Guest blog: Engage and stop chasing demographic unicorns

Engage with diverse workforces

Are you stressed about trying to engage your diverse workforce? Going crazy trying to engage millennials in your office?

You’re probably overwhelmed by articles and blog posts telling you how to communicate with your workforce by age, ethnicity and gender. Frankly, it’s unworkable.

The fact is people are complex and the psychological underpinnings that lead employees to engage with a firm morph with both time and situations. Engagement is daunting. That’s why you need a different model – a new way of thinking about engaging your diverse workforce.

Stop chasing demographic unicorns.

The 4 Drive Model

The 4 Drive Model (originally created by Lawrence & Nohria) is a comprehensive framework for understanding employee motivation at its root. The 4-Drive Model satisfies a wide variety of engagement issues with a single approach. This way, you can engage your 26-year-old white female as easily as the 45-year-old Asian male.

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#1: Acquire & Achieve. The first set reflects our drives to acquire things, status, experiences, rewards, etc. and is a common foundation for all engagement plans. Intuitively, you can peg millennials with their drive to acquire and achieve, but hold your horses. They’re not the only ones. We live in a consumer-driven world. Your millennials and your 50-something coworkers received Apple watches for holiday gifts (maybe even from themselves).

Kurt Nelson, PhD, President of The Lantern Group, applies a version of the 4 Drive Model to engagement strategies. He noted recently that “The standard ‘pay them more and get more performance’ mantra doesn’t work anymore. A written letter of appreciation can generate more engagement than a big check.”

#2: Bond & Belong. We have a drive to create positive relationships and engage with others to fit in as social beings. In this way, we are satisfying our desire to bond and belong. This drive transcends age, gender and ethnicity and has more to do with what’s happening in the careers of your employees and changes in their environment. In every new setting, the subconscious mind demands satisfaction to bond and belong, to fit in and for the tribe to recognise achievements.

The modern workforce exists not so much as individual contributors but as dynamic participants in a web of teams. As Nelson noted, “Successful leaders look for opportunities for their people to interact and form social connections.”

#3: Create & Challenge. These drives are about our need to create, improve, master, learn and overcome challenges. People commonly overlook this when considering what engages employees. An assignment with tremendous challenges can contain more motivational power than an average assignment with a big bonus. As historian Jacob Bronowski said, ‘We delight in our own creativity,’ so give an employee something to create and watch them run.

That said, it’s more than just having a challenge in a job. It’s also about expanding the cognitive abilities that allow us to succeed. “To maximize performance,” said Nelson, “make sure that there are regular opportunities or even requirements to engage employees in learning.”

#4: Define & Defend. Defining our purpose and defending our status, ideas and relationships. How we identify ourselves has immense motivational power. While saving-face is one such reactive aspect, the proactive side is staking a claim and enabling employees to raise a flag on their own battlements. These drives serve those who have clear visions of their purpose and goals in the organization.

“Employees will fight long and hard for a company that they believe in and one that has their back,” says Nelson.  This is truly the ultimate gift an employee can give a company when their environment supports it “but the moment they sense deceit or feel belittled, those same employees can turn into your biggest liability.”

Applying The 4 Drive Model

Dr. Nelson recently leveraged the 4 Drive Model with a global pharmaceutical firm in revamping their sales incentive trips. Historically, the firm offered lavish trips for top performing employees to exotic destinations as recognition of their successes. However, the company wanted to dial down the public perception of the trips and at the same time maintain high levels of motivation among the sales reps. The result, after private interviews, team brainstorms and input from senior leaders, a menu of trips was created to allow teams to choose (bond & belong) among learning-centric trips (create & challenge) with senior leaders (acquire & achieve) that were relevant to their team’s success (define & defend).

One Isn’t Enough

Nelson noted that “an improvement in each of these drives impacts organizational performance independently” which is important for any firm. Satisfying all 4 drives simultaneously initiates “an exponential increase in performance”. By comparison, firms see a 3%-6% performance increase for satisfying any individual drive versus a 36% performance increase when all four drives are satisfied.

Chasing demographics is akin to chasing unicorns in a magical forest.  By focusing on the 4 Drives, it allows you to develop programs that address your entire audience looking at where they are at.

Tim Houlihan applies the behavioral sciences to workplace engagement and consumer behavior to corporations around the world.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

Many thanks to Tim, Chief Behavioral Strategist, at BehaviorAlchemy for his time and insight into engaging audiences. At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on engaging with diverse workforces, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Creating a risk management strategy

Risk Management Strategy

Risk management has become a critical element within most companies.  Every business faces risk but by identifying the risks and assessing the likelihood and impact of those risks can help companies make cost-effective decisions as to the response they need to take.

This is the case for risks that have positive or negative effects on a company.  By managing the type of risks that could have the most impact can help streamline processes, organise response rates and facilitate the reactive action accordingly.

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Risk management preparation has a significant effect on the reputation of the company. By integrating a risk management strategy that weighs against the probability of it happening against the impact it could have on the company could help save companies time, costs and resources.

Below are examples of how global enterprises have succeeded or failed in risk preparation:

Central Bank: In February 2016, hackers capitalised on security weaknesses at Bangladesh’s Central Bank and used Dridex malware to hack into the Swift financial communications network stealing $101 million from accounts belonging to the central bank.  Miscommunication between the bank and its headquarters, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, at the time of the hack, including clunky payment processes resulted in the disappearance of most of the money.

The failure of the Bangladeshi government to build adequate safeguards for its financial system became the starting point for a global, multi-million money laundering scheme whose effect was felt beyond the country’s borders.

Tesco Bank: In the following November £2.5 million was stolen from 9,000 Tesco Bank customers’ accounts following a data breach.  Tesco bank was quick to apologise, refund customers and provide reassurance that personal data was not compromised in the attack.  Customers were notified of the breach by email and text messages; and kept updated via the Bank’s website and Twitter page.

Aetna: In July 2017, American managed health care company Aetna exposed the HIV statuses of 12,000 patients by dispatching letters in open window envelopes to their healthcare provider.  Immediately providers took to social media showing their support for their customers and their anger at their supplier.  Aetna subsequently advised they were considering introducing additional safeguards to prevent further incidents.

Prepare for all risks

Simultaneously, effective risk management preparation can also help to respond to positive risks in a company such as an increased demand for a new product or service; introduction of new software or technology and website volume to name a few.  By preparing for the ‘opportunities’ as well as ‘uncertainties’ can determine relationships with the customer and with their position in the industry.

5 steps to a successful risk management strategy

As the need increases to develop risk management strategies which identify, assess and prepare for positive or negative impacting risks, integrating an effective risk management strategy is stronger than ever.  Fundamentally, there are three main factors to consider including the risk culture (who is directly and indirectly involved because of a risk); engagement of your team (communicating and developing an understanding of the processes involved) and how you monitor and review the risks identified.

There is no all-encompassing risk management strategy but risk assessments and preparation processes can help to manage and deliver effective responses to positive or negative impacting risks.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how we can help create a risk management strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

 

Mental wellbeing in the workplace

Awareness of mental wellbeing

Awareness of mental wellbeing has exploded over the last year. It’s driving companies and HR teams to acknowledge, support and integrate tools which can help employees cope with stress, effectively and successfully.

.mental wellbeing, clear voice, silke brittain, employee engagement, productivity, values, culture, bedford, HR, engagement, communicationIn 2016, 15.8 million working days were lost in the UK due to mental health issues. A 2017 report claimed 60% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work or work was a contributing factor at some point in their career.

However, with the increase in awareness of mental wellbeing, companies are starting to understand the physical and mental state of their employees.  By using initiatives which encompass the employees’ working environment to open discussion opportunities, companies are understanding the benefits of healthier, motivated and focused staff.

But how can you support your employee’s mental wellbeing?

Supporting and encouraging positive health and mental wellbeing needs to be engrained into a company’s culture. It should not stop at the strategy development stages.  To help tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems and promote wellbeing in the workplace, Mind, a leading charity for mental health and wellbeing developed an informative step by step guide.  Focusing on the working environment, line managers and HR professionals; the guide provides a collection of informative yet useful tips in maximising your workforce’s mental wellbeing.

4 steps to support positive mental wellbeing

Here is a synopsis of the guide to help start the process of promoting mental wellbeing and supporting your staff’s mental and physical health in the workplace:

Open-door policy

Employees want to feel that they can communicate honestly and openly.  Integrating an open-door policy will help strengthen and support engagement from the onset.  Try to implement transparent communication through all platforms; helping promote and encourage staff to share and respond respectively.

Training & guidance

For an open-door policy to work it is crucial to give leaders adequate training and guidance to help support employees.  This ensures that leaders are equipped to advise employees and proactively manage work-related factors that may contribute to poor mental wellbeing. Send a clear message to your staff that their health and wellbeing matters!

Flexible hours

Flexible hours not only encourage a more dynamic working schedule but can allow for a more balanced and healthier lifestyle.  Integrate and demonstrate behaviours which encourage motivation and social support within your team through flexible schedules.  Encourage staff to work sensible hours, take full lunch breaks and recuperate after busy periods. Senior leaders should role model these positive behaviours where possible.

Don’t forget you!

Look after yourself. Always try to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle, access social support and develop resilient thinking.  If you can lead by example, staff will soon follow and adapt.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on developing a mental health and wellbeing strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how a happy and healthy workforce can boost your organisation.

Change Management: strategic direction and implementation

Why you need a change management strategy

Developing a change management strategy can provide direction and purpose for change management plans. They help determine fundamental processes for significant changes within the workforce.

However, key events or processes can affect how they are developed and integrated for the strategy to be successful. From mergers and acquisitions, intranet systems to relocations, product launches to leadership changes; ultimately, change management strategies need to reflect the cause that can create the biggest disruption to a company.

Qtel’s change management through M&A

In 2005, Qatar, the world’s richest economy, per capita, faced one of the most ambitious acquisition sprees in acquisition history. Its state-owned telecom company Qtel went on an acquisition spree and by 2012, Qtel owned 17 telecoms operators in the Muslim world and had become the world’s fastest growing telecoms operator by revenue.

In 2012, Qtel shifted its strategy away from growth through acquisition towards growth through integration. The Chairman and CEO merged their diverse telecoms brands into one mega-brand, Ooredoo. Their objective: to provide transformational change in the telecoms sector. They realigned their strategy and purpose for change:

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They wanted to offer the Muslim world greater freedom of communication and choice; and they wanted to help rural communities and women, gain a voice. They wanted to change their world for the better.

In February 2013, they launched a new global brand Ooredoo from a standing start in a matter of weeks in Qatar, with the iconic footballer Lionel Messi introduced by the Chairman as the global brand ambassador. It was a stunning success, gaining market share within weeks. With a customer base of more than 95 million people in 17 countries, Ooredoo rapidly became a leading international brand.

Successful change management techniques

For a change management strategy to be successful, it must include the unique characteristics of the change, an action plan for implementing the strategy and highlight any potential risks which could emerge from the change.

Some of the questions you may need to answer when developing a change management plan include:

  • How big is the change?
  • Who will it affect and how many people will it affect?
  • What are you changing and what are the proposed timeframes?
  • How did you implement change previously?
  • How will you communicate the change?
  • What are the potential risks of the change and how can you manage those risks?

Implementing a big change within a company can have dire consequences on the company if not communicated efficiently and coherently. Below are key areas to focus on that can fundamentally shape and deliver your change management strategy:

Purpose of change

Outline why change is necessary and the impact it can have on the whole company. Consider what the change is, the purpose of the change and identifying the pros and cons of the change. This will create key objectives for the change which can then be fed into the overall change management strategy.

Historical approaches

This is a great opportunity to find out how the company has managed change in the past; looking at strengths and weaknesses of the delivery and how it can be improved in this latest change.  Don’t forget to consider your audience and the communication channels through which you’ll share the change in all aspects of the strategic plans.

Audience impact

The focus for all change management strategies is how to deliver the plan to the required audiences. Consider who the change will affect and how you can communicate the change to them, their peers and their leaders to ensure a smooth execution of the change.  The key is to integrate honesty and transparency through all communication platforms every step of the way.

Support team

Ascertaining a change management team will help determine who can deliver the change; who will support the deliverer and who has overarching responsibility for implementing change. Assign specific roles to team members in order to give your change management plan a clear focus and directive.

Once you have defined your change management team, the objectives of the change and techniques which could be used to implement change; you are almost ready to formulate a strategic focused plan.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how to develop and integrate a successful change management plan, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Culture change: the role of HR

Why you need HR to drive culture change

Culture is significantly affecting how companies operate internally and externally, how they innovate and service their customers. According to Deloitte’s latest report issued at the end of last year, “82 percent of global CEO’s and HR leaders believe that culture has a potential competitive advantage, with only 19 percent believing they have the right culture.”

Unfortunately, many companies face the challenge of how to measure, monitor and manage culture change. Equally important, they do not understand ‘who’ should be interjecting those changes within the workforce.

So, who is responsible for culture change and what significance can it have on a company?

Driving culture change in the workplace

Positive implementation of culture change is the responsibility of senior leaders and the collaboration of HR departments. Senior leaders set the tone for culture through every plan, decision and action executed. They become the drivers for policies, procedures, incentives and strategy implementations. They also help HR teams to integrate and inject change from the top right down to every employee.

Senior leaders communicate culture change with those who communicate in a language employees understand.

Collaboration and communication is vital for positive culture change

It is this transparent and collective methodology which has revolutionised how employees behave and perform in companies like Twitter and Google.

Twitter clearly communicates company goals and overall objectives to its employees. As a result, they have motivated employees who enjoy the team-orientated environment and incentives. From free meals at their head office to free yoga classes and unlimited holidays for some; Twitter employees have their fair share to tweet about!

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In both companies, employees love working with their colleagues, enjoy being part of an organisation in the knowledge that what they do matters; and there is a collaborative  feeling and understanding that everyone stays until the work is done.

But how do HR teams affect culture change?

HR teams are key players when creating and delivering culture change. An inspiring and engaging culture requires constant attention from senior leaders. However, it is HR who have the power to shape, influence and communicate culture changes to employees.

Fundamentally, HR departments are the backbone which unites all staff, particularly in larger workforces. With their finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to employee perceptions, HR departments not only help create change but can help leaders deliver change effectively and strategically. They are the vital component in delivering employee feedback which can have an underlining effect on what culture changes are needed in the company.

Most importantly, HR departments are a constant and gentle reminder that the company needs culture change. It is their drive and determination which helps senior leaders successfully implement and integrate change into the workforce.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how to integrate culture change within your workforce, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)

How change management is essential during an M&A

Managing change during a Merger and Acquisition (M&A) can be incredibly stressful and go catastrophically wrong if senior leaders, or even staff alone, are not ready for the change.

Often, companies treat the change as a separate entity or stand-alone activity. This can have a devastating effect on how the collective workforce approaches, views or deals with a merger.

M&A’s need collaboration from all sides

Although change management has a hierarchical directive, collaboration and communication with senior leaders is key in its creation and implementation. By providing opportunity to feedback and contribute to change because of a recent M&A can create a more unified and embracing culture which will entice rather than scare employees through the overwhelming, often, daunting process.

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Communicate from the onset through all M&As

Change management only works effectively when processes and communication are enforced at the start of a significant change. During M&As, leaders face many challenges including cultural and stress management, redundancies, HR restructuring, resistance to change and job insecurities. As a result, change management implications need to be considered from the onset before negotiations are finalised.

Below is a collection of articles which focus on the good, the bad and the ugly of M&A’s; looking at what went wrong and what key leaders did, to successfully merge two iconic brands.  From the phenomenally successful merger of Disney and Pixar to the almost, disastrous merger of Yahoo and Facebook; check our favourite accounts of some well-known brands:

Offering a great synopsis; this site gives a collection of mergers which have succeeded or failed miserably when embarking on a company merger:

http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/best-and-worst-corporate-mergers/

A great article listing some of the worst mergers that have happened in the last couple of years; including legendary Apple and LaLa, Facebook and Instagram:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/worst-tech-mergers-acquisitions-cisco-linksys-apple/

The following website provides thought-provoking video snippets of corporate mergers that have gone wrong:

https://www.phactual.com/9-corporate-mergers-gone-wrong/

An M&A is one of the largest changes companies can undergo and often, staff are susceptible to the greatest of disruptions. The key to success? Communication and collaboration from day one: giving you the power to excel through even the most trying times!

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how we can help with change management when going through an M&A, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Creating a successful employee value proposition (EVP)

What is an Employee Value Proposition?

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an employment proposal which outlines what an employer expects from its employees and what it provides its employees in return.  Generally, it is the key tool to engage, attract and retain quality talent.

Similarly, to a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) which focuses on why customers should buy into a product or service, an EVP concentrates on why a candidate should choose to work, stay and engage within a company.

It is the unique value which a company can bring not only to its future but also its existing employees.

According to Richard Veal, Head of Towers Watson’s Reward, Talent and Communication Consulting, UK practice:

“Unfortunately, to many organisations the EVP remains a hidden gem that is unshaped, overlooked or not utilised to its fullest extent. Our latest research provides important insights into what makes the best companies – those with highly effective EVPs – different.”

The impact of an effective employee value proposition

Effective EVP’s encompass strategy, communication and engagement.  This can help attract new employees and align personal goals and values with the company’s goals and values (aiding in employee retention).

To develop a strong EVP that is effective and communicates the overall strategy of the company it is imperative to collate and digest current feedback.  Fundamentally, this should focus on how internal and external audiences perceive the company’s brand and culture.

Find out why employees were attracted to your company, why they have stayed and the unique offerings that competitors have failed to offer. It is also important to assess why employees have left or why candidates have turned down a role. A company can achieve a 360° review of its proposition in a variety of ways. These can include employee surveys, focus groups and external surveys targeted at former employees and job applicants; providing more qualitative and quantitative data.

By establishing current and previous feedback, this will help create a more effective and targeted EVP; strengthening the overall company brand and solidifying industry positions.

Strengthen your company with a purpose-led EVP today!

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on creating a more wholesome and strategically focused EVP, call or email us today.  Let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.