As we wrote in the first part of the article on the topics of the internal communication conference in London, the company’s internal communication has become a shared responsibility of the HR and communication personnel.
Communication plays a particularly important role at a time when changes are hindering the normal operation of a company. This is exactly the kind of experience Mereces-Benz gained a few years ago, when there was a change in management and a decline in business results – but by no means as directly connected as it seems at first glance. Katherine Simpkins, Mercedes-Benz’s Head of Internal Communications, shared the story of the change of CEO, after which the culture of communicating with all colleagues, including those who were not part of the employee’s immediate team, disappeared. According to Simpkins, after the change in management, the employees’ sense of security decreased, and out of worry for the future, they turned to their immediate team – where they felt most secure. The change wasn’t clearly communicated, fears of the workers weren’t listened to and the lively atmosphere had disappeared.
Limiting communication to within the team hinders the results
The company’s internal communications department halted the decline in the culture with a video series in which employees of various departments, including the new manager, were brought together and directed to talk about various everyday and social issues. In addition to very good viewability statistics and a revival of general communication, the success of the project was also proved by the fact that the queue of employees who wanted to participate in it next was months long.
What to learn from this experience? It is best for both the employees’ own sense of security and their work results if chats over the coffee machine are not only about the work schedule or payroll, but also about important upcoming changes and personally important topics: hobbies, favourite books, current news. Communication between teams does not hinder the work of the company, but improves it.Ch
Check if the staff has understood you
The story of Mercedes-Benz is a good example of how to deal successfully with the consequences of the crisis. However, the negative consequences of changes in the company’s culture can be prevented. In her presentation, Jess Brannigan, a representative of the Culture Amp online environment focusing on employee feedback, emphasized the need to encourage feedback even during the most difficult times and to make changes based on the information received. And if you have the courage to ask, make sure there is a method of getting feedback from several hundred employees that you can use quickly at the right time.
Among the major changes are some of the more complex business buy and sell transactions, including mergers. While the business strategic plan for change is usually clear, the human factor that often determines the success of a major business investment rarely seems equally important to the decision maker. According to Culture Amp, research in this area shows that if employees do not understand the need for change or feel that it poses a threat to them or their performance, they are prepared to resist change or sabotage it.
It is only by asking we can find out whether employees understand the need for change, its content and impact on their work. According to Jennifer Sproul, specialist at the Institute of Internal Communications, it is worth starting by creating a culture of listening: listening in order to understand, not in order to present counter-arguments. Do this before, during and after the change, Brannigan recommends. And if the experience of Culture Amp, which has advised more than 2,000 companies, is not convincing here, perhaps McKinsey & Company statistics are: 70% of organizational change never achieves its goals; however, if people are involved in change, they are 30% more likely to succeed.
Do it yourself or use a service?
The main challenges facing HR and communication professionals therefore concern the involvement of both casual workers and managers in the information space, the need for high-quality cross-channel content, the ability to ask and listen – and the technological capacity to do so. Numerous experiences from the conference have shown that a large company often creates an inclusive communication solution or project from scratch on its own, in order to only then discover whether a completed project is a success.
However, more and more companies are choosing service providers to manage an environment that enables them to engage and interact with their employees: the conference was attended by, among others, Oak, which offers modern intranet solutions, Culture Amp, that focuses on a specific feedback area, OurPeople, which focuses only on frontline employees, and GuavaHR, which is used across companies and is a tool for many Scandinavian companies.
Employees are interested in the progress of the company
In addition to the predictable result, service providers are also using statistics they have collected, which they can use to say what employees need or are interested in. It turns out that employees are most interested in the content provided by the company’s managers – especially the content in video format – that concerns the goals of the company’s activities or share common achievements and company results, shares Paul Bennun, Head of Internal Communication and Employee Involvement at DAZN Streaming Platform. Whether your employees are old or young, men or women, in or out of the office: statistics show that everyone is interested in how the company is doing.
If it isn’t a case of very capital-intensive production, where the human factor does not play a role, the companies that have involved their employees in the information space and invited them to work for a common goal will be more successful.
According to a survey conducted in 2017, the impact of employee engagement on the company’s results is as follows: up to 59% lower employee turnover, 17% higher productivity and 30% higher customer satisfaction. As a human resources employee, you have the opportunity to play an important role in bringing your employees together: and it is very likely that setting this goal will bring success to the company.