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The Journal of Internal Communication Volume 7


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The Journal of Internal Communication Volume 7

  2. 2. For further information about Gatehouse or any of our companies contact us: Tel: 020 7754 3630 Email: @gatehousegroup General disclaimer: No responsibility or liability is assumed by Gatehouse Consulting Limited for any views, opinions and content provided by contributory authors. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, Gatehouse Consulting Limited cannot be held responsible for published errors. The views or opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect views of Gatehouse Consulting Limited. Inclusion of any advertising material does not constitute a guarantee or endorsement of any products or services or the claims made by any provider. Gatehouse Essex 25 High Street, Brentwood, CM14 4RG Gatehouse London 14 Printing House Yard, Hackney Road, London, E2 7PR
  3. 3. 1 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 Foreword M usicians live in fear of cryptomensia. It’s when you steal somebody’s work without realising it. One night, Paul McCartney dreamt the melody to Yesterday. He was paranoid that he’d unwittingly pinched it, so he spent a month going around the music industry asking people if they recognised it. Obviously, plagarism is bad. But bor­rowing people’s ideas? Increas­ ingly, it’s the only way to succeed. When Oscar Wilde wrote: “Talent borrows, genius steals”, what he meant was that while clever people appropriate other people’s ideas, the smartest minds steal them – in other words, they make them their own. That’s why we created the Journal of Internal Communication. We wanted to give everybody in internal communication a way to brush up on best practice from around the industry and once again we’ve got a stellar line up. Lansons’ Scott McKenzie shares the “Three easy steps to ensuring effective change”. Claire Purves explains how she’s pioneered the use of communi­ cations champions within the engineering giant Howden. And Neil Burgess at RWE nPower shares his thoughts on “Peer-to- peer recognition: the importance of an ‘applause’.” Hope you enjoy the issue. Lee Smith Simon Wright
  4. 4. 2 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 Contents STRATEGY Focusing on their people – how News UK made their people the main priority���������������� 4 Guto Harri, Director of Communications at News UK, talks about how the company is using internal communication to achieve its business objectives. Using research to leverage internal communications����������������������������������������������������������� 8 Claire Goring, Global Head of Internal Commu­ nications at Dentus Aegis Network, explains how research was critical to help build a global collaborative platform. At Deloitte, a distinctive way to communicate a distinctive audit������������������������� 12 Andrew Ball has the task of communicating Deloitte’s new audit approach to employees. He explains how he uses his newsletter to engage and entertain. OPINIONS The first 100 days�������������������������������������������������������� 15 Nigel Edwards, formerly of Pfizer and more recently Betfair, talks about his ‘100 day’ plan to help introduce a new CEO or leader into a business. Three easy steps to ensuring effective change�������������������������������������� 20 Scott McKenzie, Director of Change and Employee Engagement at Lansons, talks us through his top tips for implementing a successful change communication programme. Making internal communications ‘FaB’������������ 24 BBC Internal Communications Manager Annie Tufton explains how she used the coined phrase ‘FaB’ to revive excitement, morale and engagement at the BBC.
  5. 5. 3 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 TACTICS Communication Champions at Howden��������� 30 How Claire Purves has pioneered the use of communication champions within engineering giant Howden. Employee Engagement starts with a Woo!�������������������������������������������������������������������� 34 Colin Wong, Product Manager for WooBoard, talks us through the cloud-based employee recognition platform that focuses on total engagement and peer recognition. ‘Opportunity, excellence, and belonging’ at AMEC��������������������������������������������������� 39 Tereza Urbankova, Internal Communications Manager at AMEC, discusses the ‘employer brand’ communications campaign and explains how it is changing the way that the company is engaging with its people. CASE STUDIES Peer-to-peer recognition: the importance of an ‘applause’������������������������� 44 Neil Burgess, Internal Communications Busi­ness Partner at RWE npower, talks us through the key elements of Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and their new approach to employee recognition. Communicating global change from a local level – how FirstGroup is empowering its people to change its business������������������������������ 49 Cathryn Halton, Group Internal Communications Manager at FirstGroup, talks us through the company’s ongoing internal communication agenda and describes how they have engaged with their people.
  6. 6. News UK, the UK newspaper publishers of newly formed News Corporation, hasundergoneanumberofchangesoverthelasteighteenmonths.Publications such as the The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun are all published by News UK’s subsidiary companies. Guto Harri, Director of Communications, talks about how the company is using internal communication to achieve its business objectives. 4 FOCUSING ON THEIR PEOPLEHOW NEWS UK MADE THEIR PEOPLE THE MAIN PRIORITY
  7. 7. 5 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 W hen I joined the company in 2012, the morale of our staff was very low. There were many reasons for this, but the public scandals, corruption and the general structural decline of the newspaper industry overall were all key components in this negative opinion. Our people needed to hear that somebody was going to plan for a sustainable future for our company. The company has undergone some major changes since then. At the center of these changes has been a focus on our people, ensuring that we build our future around them. Our CEO, Mike  Darcey, joined us in 2013 and immediately decided to put our people at the heart of everything we do. We consciously decided to put the past into perspective and to leave our problems there too. We have established many channels to ensure that we are continually consulting with our staff, ensuring that internal communication took centre stage in the management of News UK and that our staff became co- partners in the success of the business. We needed a complete overhaul of our processes and the core part of the communication strategy was to champion our people and our papers. However, saying something and doing it are very different things altogether. MORE THAN JUST A MEETING OF MINDS When I joined the company, we started CEO emails that would provide a consistent message to every one of our 2,600 employees. These emails, which are still sent today, would cover all sorts of news – from business strategy through to announcements about any awards that we had won. However, we have really pro­ gressed since then. We decided that face-to-face communication would achieve the most success; we set up a quart­ erly program for our leadership and senior management teams – ‘Meeting of Minds’ – which allows us to communicate all business decisions to our most senior leaders who, in turn, cascade this information to their staff. We also have monthly ‘Executive Conversations’, whereby two members of the executive board speak to around two hundred of our staff about a specific subject.
  8. 8. 6 FOCUSING ON THEIR PEOPLE – HOW NEWS UK MADE THEIR PEOPLE THE MAIN PRIORITY • GUTO HARRI Each month, Mike Darcey invites a member of staff from each department of each paper for a lunch briefing. At these sessions, twelve of our people are able to meet our CEO and hear about our vision directly from him. Over the course of eighteen months, we are able to talk to over two hundred staff in a relaxed and open setting, allowing us to reinforce our commitment to communication. We have also redesigned our intranet and internet pages, too. Good communication is meant to be a two-way street. NEW COMPANY, NEW HOME Over the last year, all our papers now have new editors. Also, two-thirds of the Executive have changed in that time. There’s been a change in our processes and procedures with new governance introduced. Our organisation is changing and this is all underpinned by a real commitment to our people. The printing of our publications is now all undertaken at our sites in Broxbourne, Knowsley and Lanarkshire. We are also getting ready to move to a new central office in London. We will be moving from Wapping, where the printing traditionally also took place, into a new office next to the Shard. We have taken a thirty-year lease, which demonstrates the commitment to our new company vision and direction. We will be reinforcing our commitment to Our CEO, Mike Darcey, joined us in 2013 and immediately decided to put our people at the heart of everything we do.
  9. 9. 7 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 staff communication by hosting an induction lunch shortly after we move in, as well as an executive con­versation on the fourteenth floor. Mike Darcey, along with the rest of our Executive Team, also regularly visit all of our sites across the UK and Ireland. It is not just our staff in London who will see the leaders of our business or hear about key strategic decisions. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Derrick Crowley and his HR team recently secured record partici­ pation in a staff survey, which speaks volumes about the lift in morale that has happened here. Overall, the 96% completion rate was fantastic. 68% said that they were optimistic, which is an improve­ment of 24% over the course of a year. 72% understand our company objectives – an improvement of 17% – and 71% believe that the company has the courage to take the right decisions. 84% say that they find their colleagues supportive and 83% say that they feel that their manager respects them. 96% of our staff say they are prepared to go the extra mile to get the job done. Once you have empowered your staff and have raised their expectations of being treated like grown-ups, you cannot go back on that. Our staff now have expectations that they will be informed, listened to and that their views will be respected. There would be a high price to pay for not doing so being in the industry that we are in. BIOGRAPHY • GUTO HARRI Guto Harri began his career as a BBC journalist covering UK politics on TV and radio. He was also Chief Political Correspondent at Westminster before taking two foreign postings in Rome and New York. He left the BBC to handle communications for Boris Johnson and helped master­mind his re-election as Mayor of London in May 2012.
  10. 10. Dentsu Aegis Network is a multinational digital communications company stretching across five continents, 24 time zones and 110 countries. Claire Goring, Global Head of Internal Communications, explains how research was critical to help build a global collaborative platform. 8 USING RESEARCHTO LEVERAGE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
  11. 11. 9 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 I joined the business at a really interesting time, just as Dentsu Inc. completed the deal to acquire Aegis Media in April 2013. The deal prompted an urgent investment in internal communication that the board recognised as a crucial factor. THE MERGER Dentsu Inc, previously known as Dentsu Network, was headquarter­ ed in Japan and had a large reach of brands and agencies internationally; this included Aegis Media. Dentsu Aegis Network comprises Aegis Business and all the Dentsu owned companies outside of Japan. Headquartered in London, we ope­ rate across 110 countries, five conti­ nents and 24 time zones, we can communicate in up to 23 languages at any one time – that presents a number of practical and cultural challenges. We had to look at how we harmonised the existing expertise across both Dentsu Inc. and Dentsu Aegis Network and work together to build a global function. By bringing together that shared expertise across our network, we’re able to offer our customers a truly integrated offering to match the needs of global businesses. THE RESEARCH In order to understand what our people needed from a com­ municationsfunction,weconducted a three-month piece of research. Consisting of three different strands, the first one reviewed best practice and research in global communications. The second part consisted of a series of qualitative interviews across multiple countries, brands and agencies. The third was quan­ti­tative; we conducted surveys across our communities. We then pulled all of the findings together, including the results from our annual employee survey and analysed all the information to arrive at our final report including a series of recommendations. Those recommendations were taken forward to our global executive board and they formed the basis of our three-year communication strategy, across both PR and in­ ternal communication. THE PLATFORM One of the things our research told us was that our people needed a centralised space to connect and create content to share expertise and skills across the business. This global collaboration platform is called ‘NEON’ (meaning “new one” in
  12. 12. 10 USING RESEARCH TO LEVERAGE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • CLAIRE GORING Greek). It allows for quick exchange, honest interaction be­tween global networks, business announcements and for people to receive news in bite-sized pieces – really important for our majority millennial audience. People are able to share documents and showcase best practice, and examples of work that wins awards globally and/or is appropriate to their market, brand or agency. NEON represents a completely new way of working. In a complex matrix organisation comprising brands and agencies in multiple markets, we had to get people to ‘buy’ into this platform by heavily selling the benefits of it. We worked with our technology team to create a roadmap for integration of additional function­ ality onto the platform; so time­ sheets, forms and various systems including HR and Finance – materials that make it easier for people to do their jobs – in effect creating a one- stop shop for information. We also have a multi-disciplinary com­munications group called the Global Communications Network com­prising communication profes­ sionals based in different brands and countries. The platform gives this global communications team a conduit to be able to liaise globally and get key messages into their market or brands with the added benefit of them being able to tailor those messages and translate as necessary. THE LAUNCH We took a phase by phase approach to the containing because launching the platform in Taiwan would be very different to launching it in Toronto. Every market had a dedicated We can communicate in up to 23 languages at any one time – that presents a number of practical and cultural challenges.
  13. 13. 11 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 project team in place governed by the CEO of that particular country. The project team would manage the content, a bespoke launch and also monitor the ongoing performance of the platform with the emphasis on quality of content. That model was replicated worldwide. We pro­ vided all the networks with the creative tools to launch including videos, posters, stickers, chopsticks, you name it. It was important that the launch experience was a good one in each market. We also had the CEO of each market on the ground using the platform at the launch with their team to encourage participation. As of today, we’ve got approxi­ mately 13,000 people on board the platform out of 23,000; by the end of this year we will have virtu­- ally 97% of people on board NEON. THE KEY FACTORS There were a few key factors that contributed to the success of this project. Firstly, research played a big role in bringing the leadership team fully on board. The findings were irrefutable so the recommendations we put forward were accepted unanimously across our board. Secondly, I have a very supportive manager, our Director of Corporate Communications and Marketing, Louise Evans. We work together really well. People often say that your success relies on having a strong management team and I think that’s certainly the case here. Louise reports directly into our Chief Executive, Jerry Buhlmann. The last part is that we’ve worked extremely hard within the business to socialise our strategy every step of the way, building it up whilst at the same time implementing it. We had a big focus on building relationships, familiarising our people at all differ­ ent levels in the organisation with our plans and promoting this new collaborative culture in line with our new vision and company values. BIOGRAPHY • CLAIRE GORING Claire Goring has over 10 years internal communications experience across the engineering, telecommunications and media and advertising industries. She previously managed internal communications at Virgin Atlantic.
  14. 14. Deloitte’s Andrew Ball has the task of communicating the firm’s new audit approach to several thousand employees. He explains how he uses his newsletter to engage and entertain. 12 AT DELOITTE, ADISTINCTIVEWAY TOCOMMUNICATE ADISTINCTIVE AUDIT
  15. 15. 13 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 I ’m audit internal communi­ cations manager at Deloitte. Recently, part of my job has been to launch the ‘Distinctive Audit’ internally – which is our new core audit product. Because it’s the Distinctive Audit, just from a communications pers­ pective, I wanted the internal com­ munications to feel distinctive. To feel different. So I used my com­ munications champions as the key channel by which I distribute our ongoing newsletter on the Distinctive Audit. People like reading about people, particularly people that they know. So as part of the newsletter, I interview a couple of our profes­ sionals, and draw out from them a simple story of how they delivered more value, more challenge, and greater insight to one of our clients. The newsletter puts all the latest updates and the new tools into one place. With such pressure on email, you don’t want loads of different emails going out across the practice. DISTINCTIVE NEWSLETTER I send the newsletter to between 20 and 25 people, and they cascade it to their local audience. Some of them will just forward it, which is fine. What I often find more effective is they will forward it, but at the same time as forwarding it, it gives them the opportunity to add that personal touch, that says, you know, “Hi guys, here’s the latest updates. If there’s anything you need, just get in contact with me,” or, “We’re going to be discussing this at our next group meeting on Monday.” It’s that sort of localisation that I could never do centrally. There does have to be a very good reason for using this strategy because there’s a lot more work involved in doing such a cascade. Firstly, you’ve got to follow-up. You’ve got to chase people a little bit. I mean, there’s just a bit less control. For me, working with my stakeholders makes it slightly more challenging. I’m accountable for what I do, because I’m using now a channel in which I don’t have the same element of control. But I think this is the right ap­ proach. Because it’s the Distinctive Audit, and because it needed to be so embedded across the organisation, I felt that in this case, even though much of the content
  16. 16. 14 is the same, it’s still worth going down the localisation route to get it out to our 4,000 people. I recognise that sending the news­ letter for them is not as critical as servicing their client. So I give them a week to send it, and then I just follow up if I haven’t seen it within that week. WRITING STYLE When I communicate with my stakeholders, I use the ‘hook and bridge’ technique. I start the email with a story, then I ‘bridge’ into the content. That isn’t widely used within Deloitte as an organisation, so I was very careful to explain – the reason I’m doing this is because there’s a huge amount of pressure on our people’s time, but this is the most effective technique that I have come across to draw people in and take your audience with you. The story I use to grab their attention is often from outside the organisation. It might be, for example a story of Muhammed Ali’s star being on the wall of the Kodak Theater, rather than the floor, so nobody would walk on it. I haven’t had any push back. You worry people will say: “That’s not the way we talk here”. But the danger is that you self-censor yourself too much. It’s something that as a communicator, you’re pla­ ying in your own head. But usually, people are allowed to talk like that – as long as what you’re delivering is clearly business-focused. You have to recognise that con­ suming your content is discre­ tionary for the reader. So bearing in mind that it’s discretionary, you’ve got to make it as easy as possible to consume and enjoy. I think good communicators have a certain level of empathy to help them do this. AT DELOITTE, A DISTINCTIVE WAY TO COMMUNICATE A DISTINCTIVE AUDIT • ANDREW BALL BIOGRAPHY • ANDREW BALL Andrew has extensive communications, research and editorial experience and has worked at Deloitte for over seven years.
  17. 17. Nigel Edwards, formerly of Pfizer and more recently Betfair, talks about his ‘100 day’ plan to help introduce a new CEO or leader into a business. 15 THE FIRST 100 DAYS
  18. 18. 16 I ’ve delivered several ‘100 day’ plans, most recently at Betfair and previously with Pfizer. At Pfizer, it was a new site head rather than a CEO but with over 3,000 employees, it was a very similar proposition to a new CEO. One of the additional pressures for CEOs of listed companies is that there are shareholder, investor community and government responsibilities to consider. This would have been the difference between Pfizer and Betfair for example. HELPING THE NEW CEO AT BETFAIR SETTLE IN TO HIS ROLE If we look at the Betfair example, the new CEO had been on gardening leave from a competitor since his appointment nine months earlier. I joined the company six weeks before his start date and focused on working with the Corporate Communications and HR directors to develop his ‘first 100 days’ plan. Naturally, during this extended period of time, speculation had been building about the CEO and his intentions. With the next financial results update due at the end of the first 100 days, the CEO was keen to ‘keep the powder dry’ on his strategy until this date. I was responsible for developing and implementing an internal communication plan which gave our global family of employees an insight into the new CEO’s approach and focus; while also giving him an understanding of employees’ issues, attitude and cultural behaviours. To get a head start on building the plan, I met with the new CEO before his official start date to discuss activities in his first few days and begin to establish our working relationship. This included, for example, a global webcast on his first day where all employees could ‘meet’ the new CEO to set the tone and share his overall timetable for his first 100 days. I organised town halls and associated messages to coincide with his visit to each site. We also set up a workshop with the top 70  leaders, to share and validate his initial thinking on a new business strategy. Attendees were provided with talking points to help ensure that their own local communications were consistent. A follow-up session with the same group was organised on the eve of the THE FIRST 100 DAYS • NIGEL EDWARDS
  19. 19. 17 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 strategy presentation to investors and the media. I recorded a video interview with the CEO about his strategy, which was made available for all employees on the day of his presentation. This was followed up with a live, interactive ‘global town hall’ within a few days, to enable employees to gain a clearer understanding of the new strategy. This was his first CEO appointment and, while he understood the expectations from various stakeholders and key milestones during his first 100 days, he greatly valued having an internal communications plan to engage employees on our new strategic journey. The plan helped to create the context and an appropriate state of readiness for change across the group. ENSURING THAT PFIZER COPED WITH CHANGE The Pfizer example is quite different as the outgoing site leader was well-liked and popular and there were several contenders for the job at the same site. A leader from a much smaller site was ‘parachuted’ into a challenging environment. You can be a new CEO coming from another company, or be an internal appointment. Either way, there will always be things that go smoothly, or things that have the potential to be problematic.
  20. 20. 18 I took the opportunity to contact the incoming site leader a few weeks before her appointment to offer to help her hit the ground running and be a success. This situation is a big opportunity for communicators, because they can help support a key leader whilst they are in transition to a new role – this is a powerful thing. An additional advantage is once they have become established in the business and you have demonstrated the value you bring, it becomes much easier to operate with that person and to influence them on your communication strategy. The lesson here is that context is everything. You can be a new CEO coming from another company, or be an internal appointment. Either way, there will always be things that go smoothly, or things that have the potential to be problematic. The other consideration for communicators is that you have the circumstances of the appointment to take into account. For example, the stage of the business’ life cycle can impact on the success of the appointment. There are a lot of things that can change the approach that you take and so you need to understand the context before starting to tackle it. TIMING IS EVERYTHING Is ‘first 100 days’ the right duration? Three months feels about right; but it also depends on specific factors such as the size of the organisation or the way in which the person has joined the company. I think six months feels too long. It’s a long time to get to know any business so, again, if it was a very large organisation like Microsoft for example, there may be some justification in having it at six months. Equally, if it was an organisation with a single product that operated in one country, then maybe a month is enough. It really needs to be appropriate for the business itself. In the Betfair example in particular, it just so happened that the next financial results statement announcement was roughly a hundred days after the CEO starting, so that was quite relevant and very convenient. A written plan is key if a company has operations internationally; you need to plan things like what are the first tier of countries or operations? Which locations are THE FIRST 100 DAYS • NIGEL EDWARDS
  21. 21. 19 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 you going to prioritise? Likewise, you need to plan for some more troublesome parts of the business in which there are people who may need longer engagement. It’s imperative to know your audience. Also, it is very important for the CEO to get to know their audience and use this to get an understanding of their business very quickly. TOP TIPS: • Meet the CEO before they join to understand more about them and formulate a plan. • Allow time to develop a rapport with them as they get established in the business – going forward, this can improve the influence that you have. • Identify top influencers to help you and also the areas of the business that may need extra engagement • Context and timing is every­ thing. Is the company listed; are they going through acquisition; is the CEO ap­ point­ment internal or are they new to the business? Each business will need a tailored approach. BIOGRAPHY • NIGEL EDWARDS Nigel is an internal communication specialist and consultant with over 15 years experience in leader communication, organisational and behavioural change. He has worked in a range of industry sectors including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, electronics, and online gambling in global, regional and national roles. He has a post graduate diploma in Internal Communication Management.
  22. 22. Scott McKenzie, Director of Change and Employee Engagement at Lansons, talks us through his top tips for implementing a successful change communication programme. Based on years of experience leading and delivering change communications and employee engagement programmes, both in-house and agency side, Scott McKenzie talks us through his top three tips to ensure success. 20 THREE EASY STEPS TO ENSURING EFFECTIVE CHANGE
  23. 23. 21 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 STEP 1: BE CLEAR T his may seem obvious, but for any change programme to be successful there needs to be clarity. Be clear about your objectives; be clear about your outcomes. I’ve seen a lot of change programmes where those central to the project don’t understand what it’s trying to achieve. If those integral to running the project don’t get it, then you can’t expect your stakeholders, employees, leaders or investors to either. STEP 2: MAKE SURE THE COMMS TEAM IS INVOLVED FROM THE BEGINNING Too often change projects do not engage with the communications team at the beginning of each project. The major side-effect of this is that many organisations struggle to get to grips with the changes and really understand the impact it has on different areas of the business. We get called in too late, typically when the project team realise they don’t have the capacity, capability or resources in place to effectively engage employees with the project; and then they end up having to take two or three steps back in order to move forward again. The lesson is to ensure that communications is considered at the start of every change project or programme. This will help sharpen its focus and enable clear stakeholder mapping. It will lead to clear communication, clarity around end goals and employees who are engaged with the objectives of the project. If it’s a systems or process change this is likely to increase adoption and save time and money; while moving the culture in the right direction too. STEP 3: WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCERS? This is more of a specific point: take time to identify who your influencers are both inside and outside the organisation. Some of them might surprise you. It’s so easy to get hung up on your organisation’s hierarchy and while you should make sure senior stakeholders are informed and engaged, it’s important to consider who is going to help you get the organisation ready for the change. They can be at
  24. 24. 22 THREE EASY STEPS TO ENSURING EFFECTIVE CHANGE • SCOTT McKENZIE any level within the organisation. Sometimes this can include those who have been around a long time; people who have got a lot of knowledge about specific systems or processes or those who others listen to. You should also look to integrate your approach across internal and external influencers. Within the wider world this includes engaging commentators, journalists, investors, political stakeholders and regulators. GOING VIRAL I like the way Leandro Herrero writes about change as being a virus (in his book Viral Change: The alternative to slow, painful and unsuccessful management of change in organisations). He talks about infecting the organisation with change, rather than the traditional top down cascade. I think this concept has a lot of validity. It’s less about seeing the organisation as a hierarchy where momentum moves down the organisation, and more like an organism where you find the It’s less about seeing the organisation as a hierarchy where momentum moves down, and more like an organism where you find the most important parts of the body and target those instead i.e. your influencers.
  25. 25. 23 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 most important parts of the body and target those instead i.e. your influencers. Ultimately, it’s about having an integrated, 360 approach to understanding your stakeholders and the impacts of the change(s) on those people. Based on this, we can really demonstrate how we add value to the business by helping the organisation make effective decisions during the change programme. BIOGRAPHY • SCOTT McKENZIE Scott McKenzie has over 15 years experience in change, employee engagement and internal communications. He is currently Director of Change and Employee Engagement at the award-winning consultancy Lansons. Prior to this, he worked for Hill and Knowlton, RBS and Lloyds Bank and has also been chair of the CIPR Inside group. +44(0)20 7490 8828 Twitter: @scotty_bhoy
  26. 26. 24 MAKING INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS FaB One of the world’s largest broadcast companies was under­going a restructure, with frequent negative press and a division outwardly lack­ing in enthusiasm. Internal Com­ munications Manager Annie Tufton explains how she used the coined phrase ‘FaB’ to revive excitement, morale and engagement at the BBC.
  27. 27. 25 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 T he BBC was undergoing a big restructure when I joined the Finance and Business division. My role re­ ported to the CFO, but I also maintained a relationship with the central comms team. I worked on a variety of channels from the CFO’s speech writing, planning leader­ ship workshops, to announcements and general newsletters. THE BEGINNING OF FAB Given that there were so many changes over a short period of time, it was a great opportunity to give the division a new brand identity. Finance isn’t known for being the most exciting area of the BBC. However, they did do exciting things that had a great impact on the BBC, but it was difficult to make people feel that their jobs were just as important as someone who worked in Production, for example. Given that this department didn’t get a lot of the attention because they were considered ‘back office’, we needed to shake things up and lift up the spirit of the division. When we coined FaB, it basically changed everything. Our people were FaB, and senior managers were known as FaB Leaders. The CFO used the phrase, “Thank you for being FaB. Thank you for being so FaBulous, and thank you for representing exactly what I expect Finance and Business to be…” It just changed everything once we started using that language. Everyone had a little spring in their step whenever they said it. We created a really fun logo, and it was all started at the conference. All FaB people were invited to the FaB conference! THE FAB CONFERENCE Besides a new name and brand for the conference, we had a new strategy for this all-staff event. We didn’t want to put on another event where each area of the division gave an update on what they’ve achieved over the year. We didn’t want to fill up the day with PowerPoint presentations and endless speeches with our goals for the next year. We did that all the time anyway, in team meetings, etc. We wanted to reward our people for all the great work they had done and give them a treat that they would remember, which would encourage them to work just as hard over the next year.
  28. 28. 26 MAKING INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS ‘FAB’ • ANNIE TUFTON FaB was the first step in the right direction. We’d had some bad news within the BBC, and there were a lot of negative things to talk about, but there were also a number of people that were working hard every day, and not feeling great about it. So we turned the focus onto our people. We created a FaB conference programme that promoted the successes of our people and that gave news about what how you could get involved with activities in the division. The FaB logo was dropped in anywhere and everywhere and our people began identifying with it right away. As this conference was going to be very different to the usual ‘sit down and talk about what the business has achieved’ affair, we focused on the ‘thank you’ bit; thank you for being FaB. What you don’t get every day is a thank you. What you don’t get every day is recognition for how hard you’re working. We decided this is going to be a day of reward for everybody. We asked one of our BBC celebrities to host the 8-hour conference; a correspondent called Steph McGovern from BBC Breakfast. She was very fun and was able to add an element of humour to the conference. Another way we picked up some excitement in the audience was by starting the conference with an interview with the Director General, who was George Entwistle at the time. SETTING A FAB SCENE Imagine, it’s 9 am and you’ve walked into this big room that’s completely dark. It feels like an evening event. The room is branded top to bottom in black, white and hot pink and you’ve got these bright LED lights shining at you that spell out FaB. You’ve got a programme and a little card at your seat that says, “Thank you for being FaB.” We also invited paparazzi-like photographers to come in and take pictures of everyone as they entered the door against a step- and-repeat background. These are finance people, they were shy at first and ran far from the camera, but by lunchtime, they were queuing up to have their picture taken in front of the branded wall; they were so excited. The energy in the room had gotten so high. They kept approaching the
  29. 29. 27 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 photographer, “Will you take a picture of me with my team?” FINISHING OFF WITH THE FaBbies After lunch, we introduced the FaB Leadership team which were our ten new directors who were now heading up the division following the restructure. One by one, we asked them to come on stage and speak for 60 seconds about themselves. There was a big timer behind them. There was countdown music. At the end of the 60 seconds, the microphone turned off, a big bright red light shone on them, and their time was up. This was the most comical part of the day. Again, these were mostly serious people who weren’t used to letting their hair down at this type of event. They got up on stage each showed off their personality with a bit of humility and inspiration. Some came up to the stage and spoke about their personal lives, pet peeves and love for the BBC. Others described their roles and talked about their teams. But each of them threw in their own style and tried to speak beyond the 60 seconds, which was not allowed. Following that session, we had our keynote speaker, Dave  Fishwick Annie’s event helped a humdrum part of her business look at itself in a brand new light
  30. 30. 28 MAKING INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS ‘FAB’ • ANNIE TUFTON from the Bank of Dave who shared his inspiring story about giving back to the people in his community. He was real and funny and has to be one of the most engaging speakers I’ve ever seen. The audience truly learned something from him whilst laughing the whole way through. At the end of the day, we had the awards… the FaBbies of course! This is where we changed the whole set and everyone took a short break to pick up a beverage. We turned down the lights, dropped a disco ball in the middle of the room and threw on the spotlights. Our CFO, celebrity host and awards host took time to change into glamourous evening gowns and black ties. There were five awards to give away, all based on five categories that were aligned to our values. The criteria to win each award was aligned to the behaviours we had identified with these values. We underwent a formal nomination Imagine, it’s 9 am, it’s completely dark. It feels like an evening event. You’ve got these LED bright lights shining at you that say FaB. You’ve got a little card at your seat that says, ‘Thank you for being FAB!’
  31. 31. 29 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 process and as this was our first ever awards ceremony, winning was a big deal. To make it really special, when someone won an award, we would play a 45-second video of team members speaking about the winner. For example, if I was winning the award, when the host said ‘And the winner is…’ a video would start playing of all my colleagues and manager saying lovely things about me and that’s when I would realise that I would be receiving the award. It was really emotional and sweet. After the FaBbies, we all stuck around for drinks and more pictures. People didn’t want to leave so everyone stayed until the lights went off and we were forced out. The conference was just brilliant. You can’t recreate that feeling. We had one opportunity and we absolutely nailed it. I was so privileged to be a part of FaB and the team that helped make this conference come to life. THE IMPORTANCE OF FAB At this point in the BBC, we needed everyone to know that they were special. It was about awarding them for being great at what they are and for sticking with the BBC throughout a difficult time. They walked into the room at 9am feeling, “Oh, another conference. Where’s my coffee?” and leaving the room elated and on cloud nine. Post-conference, we gained higher engagement and higher morale. We followed up with the FaB theme, people changed their signatures on their emails to include the new branding and they put up their little pink card that said ‘Thank you for being FaB’. The FaB Leaders network continued on and the FaB Women’s Network was also started. BIOGRAPHY • ANNIE TUFTON Annie graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in corporate communications, and a second degree in Spanish. She has also worked as an Internal Communications Manager at HSBC and ASOS.
  32. 32. Here’s how Claire Purves has pioneered the use of communication champions within engineering giant Howden. 30 COMMUNICATION CHAMPIONS HOWDENAT
  33. 33. 31 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 W hen I joined Howden I knew I had a particular challenge – I’m based in Renfrew, just outside of Glasgow, yet we had 4,000 staff in 29 countries (6000 now) speaking 11 languages. Besides English, the only language I speak is schoolgirl French. So I needed to find a way to have sentinels – my eyes and my ears – all over the world. I knew I needed to have a regular vehicle to speak to people and for people to speak back, but without the use of an intranet back then it was difficult. So I sat down and created the ‘spec’ for my idea of an excellent communication champion – what a communica­ tions champion should look like and what makes a really good one. I’ve got a fantastic team. There’s 47 people now in our communications champions team. It means we can pull news from every single part of the organisation. The communications champions net­work is very well known within the business. I’ve got the right people and I keep close to them, it’s like having 47 children really. Some of them are super champ­ ions. The really key ones are also language checkers for me so they’ll check my translations when they come back from the translation company to make sure that we’re on message and nothing’s been lost in translation. But day-to-day the communica­tions champions are my eyes and ears. You need to bring those people to life and turn every single one of them into a brand ambassador. We have communications champ­ ions in every country. It does be­ come a round-the-clock operation – sometimes you just don’t know what’s coming next! China doesn’t go home until about 9:30am UK time, so when you come in each morning you have to make them the priority because their day’s almost over. America doesn’t come to work until 1pm my time, so you can put off doing things for them. Then Australia comes to work at about 10:30 at night. If I’m work­ ing late, they’re sitting there with a breakfast coffee in their hand while you’re just about to go to bed. We’d all be in bed and they’d be there still in the middle of their working day so that was a bit of a strange one. I love that, though. That’s part of the buzz. This is my second global job and I just
  34. 34. 32 COMMUNICATIONS CHAMPIONS AT HOWDEN • CLAIRE PURVES couldn’t change that now. I just couldn’t go back. I asked the managing directors to nominate somebody from their business to agree to me having six hours a month with them. That was quite a key figure, because seven hours looks like a working day but six is a little bit less to work on communication projects. In some months, they just attend online meetings in their own time zones. Yesterday, I had three hours of communications champions meet­ ings. They come to the table with fresh ideas, with feedback, having consulted with their colleagues, having come up with material every single month in Howden World News; they’d carry out the annual audit, share good practice and support each other – last year we improved the internal communications scores in our global employee engage­ ment survey by nearly 10% – the communications champions should take some credit for that phenomenal shift. I’m blown away with the material that we’re covering. I think, if I could distil that into a bottle as a magic elixir of motivation then I would! Without my comms champions, I just could not do that. There’s no other way, apart from chang­ ing the structure in internal communications. I would need an army of paid communicators in the regions or in the businesses to make that happen. And my communications champions are doing such a great job, I’m not sure I would even want an army of communications managers! I’m blown away with the material that we’re covering. I think, if I could distil that into a bottle as a magic elixir of motivation then I would!
  35. 35. 33 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 For example, one project they launched with me was Connect, our intranet. I got them involved in scoping the business requirements – how the site could be made more intuitive and ultimately, the launch campaign – a countdown campaign, an interactive pdf and a video we made together. I gave the champions a script that was broken down into separate statements, and I got them to film people on their mobile phone with a distinct background so the international nature of our people and business was easily recognisable. They got totally into the project. Encouraging colleagues to shout out the lines from the script and then we cut them all together and made a video out of it. It was fantastic! Totally global and 100% Howden. Some of the material had to hit the cutting room floor because it was just too wacky. So many people had tried to slide across the floor of their office in their chairs and as they passed each other they shout out the word Connect – some ended in disaster, but it was great fun. The champions did that. I think I had 200 video clips in the end, representing all the roles we have in Howden, from office staff to guys in factories who would turn around from their work welding a compressor, lift their mask and say ‘Connect’. The concept showed we were a global organisation that under­ stood the value of connecting and that we were a better organisation if we worked together. BIOGRAPHY • CLAIRE PURVES Claire has over 17 years experience in internal and corporate communications in media relations, brand and reputation management. She has previously worked for Scottish Widows, Lloyds TSB and Exova (a global leader in materials testing). The proud winner of IOIC and PPA awards for Best Employee publications, Claire particularly enjoys inspiring employees to deliver business benefits by defining and communicating Values-led behaviours and successes.
  36. 36. Colin Wong, Product Manager for WooBoard, talks us through the cloud-based employee recognition platform that focuses on total engagement and peer recognition. Its customers include Ernst Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and SunGard. 34 EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT STARTS WITH A WOO!
  37. 37. 35 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 W ooBoard was founded in 2011 when our founder, Mick Liubinskas, noticed a gap within the employee engage­ment market. At one time or another, most people have felt discouraged and deflated in the workplace when they’ve put a lot of work into something that ulti­ mately goes unnoticed. Over time, they can start to think, “What’s the point?” and that’s where lack of recognition starts to become a major problem for companies. What WooBoard does is it makes those efforts visible where they can be celebrated together. It can be incredibly motivating to know that your achievements will be visible at all levels. Essentially, WooBoard is an in­ ternal social media platform for companies – where the conversa­tion is focused around recognition. Every employee in the organi­ sation creates an account and is encouraged to recognise their colleagues in certain areas, rang­ ing from the daily wins to their big achievements. Regular engagement is driven through unique gamification and social mechanics. The entire pro­ duct is white labelled – clients are able to customise elements such as colours, logos, teams, managers and company values – and it’s all hosted from the cloud. It is a really flexible product and can be used to achieve a range of different corporate objectives, including recognition, appreciation, en­ gagement, culture and values alignment and inter-office collab­ oration. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE OF THE NEXT DECADE A number of business leaders think that recognition is simply about making people feel “warm and fuzzy”. In reality, there’s a signifi­cant business case for addressing the issue. This year, Aon Hewitt declared “making engagement happen will be the single most important business challenge of the next decade and the focal point of the war for talent.” There’s a great body of research that backs this up: • ThevastmajorityofU.S.workers, 70%, are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” at work – Gallup, ‘State of the American Workplace’ (2013) • Disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy up to $550 billion
  38. 38. 36 EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT STARTS WITH A WOO! • COLIN WONG each year – Gallup, ‘State of The American Workplace’ (2013) • 67% of employees rate recog­ nition as the top motivator for performance – McKinsey, ‘Moti­ vating People, Getting Beyond Money’ (2009) • Top engagement companies outperform other companies on all financial indicators: Revenue growth (+7%), Operating Margin (+7%), Total Shareholder Return (+14%) – Aon Hewitt, ‘Trends in Global Employee Engagement’ (2014) What’s becoming increasingly apparent is that the ‘Millennials’ (employees aged 20-32) who are now dominating the workforce, are proving difficult to engage via traditional means; how companies choose to engage them will define their success for the future. NOT THE TYPICAL ‘EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH’ PROGRAM A large number of our clients approach us because their in­ ternal recognition programs aren’t working. They’re largely seen as tokenistic by employees and don’t achieve any of their engagement objectives, thus failing to add value. Most commonly, they have the typical ‘employee of the month’ programinplacewhereemployees are invited to periodically nomi­ nate a person that they think deserves recognition. This might be via email or a more sophisti­ cated platform. However, in the great majority of cases, most people don’t participate and the person selected is just the random result of a handful of nomi­nations. Essentially, there is no real mean­ ing to this type of recognition. In order to create a meaningful result, recognition programs must reflect the voice of the company as a whole. Essentially, this re­ quires that your recognition pro­ gram generates widespread and fre­quent participation. WooBoard is designed to do this by using a comprehensive Points System. The platform rewards users for all en­gagement actions, includ­ ing sending and receiving re­ cognition, sharing information, earning badges, logging on, and simply joining in the conversation every day. That’s the most exciting part of our vision. By driving a company- wide conversation we ensure that recognition is transparent and meaningful – that recognition goes to those who deserve it. It’s really simple but, when you achieve that,
  39. 39. 37 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 you immediately have a really power­ ful base on which to genuinely moti­ vate performance and drive real cultural change. CUSTOMER-DRIVEN EVOLUTION WooBoard has been developed and evolves in accordance with the continuous input and feedback of our clients. If you look at early screenshots of our product com­ pared to where we are now, it’s almost unrecognisable. There are always new features being launched and the product continues to improve. One of the biggest benefits of adopting a cloud-based solution is that, as soon any upgrades are rolled out, they instantly go live to all of our clients so that their platform remains relevant. What’s becoming increasingly apparent is that the ‘Millennials’ (employees aged 20-32) who are now dominating the workforce, are proving difficult to engage via traditional means; how companies choose to engage them will define their success for the future.
  40. 40. 38 EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT STARTS WITH A WOO! • COLIN WONG PROVIDING A COMPLETE SERVICE For a large number of our clients, WooBoard is a system that is managed by the company itself; it has been built to be really intuitive. However, prospective clients often tell us that they don’t have the time to launch and implement a recognition program. Through the experience of launching thousands of programs, WooBoard now features full con­ cierge services as part of the price. Whether it’s consulting and designing an implementation strategy, a rewards program or preparingrolloutcommunications; clients can be assured that their engagement will be both effective and sustainable. We recently conducted a QA session with one of our clients – Educators4Excellence, who have a number of offices across the US. One of the most exciting comments from that interview was that they found WooBoard regularly sparked ideas and colla­ boration within teams – not only within their local offices but also between offices all around the country. For them, it’s been a really effective way to stay connected as an organisation and also to reinforce the national scope of their work. All of this came from the simple concept of providing people with a place to say “thank you” to each other – we think this is really amazing. BIOGRAPHY • COLIN WONG Colin heads up WooBoard where he works regularly with major clients on structuring, implementing and sustaining employee recognition and engagement programs. He is an advocate and regular speaker on all things relating to peer recognition, employee engagement, gamification and behavioural change, values alignment and corporate culture. Prior to joining WooBoard, Colin worked as a commercial lawyer and has founded and advised on several early stage companies. •
  41. 41. AMEC plc is a global consultancy, engineering and project management company, operating across Oil Gas, Mining, Clean Energy and Environment Infrastructure markets in over 40 countries. Tereza Urbankova, Internal Communications Manager, discusses the ‘employer brand’ communications campaign and explains how it is changing the way that the company is engaging with its people. 39 OPPORTUNITY, EXCELLENCE, AND BELONGING AT AMEC
  42. 42. 40 ‘OPPORTUNITY, EXCELLENCE, AND BELONGING’ AT AMEC • TEREZA URBANKOVA T he EVP (or employer brand) project originated as part of a training program called ‘Manager Advance’, offered by AMEC Academy, our development platform which provides all development programs for staff worldwide. This program is very useful because it basically puts together a small group of people from different countries, different sectors, with different knowledge and skills and gives them a project that takes them out of their comfort zone. The objective was to identify what AMEC’s EVP is, articulate it, test it and roll it out in the organisation. The group did quite a lot of external research first, looking at how our competitors and other companies manage their EVP, if at all. They also conducted internal research throughout AMEC, approaching various busi­ ness units, as well as diverse geographies. Throughout the process they were trying to identify what AMEC stands for and represents extern­ ally, and what our people think that AMEC is like as an employer. This research piece took around six months; it was a deliberately thorough process. Then they narrowed their findings into what resembled a temple with three ‘pillars’ – a typically ‘engine­ ering’ concept! Those three pillars were called opportunity, excel­ lence, and belonging. Once the concept and research section was completed, the group presented the EVP to the senior management team and it was approved. The corporate communications team has been providing support to the group since the start and after the senior management approval, we got involved much more actively in the testing, roll out and implementation phases. THREE GUIDING PRINCIPLES EVP is an employee promise; it’s a deal between an employer and an employee which revolves around expectations. This can work only when both parties are fully engaged. ‘Opportunity’ means AMEC pro­ vides development opportunities toitspeople,beitthroughtheAMEC Academy or through working on challenging projects or work­ ing for prestigious clients, for example. At the same time, people must want to grab opportunities
  43. 43. 41 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 and use them to grow within the organisation. ‘Excellence’ was delicate to manage since it very much overlaps with opportunity; you want people to excel and deliver excellence (one of the core AMEC values), so this was about AMEC providing the environ­ ment for its employees to excel in. And that could even include devel­ opment opportunities, for example. ‘Belonging’ is about people want­ ing to be respected, recognised, rewarded and valued and AMEC expecting its employees to be loyal and go the extra mile. It’s very subjective sometimes as it also depends on what makes people feel they belong. FROM EVP TO WHY AMEC We conducted focus groups across all parts of the world to identify if these three elements resonate with our people globally, which took several weeks. We changed EVP to ‘Why AMEC’ which was much more accurate for us, and which our engineers could identify with. The ‘pillars’ changed to ‘reasons’, i.e. why people join AMEC and why they stay. These focus groups revealed some more findings; we used them to refine the Why AMEC terminology. Eventually, we came to a point where we thought we had a final product. By this point, the Group Senior Vice President for HR was driving the project, as one of the strategic recruitment initiatives. We felt we had something really good, really meaningful. Something that resonated with our people, but there was another challenging task ahead of us: embedding it into the organisation. We had the senior management support already but we needed We never stop measuring the engagement and feedback part of the campaign, as this gives us validity.
  44. 44. 42 ‘OPPORTUNITY, EXCELLENCE, AND BELONGING’ AT AMEC • TEREZA URBANKOVA support from bottom up. Through an internal campaign we ‘hired’ over one hundred engagement champions, all of whom are volunteers, helping us roll out individual Why AMEC reasons. We changed the graphics of the campaign to make it more dynamic and we also linked the individual words – opportunity, excellence, and belonging – to our strategy for growth which we call ‘2015 and beyond’ and which is all about collaborating, improving, growing, and therefore achieving. We consciously linked the three individual elements to that strategy, in order to give it credibility and make sure that people understand how they contribute to the company’s overall strategy when they implement Why AMEC. We started communicating this initiative as ‘change for growth’, which again, made it more meaningful to our employees. AN ONGOING PROCESS OF DELIVERY We then kicked off the roll out campaign. We divided Why AMEC into parts, with one reason launch­ ed in each quarter. However, the previous quarter’s learning was not shelved; we always try to maintain a holistic view of the campaign in order for it to remain relevant. In the process of roll out, the entire Why AMEC team (now comprising of the original team, a couple of engagement champions who wanted to get more involved in the project, HR and Communications) has been supporting our engagement champions driving it. Aswithallinternalcommunications, we knew that measurement would be crucial to the whole process. We conducted pulse surveys from the beginning that focused on capturing the engagement index scores as well as feedback on individual reasons and on the overall campaign. We never stop measuring the engagement and feedback part of the campaign, as this gives us validity. We were pleased to see Why AMEC winning a UK’s ‘cHeRies’ Finders Keepers Recruitment and Retention Award for excellence in HR, Training and Recruitment in 2014 as the cam­ paign has helped us in the recruit­ ment of over 4,200 people into our Brownfield and Asset Management operating units; whilst reducing onshore voluntary staff turnover by 6% in 2013.
  45. 45. 43 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 We are still driving the Why AMEC campaign within the business with the help of our champions. We promote their success stories about how they embedded Why AMEC and what tools they used. This inspires people in other parts of the business and they can see it works. We also promote the initiative through the regular CEO blogs, the Intranet and through Yammer internally. Externally, it has also been included on our corporate website and LinkedIn profile under the career sections which shows how it is viewed as a tangible element that is part of our Group drive for ‘2015 and beyond’. BIOGRAPHY • TEREZA URANKOVA Tereza Urbankova is a PR, communications and marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience in industries such as hospitality, retail, IT, defence, broadcast, logis­ tics and engineering. As well as managing internal communications at AMEC plc, Tereza works as a freelance communications and PR consultant. She speaks Czech, English, Spanish and Russian. tab_profile
  46. 46. The peer-to-peer recognition scheme at RWE npower makes up an integral part of the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and helps colleagues recognise each other’s efforts in helping the company achieve its goals. Neil Burgess, Internal Communications Business Partner, talks us through the key elements of the platform and their new approach to employee recognition. 44 PEER-TO-PEER RECOGNITION THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ‘APPLAUSE’
  47. 47. 45 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 O ur Employee Value Propo­ sition (EVP) is a critical part of our people strategy. In it, we outline what we expect from our people and what they can expect from us. CHANGING A CULTURE Although our EVP information was definitely out there on the intranet, it tended to be fragmented, unclear, inaccessible from one simple place and not easily accessible for our more remote workers. We knew we needed to develop something that would help our people understand what was on offer to them and also what the company expected of them in return to help us get it right for our customers. The result was the launch of People Positive – a website available to all our people. We also enabled access to people at home via an employee extranet and whilst on the move by launching our very own People Positive app. Enabling our people to access the information in the way that best suits them was always a key consideration as it suits both our office-based and field-based employees. Once our People Positive site had launched, we quickly followed it up with the launch of Applause – our brand new peer-to-peer recognition scheme. This was a great new addition to our EVP, but crucially served a real business need. Historically we had a lot of fragmented recognition schemes across the organisation. A lot of them were manager led and, in reality, were very hard to maintain effectively. We felt that the company, and our people, would benefit from one scheme that transcended the business and Applause gave us just that. Being able to recognise someone, even just the simple act of saying ‘thank you’, is very powerful. Applause makes this process easy across our entire business. You may not sit in the same location as the colleague you want to thank – you may have only spoken to them over the phone while addressing a customer query for example. However, you can still formally say thanks by logging into Applause, selecting the person’s
  48. 48. 46 PEER-TO-PEER RECOGNITION: THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ‘APPLAUSE’ • NEIL BURGESS name and detailing what you want to thank them for. This is then flagged to their line manager and, if appropriate, can be promoted for consideration for further recognition. Whether that further recognition is a simple message of thanks from a senior manager or a small financial reward, there’s enough flexibility in the system for the most appropriate and authentic approach to be taken. WAS IT SUCCESSFUL? We had around 20,000 Applause entries submitted in the first 10 months – which was a fantastic uptake and culminated in ‘The Pride Awards’ which recognises the ‘Best of the Best’ examples of Applause from across our business and has now become an annual event. We arrange the Pride Award final­ ists into categories, ten in total, including ‘putting the customer first’, ‘best customer experience’, ‘customer advisor of the year’, improving cost or quality’ and ‘teamwork’. All of the categories support our strategy and mission to get it right for our customers. Our people now really understand and appreciate its benefits; and now readily see the connection between their day‑to‑day work and the goals of the business which is great to see.
  49. 49. 47 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 HOW WAS THIS SUPPORTED INTERNALLY? First of all, we listened to our people and gained the insight into what they wanted to see. Delivering a solution that meets the needs of the target audience certainly put us on the path to success. Collaboration was also key. Internal Communication, HR, Reward, our leadership team and representatives from every single area of our business all worked together to create and prepare the launch of Applause. We spent a lot of time engaging with all people managers, and held a series of webinars to explain how the system worked and how managers could support it. Although Applause is peer-to-peer, managers still had an important job which was to support the scheme and promote some examples of ‘Applause’ for further recognition where appropriate. We then went into our official launch phase. We did all the basics you would expect, intranet articles, targeted email, postersetc…butwealsodeveloped interactive user guides, which showed how the system worked and when to use it. These went down very well with our people. Authentic leadership endorsement was also a powerful tool and the leadership team really supported the scheme, including our CEO taking part in the launch video. Post-launch, we quickly turned our attention to finding those early adopters to Applause and simply started a dialogue with them. Why did they use the system? How did they find it? What sorts of things did they like to recognise people for? How does it feel to receive/ give recognition? This really brought Applause to life and has enabled the scheme to grow to the levels we see today. In fact, we’ve never stopped promoting Applause and the scheme continues to grow – one recognition at a time. Our people now really understand and appreciate its benefits; and RWE’s peer-to-peer recognition scheme is now a key part of the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
  50. 50. 48 PEER-TO-PEER RECOGNITION: THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ‘APPLAUSE’ • NEIL BURGESS now readily see the connection between their day-to-day work and the goals of the business which is great to see as it helps drive employee satisfaction which in turn will drive customer satis­ faction. We are on course to beat the numbers from the first ten months and are always looking at new ways to improve and develop our recognition schemes. Everyone can see the value of having happy employees and happy customers. We certainly don’t intend to go back to the old way of doing things. Our business has really taken to our new approach and everyone is benefitting from the new way of working. BIOGRAPHY • NEIL BURGESS Neil began his internal communications career with the Virgin Group. Departing Virgin after seven years, he has since spent time at Cable and Wireless Worldwide, Wincanton Logistics and, for the last three years, RWE npower. In 2012, Neil was recognised as one of the communication industry’s rising stars, being named as one of the ‘top 30 under 30’ to watch.
  51. 51. FirstGroup has expanded rapidly since the company was formed in Scotland in 1990. Since the management buyout of an Aberdeen bus company, it has grown to become a multinational business that employs nearly 120,000 people. Largely developed through acquisitions, the company has risen to become the leading transport operator in the UK and North America – serving over 2.5 billion people a year on train, bus and student transport services. Cathryn Halton, Group Internal Communications Manager, talks us through the company’s ongoing internal communications agenda and describes how they have engaged with their people. 49 COMMUNICATING GLOBAL CHANGEFROM A LOCAL LEVEL HOW FIRSTGROUP IS EMPOWERING ITS PEOPLE TO CHANGE ITS BUSINESS
  52. 52. 50 COMMUNICATING GLOBAL CHANGE FROM A LOCAL LEVEL • CATHRYN HALTON When our new CEO Tim O’Toole joined us in 2010, it brought about a huge change for our company. We needed to unify our people behind a single purpose, with an agreed direction for our company. We decided that our strength was in operating as a group, rather than as a group of companies. We would be able to leverage our expertise across our different divisions, rather than trying to initiate change by imposing blanket initiatives from group level. NEW LEADERSHIP, NEW VISION This meantoperatingunderashared culture, through a collective set of values so that there was a consistent way of working that every­one could expect from each other. Each area of our business had slightly different setsofvalues,butwhenwelookedat them in more detail we found com­ monalities. We could see the explicit values that underpinned our group. TANGIBLE EMPOWERMENT We also felt that it was important for our stakeholders, customers and partners to have a consistent ex­ perience with FirstGroup; regard­ less of which part of the company they were dealing with. Obviously, due to the geographic spread of our company – along with the fact that we needed to engage with nearly 117,000 people – we needed to establish how we would commu­ nicate these messages. Our ultimate audience is our em­ ployees but, in order to be realistic, my focus needed to be on a smaller group of people. We needed to focus on the local teams to be able to deliver communications across their networks; we knew that their local channels were already established and trusted, so there was no real need to change this. At a group level, our aim was to create and define the impact of the messaging and to empower our leaders at a local level to deliver it for us. The very first thing that we did was engage with leadership to buy into the new vision, strategy and values so that it was understood. We engaged our leadership team so that they were clear on their role in achiev­ ing this overall vision. Two leader­ship events in the UK and North America were organised to speak to our top 250 leaders. We started to tell them the story, describing how the differ­ ent pieces fit to­gether and asked them to start to discuss this back in their business. We needed to them to take the time to understand what the story meant for them and their
  53. 53. 51 THE JOURNAL OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION • VOLUME 7 people, in the context of their own part of the business. For our group to flourish, all of this work needed to happen on a local level involving a wide range of stakeholders. Ultimately, we needed people who knew the local markets to identify what was needed and then adapt the group approach to meet those needs. It is was only by helping them to reap the benefits in this way that we knew we would gain their commitment. After six months or so, we went back to our top 250 leaders and asked them what they thought about it in relation to their individual business. We asked them how they saw them­ selves taking it forward and what obstacles they think they would en­ counter. We then empowered them to roll this out across their businesses withsupportfromour‘enablergroup’, which was made up of communica­ tion and HR professionals. CHANGING THROUGH COMMUNICATION The drive from our senior leader­ ship team has really helped us to succeed with this. By engaging with our senior leaders, we were able to gain ownership and commitment to the overall vision rather than just ask them to deliver a group message. They knew what was needed to talk to their own people, and all we need­ ed to do was to engage with them enough for them to own the mes­ sage that we were trying to convey at a group level. One of our biggest challenges is being able to move people from saying how something is a great idea to actually believing in it We decided that our strength was in operating as a group, rather than as a group of companies.
  54. 54. 52 COMMUNICATING GLOBAL CHANGE FROM A LOCAL LEVEL • CATHRYN HALTON enough to make it something they do every day. Putting the idea into practice by being able to change the way they work – that’s where the biggest challenge of such an engagement strategy lies. We consistently measure our efforts using a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, so we can clearly define our progress. When we do achieve our goals, it is also one of the most satisfying parts of this work. One of our biggest successes so far has been the Greyhound business that operates out of North America. They have a very distinct culture and are wary of anything that might disrupt that. However, they have wholeheartedly supported this and the President of that business now lives and breathes our story. It doesn’t sound like an afterthought – it sounds totally natural and some­ thing he truly believes. His leader­ ship team explicitly talks about Greyhound and FirstGroup in the same way now to all of their dif­ ferent audiences and this is clearly seen in how the business operates. Due to the sheer size and reach of our organisation, we are still in the midst of this transformation. We are constantly trying to refine our work by helping people get to grips with the strategy and understanding how it aligns with our vision. When people can see consistency coming through our story, they believe in it. We’ve actively avoided any general an­ nouncements or campaigns around a new vision or values because we didn’t want these statements to become a barrier to genuine change. We want them to be real and for our people to live and breathe our organisation’s values – that’s where our focus always has been and where it is always going to remain. BIOGRAPHY • CATHRYN HALTON Cathryn joined FirstGroup in 2011 as its first Group Internal Communications Manager. Previously, she spent some time working for G4S in their operational UK security business, leading the delivery of their internal communications strategy.
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