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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

How to recruit a Millennial

What is a Millennial?

The term ‘Millennial’ has taken over our social media channels, websites, intranet systems, even favoured online publications; but what are they and how can you get one?

Firstly, Millennials are people not a product!  The term ‘Millennial’ represents those born in the late 1970’s to the mid 1990’s.  Also coined as ‘Generation Y’ or the ‘Echo Boomers’ (offspring of the 50’s baby boomers); Millennials are employees who were ‘coming of age’ at the start of the new millennium.

Millennials are representing a generation which is incredibly sophisticated, technology savvy and often ‘immune’ to traditional sales and marketing pitches. They’ve seen it and been exposed to it all since early childhood.

Love it or hate it?

However, the term is slowly becoming intolerable, if not over used and has unfortunately, affected how companies recruit and expand. Suddenly, we are hearing that companies are reluctant to hire this generation; even if they have over 10 years of experience to bring to the table.

And the reason? The term has become Marmite: love it or hate it and no in-between!

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The term ‘Millennials’ has shifted from representing an age category; instead becoming a favoured term for debate; with audiences wanting to understand, analyse and dissect the term as if they are a separate species! If you are looking to recruit a millennial then your objective is off-centre.  Instead, assess what kind of candidate you need; the role you are advertising and the team you are trying to develop.  Use the recruitment process to improve your overall employer brand and not to compartmentalise an age group.

Millennials are people too: recruit as an individual and not as a term!

Quick guide to Millennial recruitment

With the right attitude and key objectives, we have developed a quick guide on what to do when recruiting a candidate:

Avoid assumptions and stereotypes: Often, Millennials are perceived to populate a small proportion of workforces when the reality is the opposite. It is projected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and numbers will peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. Having a collective age range in the workplace encourages a more collaborative environment. Understand their skill sets and critical approach to brand loyalty, embrace their racial and ethnic diversity and evaluate how this can contribute to the company in its entirety.

Update, train and guide your managers: Whether it is for Generation X, Y or Z effective management will result in a more productive and receptive team. Provide regular training and continuous support to managers in helping them lead and manage teams which are diverse. Offer them guidance in acknowledging and utilising an individual’s strengths and motivations no matter what their age range.

Research and behavioural analysis: Unfortunately, a multitude of tools have emerged helping applicants to develop their CV’s which increase online visibility. Often these CV’s are a by-product of these tools rather than a true reflection of the candidate.

Use pre-employment interviews to encourage a more accurate overview of your applicant, helping to identify key motivators and strengths, customer service orientation and skill sets. This will also help develop your recruitment and selection process as well as any subsequent training packages.

Communicate your company’s culture: When developing your employer brand think about the environment your candidates will be working in. Your company culture should accommodate a multitude of ages and not be aimed at one selective group. A shift in engagement has encouraged companies to embrace a more collaborative and open environment. The recruitment process can help you assess how people view your company externally and how you are positioned against your competitors.

An attractive company makes for a more appealing employer

Millennial facts

And just for fun…here is a collection of ‘Millennial facts’ showing how age can be immersive instead of a hindrance:

  • 45 percent believe a decent paying job is a “privilege”, not a “right.”
  • 64 percent of Millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.
  • 88 percent prefer a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74 percent want flexible work schedules.
  • 80 percent of Gen-Y say they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews; they feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job.
  • 70 percent have “Friended” their managers and/or colleagues on Facebook.
  • 71 percent don’t always obey social-media policies at work.
  • Millennials are connected to an average of 16 co-workers on Facebook.
  • 69 percent believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis.
  • 35 percent of employed Millennials have started their own business on the side to supplement their income.
  • 84 percent say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.
  • 41 percent of Millennials have no landline at home and rely on their mobile phones for communication.
  • Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.

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 recruitment, on-boarding and retention of employees and Millennials, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

 

 

Internal versus External Communications: The Relationship

Internal versus external communications: making a stand!

Internal versus external communications is a staple topic.  Historically, they have targeted very different audiences; communicating with those who work inside the organisation and communicating with those who do not.  However, the audience focus for internal and external communications is now migrating to a more targeted reach and instead; companies are embracing ‘all’ audiences instead of a targeted selection.

From investors to shareholders, employees to the general public, communication has evolved into a hub of ‘share and display’. Consequently, as companies demonstrate value recognition, the divide between internal versus external communication starts to merge.

Companies that have merged internal and external communications

Companies, including HSBC and Royal Mail, have avoided compartmentalising communications into internal and external by introducing channels that are accessible by  all audiences.  As a result, both companies have increased engagement and strengthened trust in their overall brands.  With over 250,000 employees located across 71 countries; HSBC, has launched a weekly TV programme that aimed to unite and screen their employees inside and outside the business.

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According to the Event and Visual Communication Association, a 15% engagement increase was recorded internally as a result of the new channel entitled ‘HSBC Now’; embracing the open culture of their workforce.

Royal Mail created an online platform aptly named myroyal.com giving public accessibility to internal news and recent accreditations, awards, shares, employee feedback and even, an online uniform brochure!  Subsequently, Royal Mail’s latest online channel led to better engagement with their employees as well as their customers.

The dynamics of internal versus external communication

Below are three fundamental tips for creating a unifying relationship between internal and external communication:

1. Communicate & explain: Create an understanding of team responsibility from the onset and this can help to reduce negative impact on departments who are divided.  Schedule workshops or regular meetings with key teams, which aim to inform, listen and deliver key campaigns in the pipeline.

2. Liaise & feedback:  For a crossover of internal and external communication to be successful, implementation of key messages must be shared across the channels.

3. Share & implement: One of the biggest downfalls for organisations who don’t communicate their internal or external comms strategy, is their inability to communicate, share and implement the campaign internally as well as externally.  For employees to actively engage and promote the company message they need to understand, participate and engage in the campaign.

Brief, share, reiterate what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it affects the whole company.

Have your say and tweet us at #iandetherelationship

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 step away from internal versus external communications, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.