Tuesday, 13 November 2012

CIPR Inside Internal Communications Conference: Putting Employees First

On 7th November I attended the CIPR Inside Internal Communications Conference: ‘Putting Employees First’ which was held at the Kia Oval Cricket Ground in London. The event was very interesting with many different speakers giving speeches on the latest about the subjects. I personally found some of those talks very interesting.
As always I wrote down notes about ideas and concepts that were said and that gave me some insight as well as help for the development of my thinking on the subject.
Below are my marginalia, notes that I took from the speeches of some speakers during the conference:
Max McKeown (Writer and Strategy, Leadership and Culture Guru):
“How can organisations shape a better future? How can organisations get to the ‘Paradise’?
Organisations are required to change, do things differently.
Inertia keep people doing the same things in the same ways although being wrong (thinking that next time is going to work).
We learn about the future from the past, from our experiences and we can learn or not learn from mistakes.
Do you learn from mistakes?
Even if you learn, you may not do things differently.
What do I need to forget?
Future is divergent (there are a lot of them); Past is convergent; Now: there is only one.
Long emergency’: we see something bad coming but we do not do anything about it.
How can organization get to face that?
PHASE 1: Recognize the need for adaptation
PHASE 2: Understand the adaptation required (this requires communication)
PHASE 3: Act and adapt

To get to the Paradise organisations need ‘to answer obvious questions with non-obvious answers’. It involves learning and communication between ‘doers’ and ‘thinkers’. If doers and thinkers do not work together the organization gets dysfunctional.
Ideas look good to the people who have them (‘my’ idea)...People often do not want to share their good ideas.
However, in organisations people need to ‘dance’ with others’ ideas…thinkers and doers, thinkers and doers, thinkers and doers…To think better together in order to do better together!”

Jenni Wheller (Internal Communications Manager, SSP UK)
“How do we inspire employees?

  • Make people feel to be loved

  • Take people with you at every step. Talk with them at every step and share everything with them

  • Be the expert to reassure everybody else

  • Talk their language (at every level), talk on their level of interest and engagement

  • Face-to-face communication

  • Integrated toolkit (use all the tools you have within an integrated approach)

  • Network inside the organization. It is about relationships. Engage with people from all departments

  • WHY? Tell people ‘Why’. THE GOLDEN CIRCLE: WHY, HOW, WHAT. Great leaders speak about the ‘Why’ first (not  the ‘What’). This is based on biology and relates to human brain. The ‘Why’ is made up by the limbic brain, the part of the brain which makes decisions, has no capacity for language but feelings. WHY the company does what it does? Why are we doing that? The key to inspiring people is to communicate the Why, make people understand it. People buy the ‘Why’ you do it (not the ‘What’)”

Rachel Miller (Internal Communication and Social Media Strategist)
How social media is changing internal communication
The three key ingredients for Social Media are SPEED, CLARITY and INFORMATION.

Social media is about ‘participation’ where the focus is on CONVERSATIONS (not on ownership: Who owns internal social media? It is cross-functional and should imply the representation of all areas of the business)
If social media is set up as a social platform to put together solutions to problems that is useful for the business. Social media is a way of having ‘conversations’. Give trust to employees (they will tell you if/when it works and if/when goes wrong)
The assessment of the readiness of the organizational culture for social media implementation is important. The level of maturity of the culture has to be strong enough otherwise it could be dangerous. Some organisations are still very hierarchical and it can take time, energy and efforts before using social media and seeing the benefit of it.
How to introduce Social Media in a corporate environment?
Take time to talk with your employees
Do your homework, take a deep breath and take the plunge. Just do it.
See how it works and use these tools in a way that is right for your organization.
Is there any evidence of the benefits of using Social Media?
Organisations that are using internal social media have a more open culture and the ability to work back on employees opinions.
Social media connect people and increase productivity.
During the day there were many other valuable contributions by researchers and practitioners of the discipline.
The conference was a remarkable way of showing the fascinating and challenging world of internal communications and employee engagement.
The more I research and study the subject the more I feel so attached to it. Indeed, this is for me a real passion that I would say comes from within, but also I can see logically and rationally the importance of focusing on it. The business world changes so fast and with it the way our organisations communicate internally and engage with their people. It is so remarkably important to develop our understanding of all of this if we want for our organisations and working lives to have a brighter and sustainable future.
I see the future of the discipline as vast, complex but so hugely fascinating! With that, my wish is to have as many useful marginalia as possible for you!