Guest blog: Employer branding

The what, why and how of employer branding

While companies are starting to get their heads around what employer branding is, why it’s important and how it differs from (and yet complements) corporate branding, few are getting it right. And some organizations are struggling to know where to start. But I get it.

There is so much being written about candidate experience, personas, journey mapping, ATSs, employee advocacy etc. Often employer branding ends up confusing the hell out of Talent Acquisition and Recruitment, HR, and Communications or Marketing teams. They don’t know where to begin, and/or narrowly focus on their own perceived part of the pie. As a result, employer branding ends up being confined to either the ‘too hard’ or ‘another meeting needed’ pile. Lots of conversation, little action.

As employer branding professionals we need to be leading the charge on addressing the three biggest issues affecting its success. These are:

1.     Mindset of senior leadership

2.     Silo’d thinking

3.     Industry cohesion

So what can we start doing, right now? All the below require little or no budget…

Mindset of senior leadership

a. Strategic thinking – Link the employer brand strategy and associated activities to the delivery of the business strategy. If senior leadership see this, they will sit up and take notice.

b. Go armed with data – Show execs the numbers, educate them on the trends and emerging themes, and provide insights that drive action.

c. Clearly outline the why, what and how for senior leadership engagement and role modelling – Too many of them don’t understand any one or all of these.

Silo’d thinking

a. Communication – Talk to your people. Talk to your Talent Acquisition and Recruitment, HR, Communications and Marketing colleagues. They will tell you what your EVP really is. Ask questions, seek opinions and listen intentionally. Keep doing this.

b. Cooperation – Accept you won’t have all the answers and neither will your agency. Go and find internal experts who can help you and involve them from the start.

c. Collaboration – When you’ve found these experts, get them involved in creating the solutions – not just the design of your EVP, but the activation and ongoing embedding.

An EVP needs to be a combined, holistic and integrated effort between the Recruitment, HR and Communications teams. Find out why from Simon’s recent presentation.

Industry cohesion

a. Sharing is caring – This is an incredible industry with fiercely passionate people doing amazing work. Let’s share as many of our successes, and fails, with each other as we can.

b. Reach out for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re all learning. Chances are someone, somewhere will have a similar challenge to you. Crowdsource. Co-create the solution. No one does it on their own.

c. Stand proud – We are all ambassadors for employer branding. Be unashamed when you talk about it with your colleagues, family and friends.

So there you have it, 9 quick tips you can start doing today for a little less conversation and a little more action on employer branding.

Simon Rutter leads the development and implementation of Takeda’s employer brand in the UK and around the world.

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Many thanks to Simon, Global Strategic Employer Brand and Communications Director, at Takeda for his insight into employer branding. 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 successfully developing your employer brand, call or email us today and let us show you how an employee value proposition can boost your organisation.

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.

Guest Blog: Positive Onboarding Experience

A Thousand Onboarding Firsts

When was the last time you started a new job at a new company and had a positive onboarding experience? What were you thinking in the days leading up to the new job and what was your first day like? In case your ‘Dear Diary’ entries are bit vague from that time, here’s a quick refresher on some of the things that probably went through your head…

When you accepted the offer to join, you were saying yes to one of the most wonderful experiences humans have; to become a part of a group. More than just being invited to join this organisation, you were excited about the new position; the new responsibilities, the new culture and, especially, the first day. A new chapter in your life, new adventures, new challenges, people and a new place for you to prove yourself to the world. This organisation invited you to join them and it felt great.

You were also a bit nervous that you were the newbie. The outsider. You were nervous about asking questions so you didn’t appear petty, irrelevant or downright stupid. You were concerned about what you were going to wear. And you might have made a dry run to practice your commute or written down questions for your first meeting with your new boss. You might even have tried to memorise some of the names of your new teammates.  Or you might have been concerned about learning all the relevant skills needed to do your job. In summary, you were embarking on the early stages of your onboarding journey.

Four Keys to Successful Onboarding (EAST)

Regardless of the role, experience and age, everyone experiences similar challenges to some degree. The message to employers: The first day of onboarding a new hire is your opportunity to get everything right. There are four keys to make the first day one that is memorable for all the right reasons.

Make Onboarding Easy

The first day starts with getting to work. Sure, Google Maps can give directions. But as the new boss, you can lower stress for the new employee by offering insider tips. “Once you get off the train, head out of the station onto 4th Street and walk toward downtown. Enter the door under the sign that says The 421 Building and tell reception to ring me. It’s about a 7-minute walk from the train. And if you pass the bakery, you’ve gone too far!”

And make sure cultural quirks are shared to warn them. “Because of the big game, everyone will be wearing team jerseys on Monday.” Be sensitive to the fact that whatever you take for granted because you’ve been there for some time is completely unknown to your new hire. Make their welcome and first day of their onboarding experience an easy one.

Make Onboarding Attractive

Just because the new hire has decided to take the job, don’t stop selling them on how much you want them. Continue to make the onboarding experience attractive to them. Start by warming them up with a phone call the week before they start. Let them know you’re excited to have them on your team and offer up time for the new hire to ask questions.

Because we are attracted to things that are relevant to us, make sure the things that get personalised in your office are properly personalised for your newbie. Print their name on the folder of welcome documents when they walk in the door. Name tags, security credentials and any legal documents should have their name correctly filled in. Legal name on legal documents and nickname, if they prefer, on name tags and name plates. Everyone likes it when other people get their name right – don’t miss this small step to make the new job attractive to them.

As silly as it may seem, start with praise and recognition on the first day. “I know the paperwork can be a pain, but I appreciate the effort and focus you’re putting on it. You’re doing great. ”There’s no reason to be disingenuous, but don’t pass up opportunities to remind them of how you’re aware of the effort they’re putting into their first day. That will go a long way in establishing vivid memories that contribute to greater retention and enhanced referrals, when you need them.

Make Onboarding Social

Work is possibly the most significant community that we belong to because of the time we put into it over the span of our working career. That community has an impact on the new hire’s life and the newbie wants that community to accept them in return. We all want to be accepted.

Let the newbie know that he or she is accepted, welcome and that you are full of hope for their success. Thomas Jefferson’s mother supposedly said to her young son when his school expelled him for poor performance that she was proud of him; and that the teacher believed he was such an exceptional student that he needed a different class to challenge him!

Foster a support network that the newbie can rely on.  As you introduce coworkers, connect a reason for the new hire to know them. “This is Sasha, he’s great with office paperwork. And this is Gina, she’s terrific with technology issues.” The newbie is unlikely to remember all the specifics but knowing there is a supportive social network is key to getting off to a good start.

Part of the social onboarding process should include one-to-one meetings with relevant team members and associates from the organisation. Get the newbie to commit to setting up meetings with a list you provide and as they achieve those mini-milestones, be sure to recognise the effort and achievement. Small as it may be, we want the social side of our lives to work without trouble.

Make Onboarding Timely

There are certain times when we are more ready to change than others. We are more apt to reignite our gym membership when we start looking at swimsuits in the Spring. We are more apt to buy life insurance after the birth of a child. Timing matters and authors Daniel Pink in When and best-selling researcher Robert Cialdini, PhD in Pre-Suasion both emphasise the timing and sequence of events and how they impact behaviour change.

Asking your newbie on their first day for a commitment to meet with each member of the team will gain compliance. And it can be more nuanced than that. Don’t ask the newbie to commit to work objectives until they’ve got an understanding of the job. The first commitments they should make is to be learning the necessary job skills and demonstrating them in a timely fashion.

Also, how time is spent is equally important. Having big gaps in the calendar before the newbie knows how to do the job will lead to listlessness. Make sure you pack their days with relevant learning opportunities until they have a feel for the work. Then, you can more easily fill downtime with tasks from the backlog.

Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely

Onboarding, onboarding experience, easy, attractive, social, timely, Robert Cialdini, Pre-Suasion

Since our brains are not digital cameras recording every single moment humans pay attention to, and remember, the vivid extremes in life. That means that a single, small experience at the wrong time can over-influence our memories.

A study was conducted with the ostensive purpose of asking classical music critics to rate the performance of a conductor (when listening on a vinyl record). All the people in the study listened to the same recording. Some listened to perfectly clean recordings. Some listened to records that had a scratchy sound in the middle and some had a scratch at the end of the recording. At the conclusion of the listening session, the critics rated the conductor’s ability with the particular piece of music. Critics who heard the scratch at the end of the performance rated the conductor’s performance lower than the critics who heard no scratch in the recording.

Key Onboarding Tips In Summary

Be careful how you create all of the ‘firsts’ for your new hire.  Each first impression contributes to their opinion of the company and that links to their happiness on the job. It affects their emotional engagement with the company and their satisfaction with their manager.

Make their introduction to the company Easy; make their first day Attractive; leverage the Social side of their new workplace and make your communication with them Timely.

Plan ahead and help your newbies feel wanted; just like you wanted to feel when you first joined.

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

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

Defining organisational integrity

Organisational Integrity: we hear it, we see it but do we follow it?

Organisational integrity is and should be the foundation of any working environment.  Building trust and incentivising staff to go ‘above and beyond’ is encouraged through honesty and transparency filtered through great leaders.

As a collective interpretation of individual integrity; organisational integrity guides core values, aspirations and patterns of thought and conduct among staff.  It creates an environment that encourages trust, promotes accountability and consequently, better engagement.

By integrating more robust standards, successful organisational integrity creates an environment everyone wants to be a part of and fully supports, comprehends and understands any structural, transformational changes.

The core values

But what are the core values to base a successful organisational integrity strategy on? And how can you avoid disruption to the integration and implementation of the strategy including performance management, role conflicts and ethical climates?

organisational integrity, core values, values, company culture, culture, employee engagement, accountability, responsibility

Fundamentally, the key value is trust!  Creating an organisational integrity strategy must encourage trust from the team; promote honest and transparent communication and create peer and senior led decisions based on the motto ‘do what you say you will do, truthfully and consistently with your team’.  Taking into consideration these core values will help achieve a more sustainable and operable strategy. We have put together our top core values tips to help create a culture of trust and organisational integrity based on three simple points.

Top three core values tips:

Smarter decisions: Decision-making can be an easy task.  But if you are over-committing or under-valuing expectations, respect for leaders and managers soon becomes waned and tiresome.  As a result, staff motivation starts to drop.  Making more meaningful and attainable decisions can contribute to a better engaged and trusted workforce.

Honest accountability: Composing and delivering decisions can naturally become hierarchical if not communicated effectively or coherently with the team.  Integrating decision making that responds to crisis situations or provides honest account of current problems can have a cascading effect on the mentality of the team.  Avoiding happy illusions will encourage staff to respond in the same transparent manner; it enables them to see the reality of their situation and taking responsibility for delivering results.

Open environment: Creating a more open and receptive culture within any organisation allows staff to feel supported; it encourages them to speak up as and when a situation may arise.  This leads to greater accountability and responsibility to improve, excel and promote a more effective and motivated working environment.

As employee engagement experts, Engage for Success state: ‘Trust is fundamental to high performance in a team, and high engagement in an organisation. Organisational integrity builds trust’.

Have your say

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 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 developing an organisational integrity strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Guest blog: Culture and values – what’s it worth?

The true cost of culture and values

The vast majority of people turn up for work wanting to do a great job. But, unfortunately, many organisations manage to rapidly prevent them achieving that goal. Not intentionally of course; but unless you have a well planned on-boarding process accompanied by a welcoming culture, you are likely to fall at the first hurdle as the glow of the new job becomes tarnished by the reality of bureaucracy, process, and daily tedium. This is when a good culture supported by meaningful values can make all the difference.

It will have cost your organisation around £30,000 to find and replace that employee and in turn he or she has spent a great deal in time, energy, and probably anxiety, changing jobs or starting their first one. High expectations on both sides. So it’s not hard to see that if that family style supportive culture promised at the interviews along with the welcome talks from those important people under-deliver, there will fast be disappointment. And that can cost you dearly.

Time for a few Stats

According to the Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Survey:

  • Organisational culture, engagement, and employee brand proposition remain top priorities in 2017; employee experience ranks as a major trend again this year.
  • Nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent), but only 22 percent reported that their compa­nies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.
  • Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents reported they were not ready or only somewhat ready to address the employee experience challenge.

simply irresistible organisation model, deloitte university press

 

It’s not all that surprising that the majority of employers are poor at creating a great employee experience. Only the most enlightened business leaders can see the ROI on great culture supported by genuine values.  Most are wrapped up in issues where the payback is more tangible, easier to see and measure.

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee

Trends show that this issue is not going away but rather becoming more important. For example, new graduates entering the workplace are no longer obsessed with just the salary and benefits package. They want to work somewhere they can share in values they believe in and a culture that supports them. And of course, if your employer’s culture is not something special, irreplaceable and distinctive, there is much less to stop you going to work somewhere else.

Worst of all is having a set of values on the website and on the walls in your meeting rooms which are largely unknown by the employees (can you recite your Company Values?), and not put into practice by management. Better to have none than to openly demonstrate ignorance or hypocrisy.

And it’s easier than ever today to find out what it’s really like working somewhere. Tools such as Glassdoor and Facebook make it very easy to see reality as opposed to what they want you to see on the website!

Every organisation should strive to be unique, even if the products and services are scarcely differentiated from competitors. In fact in this case it’s even more important. Don’t forget that your culture will shine through to customers, prospective customers, prospective employees, suppliers and everyone you deal with. It’s what makes you different. Culture often emanates from the original founder, even if they are no longer around. It’s that hard-to-describe essence that makes your place the place it is. By creating a timeless set of Values, you can capture that essence and use it make your organisation special, different and great.

Expensive if you get it wrong, valuable if you get it right

Even if you find it hard to see the tangible benefits, the costs associated with getting it wrong (poor culture, no values or redundant values) are likely to be immense:

  • Higher staff turnover @ £30,000 per head
  • Less motivated employees, less likely to go the extra mile
  • Unsustainable customer satisfaction – if your employees are not engaged, your customers will feel this in their interactions and will be less loyal to you. Your business could die.

Try putting a price on each of these for your organisation.

Every organisation has a culture whether you like it or not. Might as well use it positively, supported by a tangible set of values, to help engage employees and customers in a sustainable way.

At amp Performance Limited, we help both public and private organisations by developing performance improvement solutions through Motivation and Incentives. We help answer people and business questions. We do this by providing services across Communication, Education, Measurement and Reward. Visit us at www.ampperformance.co.uk

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

Many thanks to Adam Sidbury, Director, at ampPerformance for his time and insight into the true cost of organisational culture and values. 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 developing a well-planned on-boarding process and welcoming culture, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

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.

Internet of Things, case study, change management, ClearVoice, communication strategy, communication, company culture, customer journey, digital engagement, digital evolution, digital maturity, digital strategy, employee advocate, employee communication, employee engagement, employee experience, employee journey mapping, employee journey, employee retention, employee value proposition, employee voice, employer brand, Engage for Success, engaging managers, EVP, financial services, focus groups, four pillars, healthcare, HR communication, HR, human resources, innovation, Institute of Internal Communication, integrity, internal communication, IOIC, M&A, manufacturing, merger and acquisition, motivation, on-boarding, people, performance improvement, pharmaceutical, productivity, recognition, research, retail, reward, Silke Brittain, strategic narrative, strategy, talent acquisition, trust, values, well-being,The ability to work off platforms remotely and reactively has created opportunities to interact and connect across the globe.  An increase in smart device ownership has given businesses a channel to improve engagement and boost productivity through mobile apps; providing capabilities to strengthen the employer brand that enables organisations to attract and retain the best talents.

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.

Have your say

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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

reward, recognition, employee, engagement, clearvoice, silke brittain, employee communication, internal communication, bedford

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.

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 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.

Guest blog: Engage and stop chasing demographic unicorns

Engage with diverse workforces

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

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

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

Stop chasing demographic unicorns.

The 4 Drive Model

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

engage, 4-Drive Model, ClearVoice, engagement, audience, demographics, diversity, diverse audiences, employee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Applying The 4 Drive Model

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

One Isn’t Enough

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

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

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

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

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

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

ClearVoice, new year, employee engagement, employee experience, Silke Brittain, employee communications, internal communications, strategy, people, employee voice, integrity, communications strategy, innovation, strategic narrative, performance improvement, employee journey, customer journey, employee value proposition

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.

Mental wellbeing in the workplace

Awareness of mental wellbeing

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

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

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

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

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

4 steps to support positive mental wellbeing

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

Open-door policy

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

Training & guidance

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

Flexible hours

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

Don’t forget you!

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

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

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