Cutting through the noise…
Bladonmore’s latest breakfast discussion shifted the spotlight onto an internal audience – how to deliver effective employee engagement campaigns that really hit the mark.
The panel consisted of Paul Osgood, Global Head of Internal Communications at Clifford Chance; Julia Lloyd, Head of Communications (Government Services) at Capita; and Nick Helsby, CEO of recruitment consultancy Watson Helsby and author of the Missing Link research report on culture, purpose, brand and reputation. Chaired by Richard Carpenter, Bladonmore’s Managing Partner, the panel shared their thoughts on the evolution of employee comms, how to ensure your message gets heard, and finding inspiration in unlikely places.
Whole new perspective
Our panel stressed how much they had seen the tide change in recent years in terms of the treatment of employee communications in the overall mix. With a renewed emphasis on the importance of trust, the way a business operates has become integral to its identity. Employee comms teams must now act as the glue that brings an organisation together.
Additionally, they pointed to the vast differences between generations in today’s workforce. From ‘New Millennials’ through to ‘Analogues’, these audiences are all different in the way they think, work and interact, making the challenge of reaching all groups with a consistent message ever harder.
So, what were viewed as the key considerations to make sure your messaging really resonates?
Beginning with the basics
One message came through loud and clear: poor briefing results in poor work. Those responsible for a campaign need absolute clarity over the key messaging objectives and to be able to articulate these to other stakeholders. If the story is confused from the outset, how can it be expected to gain traction? Similarly, all strong campaigns are grounded in insight. It may seem overbearing, but much of what makes a message effective is all about data – data, data, data… This is what helps cement the buy-in from senior leadership and ensures campaigns are driven by insight, not just intuition.
You’re not alone…
It sounds like a line taken from a sci-fi thriller – a dystopian wasteland where the hero desperately searches for signs of human life. Many internal comms professionals often feel like they, too, are fighting a solo battle to get their message across. Collaboration may at first feel a little alien but utilising the other ‘communicators’ across a business is vital for success. The structure of communications teams in many organisations has changed in recent years with a shift towards programme management and engagement leads as opposed to one central team. Proactively working together with these people will help ensure your messages land.
Manning the control tower
Internal messaging has some similarities to air traffic control, explained Paul Osgood. The point being, it is possible to successfully land a number of different initiatives, but you need to ensure that they stick to an agreed path to avoid a collision! Assessing each campaign as part of a wider organisational strategy is a major part of this. Priorities will always vary across the business; to some, the availability of an update to last year’s Excel training module will dwarf the importance of the businesses’ new purpose statement. However, knowing how to prioritise your messaging and having the confidence to say “Now is not the time”, will prevent key messages from being diluted.
And finally…what got three ‘Yes’s from our panel?
The weekend is usually the time to switch off from the office. But for those still desperately stressing over how to make your latest campaign land, our panellists agreed that you might find inspiration from a surprising source. Britain’s Got Talent may not be a traditional comms case-study, but it might have a lot to offer in terms of understanding and reading audiences. If you’re looking for an example of how to immerse and engage an audience in a matter of minutes, Saturday night on the sofa may just be the place to start.
If you would like to know more about Bladonmore’s employee engagement work or are interested in attending our future events, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org