Staff are our greatest asset. How many times have you heard that? But if they really, really are then good internal comms really matters. Here's some feedback
by Liz Copeland
I had the pleasure of attending a very interesting Melcrum member event last week, which aimed to explore how delegates could maximise the strategic impact of their internal communications with limited resource.
For me the main themes of the day centred on two words:
Involving – engaging staff with the business so they are motivated to go the extra mile and in turn become more productive.
Evolving – changing the way we think, behave and deliver our internal communications to become more effective with less resource.
There were elements of both these themes across the day, so I’d like to pick five things of particular interest that I think colleagues might find useful.
- Engage for Success
If you’ve not already spotted it, there’s a new report out from the Engagement Taskforce called Nailing the Evidence, which provides loads of new case studies and evidence linking employee engagement and motivation to better productivity and performance. According to the report, only one third of UK employees are engaged, but improving employee engagement could see an increase of nearly £26billion in our GDP.
Find out more and read the report here
- The Culture Builders
Jane Sparrow, author of The Culture Builders, shared her reflections on the key aspects of leadership.
There are five key people that make up The Culture Builders, and according to Jane, a good leader needs a bit of all of them to really get the best out of an organisation.
The Prophet – this is the inspirational leader who provides clear vision and purpose to the organisation. The “dreamer” who knows where the organisation needs to go, can talk about aspirations and provide a future focus that others want to buy into.
The Storyteller – this is the leader who can bring things to life, who adds colour and excitement. They’re able to inspire people by telling their own personal stories and bringing people along with them.
The Strategist – this leader has the intention to truly involve people in the team and knows how to make that engagement a reality. This is the logical thinker who knows the talents of the team well and uses them to everyone’s advantage.
The Coach – this leader’s strength is their ability to nurture and encourage people. They offer helpful insight and valuable feedback. They take time to help others grow and develop.
The Pilot – this is the leader everyone trusts. They are calm, dependable, trustworthy and trusting. This leader ensures that everyone is working together towards a goal and will know instinctively when to be authoritative and when to act as an enabler.
At the end of the session, Jane Sparrow revealed that the leadership profile in most organisations tends to have a preference to the first two – as do communications people.
- The evolution of internal communications
Sophie Sheppard from Melcrum shared some interesting insights in the afternoon session. She began by talking about how internal communications within organisations has changed over time. From the 1940s when internal communications was not really a function so much as a group of volunteers who were responsible for social activity – the entertainment committee. Through informing staff, to engaging and involving them and finally to 2012 where internal communications professionals are working much more as collaborators. They are working much more as partners across organisations, making links, developing and facilitating relationships – acting as the glue.
I’m including a shot of the slide with all the above information on it, sorry about the quality, it’s from someone else’s twitter stream.
Check out Julia Lampam’s storify of the day to see that slide and a whole load of other action from the day.
- Internal communications competencies
With the recognition that internal communications has changed – and continues to evolve – Melcrum has developed some new internal communications competencies for professionals working in this area.
I was particularly struck by the role that networks and collaboration now play in internal communications work. This is great to see and as someone who spends a lot of time working on knowledge sharing, encouraging people to build networks and collaborate together, I welcome this joining up between internal communications and knowledge management.
- Some interesting stuff about videos
There were a couple of interesting examples of video use that I thought people would enjoy. Dr Mark Smith from ipadio showed some really inspirational video blogs from the Paralympics. Using the ipadio app, Paralympic athletes were able to film their video blogs and upload them for editing and to be added to the Samsung Paralympic Bloggers website.
I hadn’t heard of these blogs before, but I was impressed how they really captured the experience of the Paralympics from the athletes’ perspective. They were so authentic and true, which is I think what made them so enjoyable to watch, even though in most cases they weren’t necessarily of professional quality.
Pete Stevenson from The Edge Picture Company gave a number of interesting company video examples. The one I really wanted to show here doesn’t appear on their website and I can’t find it on YouTube either. It was created by The Edge Picture Company for Telefonica and involved a number of staff and clear verbal representations of what they were about. It was a simple, but engaging way of reinforcing the values of the organisation.
Liz Copeland is knowledge learning advisor for the Local Government Association. She blogs on the Knowledge Hub here where this post first appeared.