Reaching non-office colleagues; employee engagement

How do you reach non-office colleagues?

Reaching non-office colleagues; employee engagement

By Kristina Malther, Managing Director, Open CPT (April 2019).

What motivates office and non-office colleagues?

Why do people go to work? What makes them happy? Why do they stay? These are questions that we ask ourselves as internal communicators.

And we sometimes assume that there is a difference between our office and non-office colleagues.

But, we’re wrong if we think that the pay check is all that matters once you get out of the headquarter. Based on both the latest research and our experience from working with non-office workers across the globe, production workers also care whether they work for a successful company; technicians, who are always on the road, also want to feel part of a team; and the cashier in the supermarket also wants to know about the company values.

But for a lot of large organisations, reaching non-office colleagues – be that in production, frontline or mobile employees – is still a major challenge.

Infrastructure is a challenge

Reaching our colleagues outside of the office is not easy – we are often challenged by lack of infrastructure.

How do we reach the guy in the cold food production line where there are no computers or info screens? Or the nurse on the ward who is busy with patients all day? How do we manage multiple platforms, data costs and security?

Building the right infrastructure is essential and that may very well require a multi-platform approach as well as both digital and human channels.

Engaging employees

How well do you actually know your non-office colleagues?

But we are also challenged by lack of knowledge of the people who are not right next to us. We don’t really know what interests the guy in production or what channels works for him.

We presume, we simplify and we often don’t prioritise getting this insight.

Disengagement is a risk for business

And at the same time we know that we need to do something about this. We know that we are operating in a world where word of mouth, and therefore employee advocacy, is more important than ever.  And we know that crucial and sometimes elusive customer experience is mostly delivered by our non-office colleagues.

So its time to do something about it!

Engaging employees
In the 2019 Gatehouse State of The Sector survey on internal communications, 42% of internal communicators stated hard-to-reach employees as a barrier to success
5 steps on the journey to reach your non-office colleagues:

1. Start with ‘why’ – and be specific

Start by asking yourself: why do we need to reach non-office workers? Because if you don’t ask the question, someone else will – and then we need to have a good answer prepared. In many organisations, reaching non-office colleagues is still perceived as an unnecessary luxury.

Depending on your organisation and the types of non-office workers you need to reach, the ‘why’ could be about engagement and retention, or it could be part of a much bigger journey such as the digitisation of the production.

After a clear ‘why’ has been established, you can start defining your business case and return on investment.

Engaging employees

2. Remember that your non-office colleagues are not the same

They could be production workers, drivers, service technicians, sales, specialists, retail staff, etc. And the word non-office might be about the only thing some of these people have in common.

A production facility culture in China and a production facility culture in South Africa might be very different.

Differentiate and target your approach.

3. Get to know them better

  1. It seems obvious, but yet it is something that internal communicators often forget: go out and talk to people. Ask, listen and see what they do. Keep an open mind, you might be surprised.
  2. Get quantitative insights to match. Make a friend in HR/IT who can help you process available employee data.
  3. Create personas to help you bring the non-office people back into the office.

Engaging employees

4. Tailor your communication

Once you know your non-office colleagues better, you also know what is relevant to them. As a rule of thumb, we’ve found two things that work:

  • A glocal approach, with a heavier balance on local than global. Remember that what seems interesting and relevant in HQ, often is lower on the agenda further away.
  • Two-way communication; it’s not just about broadcasting, but also about establishing a line back. Ask for feedback and input and make feedback channels available.
  • And be ready to simplify when you’re reaching out to the non-connected. In this case; less is more. Go bite-sized. Go visual.

5. Build the infrastructure

These days it is often about a multi-channel approach, which could include:

  • Mobile messaging using a platform with limited data cost
  • Ensuring that your intranet is responsive for mobiles and tablets
  • Creating human networks, e.g. up-skilling team leads and supervisors to communicate and providing them with easy formats to communicate from

Start with a pilot – it’s the best way to test it out

Embarking on a project to reach all non-office colleagues in a large organisation can be daunting. Will it work? What is the cost? How do we make it operational?

That’s why starting with a pilot in a particular area of the business is often a valuable start. Here you can test approaches and channels, as well as get a better impression of what it will require in terms of day-to-day operations, cost etc.

Good luck! At the end of the day, it’s not about whether you should reach your non-office colleagues – but how and when.


Taariq Latiff

On the Mic: Taariq Latiff

Taariq Latiff

On the Mic: Taariq Latiff from Open CPT

We recently asked Taariq Latiff, BTech Product Designer and Creative Director at Open CPT, to share some insight into his life as a designer and creative in the world of internal communication.

By Aneeqah Samsodien, Communication and Brand Specialist (March 2019).

How did your career in design start?

I was commissioned to create a logo for a hair nourishing product by my first client during the third year of my studies, which then grew into brochures and packaging. I went into depression when I started my first job after studying,  designing POS units for the makeup industry. There wasn’t much room for creativity and I resigned after just three months. I vowed that I would never again work for someone or a business where I was not growing creatively. I picked up some clients, started freelancing, and gradually grew into an independent creative studio.

How did you end up at Open, specialists in internal communication?

I went for an interview at Open after a friend referred me to see what it was about. The more I heard about internal communication, the more I felt that this is the type of thing I’ve been looking for, but didn’t know existed.

What is the purpose of creating meaningful design when communicating to employees?

Design is essential when you’re communicating with employees. It’s about using a modern approach to communicate stories simply and visually across different contexts and using different materials. We are visual beings that respond to visual communication, and this should be reflected in modern-day internal communication as well.

What do you like most about working for Open?

It’s always challenging. It keeps me on my toes and I am constantly learning new techniques. The system we work within is also really great as it gives me the ability to adapt and grow. I work with really amazing designers and strategists abroad, who are specialists of their craft and always have different ways of approaching a problem. I have access to a wealth of information that wouldn’t typically be readily available due to my location.

Where would you say your specialty lies?

I love conceptualising and having a broad understanding of materials, manufacturing processes and systems, making me a good problem solver.

What are some of the first childhood memories that made you realise you had a knack for design?

From a young age, I would spend a lot of time watching my mom – a signwriter and a real perfectionist – paint signage, posters and banners. Our dining room would always be filled with poster paper and paint brushes and I’d always play with the scraps. I would find cartoon characters I really liked and would spend hours trying to redraw them until I got the correct proportions.

In primary school, I was tasked to create a show-and-tell project of what my dream job is. I used our computer and, in Microsoft Word, I designed my own chocolate bar wrappers (I’ve always loved chocolate). I even created unique names for each of the imaginary chocolate bars. That’s pretty much how my design journey started.

As a designer, name one project you have always envisioned that you would like to achieve in your lifetime. 

I’ve been blessed – I have worked on and created most of the projects I’ve conceptualised and wanted to try thus far. I’d meet a client and they’d describe the product they would want and it ends up being something I had already thought about. Most of my dream projects have been given to me and the best thing is, I got paid to do it.

If we’re talking about personal projects, I would love to design food products or create my own perfume brand.

What are some of the creative challenges you face regularly and how do you remedy them?

I love working on multiple tasks at once; that’s how I’ve been operating from a young age. At Open, using time effectively is vital to everyday life. I get a variety of tasks to manage, but there is usually one big task or project that grounds me.

Why do you do what you do, and could you see yourself doing anything else?

Frustration fuelled my desire to become a designer. When I saw poor signage, visual communication products and architecture, I noticed gaps where people weren’t paying attention to the design and how it could be improved.

If I weren’t a product designer, I would probably be an artist or a chef. I would also like to design a hydroponic garden in my backyard one day (I love plants).

On the Mic is a series of blog posts that invite internal communication professionals to share their take on employee communication, their view on trends within the field and what rocks their boat. Feel free to send us tips on who should be ‘On the Mic’ next.


Dialogue Matters - July 2018

Dialogue Matters & Open CPT

 

Dialogue Matters: Lunch Sessions

Ethics

Cape Town, Wednesday, 04 July 2018

Join Open CPT alongside Reputation Matters at our next Dialogue Matters lunch session!

 

About this session:

How do you communicate around ethics internally and externally in your organisation and personal platforms?
  • Do you and your people share a common understanding of workplace ethics?
  • Is ethics really valued in your organisation? Or are there more important success criteria?
  • How well do you manage ethics? Well enough to minimise risk and reputational damage?
  • Where does your organisation's culture lie on the ethical - toxic culture continuum?
At the session, you will gain insight into:
  • The importance of research and the role that ethics plays in Africa
  • Insights into top ethics trends and the Ethics Monitor Toolkit
  • The importance of values - and how to bring them to life in your organisation

 

   Wednesday, July 04, 2018

 

   13:00 to 15:00

 

         The Attic Function room, The Woodstock Exchange, 4th Floor, Cape Town

 

 Tickets cost R 100.00 per person. Seats are limited to 15.

 

  RSVP by Wednesday, 27 June, 2018.

 

 

The Programme:

  • Welcoming and coffee;
  • Reputation and Ethics in Africa:
  • Ethics trends and Ethics Monitor Toolkit:
  • Importance of values - how to define and communicate values in your organisation.
  • Networking

 

If you are interested in attending this lunch session, please send a mail of confirmation of interest to [email protected] and we will get back to you. Please note that seating is very limited.

 

The Dialogue Matters breakfast sessions are run in collaboration by Regine le Roux (Managing Director of Reputation Matters), Lisa Wannell (Founder and Director of  Halogen Search & Select) and Kristina Malther (Managing Director of Open Cape Town).

 

We will for the first time at Dialogue Matters, be hosting guest speaker Cynthia Schoeman, Founder and MD of Ethics Monitor.

 

About Dialogue Matters Sessions:

The Dialogue Matters sessions offer insights, case studies and networking around the latest topics on the agenda in the field of corporate communications and reputation management. These sessions are brought to you by Reputation Matters and Open CPT.


Employee Experience Panel CPT

Employee Experience Panel - an exclusive network

Employee Experience Panel

Employee Experience Panel - an exclusive network

We're growing our network in Africa and invite professionals in the field of communications, HR and branding who work with, or are about to embark on, Employee Experience design to join our Employee Experience Panel.

Employee Experience is fast hitting the agenda as a way to link customer experience design, brand advocacy and employee engagement - but most organisations are just at the early stages and need to find ways to go about it.

The Employee Experience panel will be a curated network for exchanging insights and challenges on the topic - facilitated by Open CPT and in parallel with a similar panel in Copenhagen.

 

Open CPT Employee Experience Panel

The network is by invitation only. If you are interested in joining and think you fit the profile, get in touch or follow this link to let us know your interests and needs: https://bit.ly/2xYtyrW

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Health and safety communication

A safety campaign won't do it (alone)

Health and safety communication

A safety campaign won't do it (alone)

Leaders play a key role in driving behavioral change. That is why mobilizing leaders to drive a safety culture should be the focus for every communication department.

“So your safety culture needs a boost? Let’s do a safety campaign!” This will most likely be the response from many communicators when asked to help out with the organization’s safety communication. But while a great safety campaign can often move hearts and minds – it probably won’t have a long-term effect, unless your leaders play an active role in driving a safety culture.

Picture this situation: You are a lab-worker in a big medical company. Lately, corporate communication has rolled out a fancy campaign with colorful posters, films and stickers reminding you how important safety is, and how you should check for risks before you start a task. You agree. You also want to get home to your family with your eyesight intact at the end of the day.

But the thing is; every time you bring up a safety hazard with your boss, he seems to get irritated, so you’ve stopped doing it. Whenever there’s a safety inspection in the lab, people joke around and make fun of the procedures – and your boss is the biggest joker of them all. Frankly, you also find it difficult to follow all the procedures, while still meeting the team targets for speed and efficiency.

As with everything else in corporate culture, leaders play a key role in driving behavioral change. But when it comes to compliance issues such as safety – where the initial payoff isn’t tangible, but rather an add-on to an already tight schedule – a leader will quickly push safety to the bottom of the team’s priority list, if the overall priority of safety isn’t clear in the organization.

That’s why mobilizing leaders to drive a safety culture should be the focus for any communication department tasked with boosting the safety culture.

So how do you do that?

Make safety leadership a priority
Well, first of all, leaders have to know that promoting safety culture is part of their job. ‘Safety leadership’ starts with making leaders aware of how important they actually are in making safety a first priority. Believe me, chances are that they simply don’t know it.

Putting safety leadership on the agenda at your next management meeting or seminar and asking leaders to assess their own safety leadership, is one way to go about it. Answering the question: “To which degree do you act as a role model when it comes to safety?” will make the penny drop for most.

Give leaders tools to communicate about safety
Secondly, most leaders don’t actually know how to make their team take safety seriously. So help them! Give them the key messages, the tools and the training they need to become strong safety ambassadors. Show them that making safety important means:

Communicating about safety on a regular basis; at meetings, at beginning of shifts, at year-end. This entails telling people why safety matters, how to act safely and share the progress they make. Often safety efforts get tired if it feels like it doesn’t make any real difference.

Engaging in dialogue about safety. Employees are often the best safety experts; they know the hazards and have the best solutions, but some leaders are not used to engaging with their teams in this kind of dialogue. So show them how to ask questions that people can answer – and not least – how to listen to and act on the input they get.

It’s a group effort
Close collaboration between the safety organization and corporate communication is a prerequisite for any lasting safety communication effort. But mobilising your leaders to drive a safety effort also requires a strong top management focus on safety. So, as a communicator your first step to coining ‘Safety Leadership’ in your organization in getting your top management on board in being the organization’s no. 1 safety ambassadors.

This blog post was originally written by Rasmus Engelhardt for Open, click here to read the full post.


Employee Experience on the agenda!

Employee Experience on the agenda!

Employee Experience is most certainly on the agenda for the ca. 50 communicators from Denmark’s largest companies present at our ChangeComm event this past Thursday in Copenhagen.

ChangeComm event
Poll from ChangeComm event

It is a way of working across functions to create not only engagement, but also heighten performance and improving the customer experience.

Employee Experience
ChangeComm Denmark - May 2018.

Three key take-aways from our speakers:

  • Focus on improving the 'moments that matter' to employees. The 'moments that matter' are at the very core of the Employee Experience in your organisation and the best place to start.
  • Just-do-it! Rather than waiting to come up with the perfect solution. It is a large field, and one that can seem overwhelming, but now is the time to experiment and learn as you go.
  • Be truly curious about the people who work in your organisation to match their needs and wants. Too often we are more concerned with what we think people want, than actually listening to what they really want.

Want to know more about Employee Experience and how to approach it from an employee communication perspective? Get in touch.

About Open CPT

Open CPT is an internal communication agency based in Cape Town, South Africa. We develop innovative ways of communication with employees, leaders and stakeholders to drive engagement and create sustainable change.

Open CPT is a subsidiary of leading European employee communication agency, Open, and rooted in Open’s principles of creativity, involvement and simplicity.

Drawing on a decade of experience from working with some of Europe’s largest corporations, we offer fresh as well as tried-and-tested approaches.

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On the Mic: Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen

On the Mic: Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen from LM Wind Power

We're so glad to have Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen, Senior Manager, Communications & Sustainability at LM Wind Power, sharing what she sees as key when communicating sustainability and carbon neutrality.

By: Betina Sørensen, Senior Creative Advisor (March 4, 2018)

 

What’s on the top of your employee communication agenda right now?
Strategy execution, GE integration, and sustainability with our carbon neutrality program #CleanLM at the very top!

What was your latest success and what made it a success?
Recently, we did an interactive workshop session for the top 130 global leaders of the company, challenging them to play a huge cardboard game: Go Carbon Neutral in 30 mins.

It was their first in-depth experience with our ambitious sustainability program and it worked brilliantly because the format and game design dynamics compelled our leaders to learn about the concept and methods to go carbon neutral. To be able to finish the game they had to collaborate, negotiate, and agree. It made them reflect on the challenge and daunting task we as a business have taken upon us by setting this ambitious goal.

It was a very effective way of creating awareness and ambassadors who now are able to articulate what we are doing to their teams and other stakeholders, helping to foster further interest, support, and hopefully inspiration so more colleagues get engaged.

Why is it important to communicate your carbon neutrality pledge internally?
Many LM Wind Power employees have taken what we call ‘the green pill’! They genuinely care about the fact that they work in a green company and make a positive difference every day.

#CleanLM gives them another reason to be proud and it is absolutely crucial to ensure they are aware of this pledge, so they are able to engage in the delivery of the program or in the communication about it to their networks.

I think it is fair to say that they are the most important stakeholders and key enablers for us as an organization to achieve the target but also the reputation benefit that comes by being a pioneer. Just imagine the impact if we manage to engage 10,000 people as green ambassadors inspiring others to follow our lead!

What did you learn during the process?
In this process we were quite concerned about the level of detail and complexity of our game would be too advanced for the limited time we had available. The audience was the top leaders in the business, so stakes were high – as would be the exposure if we failed.

We spent a LOT of energy on wording and simplifying the concept and content over several iterations until we were satisfied. It was a matter of finding that delicate balance where the audience is intrigued and challenged but not overwhelmed while maintaining some of the complexity from real life in the game.

This experience actually reflects one of the most important lessons I have learned on my 10+ years in corporate communications. When you have really invested that extra thought and care into your content and campaign you can create something with long durability and relevance which ultimately becomes a recognized franchise in the company’s communications mix.

When people start adopting and adapting it to their own communications purposes, you have really succeeded. We have done that with our first sustainability campaign featuring four mascots – The Sustainables – which were introduced five years ago but still going strong and even getting new family members from time to time. With #CleanLM we aim to create a strong internal franchise again but this time, the potential for using it externally has been considered almost equally important. We are on to something greater than ourselves and inspiring others is a huge part of measuring our success.

What is your best advice/tip to other employee communicators?
Take your audience seriously and invest the necessary time and care in learning what works with them. Do pilots, focus groups, or test runs with small samples of employees and be ready to adjust according to what you learn. Then dare to challenge and tweak to surprise and inspire! And finally, consider how you measure success already when you start designing your campaign. We all want to be able to show that our work made the intended difference.

You can read more about Lene’s activating leaders and employees in the carbon neutral agenda in her LinkedIn blog post: Watch 130 leaders go carbon neutral in 30 minutes! (LinkedIn, February 23, 2018)

‘On the Mic’ is a series of blog posts that invite internal communication professionals to share their take on employee communication, their view on trends within the field and what rocks their boat. Feel free to send us tips on who should be ‘On the Mic’ next.

This post is done in collaboration with Open – to go to the Open blog, click here.


On the Mic: Steffen Støvelbæk from Nilfisk

On the Mic: Steffen Støvelbæk from Nilfisk

Recently, Nilfisk was listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange – an exciting event both internally and externally. We're so glad to have Steffen Støvelbæk, Head of Communications at Nilfisk, sharing what he sees as key when communicating a stock exchange listing internally.

By: Kristina Malther, Associated Partner & Senior Communication Advisor (16 January 2018)

 

Why do you find it exciting to work with employee communication?
Because it is about people! And about interacting with people and interaction between people. Effective employee communication is really the glue that connects people with the company and the strategy. I find contributing to creating this alignment and bigger purpose and adding value for everyone a big privilege. I am responsible for both external and internal communication globally across Nilfisk. However, it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between these two disciplines, as messages of course need to be fully aligned and transparent across all channels.

What was your latest success and what made it a success?
Recently, Nilfisk was listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. A listing process mainly targets investors, analysts, and other external stakeholders but we also wanted to make this an internal event. We managed to turn the listing into a successful internal celebration of a milestone in the history of Nilfisk. I think that was a great achievement and something that has left a positive mark on the company.

Why was it important to communicate the Nilfisk Stock exchange listing internally?
These types of events are not often communicated on internally because of their strong financial scope and at Nilfisk, a lot of the employees outside of Denmark didn’t really care when we communicated about the listing plans. Most of them found it irrelevant to them. We decided to use the listing as an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of all Nilfisk employees in making this happen and to create a sense of excitement, pride, and unity around it; across all our 60+ locations worldwide. Technically, this was a demerger from Nilfisk’s former owners NKT, and we also wanted to make sure that this was seen as something positive, and not as a threat.

What did you learn during the process?
I learned that it really pays off to make an event like this a people-centered celebration, paying tribute to the employees and what they have created together – instead of only focusing on finances and investors. It is also important to get the managers onboard as early as possible in the process to support local communication activities across all sites. We used a mix of live webcasts, prerecorded videos and interviews, and Q&A’s. The unity it created across our many different locations was great.

What were your greatest communication successes in communicating internally about the listing?
We succeeded in encouraging employees across the world to use social media and share their celebrations locally. This created a nice vibe on the different SoMe platforms and a strong sense of unity internally. We really saw that aligning and bridging internal and external messages supported our employee promise and brand.

What is your best advice/tip to other employee communicators facing a Stock exchange listing?
Remember to celebrate! With the busy day-to-day grind, we often forget to celebrate and mark our achievements and successes. As human beings we all like and need that, and a listing is a great opportunity to do this. The bottom line is that the employees have all contributed to and created the company that now is financially strong enough to be listed and attract investors. That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?

‘On the Mic’ is a series of blog posts that invite internal communication professionals to share their take on employee communication, their view on trends within the field and what rocks their boat. Feel free to send us tips on who should be ‘On the Mic’ next.

This post is done in collaboration with Open – to go to the Open blog, click here.