Employee Engagement

Don't sweat the small stuff This week I’ve been interviewing candidates on Zoom. So far, so normal. I’ve worked from home for five years and although I’d rather be out and about meeting people face to face, location and schedules often necessitate video calls. However, like most people in the communications community, I’m now juggling the multiple responsibilities of home-working, home-schooling and feeding four people instead of one. Whereas before I would have been able to talk to you from a quiet home office, that space is in high demand, so instead I will be in my kitchen. Look closely and you’ll see a pile of washing up in the background, a dog scratching at the back door, and despite my best efforts to keep them away, one or more hungry boys/men tiptoeing around behind me. The point is I understand what it’s like. Job hunting is stressful at the best of times...

By Belinda Gannaway, Strategy Director at FathomXP The rise of EX - Employee Experience It's 30 years since the experience economy started to gain attention. But it’s taken a while for the thinking around experience and employees to collide. EX only really arrived on the scene as a way of thinking about people in the business about five years ago. But collided they have. Some 84% of HR and business leaders say EX is important or very important – but only 9% say they are ready to address this issue (Deloitte 2019 Human Capital Trends Report). What is the role of internal comms in EX? To answer that, I’m borrowing a framework from the world of service design. Imagine a theatre: The stage is where the action is happening. Internal comms has a lot of front of stage action – channels, content, campaigns, events etc. Backstage are the support processes that produce the front stage experience: the...

By Vikki Kirby, Chief Storyteller at Vibrato Consulting© The rise of storytelling Recently, a communications consultant told me how the big four consultancy company leading her organisation’s transformation chose to bring in their own storyteller to identify and manage core purpose messaging. She was frustrated that she then had to re-write what he came up with. She isn’t the only one left frustrated by that experience. The business world is buzzing about storytelling. In 2017, 570,000 marketers listed Storytelling as a skill on LinkedIn, compared to zero – zilch – in 2010. I now hear story talked about like smartphones, because ‘everyone has one’. Stories may help us shape identity, but the business of storytelling should be highly regarded. It is a deep craft, a tool to help us make sense of the world. Perhaps that’s why we believe we innately know how stories work? They have been with us since fire, and...

By Dr Domna Lazidou, culture and communication expert   An interesting approach to customer service During a recent work trip to Switzerland, I stayed at a small friendly hotel in a picturesque town by Lake Geneva. While there I had to borrow a plug adaptor from the concierge which I forgot to return, assuming, when I later discovered it in my luggage, that the hotel would simply charge me for the mistake. What I did not expect was that a very strict, official email would be sent to my client (who had booked the hotel for me), accusing me of stealing the plug and demanding that I returned it immediately or they would charge me. My client joked that I had better comply before the Interpol knocked on my door! I was mortified, but also amused: treating your customers as if they were criminals is certainly a novel approach to customer service. In reality, of...

By Mark McMahon, Senior Communications Manager at HSBC. A change of direction "Man is disturbed not by things, but the views he takes of them." Would that sentence change your life? It did for me. Ancient Stoic philosophy might not be top of everyone's reading list, but I came across this quote by Epictetus in a brilliant book called 'Happy' by Derren Brown and it had a profound effect on me. It's another way of saying, it's not the events all around us that cause us to feel a certain way, but how we choose to respond to them. Why am I telling you this? When I read it a few years ago it made me stop and think long and hard, especially about my career. It made me choose to feel differently about my role, my career path, and my potential. It made me consider the choices that were possible. It eventually made me switch...

By Piers Nutbrown, Internal Communications Channel Manager at Collinson Whatever the finer details of the future of internal communications, the shift to the employee is enduring and the onus is on us to hold their attention. In his 1888 book Glimpses of the Future (Suggestions as to the Drift of Things), David Goodman Croly supposed that one day, novels “…would all be reproduced pictorially” so “the reader’s conception of the characters would necessarily be much more vivid”. Good comms practice in any day and age. Croly’s hunches – he also envisaged the audio book and some notable geopolitical trends – have proved more prescient than other hot tips taxidermied in time. Back to the Future had hoverboards. Your grandparents had the football pools. Nostradamus, maligned for his ambiguity, at least stuck his neck out in predicting the whole world would end. And Donald Fagen, in his song IGY, recalled the pioneers who, flush...

By Dominic Wylie, Senior Communication Consultant, like minds Building a bespoke employee value proposition to retain and attract talent, nurture brand values and enhance overall company performance has never been more important. In today’s businesses, the employee value proposition is a critically important piece of cultural infrastructure: get it right, and you could help overcome the current recruitment and employee engagement challenges. Get it wrong, and you could face a disengaged workforce and a productivity problem. The fact is, many organisations fail to pay sufficient attention to their EVP and the employer brand that it underpins. It may be that their EVP was developed some years ago and is no longer authentic. Organisations and their markets evolve – structures, systems and job expectations change, while merged or acquired organisations alter the culture and teams within them. Or it may just be that there has always been a disconnect between the promoted offering and the...

By Charlotte Butler, Managing Director, Altogether Different True story A couple of years ago I heard a tale of bias so stark, so unbelievable, it almost made me spit my tea across the room with laughter. The story goes like this. The year was 2016, an accountancy firm sent their client, a team at a bank, a thank you present at the end of the year. The men received blue boxes, the women, pink. Each pink box revealed a bottle of wine and those women who drank wine were delighted. But wait! What had been sent to each of the men? That’s right – three bottles of wine! The gender pay gap played out in seasonal gift booze. A clerical error was suspected, but further investigation revealed that no, this was the intended gift. The thinking? ‘Men drink more than women’. An awkward afternoon in the bank ensued. A comedic example, but...

By Belinda Gannaway, Strategy Director, Fathom XP If there’s one place to dance, it’s Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. The music, the moonlight, the people. It’s pure bucket list. Sadly, not for me. Because I can’t dance – not really dance. So I didn’t. I sat it out and laid down a different memory. A memory of stopping myself doing something. Why? Ego. The protective cloak Dr Herbert Schofield from Loughborough University describes ego as the anaesthetic that nature gives us to deaden the pain of being a fool. I like this. But it doesn’t capture the self-limiting aspect of ego. For that I prefer the definition I’ve borrowed from our partner Hazel Lowndes at Ginger Dog. She describes ego as a protective cloak we wear in public so people don’t see the real, always-learning, never-perfect version of ourselves. Back in Mexico I wore this protective cloak to ensure I didn’t expose my incompetence to the world. It serves...

By Ezri Carlebach, communications consultant, writer and lecturer. Member of the PR and Communications Council. Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication and the Royal Society of Arts.  As we approach the third decade of the third millennium, there seems to be a powerful narrative informing the zeitgeist (“an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch” says Wikipedia). That narrative is all about the future. In a nutshell, it’s telling us that somehow, 'the future is already here'. There are plenty of variations on that theme, from 'the future has arrived' and 'tomorrow is today' to the suggestion that the future is hurtling towards us at great speed. It all contributes to a feeling of temporal dislocation. What happened to the present, if we're already living in the future? Maybe it's a case of understandable exaggeration, given that we're fed a constant stream of stories about futuristic-sounding technologies — artificial intelligence, virtual...