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Blog Employee Engagement

Is terminology standing in the way?

employee-engagement

September 16th, 2021.

Is terminology standing in the way of employee engagement?

Have you ever paused and thought about the terminology we use and the connotations those terms may have? I found myself doing this recently and it’s really hit a chord. It’s made me question if some of the language we use could be preventing, or at least holding back, employee engagement. Let me explain why…

We commonly use phrases such as “deskless workers” and “remote employees”. But surely these terms go against the very definition of employee engagement?

For an employee to feel engaged they must feel part of the company. They must feel like a valued member of the team. But both these terms create separation. “Less” within ‘deskless’ suggests a lower level to their office counterparts. The term “remote” instantly makes it acceptable that these people are more distant.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve created a divide. In the 1920s the term “blue collar worker” was created to represent the jobs which were typically carried out by people who wore darker clothes to hide the dirt. Accompanying that was the “white collar worker”. Over the years, these terms took on wider meanings with “blue collar workers” often being seen as low paid jobs completed by uneducated people. A divide was born.

Today we hear these terms less and less because those labels are no longer seen as acceptable. Furthermore, they are in no ways beneficial. So why are we repeating history?

It’s time for change

In the past, terminology that divides office-based workers from their frontline counterparts may have been necessary. Purely from a logistical point of view. Communicating with someone using a computer was very different to communication with someone on a factory production line. No doubt, albeit subconsciously, these terms favoured our office workers because they were far easier to communicate with. Sending an email or publishing an intranet article is much more straightforward than ensuring a message is disseminated through line management for example. Due to this completely different way in which we communicated with the two groups, there was a need to categorise them. Although I would still argue that we could come up with better terminology than “deskless workers”!

But today we do not need this definition.

We have internal communications software that can send (and receive) communications to every employee no matter where or when they work. Communicators can now focus on communications rather than the logistics of communications. This technological advancement means we do not need to segment employees by their access to a computer.

But to add to the argument; we now work in a world of hybrid working. The pool of “remote workers” has grown exponentially since the COVID pandemic. If we continue to define these people as a separate more ‘remote’ group, we are going to find our employee engagement taking a downturn.

With the help of internal communications software we have an opportunity to actually treat everyone the same. To create a level playing field that brings everyone together playing their part in the company goals.

I accept that internal communications software is a relatively new solution that hasn’t been adopted by every organisation yet, but I have hope. Hope that with the help of an internal communication tool and an eagerness to make hybrid working a success, we could see the end of divisive terminology.

In a decade I really hope that I look back on this blog with a smile on my face having realised that I haven’t heard the term “deskless employees” or “remote workers” for an absolute age. If I do, we’ll know that employee engagement has reached a new point in its evolution. A more sophisticated, employee centric point that in which businesses will be reaping the rewards that come hand in hand with an engaged workforce.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

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Blog Internal Communication

Video in Internal Comms

internal communications

Using video to communicate with employees

Using video to communicate with employees is a very valuable part of any internal communication strategy. It isn’t a new idea but love it or hate it, video conferencing became much more common during lockdown and now we are all more familiar with being on screen.

It is not an easy thing to do. I’ve been a public speaker for many years, giving talks and seminars in front of hundreds of people but I turn into a bumbling idiot when looking into a camera. So what are the secrets to producing interesting good quality content?

Practice

Sounds obvious but it really does work! If you are using video to communicate with employees you must first feel relaxed and confident. Or as relaxed and confident as you can be at least!

Just grab your phone and start recording yourself talking about anything. These videos will never leave the safety of your phone storage, their purpose is to get you used to looking at the camera rather than yourself in the screen and feeling more comfortable with the result.

Let your eye line roam a little, staring at the camera intently whilst you recite content can come across a little… well, creepy!

Start alone at first, get used to the feeling of recording yourself. Then, when you’re feeling more confident, move to a public space and repeat the process. Hold the phone boldly – don’t try to secretly record yourself!

Equipment

3 items that will make your internal communication video look and feel more professional.

Lighting. A must on every filmset in the world is good lighting, even when filming outdoors and it will make a real difference to your videos. You can buy selfie ring lights that clip onto your mobile phone for as little as £15. Alternately you can get mini stands with halo lighting built in. Good lighting makes you look good, which in turn will improve confidence!

Tripod. Set your phone or camera into a stand so there is no distracting wobbles, no moving out of shot and no arm ache! Using a tripod with a phone or monitor mounted webcam frees up your hands for gesturing. Hand movement is an unconscious thing you would do if speaking face to face so freeing up your hands will relax you.

Microphone. Either invest in a good microphone or utilise the one in your earphones. A microphone eliminates external noises like wind and means you won’t find yourself talking loudly or unnaturally.

Do your preparation

Have a storyboard in mind before you start.

Film makers don’t just turn up on day one with the actors and start filming. They have scripts, storyboards, rehearsals and plans which they produce before filming begins.

Speak to colleagues or maybe run a quick survey to conclude the best way to go about using video to communicate with employees. What information would make their workday more enjoyable or productive? Find out who they want to hear from; is it the Managing Director, direct line managers or industry leaders?

I know this may seem a bit much for your weekly internal communication round up but your video content will be produced far quicker if you have a basic storyboard and agenda to follow rather than the classic “winging it” approach. Once you’ve got a storyboard have a pre-recording run through without the camera rolling. When you’re happy with the flow you can produce the content with no interruptions.

Don't fly solo

Release your inner chat show host.

Getting colleagues involved with your video content via employee or senior management interviews is a great way to relive any filming tension you may experience and increase overall employee engagement.

Without the emphasis on the camera your internal comms content will look and feel more natural in an informal chat setting. Making it more watchable and less staged.

Paralysis by analysis

Using video to communicate with employees is a really valuable tool in your internal comms strategy but remember you’re not remaking The Shawshank Redemption.

Unlike written or image based internal communication content, video seems to fall under a whole new level of post-production scrutiny. Resulting in very long lead times and worse, not releasing the content at all!

You are not Steven Spielberg, unless you are, and by some miracle you’ve stumbled on this blog. In which case, I’m a huge fan sir! The rest of us have to expect our internal communication videos to be slightly rough sometimes, for them to have places you’d love to redo. The key here is to let them go and publish.

Don’t get stuck overthinking. A video that is 95% perfect and released will improve employee engagement and company moral. A video that is 5% wrong (in your eyes) and not released will do neither.

 

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

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Blog Internal Communication

Internal Comms During COVID

internal communication

Internal Crisis Communication During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The value of Internal Communication during a crisis

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading globally at an incredible rate. New cases are being recorded daily by doctors via regular updates from our government. The virus is also an issue for our economy as a whole. Businesses are beginning to feel the impacts on turnover, with many having to close down and furlough their employees.

But where does that leave the employees now working from home and the employees working on the frontline?

How does a business manage to instantly share the information its employees need to do their jobs when they are now scattered or working different shift patterns? How do you keep the workplace productivity high and team collaboration strong when your teams have been disrupted? And how do you engage with your employees when their world has turned upside down? 

Internal crisis communication has never been more important.

Lisa Ross, COO of Edelman in the U.S has said:

“Employees are turning to business as a source of truth on the daily issues they’re facing. So we’re counselling our clients to keep up a continual cadence of credible information.”

A cadence of credible info… Now that’s some smashing fancy talk for a Friday! Essentially your internal crisis communication needs to be a regular, probably more than normal, feed of information on what is going on and how important each employee’s role is in the businesses survival.

Your internal crisis communication needs to offer guidance

COVID-19 is changing internal communication and employee engagement. Your workforce could be feeling isolated and alone. They will have questions. “What’s going on?”, “will I still have a job at the end of all this?”, “will I lose my job if this lockdown carries on too long?”. Internal communication will play a vital role in handling these questions and keeping your employees focussed and on track.

74% of employees feel they are missing out on important information - Gallup poll.

Whilst your employees are working remotely or different the opportunity for “fake news” to feed into the business is high. Private WhatsApp chats and Microsoft Teams messaging will be spreading stories and gossip. You need a solid platform and strategy in place to stub out the negativity with updates and news on positivity and truth.

So what should you do?

These are my 3 top tips on how to manage your internal crisis communication:

Right Place - Right time

Hanging notices in the staff room doesn’t cut it anymore, neither do intranet updates that are locked away behind company firewalls. You need to send out timely messages on a regular basis on a platform every one of your employees has access too at home. 13% of employees use their company intranet and 2 in 3 employees ignore email newsletters through email fatigue.

Gauge Opinion

Your employees will have questions and if you do not answer them – fake news will! Use regular surveys and polls to gauge feeling and allow your employees a mechanism to ask questions and air their concerns.

Analyse Metrics

How do you know if your internal communication is effective if you don’t track it? You need to be able see if your employees are reading your updates and which content generates the most reads and questions. These important metrics form the building blocks of future campaigns and updates and will help you evolve your internal crisis communication to maximise its effectiveness.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

Categories
Blog Internal Communication

Internal Comms Problems

internal communication

How to overcome poor communication in the workplace

The role of an internal communication professional has changed. Communicating with employees for the purpose of releasing big news or changes is not enough. This closed approach to internal communication is likely to disengage employees and cause your internal communication strategy to subside. In this blog we outline the 5 most common problems and provide guidance on how to overcome poor communication. 

Non-Desk Employees

Not everyone works at a desk with access to company email or intranet. This creates a big logistical challenge but it’s vital you find a way around it if you are to overcome poor communication within your organisation.

Not having an internal comms app that every employee, contractor and stakeholder can access can hurt your relationships with your non-desk / remote workforce. Remote working is growing rapidly and internal communication professionals need to have a plan on how to keep them informed and engaged.

Time and effort goes into producing content for your workforce only for it to be inaccessible to Non-Desk Employees. 84% of Non-Desk Employees feel they do not receive enough support and communication to do their job.

Time Consuming

Updating multiple platforms & lack of collaboration is another hurdle many businesses need to overcome.

Creating engaging content is difficult enough, then you have to replicate it across email, intranet , staff noticeboards and social media.

In today’s fluid business world, internal communication professionals need to ensure much better cross department communication takes place. This ensures an even spread of content workload, fresh and interesting articles for your workforce and ultimately – far more engaged employees.

Customer facing teams like, marketing, sales, development and account management cannot work separately. In order to be successful, they need to communicate effectively on a regular basis.

The most effective way to do this will be with an internal comms app that all authors can access. With a single platform central to everything all your communicators do, you will ensure everyone sings from the same hymn sheet.

Low Engagement

Little or no feedback on company news.

29% of employees say their organisation’s current method of internal communication isn’t working. They feel disengaged and out of the loop.

Good employee engagement is a top contributing factor to high-performance growth culture business and an undeniable producer of productivity and payback.

Getting a better engagement rate requires three key values:

  • Employees want to be known and recognised as important individuals to the business.
  • They want to be valued. Employees want to know the company cares about them.
  • Empowerment. Some employees want increased responsibility, while others may want things like training and development.

Embracing a two-way engagement strategy to achieve a higher engagement rate and employee productivity with definitely help you overcome poor communication practices.

Email Fatigue

Overloaded employee inboxes are a common problem.

Email fatigue is a state that occurs when employees get tired of receiving email. They start to ignore messages, delete them, unsubscribe, or even worse – they send your emails to their spam folder.

Email fatigue is mostly the result of a company sending employees irrelevant emails or sending emails too frequently. Seeing gradual decrease in email engagement numbers like opens and clicks is a clear indicator of a tired and disengaged workforce.

An employee engagement app like VRAMP is designed so that the flow of information is faster, error free and more targeted with the use of feeds and teams. A solution such as this will not only help your overcome poor communication challenges, it will also help you attract a younger generation to work with you. 

Useable Analytics

Looking for more than just open and click rates.

Feedback and analytics are key to any internal communication strategy. You need it to measure engagement and gauge opinion whilst your employees appreciate the fact their voice is heard.

The focus should really be on measuring the impact of your internal communications on employee engagement, motivation and productivity. You need to be on top of your employee advocacy. Engagement metrics go a long way to help build a suitable program for this and will help you both identify and overcome poor communication issues.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

Email Capability

8th October, 2021. VRAMP now provides even more flexibility from one employee communication platform VRAMP has always enabled you to deliver communications that

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Blog Internal Communication

Internal Comms Best Practice

internal communication

Internal Communications Best Practices

Internal communication used to mean sending out bulk email newsletters, hoping that they would get past highly strung message filters to people across the business who would eventually read them. And who can forget the time our NHS managed to kill their mail server with 1 million reply-all emails!

Internal communication and employee engagement driven strategies have changed. Embracing new technology, employee schedules and circumstances. Here are our top 5 internal communications best practices.

Internal communications best practices #1

Use all the tools in the toolbox

Sounds obvious, but internal communication is no different to external marketing with regards to channels. Don’t just stick to intranets, staff notice boards and email newsletters, embrace mobile apps, chat services and video streaming.

You are looking to replace the “them and us” culture with one of unity and togetherness. An engaged, valued and informed team will stay committed behind your goals so find out which medium they prefer to receive information from you.

Internal communications best practices #2

Develop an internal communication strategy

Now you’ve got the gear – it’s time for the idea!

Have a plan with 3 months of content, targets and goals. Be flexible to change and ready to receive vital feedback from your audience. Set up feeds and segments to ensure the right message goes to the right places.

Internal communications best practices #3

Celebrate success

Virtual high fives all round.

If employees at all levels are given a means to give virtual props to their colleagues, internal communication can become the shared responsibility of each member of the business instead of a single communication. Celebrate success – involve as many people as you can in the process to ensure you grow your champions and ambassadors.

Internal communications best practices #4

Identify key metrics

Metrics on your internal communications show success and drives future strategy. Best intranet metrics measure business outcomes.

Analysing these metrics will give you a first-hand report of areas which need more attention. Metrics which give organisations a basic idea of their current position can be open & click rates, time spent on stories and video view counts.

Internal communications best practices #5

Listen to feedback

Good internal communication listens to feedback and opinion from employees.

You need it to measure and improve engagement whilst your employees appreciate the fact their voice is heard.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

Categories
Blog Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement?

what is employee engagement

What is Employee Engagement?

To answer the question “What is employee engagement?” let’s turn to the famous visit President John F Kennedy made to NASA in 1962. During his time there he noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said:

"Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

The Jainitor replied:

"I'm helping put a man on the moon"

The answer to “What is employee engagement” is this janitor. They are an engaged employee who understands their role in the organisational goals. 

 Employee engagement flows from the top to the bottom of an organisation, goals are achieved if everyone involved is aware and invested in them.

Employee engagement goes beyond social activities and events. Engaged employees understand their role and how important they are to achieving a company’s goals. They want to come to work, they know what is expected of them and how vital their role is in the overall picture.

it is about your employees feeling pride and loyalty working for your organisation, being a great advocate of the organisation to its clients and going the extra mile to finish a piece of work.

The Facts & Figures

70% of employees do not consider themselves very engaged.

The UK has an employee engagement deficit. Surveys indicates we rank ninth for engagement levels amongst the world’s twelfth largest economies as ranked by GDP. The UK also has a productivity deficit stretching back to 2011. Our output per worker was 20% lower than the rest of the G7 nations. Employee disengagement is therefore clearly contributing to our disappointing productivity figures and should be driving many more organisations to ask themselves “what is employee engagement?”

Employees can be categorised into 3 groups in terms of their overall engagement:

Ambassador

The target state! They are very enthusiastic about their work and their employer. They give their best and make significant efforts to improve the business. Often going above and beyond without seeking praise or reward

Passive

They are at the club, but hang around the edge blending in. They do contribute to the company, but in at a minimum level. More than happy to stay with the business without fuss.

Detractor

They are not at all invested in their work at all and are totally disengaged. Sometimes, they even actively work against their company. This set shows a much higher rate of absenteeism and very low work output.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

An Employee Net Promoter Score (or eNPS) is a metric that is used to measure employee engagement and loyalty towards an organisation. The eNPS is directly correlated to the short-medium term intentions of an employee. It is a score that is often measured as part of a wider study looking at employee satisfaction. It is a calculation that shows which of the categories above your employees fit in.

There is a direct link between performance of a company and the engagement of their workforce. Working towards a good eNPS can help reduce your staff turnover, meaning less money needs to be spent on recruitment and training.

VRAMP has built-in eNPS tools that allow you to gauge your employee engagement, turn passive employees into ambassadors and help guide detractors into a mindset that benefits company and employee.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources