Helping field-based colleagues feel part of your workforce can be a challenge for any internal communications manager.
Roche Diagnostics is using live event streaming to engage its remote employees.
The diagnostic specialists, headquartered in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, employs approximately 500 people, 200 of them in field sales technical service roles.
“Many of our field employees work on their own or in remote teams and although they get the chance to meet periodically at regional and national field meetings and conferences, they receive most of their communications through email, online newsletters, the intranet and telephone meetings,” said Juliet Scott, Roche Diagnostics’ Communications Manager.
“Internal events are a crucial way of conveying the strategic priorities of the organisation and gaining employees’ input on ways of improving processes or thinking about things differently, but our field colleagues could rarely be part of them.”
This all changed late last year when the communications team decided to trial live streaming one of their regular town hall all-employee events – providing an opportunity for all employees – field and office based – to participate live, whether in person or remotely.
It proved a resounding success.
The event was broadcast live to colleagues, who could log on and watch via their computers or tablet devices, and could ask questions and give comments in real time.
“In the past our town hall meetings have been recorded and hosted on our intranet but we know people often find it hard to schedule in time to watch the recording and it can fall off their to-do list,” said Juliet.
“Our field team members are spread far and wide across the UK and Ireland and only occasionally come into our HQ for meetings.
“Live streaming means people can watch the meeting live. It’s about involving people and engaging a field team who can feel remote and distant from our head office.
“Employees were able to submit questions live and these were displayed on the screen behind our MD so everyone could see them and feel more engaged with what was going on.
“The feedback showed they really valued being able to feel more directly connected with the MD and that he could answer their questions directly.
“There were some very insightful questions too. We also asked people to give us comments and displayed those on the screen.”
The first event was so successful that live streaming has become a regular activity at Roche Diagnostics.
“It’s prompted us to consider other innovative ways to engage our field-based people – and it has attracted interest from our Roche Diagnostics colleagues in other countries too – so watch this space!” said Juliet.
What the field staff say:
Tasneem Ahmed, Territory Sales Specialist, UK – Roche Tissue Diagnostics:
“It was fantastic!
“I really did feel part of the team.
“The sound and the picture were crystal clear, like TV.
“I have never actually watched the events before.
“I know they record the events, they do a great job and tell us about them but I don’t watch: we just don’t have the time.”
Adam Millard, Market Manager – Decentralised Diagnostics:
“I watched in on the iPad.
“I connected very easily; I just went through the link, logged in and started straight away.
It felt like you were actually there, the way they had placed the camera.
If you know what’s going on at the time you feel more engaged, rather than ticking a box saying you have watched a video.”
David Loxton, Sales Specialist – Point of Care:
“I felt involved because there’s that opportunity to ask questions if you want to.
“I logged on in the field, in a Costa café.
“You can make it part of your day if you need to be out and about.”
Juliet’s top tips for successful live streaming
1. Always test – the day before, test the stream works and the email and text service.
2. Security – always have a password on the stream and have a link to the email or text number always visible.
3. Acknowledge the audience – ensure the speakers wave at the camera and speak to the people watching at home, in a cafe or in their car.
4. Record – record the stream to enable employees to watch the event if they miss it.