percent said conversations with information for up to 25 percent of If we remember that influencing
company employees. employees on topics like organizational attitudes is a very different goal from
changes, news, compensation/benefits, broadcasting knowledge, finding a role
Only two sources were more credible: career development, competitive issues for employees in our processes can be a
stock/industry analyst reports (47 percent) and branding. This doesn’t mean very valuable part of our communication
and articles in business magazines (44 employees don’t like their colleagues or strategy.
percent). Others were lower, like CEO don’t trust them. It just means they don’t
speeches (27 percent), corporate want them to be among their first sources 1. Opinion leaders were defined as college educated, with income
communications (26 percent) and business of information on a topic. While they may in the top quartile for the their age and country, who read/watch
blogs (19 percent). trust what they hear from a colleague, if business news media and follow public policy issues in the news
Clearly, we need to make sure our at least several times a week.
employees are well informed and positive
representatives of our companies’ Angela Sinickas, ABC, IABC Fellow, is president of Sinickas Communications, Inc., an
viewpoints so they can provide reliable international communication consultancy specializing in helping corporations
information to the customers and achieve business results through targeted diagnostics and practical solutions. For
more information visit: www.sinicom.com
scm Volume 13, Issue 3 April/May 2009 11