Tag Archives: ic

Do you love where you work?

Loving where you work isn’t only good for you, it’s good for your employer, too – as it improves your productivity and performance.

That’s why Milton Keynes employee communications agency Headlines is backing a new Engage for Success group helping local business to foster a culture of #lovewhereyouwork.

Launched in May, the group is one of a number being established around the country through Engage for Success (EFS), a voluntary organisation backed by Government and major corporations, that aims to grow awareness about the power and potential of employee engagement.

Research by EFS points to staff turnover being reduced by 40%, absenteeism by 25% and productivity increased by 59% in companies with high levels of employee engagement.

Headlines’ Managing Editor Sue Kiddy has been involved with the national EFS movement since its inauguration at 10 Downing Street in 2011 and is one of the founder members of EFS MK. She said: “Employee engagement truly does have the power to change lives and working communities, and more and more organisations are recognising the benefits. EFS MK is about local people and organisations coming together to promote and share this in and around Milton Keynes.”

At the first EFS MK meeting in May, Engage for Success Executive Director Cathy Brown talked about the four enablers of engagement that apply in any scenario – wherever you are, whatever you do and whoever you’re engaging with. You can read more about these in this article written by Headlines’ Matt Johnson.

The next meeting is on 21 September, and if you’re interested in coming along or finding out more about the group, please contact Sue Kiddy.

Now in its 23rd year, Headlines is a specialist internal communications agency based in Milton Keynes. With clients that include some of the world’s best-known companies, the agency creates internal publications and other tools to help build a higher-performing culture through improved employee communication and engagement.

Find out more on the Headlines website.

Internal comms error blamed for car explosion

Internal communications is, quite rightly, regarded as a very serious business.

And on the odd occasion when IC goes badly wrong, the fallout can be difficult.

But rarely does an internal comms fail happen in such spectacular fashion that a car is blown up as a result.

Cumbria Police cited ‘an internal communications error’ as the reason why a controlled explosion was carried out on a ‘suspicious’ car.

Bomb squad officers carried out the explosion outside Workington police station in February after concerns were voiced about a Vauxhall Corsa parked outside.

However it turned out colleagues had parked the car outside the station after helping its owner, who had been taken ill.

The gaffe cost £2,000, according to BBC News. This includes repairs and recovery of the car, as well as overtime costs in connection with the incident.

A force spokesperson told BBC News with “information known at the time, appropriate action was taken with public safety prioritized.”
The forced intended to “ensure this does not happen again,” he said.

An IC fail can indeed have unintentional, not to mention serious, repercussions – just ask Vauxhall.

An IC faux pas saw news of the French car manufacturer PSA Group‘s £1.9 billion purchase of General Motors’ European unit, which includes Vauxhall, leak in the press.

However they had not told the staff involved – sparking anger among employees amid concerns over job security and pensions.

The psychology of workplace change

Stephanie Davies, Laughology Founder and CEO, takes the hot seat, blogging about the psychology of change at work.

Change is a word that can cause all kinds of emotional responses. Some people view change as negative, while others see it as positive. But now, even the way change happens is changing, which means there’s a lot to get our heads around.

These days, many modern businesses treat change as a continuum, rather than a finite process. The fast pace of the world means that many organisations position transformation as continuous improvement, especially those that are constantly evolving to stay ahead of the game and future-proof themselves.

Ways of working, lifestyles and services are developing all the time, forcing organisations to evolve with them. For example, office spaces and set working hours will be a thing of the past before we know it and communicating at work will be more about social media platforms and instant messaging.

We will all need to become learning ninjas, constantly updating our skills to match new systems and beat the competition.

By helping employees to grasp this concept and improving their resilience, adaptive thinking, flexibility and growth mindset, you can ensure they are future fit. Businesses need people who can think and adapt quickly and effortlessly and who will and feel positive about doing so.

As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

At Laughology we would advise you to:

1. Support your workforce in becoming future fit.
– Be clear about why continuous development is important – what does it mean for the organisation, why is it important for the business and how will it help in future?
– Share ideas, inspire with vision and engage people with their own development
– Lead the way. You should make sure managers have the knowledge, people skills and coaching skills to successfully evolve their teams
– Create the right culture. A culture of continual learning and trust built through honest positive, open communication will impact how people adapt to new ideas
– Help employees to understand where you are now and what needs to happen to get you to the next stage; this will make change easier to stomach. Small, manageable and well-communicated steps
will help people feel more in control and happy about development.

2. Become a growth mindset business.
Organisations that welcome new ideas and experience are the best performers. Too often, businesses can stifle experimentation due to fear of failure and because it’s easier to stay in their comfort zone. But it’s a changing world. Invite new ideas and ensure that resources and encouragement are available for your people to continuously learn and develop.

3. Pause, assess and celebrate.
Encouraging your team to take a deep dive into the process behind its own successes and failures will maximise learning and improve performance by instigating employee-driven change . We work in such fast-paced environments that it’s easy to finish one project and move straight onto the next without pausing to ask what worked well and what could be done differently next time.

4. Reinforce growth mindset practices through communications.
To have a true growth mindset, an organisation needs to constantly highlight and reinforce growth mindset practices. Try encouraging your people to share their favourite recent examples of their growth mindset with their teams, and share growth mindset success stories through your channels at every opportunity, across the whole organisation.

Guest blog: IC in the season of goodwill

The season of goodwill is upon us, and it’s time for internal communications to share some love. Experienced IC interim Debra Channon shares some ideas on how to go about it.

Christmas lights are twinkling, the John Lewis and Sainsbury’s ads are out and, if you’re like me, you’ve already succumbed to a Terry’s Chocolate Orange or two; all sure signs that the season of goodwill is upon us.

And with thoughts turning to giving and getting, here are a few ideas for how IC can share some goodwill now and into 2017.

BE GRATEFUL

The end of the year is a great time to say thank you to the people who’ve helped you and your team during 2016. Reflect on the past 12 months, draw up a list of people who’ve supported you through your challenges and achievements and then decide how you’re going to thank them. However you show your gratitude, make sure it’s personal, specific and appropriate. Remind the recipients of what they did, how they helped you and how much you appreciate them.

Remember also to thank employees in your organisation. So much of IC and employee engagement is about persuading, motivating and incentivising employees to give over and above, so ensure that your end-of-year communications thank employees sincerely for their hard work and commitment.

Consider how you can cultivate an ongoing culture of gratitude as a team. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Put gratitude on the agenda

Use your team meetings to identify the people who’ve helped and supported you, then show them your gratitude. Encourage other teams to do the same.

  • Give compliments

When colleagues do great things, tell them. Email the CFO when the annual results are announced to thank the finance team for a great job, praise the catering team when lunch was exceptionally good and invite your HR colleagues to your department for cakes when they’ve launched their latest employee initiative. Ensure your compliments are genuine – and when someone compliments you, smile and thank them.

  • Commit to being positive

Vow not to complain, criticise or gossip. You’ll soon notice how it benefits everyone around you and helps you and your team to do a great job. Also look for the positive in people. However difficult or negative others seem, try to understand what might be behind their behaviour.

  • Focus on feedback not failure

If things go wrong, don’t let them destroy your confidence or set you back. Be grateful for the lessons you’ve learnt and aim to do better next time.

Practicing gratitude in the workplace (and outside) can have incredible benefits. It helps to put situations in perspective and to focus on the positive. It makes us appreciate what we have and the people around us and it reduces feelings of dissatisfaction. It connects and reconnects people, and makes for more cooperative, collaborative working relationships. And, it makes work much more fun – always something to be grateful for!

GIVE MORE

The season of goodwill is also an opportunity to consider how you can make a difference in 2017. One of the easiest ways to do this is to give more. Here are some ideas:

  • Volunteer

Many organisations have employee volunteering schemes so lead the way and get involved. Or if there’s nothing in place, be the catalyst in getting something set up. Perhaps think about volunteering outside of your company scheme too. Whether you decide to work on a helpline, organise collections for a nearby food bank, clean out kennels at the local animal shelter or become a school governor, volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

  • Pro bono

Pro bono differs from other volunteering as it’s about using your professional skills for the good of others. Many charities desperately need help with their communications; so put yourself forward to do publicity, campaigns, community liaison or social media for a great cause.

  • Mentor

Sharing your knowledge and expertise with others can be a lovely way to give back. Whether you’re mentoring children, disadvantaged young people or entrants into IC, you’ll have a wealth of experience to give. Get involved in an existing mentoring scheme or arrange something yourself and, whatever you do, ensure you commit fully so your mentee gets the best of you.

  • Give more of yourself

At times everyone can get a little complacent. While this may signal that you need a break, it can also be a sign that you need to up your game. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving more time; you can give more focus, ideas, creativity, passion or consideration and care. You’ll do a better job when you give more, and you’ll like what you do a lot more, too.

  • Give yourself the edge

Invest in yourself. Update your personal development plan, get involved in the IoIC or other professional bodies, read and network more, complete a sporting challenge, ask for 360-degree feedback and find yourself a coach or mentor. No one is too old or too senior for development.

As 2016 draws to a close and we look forward to some time off, here are a few final thoughts around giving and getting. As internal communicators we’ve one of the most trusted and privileged roles in business. We’re given unmatched opportunity to understand and get involved in all that our organisations do.

Similarly, we’re given access to people from senior leaders to frontline operators that no other discipline is routinely allowed. And we get the opportunity to influence performance and culture. It’s a wonderful, exciting and ever-evolving profession, so let’s be truly grateful that we’re part of it.

Designer Chris highly commended in IoIC ICon Awards

Headlines’ very own Chris Keller was highly commended in the Best Designer category at the prestigious ICon Awards ceremony yesterday.

Run by the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC), the awards – at London’s Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel – celebrated the industry’s best and most talented IC professionals.

Designer Chris said: “I’m over the moon to have won this award and to have been recognised by the industry. I feel passionately about internal communication and am very proud of this achievement.”

Six Headliners were shortlisted, including Peter Bennett in the Best Editor category, writers Holly Whitecross and Katie Nertney in the Rising Talent – Best Young Communicator category, Head of Video Sara Wilmot in the Best Visual Creator category and Brian Amey in the Best Designer category.

In 2015, Headlines’ Duncan Boddy brought home the Best Designer Award.

Simon Dowsing, Director of Media Operations at Headlines, said: “This is excellent news. We are very proud of the talented, hardworking and dedicated people we have at Headlines.”

According to the IoIC, the ICon Awards recognise “the people who consistently turn theory into great internal communication practice”.

In recent weeks, Headlines has won a host of awards including Best Mobile/App in the industry at the IoIC Awards 2016, three Awards of Excellence at the same event and a Silver Award for Best Mobile App at the MK Digital Awards.