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.

Reward and Recognition Programs

The importance of a Reward & Recognition program

A Reward and Recognition program can have significant impact on overall employee engagement in an organisation. From boosting morale to lowering staff turnover, reward and recognition programs offer companies a motivational tool that can be beneficial to the employer as well as the employee.

The three top tips for building a Reward & Recognition program

An effective employee recognition scheme should be relevant, fair and transparent for all employees to be motivated. Clear criteria outlining the purpose, audience, channel and measures will help employers manage and deliver the program easily and sustainably.  The key areas to include in any program criteria include:

  • Purpose: Having clear objectives for the introduction of the program will help shape the overall process. Are you trying to boost performance, drive employee retention or reinforce expected behaviours? These questions will help create a program that is bespoke to your objectives and you can easily measure.
  • Power: The most effective Reward and Recognition programs are ones which are peer led. Involve staff in championing the program; ascertain how they will communicate, measure and select winning candidates; and consider the overall perception and subsequent motivation of the workforce in this process.
  • Process: The Reward and Recognition program must have clear criteria. It should outline how the employee’s behaviours or actions will be recognised, by whom and who is eligible to receive this award. This will ensure the program is relevant and help motivate staff to perform accordingly.

Benefits of a Reward and Recognition program

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Reward and recognition programs are not just beneficial to an employer but also to the employee.  It provides a unified acknowledgement of performance and adoption of the company’s culture and ways of working.

A culture of recognition is one of the most important factors in creating a positive work environment. A simple ‘thank you’ from a manager goes a long way and confirms the meaningfulness of the work an employee has completed and been recognised for.

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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 or help with developing a reward & recognition program, call or email us today and let us show you how a simple ‘thank you’ 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.

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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?

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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!

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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: Emotional intelligence – the organisation is like a brain, not a structure

Emotional intelligence

Does your internal communications department struggle for resources, influence and internal clout? Recent findings in cognitive psychology and employee engagement have indicated that better engagement and positive emotional intelligence is key to a successful organisation.

Avoiding viewing companies as ‘structures’ with people as ‘resources’ is essential in the same way as communicating with employees is central to improving business performance. In essence, results depend on getting the right alignment of strategy, skills and emotional commitment; none of which is possible without clear and effective communication.

People are emotional: defining emotional intelligence

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Over the past fifty years, cognitive psychology research has connected human behaviour and decision-making with the emotional state of mind. Equally, this has been identified through highly educated professionals such as data analysts and research scientists.

Consequently, all people are emotional!  Confirmation bias, is a common tendency to filter out evidence that clashes with emotionally preferred narratives. Some people are better than others at recognising and challenging their own biases, but are all prone to creating them. In an interview, leading academic Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, says: ‘…emotional reactions tend to drive the reasoning reactions, and I think most of the neuroscience literature is consistent with that.’

Research indicated a positive correlation between an employee’s personal drive and an increase in performance levels; creating a strong emotional dimension within the workplace. As the UK’s Engage for Success concludes: ‘We now have a substantial body of evidence showing the correlation between higher engagement and higher performance.’

Communication is vital

Organisations who enhance and encourage emotional intelligence promote a more engaged and collaborative workforce. By identifying company structures as organic representations of a brain, business leaders can better understand how to treat their workforces.

‘If we rethink our understanding of the dynamic, organic reality of the organisation, we realise it’s more like a brain than a structure, in which case it becomes obvious that the connecting neural networks need to be active and healthy.’

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

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Many thanks to Philip, Author & Journalist, for his time and insight into emotional intelligence. 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 drive emotional engagement as part of your employee communications strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement 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.