GDPR: Opportunity for businesses across the globe?

Why we should be embracing the GDPR

GDPR is around the corner and what an opportune time for businesses across Europe!

That’s right, you heard us correctly. The GDPR may be causing meltdown among many businesses, but we should be embracing the change to the Data Protection Act for its push to make companies more transparent!

On May 25th 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will be enforced, superseding the Data Protection Act and permanently changing the way you collect, store and use customer data. Stricter guidelines on how companies process consumer data are affecting prospecting and marketing activities. As a result, companies are frantically searching for immediate solutions to comply with the latest regulations. But are we over-reacting and shouldn’t we be seeing this change as an opportunity for the better?

Companies who show they value an individual’s privacy, promote transparency by sharing how data is collected, stored and used, and implement improved ways of managing consumer data, build deeper trust and meaningful relationships with customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

Not only this, they become a company whose reputation is based on people rather than data!  As the CEO of WFA exclaims:

“GDPR represents a great opportunity to adopt a mindset of ‘people first’ rather than ‘data first’ across the entire organization. Adopting a more respectful approach to personal information can only build trust.”

But how can businesses embrace this change?

Like with all change management scenarios, the key to compliance change is to plan ahead. It’s about outlining the positive and negatives and identifying actions to accommodate both.

New research by the World Federation of Advertisers found that 95% of respondents thought that implementing the GDPR is important for their organisation and over 70% found that it was critically important.

But how does the GDPR offer opportunity to EU businesses?

Not only does the GDPR push companies into qualifying their current data, re-evaluate marketing activities and push for more meaningful relationships with audiences; it will also make it easier for companies, big and small, to do business across the EU. The GDPR has the potential to:

  • Remove undue administrative requirements including non-sensitive data processing tracking
  • Relax the need for SME’s to employ a Data Protection Officer unless legally necessary
  • Improve data control and quality, brand and reputation and thus, creating more transparent, honest and reliable companies
  • Increase visibility and offer competition opportunities for SME’s through the GDPR’s right to data portability. A clause which, firstly, makes it easier for potential customers to transfer personal data between service providers. Secondly, it opens the doors for new providers and reduces the painful transfer or resubmission of data from customer to supplier.
  • Reduced maintenance expenses, helping companies cut costs by retiring any data inventory software and legacy applications that are no longer relevant.
  • Better align businesses with evolving technology, allowing companies to easily locate, anonymise and report more securely and effectively.

Opportunity for re-connecting?

By pushing companies to contact, respond and respect their audience, offers opportunity for re-connecting.  As Philippe De Backer, Belgium’s Secretary Of State for Privacy advises:

“It’ll help businesses better identify opportunities. The GDPR is about enabling companies to know what data they have and securing that data. It is also about managing that data effectively to enable them to identify new business opportunities. The GDPR has the potential to go a long way in rebuilding trust. Trust which many consumers have lost in digital companies.”

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communication and engagement solutions. We inspire, motivate and transform your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information or help with compliance change management or digital transformation, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your company.

Internal communications value as told by CIPR Inside

Value of internal communications

Internal communications group of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations: CIPR Inside recently submitted their latest report on the value of internal communication as perceived by CEO’s and IC professionals.  Focusing on the perceived value and interactivity of internal communication with senior leadership teams, the paper offered insight and exploration over a much-discussed topic.

Defining terminologies

The report identified that ‘when defining internal communication, many of the IC practitioners …surveyed used the terms ‘internal communication’ and ‘employee engagement’ interchangeably’.

But what is the value of internal communication and employee engagement, how is it viewed in the industry and is there a defining difference?

Internal communication

Internal communications has long been defined as the functionality responsible for effective communications between internal staff members within an organisation.  The CIPR report states that CEO’s saw IC practitioners as ‘custodians of translating strategy, company values and priorities’.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is an emotional commitment between an employer and their employees; creating an environment that is engaging and retrospective to the culture they are trying to achieve.

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Although interconnected through their primary focal point – employees – both are equally different through their purpose and delivery.  Where one focuses on how and what to communicate internally, the other looks at the why and who; defining the context and environment of delivering the communication and to whom.

In VMA Group’s Inside Insight 2017 report, 92% of senior leadership either understand, are on board with or appreciate the importance of internal communication but incredibly, only 8% of British employees feel engaged at work.

All CEOs interviewed for the latest CIPR report expressed concern around not communicating key messages and purpose to employees. They believed that if employees did not understand the priorities and the organisational direction, their motivation and effectiveness was less lower!

Can we build a unifying relationship?

Internal communications provides the strategic knowhow and the channels to deliver key yet effective messages within an organisation.  However, it is the foundation of employee engagement which positions the reason behind those messages. And it provides the background of who they are projected at.

Can they work in parallel of each other – absolutely!  Both accentuate the employee voice;  both are platforms to strengthen and improve the communication and culture of an organisation.  The synergy of internal communications and employee engagement has the power to influence and change the culture of an organisation!

It is the role of senior leaders to identify the capacity of both functionalities.  Treating them retrospectively as separate functions provides a more encompassing and powerful method to communicate and engage with staff.

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

How GDPR will affect your business

What is GDPR?

GDPR is EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, a new directive that will enforce businesses to install stronger data security and privacy rules for protecting personal data.  These regulations supersede any previous legislation and will come into force in May next year.  Failure to comply can result in fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover!

As 2017 has already become a frantic scramble to prepare for next year’s GDPR, we provide a rundown of who the regulations affect and how you can prepare for the milestone.

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The GDPR applies to anyone who ‘controls or processes’ personal data in and outside the EU.  That includes profit-seeking companies to IT firms, charities to agencies.  The responsibility of handling data falls to both sides; those that collect and manage data and those who process and maintain data records.

 

How does it affect you?

The new regulations will force all companies to control and manage how and why they process personal data. Data can only be used for a specific purpose.  Once companies have achieved that purpose, they must delete the data.

What is personal data?

Personal data includes any information which can identify a specific person.  This includes economic, cultural or mental health information, IP addresses and the existing definitions covered under the Data Protection Act as it currently stands.

How do I get consent once the GDPR is in place? This is when good recording keeping comes into play!  All companies who ‘control’ personal data must keep a record of how and why they obtained that information; it must record how they will process it. And it must provide the opportunity for individuals to amend or check the data held on file; or withdraw consent at any one time.

The GDPR mandates that consent must be ‘freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous’. You will no longer be able to have a pre-ticked box and opt-in based on inactivity.

Data breaches & penalties

If there has been a breach to the data you hold on file, you must contact your data protection authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office, within 72 hours of discovering the leak.  Companies who do not meet this time frame can face penalties of up to £10 million or 2% of their global annual revenue; whichever is greater.

Failure to comply with the new regulations can also incur penalties of up to £20 million or 4% of your global annual turnover – whichever is greater.

Don’t be caught out by the new regulations and prepare yourself for next year’s stringent regulations; giving you piece of mind and the reduced risk of astronomical fines.  To guide you through the process, read the full article here.

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 securing your data and how to manage the GDPR change, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Guest blog: Speak with one voice

Internal and external communication as one

In a healthy organisation, the internal and external communications functions are close; it is a matter of basic coherence and integrity that strategic narratives to both audiences are broadly the same. The challenge is that in some organisations the internal communications function can lack status; whereas that of the external communications can prompt cynicism. For an organisation’s success it is vital that both speak with one voice.

There are matters of commercial confidentiality, but the organisation should express the same values. There should be clarity about who the company is, what it stands for, and what it’s doing, in the broader narratives. If different stories start to emerge externally, compared with practices and messages internally, this is a warning sign; an indicator of a disconnect between strategic planning and operational reality. Bringing internal and external communications together as part of strategy-setting, scenario planning and operations ensures that plans fulfil their potential.

The importance of honest and open communication

In an organisation with integrity, the marketing, personnel, research, production and senior executive departments are speaking consistently. They communicate with each other, around a shared objective of understanding the customer journey, and how well the company serves its customers when interacting with them.

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Honest and open communication is encouraged, and in both directions; such organisations treat an honest and reasonable complaint, from a customer or an employee, as a learning opportunity; as a chance to improve that customer journey and the employee’s experience.

You can test the honesty of your communications with surveys and with data. Your perception may be that you put the customer first, but have satisfaction ratings dipped in the past six months? If so, do you know why? What do your employees say about your organisation? Have your employee engagement levels dropped? And how has this affected your organisation’s performance?

How is feedback providing an opportunity?

Senior leaders, marketing, internal communications and HR should be inviting and actively seeking feedback from customers and employees at regular intervals. Annual surveys provide a broad insight into engagement and overall satisfaction; augment this with regular pulse surveys, focus groups, morning tea breaks or huddles.

Listening to feedback is the first step, acting upon it the second and arguably the more important step. Each feedback providing an opportunity to encourage interaction, engage in honest conversation and bring internal and external communication closer together by sharing success stories, acknowledging ideas for improvement, and celebrating progress.

The challenges of improving performance, boosting employee engagement, and bringing the internal and external communications together, are all closely linked activities. They are not separate departments, but distinct disciplines that form part of a collective endeavour to improve the experience for the customer and the employee with your organisation now and into the future.

Philip Whiteley is an author and journalist specialising in workplace culture and the link to organisation performance.

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 use feedback from customer satisfaction and employee engagement surveys to improve your organisation’s performance, call or email us today and let us show you how communication can boost your organisation.

New rules of engagement for Millennials

How do you communicate with an increasingly overwhelmed, time-poor workforce of Millennials?

Since the rise of social media, the way people consume information has changed hugely based on advances in technology. This means ‘traditional’ ways of communicating internally are no longer good enough particularly when set against a backdrop of increasing numbers of employees becoming disengaged with their employers as outlined in Gallup’s ‘Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis’ which found only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged.

Gallup | Millennials are the least engaged generation at work | new rules of engagement | growing millennial workforce | ClearVoiceDistributing vital information to employees, such as an organisation’s strategic direction, via email is no longer an effective tool for communication. LinkedIn, twitter, Workplace, Yammer, chatbots, google etc. have entered the corporate world and compete for our attention. It’s clear that HR professionals need to fully understand how to grab people’s attention. They need to know how to spark two-way conversations that drive engagement. And they need to do this as part of an integrated communications strategy.

New rules of engagement

In a digital world where change in business is becoming the norm, a growing proportion of the workforce comprises Millennials. Their thinking is not constrained by old values of loyalty to one company or brand. In fact, a recent survey by PWC indicates that over a quarter of Millennials expect to have six or more employers in their lifetime.

If organisations want employees to be loyal, senior leaders and HR professionals will have to work hard to motivate them. They will have to adopt new rules of engagement of leading, organising, inspiring and managing the millennial workforce. Particularly if Millennials will make up 50% of an organisation’s workforce by 2020.

Millennials expect a productive, engaging, enjoyable work experience particularly in a digital world with increasing transparency. Where they don’t find that positive employee experience they will move on and look for it elsewhere.

To provide such an engaging employee experience, employers need to be experts at communicating. But in a world where messages need to cut through the noise before people comment, like, dislike and make their voices heard, intranets and emails simply lack the necessary edge.

‘Do as they say’

In a world where employees complete annual employee engagement surveys that are a corporate attempt at engagement but organisations don’t act upon their feedback, this is a sure way to disengagement. This is only exacerbated when the same questions appear again one year on from their last input and employees.

To drive loyalty and improve productivity employers need to ensure that they ‘do as they say’, that messages are targeted, relevant and content is personalised and delivered in plain English. Employers need to listen to feedback, integrate it into their communications strategy and truly enable employees to action it. Only then will employers have a chance of providing a platform for genuine engagement where the employee ‘lives and breathes’ the brand.

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Gallup says there are six functional changes (The Big Six) that need to happen in the organisational culture to attract and keep millennial talent:

Employees will make better use of visual information than print; and often access information in their own time through mobile devices; such as smartphones, tablets or e-readers. This provides an ideal opportunity to engage with all employees whether they work in the office, from home or off-site; but it’s important that organisation refrain from bombarding employees across multiple platforms and communicate only rarely.

The workforce of millennials

The good news is that, when it comes to engaging Millennials in the workplace; there is a new way of communicating which is not only visual but also very effective. Using user-generated content combined with business-led content; and enabling employees to share this via social walls and photowalls on multiple company platforms; such as web and mobile apps will ensure organisations engage modern audiences. Add video to this and gamification; and you have the recipe for a very attractive and cost-effective corporate communications strategy.

While user-generated content might concern some organisations; who would want to commit workplace suicide when posting inappropriate content to the company platform; which all levels of employees access? In our experience a well-planned communications strategy that has been developed with employees rather than for employees with clearly outlined behavioural goals has always been received with the respect it deserves.

Employee as an advocate

We have developed a new approach to drive employees from momentary engagement – where the employee has an understanding of a business need – to emotional engagement – where the employee is an advocate of the business. By combining rational with emotional thinking when planning a communications strategy; addressing the needs of different employee personas and working with internal communications ambassadors; it is possible to increase motivation, improve productivity and provide a truly engaging employee experience.

In the past this has been difficult to achieve due to budget or technological constraints; or our ability to truly integrate our media channels using each to its best effect. With a mere 13% of the global workforce being engaged; it will be interesting to see who the next shining stars might be of those organisations that are prepared to act promptly!

Have your say and tweet us at #engagingmillennials.

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 engage with your workforce or develop an effective communications strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.