Tag: communications

Would a 3000-word memo get you all fired up?

Last week Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent out a 3000-word memo to employees about his vision for the future of the company. You can read it all on Business Insider. It got me thinking about how I’d have acted if I’d been in his shoes.

Nadella’s memo contains these rather highbrow words of wisdom: “Productive people and organisations are the primary drivers of individual fulfilment and economic growth and we need to do everything to make the experiences and platforms that enable this ubiquitous”. Very poetic, but if you ask me, a bit too intellectual. It’s important to communicate with your team on a level that everyone understands. I’m not suggesting ‘dumbing down’ but if you’re trying to inspire and your message isn’t clear you’ll fail.

If I asked you to explain what the future of your company looked like, would you say something like this? “We will transform the return on IT investment by enabling enterprises to combine their existing datacenters and our public cloud into one cohesive infrastructure backplane.”

I wouldn’t.

I’d try and tell a story, paint a picture with words. I’d describe the difficult situation that Jim the Infrastructure Manager finds himself in, having to continually justify his spend to the CFO; how the  Microsoft team put their creative minds together to develop the cloud and demonstrated to Jim how he could simply add to what he already had in place, making his life so much easier.

Stories are inspiring and people remember them, especially when they are personally relevant or told from the heart.

If I was addressing my team about the year ahead I’d be honest about the challenges we were facing together. I’d show my team that I trusted them to pull through and find ways to empower them to achieve our collective goals. In fact to be fair to Nadella, something like this would do: “Microsoft will light up digital work and life experiences in the most personal, intelligent, open and empowering ways.” But Nadella said nothing about the competition, perhaps ignoring the elephant in the room.

To inspire enmasse you need to be concise and say what you mean, but there’s a fine line. I’d probably omit this part which sounds a bit like a threat: “And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes…. that you will be enthusiastic about driving.”

The memo ends: “With the courage to transform individually, we will collectively transform this company and seize the great opportunity ahead”. Do you think this is visionary?


Employee engagement at BDHT: Doing it because you want to, not because you’re told to

A couple of weeks ago I shared a picture on LinkedIn of the ‘Little book of Thank Yous’ my husband had brought home from his annual staff conference with employer Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT). It got 20 Likes- many of which were from people I am not directly connected to. I like to think I started something that went viral!

Joking aside, I was quite surprised at the response. Here’s the post:



I think the positive reaction to this piece of internal communications which included a bold statement that it qualified as #CommsHero work, perhaps shows how immature the concept of employee engagement still is.

Companies have long recognised the ‘happy staff = happy customers = profit’ cycle but despite this, many still fail at identifying their key internal messages and communicating these in a way that resonates with the workforce.

In my husband’s case, his employer’s message was one of thanks. BDHT’s book of Thank You’s contained small but powerful ‘favours’ in return for all the hard work of the staff, for example an extra hour in bed and a cup of tea made by management. For my husband, this translates into good feeling, into appreciation of the recognition, into wanting to carry on being effective at his job so he can continue to work in partnership to achieve positive outcomes for customers. It really does go very deep.

Internal communications should be treated with as much, if not more, importance than external communications. If you’re trying to drive forward a new company culture, a set of values or ‘way of doing things’, you need to approach the ‘campaign’ in the same way as any customer or corporate marketing with stages of analysis, planning, execution and evaluation. It’s about knowing your audience, developing appropriate messages, choosing the most effective mix of communications tools and testing awareness and engagement so you can be sure when it is no longer a ‘campaign’ but is truly embedded.

My husband’s company are also very good at being consistent. His Personal Development Plan contains questions like: ‘How can you contribute to BDHT’s success?’ and ‘How have you been able to develop BDHT to feel like ONE team? What would you like to do?’ I am also told that the Chief Exec has a genuine ‘open door’ policy. BDHT has successfully created a clear vision for the organisation where staff feel they can personally grow, where their wellbeing is really important and they can give something back to the communities BDHT works in.

BDHT personal development plan
The BDHT Personal Development Plan

What is your internal communications like? Do you effectively engage your staff? Would the way they speak about your company to their friends delight you?

Let me know about the best piece of employee engagement communications you have seen by leaving a comment. 

Exciting news- we’re looking for two Online Project Officers

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a creative Online Projects Officer to join the Online Projects Team at Sanctuary Group. The vacancy closes on Friday 6th September and the salary is £24,358 to £26,394 per annum.

This is a key role in the ongoing improvement and delivery of Group websites and digital marketing activities that support the goals for growth of the business.

You will use your experience of traditional and online marketing and your project management skills to deliver successful digital communication campaigns. You’ll be a good relationship builder with a degree or equivalent qualification, and proven experience in one or more of the following areas: digital communications, email marketing, app development, content marketing, project management, web and social media analytics, SEO and building websites using a content management system.

You will be a good team player but also be able to work independently. You will provide a responsive service to internal customers but also be a proactive digital marketer. You will have an eye for detail and be able to follow quality assurance processes.

For more details and to apply for the the Online Projects Officer role, visit the Vacancies section of the Sanctuary Group website.