22 October 2019

Our 5 key takeaways from IoIC North: Better Connected, Manchester

Last week, IoIC North hosted their annual Better Connected event in sunny Manchester, exploring the theme of transformation for the better.

Key topics of the day included our shifting economy, the importance of including employees in transformation, the impact of an ever-changing workplace and the effects it will have on internal communications.

Meg from the Synergy team went along to hear from some brilliant speakers and soak up the day in one of her favourite cities. She brought back some insights to share with the team and here are her 5 highlights…

 

When it comes to change, empathy, humour and a sense of calm can go a long way

Drax Group are an energy company focused on enabling a zero carbon and lower cost future. With a traditional culture and average workforce age of 49, they needed to communicate big changes to their purpose, strategy and leadership well in order for their people to buy into the transformation.

They found that approaching change with empathy and a sense of humour was received well by the team, and they made sure they were mindful of maintaining people’s work-life balance too. Getting leaders involved and focused on the people strategy from the start helped instill a sense of calm in times of change.

 

Measurement should be based on science; don’t let unconscious bias cloud it

Insurance company Aviva spoke about the importance of measuring your comms. The ultimate goal for internal communicators is to have an impact on as many people as possible, but to really know the depth of the impact, you need to measure it.

When it comes to measurement, we can be prone to falling back on what we already know and filtering out important information without even realising we’re doing it. Basing measurement on science and focusing on how your comms can help to achieve the business goals is a great place to start. Our in-house behavioural science expert has created a measurement framework to help teams with assessing the engagement levels of their comms. If you’d like to hear more about it, give Chloe a shout.

 

 

The best communications aren’t always award-winning

Sarah from Aviva also encouraged everyone to remember that communications don’t have to be all bells and whistles and flashy campaigns. Sometimes simplicity is what works best and if a poster on the back of a toilet door succeeds in communicating a message, it’s serving its purpose.

Knowing your audience and what will land well with them is key; while some people will respond to the bells and whistles approach, you can keep it simple and snappy with others.

 

Including employees is vital when navigating change

When Transpenine Express experienced large-scale disruption last year, they had to try and keep employees engaged and enthusiastic in a time of mass change. Head of Communications, Sarah Ford, spoke about how they navigated this change internally, trying to show their people that the company was on their side and cared about how they were perceived externally. They invited the press into their control rooms during the crisis, to help them understand it from the point of view of the employees on the inside, rather than as onlookers.

 

Fun will always drive engagement

Raj Morjaria from Direct Line Group talked about how fun can be a key ingredient to good engagement. As an insurance company, Direct Line want to ensure that their employees can always bring their authentic selves to their roles, rather than being a script at the end of a phone.

Raj has a strong ambition to revoluntise the way people think about insurance, wanting to create a buzz and excitement around it, rather than it being a dry subject. Using fun in internal communications and allowing people to enjoy their work feeds into a positive customer experience. Direct Line did this by having inspiring leaders who owning fun initiatives for all employees to be involved with. As a result, engagement increased and Direct Line are now third in The Sunday Times Best Big Companies to Work for list.

 

Thanks IoIC North for an interesting and insightful day! We got a lot out of it. If you want to chat with us about employee engagement, change comms or putting fun into your messaging, get in touch, we’d love to chat. 

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