Tag: engagement

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?

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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:

Image

 

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. 

We need to have a quick chat about the loo…

This month I had the pleasure of travelling on the Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Brussels. The experience from booking our trip to arriving back home has made Eurostar stick in my mind as an example of a business that truly understands how to convert a set of brand values into behaviours and marketing communications.

From the copy on their website to the toilet signs on-board the train, the tone of voice from Eurostar is:

  • Friendly, helpful, no-nonsense, fun, young and trendy.

It makes me want to engage in a long-term relationship with them. It makes me feel comfortable in my purchase and that I know what to expect in return for my money.

It’s the detail like: “That’s as long as each item is no bigger than 85cm…” and “…so make sure they’re not too heavy”, and “We need to have a quick chat about the loo” that works for me.

Screen shot of Eurostar baggage page
Eurostar website baggage page- informal language makes this effective
Photo of toilet sign on Eurostar train
We need to have a quick chat about the loo…

We know in life that sometimes the service delivered doesn’t match up to customer expectations. (The Marketing-Geek in me wants to tell you about the Serv-Qual model here). But with Eurostar the complete opposite happened.

My expectations were very high and Eurostar certainly delivered. My friend Vicky (I write about her quite a bit!) broke her foot on our trip and needed wheelchair assistance. Eurostar arranged this with no forward planning by us. They collected Vicky from our connecting train, wheeled her through customs, waited while we bought some coffees, got us on the train before everyone else, and supported her UK-side too.

While we were on the train home I spotted another piece of advertising that I liked:

“If you have any ideas about things we could improve, or fancy letting us know where we’ve got something spot on, text us…”

I like the informality of this and indeed it was effective- (I had to let them know our carriage smelt of wee!) (Oh how relevant that toilet sign really was!)

A poster asking for customer feedback on the Eurostar
A poster asking for customer feedback on the Eurostar

So Eurostar’s brand values, which came through in their messaging was also prevalent in their personality as delivered by their fantastic staff. The only let-down was an unfortunate smelling return journey. Smell aside, this adds up to make a proposition that sets them apart, for me at least, in the travel industry. I feel the value added through engaging communications and a service that marries up to the expectations they set, is unique.

brand proposition
A model for brand development

Have you had any similar experiences?