Defining the Internet of Things

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data.

Simply put, the term, Internet of Things (IoT), describes everyday objects that have digital connectivity capabilities to send and receive data via the internet.  An inanimate interpretation of ET!

As technology becomes smarter and more intelligent, everything we touch becomes more digitally tuned in.  From alarms clocks to temperature sensors, electric cars to voice activated speakers; internet accessibility has radically transformed how we behave, personally and professionally.  But how does this affect your workplace and what can you do to ensure security and safety of valuable data?

How the Internet of Things will change your workplace

From increased collaboration to smarter office spaces, the IoT is fundamentally changing how we communicate, perform and operate at work.

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Through digital evolution and the availability to send and receive data across any location, easily and reactively, has also changed how we store, manage and use data that is specifically client and customer facing.  Through intelligent algorithms and data processes, businesses can analyse behaviours, track marketing campaigns and centralise attention on one specific area.

The Internet of Things has also changed the dynamics of the office environment.  From CCTV apps which can monitor activity remotely; to energy reducing lighting systems that use sensors to turn lights on and off when employees are in the building.

Employee-focused devices give the ability to track, measure and improve physical and mental wellbeing, including objects which can monitor how long you have been sitting or standing to apps which can analyse cognitive behaviours.

How to stay safe in cyber space

As connectivity across multiple devices increases and expands data usage, cyber threat is more exposed than ever but how can you secure your platforms and what can you do to improve cyber security?

Here are 5 tips to help you stay safe

Passwords: Choose passwords carefully and wisely.  It is easier to use one password for a multiple of platforms but just imagine the impact it could have on your business if this password was hacked?  Always use complex passwords combining letters with numbers and capital letters with lower case letters.

Personal devices: IT should check personal devices before allowing connectivity in the workplace.  If hackers can associate your device with work, there is opportunity to gain a foothold into the organisation.  This can result in data theft and illicit surveillance.

Network: Create a separate network for visitors to avoid security risks from unknown or unfamiliar devices.  Most Wi-Fi routers support guest networking giving visitors connectivity opportunity without gaining access to shared files or networked devices.

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP): UPnP’s are designed to make it easier for network devices to automatically discover each other. Unfortunately, this exposes hackers to potential discovery beyond local networks because of vulnerabilities in the UPnP protocol. The best step is to turn UPnP off completely.

Track & monitor: It is crucial that all devices connected to the network are continuously tracked and monitored; determining the level of access granted and to protect data exchanges.  This will also help determine the effectiveness and durability of current or future security systems.

The IoT has provided opportunity to grow and expand businesses and improve how we work and perform daily.  Giving companies digital opportunities to improve workplaces, reduce health hazards and have a positive impact on the overall work environment.

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

Intranets – a powerful digital tool?

How intranets can improve employee engagement

Intranets work as a collaborative platform that contain information specific to a company and can only be accessed by its employees.

A well-thought out intranet site can be a powerful digital tool that can help boost productivity and engagement.  It can also serve as a central hub of company information and resources that can help employees do their jobs, quickly and easily.

The benefits of intranets?

Intranets have a catalogue of benefits.

From cutting administration costs to supporting employees within a centralised digital workplace, intranet sites provide a key role in building an inclusive and engaged culture within the company.

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The value to HR departments

Intranets can have a significant, positive impact on key HR objectives through their ability to support, develop and communicate the employer brand and contribute to the overall employee experience.

Royal Mail and Tesco are great examples of how employee focused platforms can strengthen the employer brand and provide a wholesome employee experience.  Dedicated to staff, the sites provide valuable insights, colleague focused offers, company news, uniform order forms and exclusive employee login points which lead to confidential hub areas.

Integrating HR processes, Royal Mail’s intranet site aptly named myroyalmail.com also provides online access to employment policies, health and safety processes, share offers and business standards.

Tesco’s intranet platform, ourtesco.com, gives colleagues a central hub of staff-focused information including magazines, internal product and service promotions, community and charitable events and administrative documents including pay slips and business conducts.

A resourceful tool

Intranets considerably reduce administration costs and resources by centralising information to one area instead of across a multitude of internal servers, cloud-based platforms or even relying on one allocated body.

It also has the capacity to improve roles, expand employee engagement, strengthen employer brands and migrate company policies and procedures.  As a result, creating tangible benefits for HR departments and overall strategies.

Giving employees a reliable, dependable and resourceful digital platform.

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 an intranet platform, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Free employee engagement resources

Giving you the best free employee engagement resources

Would you like to get your hands on the best, free employee engagement resources? Employee engagement strategies have proven to reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and boost profits.

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At ClearVoice™, we understand the vitality of stronger employee engagement which is why we have pulled together a list of free employee engagement resources. Giving you an optimal list that may help deliver more efficient and sustainable communication channels for your workforce.

Below you will find a list of our favourite employee engagement resources; helping you show your staff that you care:

Reports, articles and case studies:

Employeeengagement.com offers an extensive list of complimentary resources that help to identify communication gaps; understand employee engagement and provide beneficial insight into stronger communication channels.

Davidzinger.com created a selection of free engagement resources as a celebratory 61st birthday present to his audiences!  They include strategic tips and advice, tools to engage staff and a great variety of ‘top 10s’ with engagement as the prime topic!

Humanresourcestoday.com is an article-based platform that offers news and insights into employee engagement.  This site provides a great selection of contextual topics and background research when exploring the benefits and trends of employee engagement.

eBook insights:

Officevibe.com is a great quick link for eBooks, free courses and mini guides on achieving and maintaining stronger and more effective employee engagement in the workplace.  The eBooks are insightful and easy to read and gives a starting platform to expand upon.

Gethppy.com is a collection of free eBooks, infographics, HR events and an amalgamation of engagement focused articles collected from different sources.  A great ‘go to’ for background readings, activities and employee engagement insights.

White papers:

Wethrive.net is an engagement software site but does offer a great selection of white papers on mental health resources, benefits of engagement and the effects on productivity.  A very resourceful site for engagement reading and insight.

Software & Intranet platforms:

Capterra.com provides an extensive list of employee engagement software platforms with starred reviews and a link to the source’s website.  It offers a central hub for software tools; giving a very detailed synopsis of each site.

 Change your company; motivate your staff and watch the transformation unfold!

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 engaging your audiences, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

New Year: Digital trends for 2018

New Year, new challenges

The New Year is upon us and with the start of 2018, come new trends that will revolutionise how we engage with employees, reach out to customers and expand online visibility.

Through cloud technology, artificial intelligence and responsive channels, technology has already affected how companies utilise digital devices to communicate with internal and external audiences.

As we embrace the New Year, we look at what trends are set to further change your communications channels and how to prepare your workforce for the takeover.

Read about the top three digital trends:

Chatbots

Chatbots are virtual assistants animated by artificial intelligence intended to deliver real-time answers to customers. Global tech business, Oracle, found that 80% of brands expect to use them for customer interaction by 2020.  One such system which combines AI technology with data is IBM Watson.  A supercomputer with combined data storage of over 200 million pages of information processed against six million logic rules, the software can analyse the relevant information and make recommendations in real time.

In action: Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance in Japan replaced 30 employees with the AI system, believing it would increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years.

Mass personalisation

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Mass personalisation is the act of creating campaigns or websites targeted to specific audience’s history.  It enables recipients to focus on what’s relevant to them at the time it matters.  For organisations, it allows them to micro-target individuals or groups; giving them relevant information that affects their specific role as and when needed.

In action: Last year Virgin Group introduced the next generation in engagement software.  Virgin Pulse Hub, a dynamic engagement and communication portal connects employees with relevant HR and benefits tools, programs and information.  It enables administrators to segment messages across a variety of factors, including age, location and health risk factors; delivering them in ways that resonate with employee populations.

Remote workforces

Remote workforces are when employees work outside the ‘traditional’ office environment.  With over 96 million workers using mobile devices to do their jobs, companies are fast discovering the overall benefits of employing staff remotely.

In action: Buffer, a social media schedule platform company has more than 80 employees working in several different countries.  ‘Courtney Seiter, Buffer’s Inclusivity Catalyst, shares that instead of having a hybrid remote and on-site environment, Buffer “does everything 100% remote first to create that feeling of inclusivity and equality across the board.”’

How to prepare your office for 2018

As we begin the new year, preparation can ensure a stress-free agenda.  Develop a plan for 2018 by encompassing tactics which can help improve and strengthen key elements of the business.  Utilise the five key areas when developing your strategy for the coming year, helping provide practical solutions in a short space of time:

Employer brand review

A great employer brand is one that both customers and staff will want to be a part of.  Review how it is currently perceived and how it can be improved forecasting key milestones to improve your employer brand.  Think about the attractiveness of the company, the core message and culture you have built.

Challenge preparation

Consider factors which may affect your business, staff and your customers.  Think about the up and coming digital trends; would they improve efficiency, increase online visibility or reduce costs? Use this time to research key events which may affect audiences such as GDPR or Brexit, helping address potential risks to your business.

Identify new opportunities

Use the New Year to explore new marketing tactics, thinking about mass personalisation, social channels and networking events. Consider new products or services or even reinventing how you package them up. Encourage staff to feed ideas for economic growth and provide incentives for internal contributions.

Financial downtime

Carry out a financial review of current costs and identify if you’re getting value for money or if costs could be better used elsewhere.  Do you have a bonus scheme in place for employees?  Assess how best to deliver these and what the bonuses are measured on including performance, sales or time of servitude.

Review and prepare a comms plan

A comms audit can help identify which channels work; identify common weaknesses and measure the overall effectiveness.  Assess who you are communicating with, internally and externally, how you could improve the comms channel and the best medium to adapt to deliver key messages.

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 strategy preparation and internal communication, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

What is outcome-based measurement?

Defining outcome-based measurement

Outcome-based measurement is a collection of results which assess a specific topic or area in a business.  Fundamentally, it assesses the productivity of the business and highlights areas for improvement.

An outcome-based measurement for employee engagement would (ideally) show that employees are doing the things that will add value to the business.  These could be achieved through employee engagement surveys, regular pulse surveys, focus groups or analysis platforms.  Sam Dawson, Head of Insight at Korn Ferry Hay Group advises the importance of this data:

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Measuring employee engagement

The importance of outcome-based measurement analysis not only underpins how employees are performing but accentuates the functionality and success of the business.  It generates data which can help improve and expand a business and provides insight into weaker areas of the workplace.

Challenges faced

There are two mains challenges most companies face when looking to measure engagement across their workforces.  These include:

Unmeasurable feedback

Often, companies generate questions which are stale and generic enticing feedback which is unmeasurable and unresponsive.  Equally, questions which are negatively focused can provide more defensive answers rather than providing the opportunity for transparency.  As a result, the data becomes insubstantial to the overall objective.

Unresponsive feedback

Many companies submit an annual employee survey but fail to follow up with the data; making the exercise void and time-consuming.  Without motivation or incentive for being ‘heard’, employees feel despondent from providing honest feedback that does not have a tangible outcome.

Achieving outcome-based measurement

Achieving sustainable employee feedback is a consequential action of a well-developed strategy.  Recognising who the audience is, defining the objectives of the exercise and determining how to achieve the most optimised results can create more diverse and quantifiable data.  The perfect platform for outcome-based measurement analysis.

One example of effective and measurable data is UK-based home improvement chain, Screwfix, who encourages employee feedback on a regular basis through their open-door policy. Every two weeks, employees are given the opportunity to provide feedback to their managers unrestricted by rules or guidelines. They are encouraged to give feedback on everything from daily job concerns to management; company interactivity with customers and ideas for improvement.

Consequently, the two-way interactivity between employees and managers resulted in a new customer card being implemented.  This helped speed up the in-store process by identifying customers and allowing them to make quicker purchases – a result of valuable employee feedback.

Outcome-based measurement is not about ticking boxes or fulfilling an annual quota. It provides opportunity to feedback, improve and expand a business tangibly and effectively.

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 achieve sustainable outcome-based measurement analysis, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

 

The value of internal communication apps

Are internal communication apps the answer?

As audiences become more digitally focused, demand for communication activity is bigger than ever.  Internal communication managers are constantly finding new channels to better engage and motivate employees that can be measured effectively.

From electronic newsletters to emails and messenger forums, communication gaps or missing information can render these platforms unreliable but are internal communication apps the solution?  And are they the key for an integrated communications strategy?

Internal communication app – talking stats

With 88% of workers owning mobile devices in the UK, and 55% of mobile users looking at their phone within minutes of waking, companies are fast recognising the value of communicating with staff via app technology and in real time.

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  • 73% of adults accessed the internet “on the go” using a mobile phone or smartphone, more than double the 2011 rate of 36%.
  • Statcounter, a research company that tracks internet use across 2.5m websites, said 51.3% of pages were loaded on mobile devices last year, the first time they have surpassed desktop and laptop computers.
  • More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.

Internal communication apps allow managers to create, publish and monitor interactive content directly to employee’s personal devices without time restrictions.  This gives employers the opportunity to update employees on important company changes as and when they happen.  It also provides capacity to share information that is job specific; improve overall engagement, and develop communication strategies through measurable activity.

Adding value to communication strategies

The main objective for an internal communication strategy is to foster and develop relationships between employees, their peers and employers.  Gaining opportunity to work towards a unified goal.  Internal communication apps bridge gaps by allowing teams to communicate and liaise through a medium that is preferential.

Integrating apps into communications strategies can help solidify and establish a measurable platform that is engaging and accessible.

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 an internal communication app, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement 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.

Digital evolution: how to stay current

What digital evolution means for companies today

Technology has dramatically changed how people communicate, connect and perform personally as well as professionally.

From the introduction and evolution of social media channels, mobile apps, real-time platforms and intranet systems; companies are rapidly changing how they use, perform and operate in the digital hemisphere.

With an influx of real-time technology, customer and employee behaviour and expectations are becoming more demanding. Subsequently, resulting in bigger and bolder investments from companies into resources which can keep up with the increasing demands.

Industry experts believe this is an era ‘where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt’. They advise that these changes are setting ‘the stage for a new era of leadership’; charging behind a mantra of ‘adapt or die.’

A digital maturity…

According to Capgemini’s 2012 report, companies who are steaming ahead of the digital evolution, have developed a digital maturity – a combination of digital investment and leadership capabilities to drive digital transformation in the workplace.

But how is this digital transformation affecting employee engagement and is there benefit to the change?

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The change in digital expectations has led to a more collaborative and open working environment. This affects how and what employees look for in a company.  As well as job stability and career prospects; employees are now searching for companies they feel comfortable, sharing information and ideas with. They want open and honest communication from senior leaders.

According to the Employee Confidence Index, companies who are using internal social media tools have effectively engaged 83.6% of their staff.  Social media platforms not only communicate an open and collaborative culture externally but have developed into ‘relationship networks’; helping companies to connect online to share information and ideas internally and externally.  Thus resulting in more engaged audiences!

Travelex, is one company who has embraced the digital transformation and has successfully transformed itself into a digital organisation. With over 8000 employees, the world’s largest specialist provider of foreign exchange wanted to migrate the company’s communication platforms into the social realms of technology.

Invest and thrive through digital evolution

Recognising the shift in behavioural demands, Travelex introduced a social media strategy which would meet and exceed expectations.  Equally important as the objectives was the investment needed to successfully execute and deliver the strategy internally and externally. Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Head of Social Media for Travelex advised:

Social is not free, this is a myth. It is absolutely a paid channel and needs investment, a robust strategy, management, infrastructure and a sufficient operating model.

Without investment from the business, and by relying purely on organic growth, communities can take years, not months, to grow. That’s an expectation that we absolutely need to set.

Digital transformation has radically changed how we communicate, listen and respond to internal and external audiences. When done effectively and collaboratively it improves, strengthens and empowers overall engagement.  A communication transformation!  What does digital evolution mean for you, your employees and your customers?

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 digital and social strategies, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.