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KP Snacks: The importance of prioritising mental wellbeing

Walgreens Boots Alliance: Transforming engagement through leadership

British Red Cross: Developing teams to connect human kindness with human crisis

Martin Power shares how the company approaches mental health training.

Kathi Leon explains why leaders are an integral part of employee engagement.

Dr Satnam Sagoo shows how the organisation navigates maximising efficiency in times of need.













Jennifer Sproul

Charlotte Dahl

Shares her highlights from the Conference.

Shares her insights from the day.

River Island: Creating a new world of communication Mike Collins explains how the company has transformed and modernised its internal communications.

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Thursday 12 March 2020 Victoria Park Plaza, London Engaged employees are more important to organisations than ever before. Providing our people with a truly digital workplace environment enables new and more effective and efficient ways of working while improving engagement levels and at the same time relationships with our customers.

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INTERNAL COMMS EDITORIAL Elizabeth Akass Editor lizzie.akass@ebm.media 01932 302 113 Steve Hurst Editorial Director steve.hurst@ebm.media 01932 506 304

MARKETING Katie Donaldson Marketing Manager katie.donaldson@ebm.media 01932 506 302 Sophie Smith Marketing Executive sophie.smith@ebm.media 01932 302 112 Hannah Mulea Marketing Executive hannah.mulea@ebm.media 01932 302 111

SPONSORSHIP Dominic Stone Sponsorship Sales dominic.stone@ebm.media 01932 506 303 Dale Ayliffe Sponsorship Sales dale.ayliffe@ebm.media 01932 302 110 Dan Moran Sponsorship Sales dan.moran@ebm.media 01932 506 303

MEMBERSHIP Jamie Ross Delegate Sales jamie.ross@ebm.media 01932 506 306 Michael Duckham Delegate Sales mike.duckham@ebm.media 01932 506 307

FINANCE Sabrina Clarke Finance Manager finance@ebm.media 01932 500 103 Jenna Pollard Accounts Executive accounts@ebm.media 01932 428 542

Welcome A very warm welcome to this year’s Internal Communications Industry Report. We hope you enjoy what’s inside!


his edition has been a delight to put together as we have had the fantastic opportunity to speak with experts from a range of industry-leading brands in the employee engagement space. From the charity sector, Dr Satnam Sagoo at British Red Cross shows how saving time means saving more lives, and explains how the organisation engages and supports its workforce to help people in need across the world as efficiently as possible. Exploring the increasingly relevant topic of mental health in the workplace, Martin Power shares KP Snacks’ success story of appropriately equipping employees to support each other through times of difficulty. Kathi Leon discusses the ways in which Walgreens Boots Alliance maximises employee engagement through its leaders, and how it maintains an excellent standard of internal communication across such a vast global company. Giving insight into the world of banking, Debbie Bennett-Jackson talks us through the importance of creating a culture where everyone can reach their full potential, and how Citi has actively and creatively taken steps to achieve this. Mike Collins introduces us to River Island’s ‘new world’ of communication, and explains the importance of giving all employees a cohesive aim. We also caught up with Clare Bowers from the

Zoological Society of London, who gave us an inside look at internal communications at the international conservation charity. Furthermore, our brilliant Hall Chairs, Jennifer Sproul and Charlotte Dahl, share their insights and highlights from the Internal Communications Conference, and you can find the event feedback from our delegates inside as well. In addition, we have included some key recent news stories relating to employee engagement that may spark your interest. In the increasingly digital and ever-developing world of internal communications, it is essential that brands remain open to change and progression in their approaches. With this is mind, shared ideas and knowledge from brands excelling in building positive, communicative, and trusting relationships with their employees can be invaluable. We hope that you find this Industry Report informative, helpful, and interesting.

Happy reading! Elizabeth Akass, Editor

MANAGING DIRECTOR Nick Rust nick.rust@ebm.media 01932 506 301

EngageEmployee.com Engage Business Media Ltd, Nicholson House, 41 Thames Street, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8JG. Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in the compilation of this publication, the Publishers cannot be held liable for errors and omissions. ©COPYRIGHT: Engage Business Media Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior consent in writing to the publisher.

Friday 15 May 2020 Riverbank Park Plaza, London EmployeeEngagementSummit.com #EngageEmployee




Urges of crackdown on office football and cricket chat Chat about football or cricket in the workplace should be curtailed, a management body has said. Ann Francke, head of the Chartered Management Institute, advised that sports chat can exclude women and lead to more laddish behaviour. “A lot of women, in particular, feel left out,” she told the BBC’s Today programme. “They don’t follow those sports and they don’t like either being forced to talk about them or not being included.” “I have nothing against sports enthusiasts or cricket fans – that’s great,” she said. “But the issue is many people aren’t cricket fans,” she added, arguing bosses should crack down on sports banter. Ms Francke is concerned that discussing football and, for example, the merits of video assistant refereeing (VAR) can disproportionately exclude women and divide offices. “It’s a gateway to more laddish behaviour and – if it just goes unchecked – it’s a signal of a more laddish culture,” she said “It’s very easy for it to escalate from VAR talk and chat to slapping each other on the back and talking about their conquests at the weekend.” Nevertheless, Ms Francke does not think sports chatter should be banned, just moderated. She said that good managers should be inclusive and ensure that everyone in their team feels comfortable. But sports journalist Jacqui Oatley thinks cracking down on sports chatter would be a “terrible idea”. “If you ban football chat or banter of any description, then all you’re going to do it alienate the people who actually want to communicate with each other,” she told the Today programme. “It would be so, so negative to tell people not to talk about sport because girls don’t like it or women don’t like it, that’s far more divisive.” She said the secret was to discuss sport in an inclusive way and to notice if people were blankly “staring into space” during the conversation. And the majority of people responding to a LinkedIn post from the BBC appear to agree with Ms Oatley. Office manager Debra Smyth worries that other topics such as Love Island, EastEnders and Game of Thrones could also be censored if sport chatter is banned. “I personally think companies should not dictate what people talk about, as not talking about it will alienate those with similar interests,” she said. Recruiter Peter Ferguson said: “I have seen managers and staff build a more direct bond over a shared love of sport which has excluded those who don’t share that interest. “The answer is not to ban the conversation, it is to ensure managers and staff are trained to understand that those shared interests should not get in the way of management decisions or working collaboratively.”


Co-op faces equal pay claim More than 400 employees have launched an equal pay claim against the Co-op supermarket chain in the latest retail pay battle. The Co-op shop workers, mostly women, say they are being underpaid compared with warehouse workers, who are mostly men. The claim comes after similar actions against Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. The Co-op said it was “confident that our reward practices are fair”. Co-op supermarket team manager Christine Green, 57, from Pointon, Lincolnshire, was one of the women to start the equal pay case. Christine has worked at the Co-op for six years. “I feel personally that the job we do – we’re front of house, we’re dealing with customers, cash, money, shoplifting, we’re having to do all of the deliveries, on our own... I feel that we should be equally paid for the job that we are doing,” she said. “I think the warehouse staff have an important job. We have an important job – to make the company run. And we should all be treated as equals. “I love my job. I enjoy the people I work with. “I enjoy where I am, but I just feel that sometimes we’re a little bit overlooked, and it would be nice to be thought of in the same vein as warehouse staff.” The first hearing for the claim was at Manchester Employment Tribunal on Friday. Law firm Leigh Day is representing the workers, who are asking for up to six years of back pay. The claim came about after the shop floor employees found they were being paid less than the men in the warehouses, said Chris Benson, Leigh Day’s head of employment. They felt that they were getting “underpaid for the

same effort”, and that their work was of equal value, he said. The store employees were often working by themselves at the front of shops, with a colleague on hand at the back. They have “quite a lot of responsibility”, with little time to have a break or to go to the toilet, Mr Benson said. The difference in pay between shop floor and distribution staff ranges from £1.50 to £3 an hour, which is “quite a chunk of their wages”, he said. The average worker could be entitled to up to £10,000 in back pay, he said. The workers were “amazed and disappointed” to find out the difference in pay, he added. “They are loyal to the Co-op.” He continued: “The Co-op are a good employer. You wouldn’t expect them to discriminate on the grounds of gender”. Mr Benson added that around 40,000 people may be eligible to bring claims. The Co-op said in a statement: “We have received a small number of equal pay claims. Unlike some of the bigger food retailers, we do not have large scale multiple claims. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on individual claims, but we will be defending these claims and are confident that our reward practices are fair.” The first UK supermarket to face equal pay claims on differences in pay between shop workers and distribution staff was Asda, which has been fighting a long-running legal dispute over the issue. Pay actions have followed against Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons.

Almost 10,000 retail jobs lost already in 2020 There have been almost 10,000 retail job losses in the UK so far in 2020, according to retail sector analysts, with more failures forecast. In total, 9,949 jobs have gone, said the Centre for Retail Research (CRR). A further 1,200 jobs are under threat with the collapse of Beales and Hawkin’s Bazaar last week. “We’re going to see more retail failures this year,” said Julie Palmer, a partner at insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor. “January is traditionally a really bad month for retailers and if retailers have not had a good Christmas, they will really struggle, particularly at the end of January when the quarterly rent bill is due.” The UK retail sector employs about three million people, so the latest losses would mean that one job in 300 has disappeared this year so far. According to the CRR, the sector lost 143,100 jobs during 2019. Earlier this month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total retail sales fell for the first time in 25 years in 2019. Sales in November and December were particularly weak, falling 0.9%. Several retailers have announced store closures and redundancies this month already, after deep discounting and disappointing sales, among them Asda, Debenhams, HMV, Game and Topshop owner Arcadia. Household name Mothercare has now shut its UK shops for good, while 139-year-old department store chain Beales and toy shop Hawkin’s Bazaar have collapsed into administration.

The decline of the British High Street has been widely documented, and while high business rates, national living wage rises, Brexit and weak consumer confidence are acknowledged challenges facing retailers, most of the blame is attributed to the rise of online retail. But the online sector is also facing serious challenges, according to Ms Palmer. “There’s a lot of competition from new start-ups online, and it’s difficult for online retailers to position their brand properly unless they pay for a lot of pay-per-click ads,” said Ms Palmer. While online-only fast fashion brand Boohoo has overtaken High Street stalwart Marks and Spencer in terms of market capitalisation, Asos, another online seller, issued profit warnings in 2018 and 2019. Sales growth rose in the most recent quarter, but the battle for consumers is as fierce online as off. The increased competition is likely to lead to a transformation of the UK’s town centres, including the demise of many department stores and the return of smaller shops, according to Ms Palmer. “[Town] planners are being more imaginative about how they plan High Streets. “Developers like McCarthy and Stone and Churchill’s are working on a lot of housing projects and some of that retail space is going over to elderly accommodation for the over-55s, who like living in smaller city centres,” said Ms Palmer. “Older shoppers don’t want big department stores - they want the retailer to have a focus on the local community.”



Morrisons supermarket axes 3,000 managers

Morrisons is axing 3,000 management roles as part of a huge restructuring to create more shop floor jobs. The firm says it is also creating 7,000 new hourly-paid roles at its 500 stores, meaning a net 4,000 new posts. The new jobs will be in customer-facing roles, such as more butchers, bakers, fishmongers, the supermarket said. Morrisons said the new roles will be a mixture of part and full time posts, but declined to reveal how the numbers will be split. Managers will be able to move to the new jobs, with the firm saying there will be roles “for everybody who wants to continue to work at Morrisons”. David Lepley, Morrisons group retail director, said: “Whilst there will be a short period of uncertainty for some managers affected by these proposals we will be supporting them through this process. “There will also be more roles with greater flexibility that are very attractive to colleagues with families.” The company says those in managerial jobs who want to remain working at Morrisons can stay. However, their new offer will be at the shop floor level. Front-line store staff at Morrisons earn £9 an hour. News of the restructuring was first reported by Retail Week. The big four supermarkets are all making changes to try to stem the flow of shoppers switching allegiance to discount stores. They are all hoping to save money on staffing costs in order to be able to offer bigger discounts to shoppers in store. Within the past year Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have all announced significant job cuts at management level. However, unlike Tesco’s job cuts at this point last year, Morrisons are putting more new shop floor workers behind specialist counters. Rather than cutting deli counters, Morrisons are keen for their Market Street sections to help them stand out against the other big players in the supermarket wars. All affected stores will have a 45-day consultation period, with the cuts beginning in March. The manager jobs at risk include instore posts, and not office roles, the company said. Jobs such as in-store beer, wine and spirits managers will be combined with other jobs. Morrisons is not the only supermarket to be cutting management posts. All the big four UK supermarket chains are battling to retain market share amid fierce competition, particularly from discount chains Aldi and Lidl. Earlier this week, Sainsbury’s said it was shedding hundreds of management roles, but did not confirm the number. Sainsbury’s said the cuts were being made due to the integration of Argos, which it bought in 2016. Asda has reportedly begun consultations with more than 2,800 staff over cutbacks. Reports say those working in administrative, cash office and personnel roles have been told their jobs are at risk.


Vested announces partnership with Hays to deliver workplace benefits solution

Vested, the Workplace Savings and Benefits consultancy of the Embark Group, has today announced a partnership with Hays, the leading recruiting experts, to provide UK SMEs with a comprehensive workplace benefits benchmarking and consultancy service. The Hays and Vested partnership is targeted at UK SME employers to help them attract and retain the brightest talent. In a survey of 31,500 employers conducted by Hays in 2019, 88% of respondents experienced skills shortages over the year. This is in large part owing to competition for talent, with benefits playing an important role. Salary and / or benefits packages were the top reason for employees wanting to leave their current role (25%), according to the Hays 2020 UK Salary and Recruiting Trends guide. Hays also found that over a third of employees (39%) were unhappy with their current salary and that nearly half (47%) would be tempted to move jobs if offered a better salary and / or benefits package. The Hays and Vested solution will enable SMEs to evaluate, improve and differentiate their remuneration and reward offerings in order to compete effectively for talent. The complementary partnership will see Hays providing benchmarking services to assist SMEs in assessing the market competitiveness of their benefits and workplace experience. Hays provides assessments on specific aspects of company schemes, such as basic salary, pensions provision, health benefits, and family benefits, amongst others. This service takes into account factors such as market conditions, skills demands and external perceptions. Where areas for improvement are identified, Vested will provide advisory services to enable these

organisations to develop their offerings, as well as sourcing market-leading providers and integrating new benefits. Vested will also support with the design and implementation of the underlying technology to enhance the management and governance of the schemes. Vested advises across all aspects of workplace benefits, from pensions to health and wellbeing benefits. For example, Vested supported Embark Group in recently upgrading its enhanced Family Leave Policy. From 2020, Embark Group employees will be offered six months’ full pay followed by six months at 25% pay for both maternity and adoption leave, and four weeks’ full pay for paternity leave. Howard Finch, MD of Vested commented: “As competition for talent continues to intensify, it’s essential that companies regularly review and improve their benefits provisions, as a failure to do so could impact on their ability to attract and retain staff. Our symbiotic partnership with Hays provides SMEs with all the support they need to develop the right programmes. We leverage our technological expertise to ensure that new offerings are integrated seamlessly and smoothly to minimise operational burdens and maximise their value.” David Cairncross, MD of Hays of London Ebury, commented: “From our research we know that companies are continuing to face skills shortages and competition from other employers when recruiting and retaining staff. The importance of reward cannot be underestimated when it comes to building successful teams, so it’s essential that all companies, large and small, are taking the right steps to benchmark both their salaries and benefits offerings.”

Procrastination costs UK businesses £21bn annually If you often find yourself drifting off and wasting time at work, you’re not alone. A new study has revealed the true extent of the UK’s procrastination problem. The survey, commissioned by musicMagpie, found that the average Brit spends two hours and nine minutes each day procrastinating at work, which is costing businesses over £21 billion per year. Unsurprisingly, phones are a major source of procrastination, with the average UK worker spending 28 minutes each day using messaging apps, seven minutes on Instagram, 16 minutes on Facebook and five minutes on Twitter. Here’s a breakdown of the top ways Brits are wasting time at work: 1. Messaging on your phone – 28 minutes 2. Daydreaming – 20 minutes 3. Gossiping – 18 minutes 4. Going on Facebook – 16 minutes 5. Reading the news – 15 minutes 6. Online shopping - 9 minutes 7. A bathroom break – 9 minutes 8. Going on Instagram – 7 minutes 9. Going on Twitter – 5 minutes 10. Going for a cigarette break – 4 minutes

Men are the bigger time wasters, procrastinating for 2 hours 51 minutes each day, compared to just 1 hour 52 minutes for women. Glasgow was crowned the procrastination capital of the UK, with workers spending an average of three hours four minutes wasting time each day. At the other end of the scale, workers in Nottingham are wasting the least time, with an average of just one hour and 18 minutes of procrastination. The research also looked at which sectors suffered the most from procrastination. Beauty and wellbeing came out on top, with a whopping four hours and 57 minutes of procrastination, followed by IT/Digital with four hours and two minutes. Agriculture and environment came out as the sector with the least procrastination, with just 57 minutes per day.


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Thursday 12 March 2020 Victoria Park Plaza, London The challenges and opportunities relating to the mental, financial and physical health related wellbeing of our people are now firmly at the top of the business agenda, alongside increasing awareness and understanding of the myriad of issues involved.

EmployeeWellbeingConference.com #EngageEmployee

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Jennifer Sproul: Internal Comms Conference Chair Report – Hall 1 I was thrilled to be invited back to chair the 2019 Internal Communications Conference on Tuesday 17th September in London. The day was packed full of fantastic speakers who shared a range of case studies, insights and practical advice across topics to include working effectively between IC and HR, encouraging conversation and dialogue, how to technology is changing IC, creating 360 degree comms in a changing workplace, the vital role of IC during change and transformation, driving behaviour and culture change and the importance of putting people at the heart of the organisation. e kicked off the day as we heard from Oli Howard, Head of Strategy for CIPD who demonstrated the importance of IC and HR working more effectively together. Oli started with a fascinating history charting a journey of a HR profession which has been championing better work and better employment law, which has been a game changer. Throughout this the importance of communicating effectively with our employees has been central. We are noticing increased tension for internal communicators around their positioning within the organisation with some sitting in HR and others in corporate comms functions and whether one if better or worse than the other. Oli’s case was overwhelming when comparing the professional competencies across the IC and HR professions and our colleagues in corporate communications, we have shared goals with different and similar skills and to succeed we need to embrace those skills sets and leverage those if we are truly to make a difference. Our next speaker Jess Brannigan, Senior People Scientist at Culture Amp, brought us on the key topic of organisation culture. How can we as a profession ensure that we do let change put culture down the list. Change is the norm, but we must be aware of its effect on the culture of our organisations, and through this the human connection can be lost. 70% of organisational change efforts fail to achieve their goals and when people are truly invested in change they are 30% more likely to stick. Jess explained that to overcome this we need to collect, understand act on employee feedback. To maintain culture it is vital not to break the psychological contract with employees, and think about what is said and what is heard. The activation of listening is vital to maintaining culture in times of change. The theme of change and its relationship to culture was showcased in our next session as we heard from Katherine Simpkins, Internal Communication Manager, and Katie Nertney, Internal Communications Specialist, from MercedesBenz. They shared a fantastic case study which demonstrated the that feelings can’t be measured but it is what makes the organisation tick. MercedesBenz operate a customer first culture but to achieve this it has to be a great place to work. They saw that the introduction of a new Managing Director effected the culture as teams began to stick together and retreat back. So, they set about a project to



Jennifer Sproul, Chief Executive Institute of Internal Communication

encourage conversation, opening up inner circulates and to be successful it needed to be colleague-led. They launched their ‘Hey, it’s ok’ video series, encouraging team members to come on camera with a series of quick-fire questions in a bowl to share stories about themselves, each other, and working at Mercedes-Benz, with the new Managing Director also taking part. The impact saw increased collaboration between departments and project teams and the successful onboarding of the new MD. Next we moved to hearing about how technology is changing internal communication from Christina Choudhury, Director, Communications for Barclays Cards and Payments. Christina talked to us about the need to adapt our internal communication technologies to meet changing consumer needs. We spend 3.5 hours per day on our phones, with eight million apps and eight seconds to grab attention. Our internal audiences are multigenerational and we need to tailor our internal communications to their needs. To address this at Barclays they made ‘Blue Print’ their print magazine into a digital format for all colleagues aptly named ‘Blue Print +’. It was essential to be digital-first, easy to navigate, easy to measure, alongside

reducing cost whilst maintaining the look and feel of the print magazine. With a focus on mobile journalism, the utilisation of gamification, intranet articles and live events. The results saw higher levels of engagement with colleagues high commending the overall impression, look and feel with the content stories useful, interesting and a writing style that brought to the culture to life. We continued the technology theme in our next session with Emma Leeds, People Project Manager at Virgin Active UK and Daniel Palmer, Business Development Manager for Our People, who shared their impact of implementing digital channels on collaboration and smarter working. With over 3,000 employees across 43 sites national with diverse needs and a largely deskless workforce connecting was posing key challenges and risks for the organisation. To address this, an app was sought as the solution enabling employees to utilise smart tags as unique identifiers to enable them to navigate and deliver content to the right audiences. The benefits enabled real-time crisis management, increased collaboration, better on boarding for team members and a more time savvy organisation. The challenges for communication and connecting with remote and deskless workforce were further highlighted as we were joined by Nick from Oak Intranets who talked about how technology is changing internal communication at Halfords. For Halfords, engagement is the biggest challenge, as previously being reliant on emails, one-size messaging giving way to a rumour mill and a retail workforce without access to information. So the solution was to go mobile first bring together key content alongside key facilities to include annual leave requests and salary payments all underpinned by Halfords’ pride. Nick descried the future of IC to include the importance to connect suppliers and partners, to ensure agility and the need to change, embed continuous feedback and not treat everyone the same.



In our next session, by Roope Heinilä from Smarp, we heard about the difficult and confusing journey we make for people to find key information. We heard earlier in the day that we are increasingly time poor, and today people expect information to find them and we mustn’t assume that employees will search for what they need. In designing our technologies and user journeys we must aim for a #NoSearchingRevolution. Creating digital platforms to enable personalised, organised, instant, measurable and engaging user journeys. Changing behaviours is difficult but we need to deliver the information before it is needed. To achieve this, we must get to know our employees and match this to the communication we deliver. As we move to an increasingly Digital Workplace, we are seeing more fragmented working environments with multiple applications and online systems that our employees need to navigate to find the information and be productive in their roles. Padmanaban S P, Product Marketing Lead from Zoho Cliq, reported that 52% of employees are stressed in searching for information, and for every one hour of work we are using 20-25 minutes to recover from the task or distraction from multiple applications. To address this, we need to integrate the applications and as Padmanaban demonstrated their system we saw an example of a single portal with access to key information and content alongside undertaking tasks to include holiday requests or project management. We must ensure we don’t impact productivity and therefore profitability with increased application overload. In our nest session, we heard from Kathi Leon, International Senior Communications director for Walgreens Boots Alliance who started her session by sharing some great statistics on the impact of employee engagement on business results. Some key ones for me stated that companies that invest in employee communications are four times more profitable and companies with highly engaged workforces outperform peers by 147% in earnings per share. Kathi then talked us through their approach to change communications showcasing the importance of planning, being mindful of cultures, and backgrounds when preparing our communications. We need to make sure our employees can relate to us and understand the personal what and why impact of what we are saying. In our final session of the morning, we herd from Greg Holt, Cognitive Solutions Unit Industry Platforms and York Woodford-Smith, Internal Communications Video Specialist at IBM. In his talk we heard about the increase use of video which is now 80% of internet content and a key consumerism trend. As technology expands AI is powerful tool for video design utilising data to consider your information architecture, think Netflix. When creating video, we need to match the consumer experience and utilise the power of AI to enrich the experience with the use of content tags and utilise the ability measuring emotional engagement with video content. After lunch, we were back with our next session where we heard from Paul Bennum, VP Internal Communications and Involvement for DAZN. Paul shared his top tips to implement internal communication in a hypergrowth and expanding organisation. In this environment we need to think about how our communications are going to cut through the noise to achieve this they need to be short, engaging and fun. It is important to create bitesize content which is passive and non-aggressive and continually review our activities; that’s how we learn and improve. We need to start small, make sure you deliver, set a strategy, measure and report and be best practice within your business. Next up was a case study from Nationwide we heard from Chad Rogerson, Head of Communication Strategy, Consumer and Employee Campaigns. Chad shared their journey to drive behavioural and culture change through communication and to do this they needed to drive bravery. Utilising Arthur Webb, founder of Nationwide, they launched a competition campaign anchored in their values set, deploying the skills of behavioural scientists to create their messaging which called on employees to share their stories and drive change. The keys to their success were based around the use of humour and storytelling encouraging employees to share their ideas to deliver change project themselves. The impact was clear with increased engagement, a change in behaviour and culture to have a go and innovate with the freedom to make decisions, all of which led to improve efficiencies for the organisation. Then it was my turn on the platform as I shared our recent focus on #WeMatterAtWork as at the IoIC we believe that employees deserve to feel that they matter, and that they are valued and being kept informed authentically truthfully and with respect. Organisations and people are changing and there is a lot to contend in a multi-directional communication landscape. To achieve this, we must understand and not assume the needs of our people, create meaningful communication, enable employee voice, create emotional connection, coach leaders and management behaviours and collaborate with our partners in other functions. As we look to the future of work there is more change to come which will challenge operating models of organisations and how we tell the story and the delivery of world class communication is pivotal to organisational success. In our next session, we were delighted to then hear from Nicola Crowley, Internal Communication Manager for Home Group who shared their journey to connect their employees to their corporate narrative. When starting the work in 2016, they had a basic four channel set up with no ability to measure anything, prove anything, target anything or hear anything. So, the first priority was to align their channels with the culture to empower colleagues to offer their stories, experience and best practice


We need to make sure our employees can relate to us and understand the personal what and why impact of what we are saying.

ideas, ensuing feedback was a key element to show they were trusted. Since this the perception of internal communication has improved with more people feeling connected whether that be with their team, manager, colleagues or the organisation alongside fantastic results on the key objective to see significant rise in trust. Next up was Jo Moffatt, Co-Strategy Director and Radio Show host for Engage for Success and Managing Director of Woodreed. Jo kicked off her session with a startling statistic as Engage for Success estimate the £26bn in GDP is from loss due to low engagement and productivity levels that means only one third of workforce is engaged. So how do we overcome this and embed successful employee engagement, Jo shared the details of the four enablers of engagement; strategic narrative, engaging line manager, integrity and employee voice. In the same way your marketing team proactively manage your brand in the marketplace, your employees; experience inside your organisation needs a sound strategy and effective management if we’re to create or maintain a workforce engaged with change. Jo finished by saying quality internal communications help create an environment of trust where the four enables can flourish. After our last coffee break of the day, we came back for our final session from Claire Bowers, Internal Communications manager for ZSL. After being greeted with some fantastic pictures of cute animals, Claire explained how by utilising Yammer they changed the way they communicate at ZSL. The ZSL purpose is to inspire, inform and empower people to stop wild animals going extinct and by deploying Yammer and encouraging employees to share their stories and imagery of the work they are doing this was a game changer. It was important not to have rules, so they opted to just give simple tips and tricks for using the platform, and they wanted people to personalise their account and encouraged them to get involved, join groups, and comment on posts. It was key to empower and not filter their voices, and above all to be friendly and fun. The results were clear with increased engagement in the platform and most importantly how their people are using the platform to connect with colleagues based outside of the UK and delivering a cultural change. There was certainly a lot to take away from the day packed with so many examples of great internal communication work. There were also some key themes intertwined in the day as we heard about the importance of listening, feedback and creating conversation whilst we must be aware of the increase technology and noise is having on our people and continuous change is a risk to culture we must manage, so here are my key takeaways: • It is important to utilise our skills and build our networks with our organisations; • Change is rocking the cultural boat, so we need to think and plan carefully what and how we are saying things whilst ensuing our cultural values don’t get lost; • Utilise the power of storytelling and emotion to create connection to the vision and values of our organisations; • Technology is changing us as people, our behaviours and attention span, we to build platforms to fit all needs, drive efficiencies and integrate to help our people do their job more effectively whilst feeling part of something. I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did; there were many key messages that resonated with me. The world of work is going to continue to change and our role to guide organisations through this journey has never been more crucial.


Friday 15 May 2020 Riverbank Park Plaza, London Progressing into its seventh year, the Employee Engagement Summit is firmly established as Europe’s premier event, examining all aspects of work under the overarching theme of how technology is changing the face of employee engagement.

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Charlotte Dahl: Internal Comms Conference Chair Report – Hall 2 I had the privilege of chairing Hall 2 at Engage Business Media’s Internal Communications conference 2019 at the Victoria Park Plaza in London on 17th September. The theme of the day was internal communications and the changing workplace. Hall 2 had an impressive line-up of 18 speakers from a range of organisations, all with brilliant stories to tell.


‘m passionate about the power of internal communications to positively impact the lives of people in our workplaces. Our role even more critical as we face unprecedented change in our workplaces; change that’s both anticipated and sometimes unexpected. I believe internal communications is at its best when employees are treated with the same reverence as customers. When employees are communicated to with high quality, brand-hearted comms based on a genuine understanding of the audience and through the right channels, the results can be amazing. Examples of this were in abundance throughout the course of the day. Here are my best bits.

Storytelling to engage hearts and minds Duncan White from Liberty Global drew parallels between the moon landing of 1969 and internal communications. He emphasised the importance of organisational purpose in organisations and the strength of a compelling story well told. A brand story is meaningless unless it can be made to come alive inside and outside your organisation. The power of stories was something reiterated by Debbie Bennett-Jackson from CITI. Employee stories were a key part of their strategy to connect employees emotionally with their values, driving deeper engagement. Plus getting their own to provide the content meant making budgets go much further – win-win! No story was as powerfully communicated as Dr Satnam Sagoo’s emotional film setting out the purpose of The Red Cross. A humble reminder of how fortunate we all are.

Brand is as important inside your organisation as out Employees are key to delivering your brand experience. Nicholas Wardle from One Housing reminded us of this with his focus on bringing his employee audience close to the values. Organisational values must be authentic, based on truth and woven into the fabric of an organisation by the way people behave with each other and their customers. Mike Collins from River Island’s mission to join up the brand experience inside and out was music to my ears as he


took us though their new intranet. Ultimate Finance’s Joe Hill was also a firm advocate in the power of authentic values which acted as the compass for all their internal activity.

Technology PLUS people is the key There were many examples during the day of the use of technology to reach employees. Steve Haworth, CEO of 99&One talked to us about using insights and learnings from consumer platforms and behavioural economics inside. He advised to get internal comms involved right up front. While technology is a great connector, don’t let it get in the way of the human element – make ‘technology plus human’ greater than the sum of its parts. Chris Lincoln from Be At One reminded us of the fundamentals of basic human interaction. Never ever lose sight of the people. Keep talking to your people, listening to your people. This was a lesson echoed by Change, Comms Consultant Olga Klimanovich who reminded us that despite all the tech at our fingertips, nothing replaces the insights gained from the watercooler. Everyone agreed the CEO loves a good metric. One of the many advantages of technology for



communication in the workplace is how we can use the data insights to continue to convince our senior leaders about the importance of internal communications to create an engaged workforce. Use them to get a seat at the boardroom table, raise your profile and your key role in your organisation’s success. Victoria Silverman, Director of IC at Refinitiv talked more about the strategic role of internal communication and reassured us that IC is an important strategic function.

to go Christmas shopping to the power of a simple thank you. Things that cost nothing in real terms but mean the world to people.

From small things to literally a matter of life and death

Understanding your audience Marketers are the masters of understanding their audiences. When we apply the same rigour inside great things happen. Emily Scammell from Onfido proved global employee campaigns can be delivered at scale while making sure there’s a level of personalisation to feel authentic to everyone, regardless of where they are in the world. Christopher Thom from Lumapps shared an intranet case study from those pioneers of employee engagement, John Lewis. He proved how technology can help drive a values-driven culture delivering an experience that feels entirely personal to each employee. When Heather Mustafa and her team from Nationwide re-looked at front line channel communications in their drive for simpler, clearer, and better; they wanted to make sure they knew all they could about their audience first. It was only then they could be certain they were recommending the right way forward. Taking the time to research their employee audiences’ needs allowed them to design the right technology solution and right channels with people experience at its heart. Then when you’ve launched the new platform, then take you people with you with them the ‘why’ and the ‘what’s in it for me’. Helen Windle, IT service and strategy manager at Walgreen Boots Alliance knows that small things often matter more to people at work. Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures, the simplest things that make the biggest difference. Internal communication is about ‘doing ordinary things extraordinary well’, a sentiment I am sure Helen shared. Joe Hill from Ultimate Finance clearly understood this as his engagement strategy included a range of reward and recognition elements he called the ‘Popsicles’, from a half day off


Charlotte Dahl, Creative Planning Director, Woodreed and Co-founder, Muse

The last part of the day focused on health and wellbeing in the workplace and the power of internal communications to positively impact it. Ross Parker from LV= talked passionately about the impact their strategy had upon the lives of the people who worked at LV=. Martin Power from KP Snacks shared his story of how his organisation moved their employees’ health and wellbeing from an historical focus on physical to a greater focus on mental. And finally, being the eternal optimist I am, I loved Laura Farrington from NCG’s case study which proves the old adage ‘when life give you lemons, make lemonade’. She told us how an Ofsted curve ball became a spectacular slam dunk as they united a workforce behind a new organisational purpose. Sometimes changes comes about by design but sometimes it’s by accident. It’s how you decide to deal with it that makes all the difference. We as internal communicators should continue to lead by example, set the standards and reach for the stars, leading our organisations through change with the way we communicate. Without doubt every single one of our 18 speakers are doing just this within their own organisations.



Developing teams to connect human kindness with human crisis The British Red Cross explains how it engages and supports its workforce to help people in need across the world as efficiently as possible.


ounded in 1870, the British Red Cross is a humanitarian organisation that works to assist millions of people in crisis each year across the world. It aligns with the seven fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the world’s largest humanitarian network, which are: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. This ensures it remains neutral, independent, and impartial in the 119 countries where it has a presence. Dr Satnam Sagoo, the Director of Learning at the British Red Cross, describes these brand principles further. “These are based around four values: being compassionate, dynamic, courageous, and inclusive.” She continues: “We always start with the person in crisis first, and we are quick to act powerfully when we are needed. We combine skill and care to achieve meaningful impact, and the only side we take is that of the person we are helping.” This means the organisation does not discriminate based on nationality, race, class, or religious or political beliefs. She highlights that the biggest challenge the British Red Cross faces is the need to constantly change and adapt, including an everincreasing number of people that need helping. “Just 10 years ago, we would have been supporting people displaced by around 40-50 disasters, and in the last year we’ve seen up to 400 disasters. There are many changes happening across the globe; we are constantly under significant pressure with migrant populations displaced through war, hunger, and economical migration. The issues around climate change are also having an impact.” To address this, Sagoo says that the British Red Cross is “looking at changes in efficiencies” whilst still supporting its staff and volunteers to be “equipped and developed” in “the best way


Dr Satnam Sagoo, Director of Learning, British Red Cross

possible”. As the organisation is made up of 4,000 paid staff, 21,000 active volunteers, who volunteer up to 35 hours a week, and 40,000 ‘light touch’ volunteers, who get involved more occasionally throughout the year and interact with the charity differently to the main cohort of people, there are some significant learning asks being worked towards that include the entire group of 65,000. Sagoo says that the main aim has been to aid staff in learning faster and, ideally, on the job. “Often, learning and development has been a very linear journey, and that means that you might invent a learning initiative much after the event has gone.” She notes that this poses the risk of delaying helping those in need, and so working towards a more efficient system has been a priority. “We know that through technology we are able to create learning initiatives much faster, and to meet the needs of our people.” The second ask is to not lose sight of the organisation’s traditional strengths. “We’re very much a crisis organisation that works with people at their most vulnerable. We do a lot of face-to-face training, and support them through a



good traditional model of development, which we don’t want to lose; we want to strengthen that with both knowledge and technology.” She adds that this also enables the organisation’s people to network and share common journeys with each other, building employee engagement and morale. She describes the way in which staff are developed. “We are very much around building what we call the ‘four Es’ which are: Enabling, Empowering, Engaging, and being Effective. This is how we support all our people; we work to help them be an empowered learner on their journey. Some of the key steps we have taken are to put pathways in, support them through digital training based on a social learning platform, and provide them with accessible tools.” The third learning ask Sagoo mentions is the need to always look outwards and stay informed of the larger picture. “We need to be aware of what’s happening collectively outside of us as an organisation and across the federation globally. It’s about making learning relevant and accessible in the immediate here and now.” Furthermore, these key asks created the British Red Cross vision for learning, based on building a brand that strives to develop and support its people. Sagoo states: “Our method


is to create a truly blended approach to training that is sustainable, ensuring that our people are supported to always put the person in crisis first. We will do this through a networked approach in having both staff and volunteer champions, providing them with simple and effective tools to support their journey.” This also progressed to the development of a key learning proposal, designed to be tailored to all of the 65,000 people working for the organisation. Sagoo explains: “The proposal was about building an offer that would enhance the organisation’s ability to be a learning organisation, which really established clear pathways to growing our people aligned to organisational success. This was very much about bringing about our learning asks based on our business plans and strategies across the organisation.” Sagoo finishes by discussing the fact that the British Red Cross is still progressing in working more accessibly with its teams to build stronger offers around coaching and mentoring, and creating more networked approaches. “We are working to empower our people to be part of a positive learning culture, whilst always being mindful to keep the person in crisis at the centre of our ethos of working.”

We are very much around building what we call the ‘four Es’ which are: Enabling, Empowering, Engaging, and being Effective.



How would you rate the organisation of the day?

40% Good

52% Would you attend the conference again next year?


96% Yes/Maybe

How useful to your company was the information presented at the event?

31% Extremely Useful

Please describe your event experience in one sentence:

A fantastic event that has helped me take back implementable strategies relating to my organisation's internal communications.

Very well-run with great case studies.

36% Very Useful

Really enjoyed the day of networking and learning. Great speakers, interesting case studies and very well-run.

Extremely well-managed and insightful day.


Case studies that you wouldn't see elsewhere, I'll definitely be back!

Moderately Useful


It was an interesting experience from the perspective of a highly attended summit, extremely well organised and each speaker that delivered was concise, relevant and thought provoking.

Slightly Useful




How did the event compare to what you expected? 50% 45% 40%

How would you rate the Event Networking App?

35% 30% 25%

Excellent/ Above Average

20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Much Better

Somewhat Better

About What was Expected

Not as Good as Expected


Which speakers were your favourite?

Ross Parker

Helen Windle

Christina Choudhury

Chris Lincoln

Mike Collins

Katherine Simpkins

Nicholas Wardle

Emma Leeds

Chad Rogerson

Oli Howard

Katie Nertney

Kathi Leon

Why did you decide to attend the Internal Communications Conference?

I attended to discover what others in the industry are doing to innovate their internal communications strategies.


I attended to better understand the current trends within employee engagement and to find ways to implement these within our business.

I attended for the networking opportunities with hundreds of my peers – it was a great place to knowledge share!

I was keen to learn through case studies as to what others are doing to innovate their internal communications strategies.

To be surrounded by like-minded people and hear from others and how they have approached employee engagement/culture change.



The importance of prioritising mental wellbeing KP Snacks explains how its progress in company mental health care has had a transformative effect on empowering and comforting staff in times of need. [Please note that this article discusses sensitive subject matter around mental health and suicide. Reader discretion is advised.]


P Snacks is home to some of the most iconic and wellknown snack brands in the UK. Originally founded in 1853, KP Snacks now has seven production sites around the UK. It is part of the European Intersnack Group, which produces over 600,000 tonnes of savoury snacks each year and is Europe’s second largest snack producer. Martin Power, Employee Health and Wellbeing Manager at KP Snacks, explains why there was an internal shift in focus on mental health at the company. “We, like most businesses, noticed that we were having problems around mental health with our staff experiencing personal issues, and it was incurring increased absence and business cost, and we could see this in our feedback surveys which we take once a year. They told us they were struggling with managing their emotional and mental wellbeing.” “Our team in occupational health noticed internal trends were showing an increase in negative mental health. Our referrals around mental health were increasing around 17% to 18% year on year,” he says: a substantial increase. “There was a general upswing around mental health in terms of public awareness, and we wanted to tie in to be on the upper end of the curve. We also looked at business costs, and the data showed us what we should be doing.” He notes that this change began at a similar time to the government encouraging businesses to take action on mental health. “We knew there were external drivers to get us to do the right thing around the government’s own mental health awareness pushes, and we wanted to be at the forefront of that.” He says: “We felt it fitted in around what our values and behaviours were. One of our key values which is intrinsic to our business is valuing our people, and we felt it tied in really well to that.” Power explains how KP Snacks approached this new focus on mental wellbeing. “When we wanted to train our people, both our managers and our colleagues themselves, we wanted something that we felt had a good evidence base, something that worked, and something where there was a lot of availability in terms of resources and that we could access things for our colleagues in terms of promoting their positive wellbeing. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) kind of jumped out at us really; it was a really wellknown product, well-developed, and well-evidenced.” Mental Health First Aid England provides training courses to equip people with the skills needed to support their own and others’ wellbeing. It is designed to help people recognise the symptoms of mental health and enables them to provide support to those who need it. The organisation has worked with over 20,000 employers with unique workplace cultures, and aims to train one in 10 people with MHFA skills in the UK.




Martin Power, Employee Health and Wellbeing Manager, KP Snacks

We’ve just finished two courses recently so we’re approaching 130 colleagues who have done Mental Health First Aid.

Power continues: “We looked at how we wanted to approach this, and how to identify the right people to take the training course and become Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs). One issue with these sorts of opportunities is that everyone says they want to do it, but we wanted to ensure we got the right people who felt confident supporting our colleagues at all levels of the business. That’s across senior management, middle management, supervisors, and team members themselves. We wanted it to be an alllevel approach to implanting MHFA at the business.” “I did a business case to the senior management team, outlining what the course involved, what we could expect our mental health first aiders to do for our colleagues in terms of support, and also regarding promoting changing the culture around mental health at KP Snacks.” The company initially trialed the idea with a small-scale pilot of one course over two sites. “We then collected feedback around how our colleagues felt having done the course. We touched base with them to make sure they felt comfortable supporting our colleagues on a day to day basis.” Power then discusses a key example of the significant impact this training had when a staff member tragically took their own life. “As these things do happen, we have issues where people experience mental distress. We had a very traumatic event happen at one of our sites, and this affected that shift badly as you would expect.” He says that typically in such a situation the Occupational Health team would get heavily involved in supporting colleagues, carrying out debriefing sessions, mental health awareness sessions, and more. However, in this case, following the MHFA training, two MHFAs on the affected shift told Power that they wanted to help and took on some of this work as they knew their colleagues best and could support them effectively. “One of the people on the pilot was a line manager for that team, and they managed it themselves. If they needed a bit of input from us they would access it, but generally speaking they were self-sufficient.”


This helped employees receive more personable support and enabled them to feel cared for by colleagues they were familiar with, which seemed to reduce the negative impact of the traumatic event on their mental health. “From a business perspective, another benefit was that we had no absence from that shift,” he says. “Since then, we’ve had a number of instances where MHFA colleagues have stepped in where Occupational Health would have normally done the work. The business itself is becoming much more self-sufficient around mental health, and this has reduced the resources being used.” Moving forward, Power says that the MHFA training will continue to be a priority at KP Snacks. “We’ve just finished two courses recently so we’re approaching 130 colleagues who have done Mental Health First Aid.” He continues: “Rather than just support colleagues and deliver everything centrally in terms of comms and mental health, we’ve taken an active role in helping people own that and participate in it. Some are better at it than others, but we’re supporting them through it. The recent World Mental Health Day was a great example of this, as we didn’t do any central comms around it – the MHFAs owned it and did everything themselves.” The work of these individuals is appropriately recognised and rewarded internally by KP Snacks. Power says: “We pay our MHFAs now as we do our regular First Aiders as we feel it’s important to value them for the work they do. We will also be doing a mental health champion’s day next year which is just about refreshing skills, getting together and sharing best practice, and valuing each other.” This transformative effort by the company has not gone unnoticed, and in 2019 KP Snacks won an award for its mental health programme at the Food and Drink Federation Awards for HR Initiative of the Year. “It recognises the achievements we’ve made, and two MHFAs picked up the award – it’s all about them and their hard work.”



Transforming engagement through leadership The Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) explains the approach taken in helping its leaders become role models in employee engagement.


n 2014, two industry-leading brands with shared values, Walgreens and Alliance Boots, merged to form the Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), which is now the global leader in pharmacy-led health and wellbeing retail, and a multi-billion pound business. Across both Walgreens and Boots, the company has over 415,000 employees and more than 18,500 stores in 11 countries. With more than 390 distribution centres, WBA is the largest pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution network in the world. WBA sells some of the most iconic brands in the beauty space, including No7, Soap and Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek, Botanics, YourGoodSkin, and many more; it is also one of the world’s largest purchasers of prescription drugs and other health products. Kathi Leon, International Senior Communications Director at WBA Group, introduces the company further: “The WBA’s vision is to be the first choice of pharmacy in wellbeing and beauty, and to care for people and communities around the world. Global Brands is part of WBA, and its vision is totally aligned to the WBA’s, aiming to give the world health and beauty brands they truly love in an affordable, accessible way.” She continues: “We have a very long heritage with Boots of over 170 years, and 119 years with Walmart.” In 2017, research was published that quantified the positive impact that employee engagement can have in business performance and financial results. Leon says: “This is evident in a wide range of our business metrics, from sick absence and staff turnover, to productivity, sales volumes, and customer satisfaction.” She explains that it is understandable that when leaders invest more time and money in engaging their employees it boosts results and productivity internally to improve output, rather than investing far more in marketing, to get more of a return on investment (ROI). She says: “We are hoping that by making changes in line with this WBA can achieve a better ROI”. Furthermore, Leon describes why a new, multi-channel, 360˚ communications campaign was needed within the company, as opposed to a singular ‘one-size fits all’ approach. “Our employee audience in Global Brands consists of around 2,500 people spread across several sites in the UK, New York and Chicago in the US, and Shanghai and Hong Kong in Asia,” she says. “This is a multicultural, geographically dispersed workforce operating in different time zones, and in both Shanghai and Hong Kong English is not their first language.” She elaborates: “In addition to this, different people consume information in different ways and have different channel preferences. Therefore, we needed to provide the same message in


In 2017, research was published that quantified the positive impact that employee engagement can have in business performance and financial results.

a multi-channel format, and that is why a 360˚ communications campaign was absolutely needed.” One purpose of this new communication campaign was to ensure that all employees understood and felt engaged in the company’s new business plan prior to the start of the new financial year, and felt able to hit the ground running, understanding fully what was expected of them and their role to play. Leon says: “We carried out an Employee Engagement survey and many people couldn’t see how their role contributed to delivery of the 2019 Financial Year plan (FY19), and we wanted to fix that.” The WBA’s business plan for the 2020 financial year (FY20) has six pillars of strategic focus. Leon says: “Four of the pillars are an evolution from the previous year, and then two are completely new. One of these new pillars aims to help us grow by saving more money to invest back into the business, and one focuses around protecting our planet and communities.” This environmental effort has been recognised publicly, as Walgreens was named in FORTUNE magazine’s 2019 Companies that Change the World list, and Boots UK was recognised as Responsible Business of the Year 2019-2020 by Business in the Community. Leon describes how the WBA is effecting this plan: “We have faceto-face activities in support of the



campaign and we make sure we have effective management briefing tools available throughout the business. The WBA aims for all employees to feel proud to work for Global Brands and to understand the company vision.” Another key element of engaging the WBA’s workforce to make their aims a reality is by earning the support and involvement from the company’s leaders. “It’s really important to remember that leaders are employees as well. We shouldn’t assume that their profession means that they are engaged and will automatically promote what we want them to do. They are consumers of our communications and recipients of change just like the people who work for them.” “They play a very critical role in informing and engaging their team members, and as a result can either be really helpful, or can block, the changes we want them to encourage,” she says. “Some employees don’t have access to communication channels, such as field staff or warehouse teams, where for some of them English is not their first language, and really need their leaders to play a very important role as part of our communication channels to


translate information and help their teams to understand their role to play in their business area.” Leon describes how the leaders were supported in this process. “We had dedicated face-to-face sessions with Global Brands. We did a session with our leaders where we gave them clarity on their roles, what is expected of them, gave them the chance to ask questions. In addition, we continue to have a weekly newsletter for our leaders with channel reminders.” This approach has proven successful so far, with employees rating the launch a 4.2/5 and stated that it gave them emotional connections and real results. Moving forward, Leon says that WBA will be “developing” their “operations, marketing, and commercial teams to ensure they understand that they are driving and energising their teams to achieve the desired outcomes of the new business plan, and keeping the momentum going.” The 360˚ communication channels will also be utilised further. “We will check in quarterly on how we are progressing with the business plan execution, and this progress will be broadcast to all of the people in Global Brands’ via our

Kathi Leon, International Senior Communications Director, WBA Group Global Brand leadership teams.” “Finally, we also try to bring employee skills to the brands and products so they can become brand advocates, and continue to have updated stories and celebration stories in our fortnightly newsletter, as well as the WBA Global Brands intranet.”



Creating a culture where everyone can thrive Citi explains how it has fostered an engaged culture where all employees can reach their full potential.


iti is a global bank with 20 million customer accounts worldwide, and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. It covers a range of financial products and services, including a consumer bank, credit, corporate, investment banking, security brokerage, and wealth management. The company has around 220,000 employees globally, who receive a high level of communications at all times. Debbie Bennett-Jackson, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Engagement at Citi, explains that the Internal Communications at the company have been structured to be effective globally, regionally, and locally. “The world of work is changing so fast – more rapidly than ever before. Engaging our people in that change and encouraging continual learning as people go is essential in ensuring not only individual success for our people but also collective success for the bank as well.”


She describes the difficulties Citi had to navigate in order to accomplish the improvements it wanted to make. “Research shows that 70% of organisational change fails, and that typically is a result of employee attitude and management behaviours towards change. As an organisation, if we want to be successful then we have to foster a culture that is comfortable with continual change, and that also engages our employees to make that change successful.” “In addition, for the first time we have the added complexity of managing five generations in the workplace, all of which have different working styles, attitudes, communication preferences, and values,” she says. “In the banking industry itself, post-crisis, we’re looking to balance this risk-focused culture, which has been so important to our recovery, and driving innovation and change which we need to survive moving forward.”

Aligning with this focus on continual change, Citi has placed a focus on helping its people ‘learn, grow, and innovate’. She says: “We formed a partnership between resourcing, learning and diversity, and corporate communications to create a programme called #BeMore.” The #BeMore programme is CEO sponsored and non-HR branded, created as an internal marketing campaign that supports the development of behaviours needed to create this desired culture of innovation and continuous learning, and has since expanded to become a talent, learning, and diversity function. “Everyone thrives if they are engaged, if they have opportunities to progress, and if they have the mindset that they are actively changing the world of banking. Also, Citi will succeed if we have an increasingly diverse environment which enables us to be the best for our clients and our colleagues.” She explains the three pillars of this approach: “We talk about people getting it, spotting it, and spreading it. ‘Getting it’ is helping our people to expand their mindset, develop their capabilities, and then challenge any bias that we have. ‘Spotting it’ is about identifying people with potential, and spotting potential to advance the culture and develop the talent for now and in the future. ‘Spreading it’ is all about sharing the message, including supporting an agile environment, as well as us as a team lobbying policy and practice change, it’s also about strengthening the platforms that support and connect our people via campaigns.” Bennett-Jackson says that employees are encouraged to engage with this training in a pull, rather than push, approach. “We use eye-catching and fun creatives, and it has a really



Everyone thrives if they are engaged, if they have opportunities to progress, and if they have the mindset that they are actively changing the world of banking.

strong call to action, and it’s done in places in our offices that aren’t usually used for marketing or branding. We also use physical engagement in our call locations to support some of the activities that we were running at that time. Branded merchandise is also used as a reward for people who participate and to build brand awareness across the business.” She continues: “Everybody is driven to a conversation on our internal platform, and then we use a community management team to start and fuel conversations and build that community spirit. This team are a mix of volunteers, brand ambassadors, and HR professionals, and they target Citi’s leaders and encourage them to participate. We also use our shadow organisation. These may not be the senior people by title, but they are people we know are very active from a social point of view. That helps us to create a viral effect on the campaign that we’re running. Content that drives into that social platform includes videos we produce, blogs, habit-changing bite-size learning activities such as the 30-day development challenge, external and internal speakers, and we also use crowdsourcing events as well.” Leadership involvement has been an integral part of this progress being successful. BennettJackson says: “We try to encourage our leaders to participate so they are role modelling the behaviours that we’re asking our teams to follow.” She says that this increased involvement has proven successful, with more employees participating across Citi’s socials and challenges, especially the 30-day development challenge, or creating blogs and videos encouraging others to get involved. The 30-day development challenge is Citi’s most popular activity and drives the most internal engagement. “It’s a great way to get people to connect with what being at their best means, so it’s something we’ve run for three years, and in 2018 it was taken globally across the whole organisation,” she says. “It’s about a series of micro-actions and making things really simple for people. Everyone across the business, whether client-facing or not, can understand what they can do to contribute to that broader client strategy.”


Participants are given one challenge a day for thirty days, each taking less than 10 minutes to complete; gamification is added for motivation, as those highly engaged on the platform can earn badges. The challenges are designed to kick-start behaviour change as it gets people practicing new ways of work. “We give people a micro-action to complete, then ask them read a resource, and then we ask them to reflect and share on what they’ve learned on the social platform.” Citi decided that in order to progress with a client-led strategy successfully, its people needed to be at their best. Bennett-Jackson’s team crowdsourced feedback from volunteer participants within the company to discuss what enables them to be at their best. “In terms of the feedback, we found that there were five different areas that people talked about: • Career development – people want to be lifelong learners and need the opportunity to continually learn. • Inclusion – a good work/life balance, the need for family support, showing respect to one another, the need for our managers to build inclusive teams, and have inclusive practices across their teams. • Innovation – learning how to develop ourselves to be able to take new risks in a culture that has been avoiding risks for a decade? People also wanted to continually challenge ideas and current internal processes. • Culture – people need to feel safe in failing and building trusting relationships, and they needed to be ready and adaptable to change. • Collaboration – breaking down silos and building relationships and sharing ideas across the business. There was also a big conversation around managerial capability and needing honest feedback so they can grow.” Moving forward, Bennett-Jackson says that Citi will continue to expand its engagement offerings beyond learning and plan on how it can help our people to thrive. “We have three buckets of work that we’re going to focus on: • Challenging the way people think; • Encouraging people to bring their whole selves to work;

Debbie Bennett-Jackson, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Engagement, Citi

• Helping our people find and the understand resources we have in place.” She elaborates: “We have some fantastic policies, benefits, and learning resources, we’re very lucky, but people can never find them. This will be an increased focus on helping our people understand where these things fit, how to access them, and at a time that’s most important to them. We’ll also use more nudges, a lot more segmentation towards our managers, more storytelling, and encouraging more user-generated content with people showing up as their authentic selves.”



Creating a new world of communication River Island explains how it has transformed and modernised its internal communications, and how all employees contribute to the vision of spreading the joy of fashion.


igh street retail is a rapidly changing environment where continual progress and improvement is needed in all areas of business. With over six decades of fashion history, family-owned River Island strives to remain an industry-leading retailer both externally with customers, but also internally with its own engaged workforce. Mike Collins, Senior People Experience Partner at River Island, discusses the company’s main reasons for internal change: “There was a lot of siloed working and a lack of regular communication across the many different areas of the organisation. There’s a huge variety of roles and processes that sit within there as well – a real driver for us was to make sure people were aware of what was happening in the business. We’re big believers that if you understand what’s happening in the business you can relate to it, you can connect with it, you can feel part of it, and then your engagement increases.” He continues: “We wanted to connect with the customer service, marketing and PR departments, and learn from them how they run campaigns and make connections with our customers, and then to think about what that means for us as a people experience team. It is a huge amount of change, and there are a lot of drivers that are influencing that change. We are by no means at the end of this journey; we are just scratching the surface.” The resolution for these issues was to dissolve the old HR structure within the


company and rebuild with a new structure that is more aligned to River Island’s customer journey and employee life cycle. Collins explains: “The Chief People Officer created a new model for us as an HR team to better serve our customers, and this involved Centres of Excellence where our HR business partners would look after customers in different channels. A Head of People Operations which

Mike Collins, Senior People Experience Partner, River Island

employee relations and payroll fit into. Then, a new area was created, People Experience, which takes in attraction, recruitment, the process of getting people into the business, induction, development programmes, rewards packages. The last piece of the puzzle is around comms, engagement, and culture, and through all of those different strands is our employee brand.” Through this process, Collins’ team amalgamated reward, recruitment, attraction, and learning development to create a People Experience team. He says: “Our ultimate goal is to make sure that our colleagues have a fantastic experience at River Island. That allows us to get, grow, and keep the best talent. We want to be sought after and seen as a leader in this area, and as a team we’re collectively and collaboratively accountable now for the people experience.” This team has played a key role in establishing the ‘new world communication’ River Island has utilised internally, creating the social communication intranet platform. “The intranet can be a portal to help people do their jobs quicker, easier, and more effectively, and if you can make it social as well and give people a reason to use it, to learn, to consume information, and provide information as well, then the tech almost disappears into the background.”



“It’s got to meet the three criteria of being wanted, liked, and helping people to do their jobs. We’re now focused on making that mobile as well through our app to increase communications and notifications on the move,” Collins says. “If information is easily shared you feel more connected to the organisation; if you feel more connected you become more engaged; if you feel engaged you connect with your work, because you understand that you’re working towards the values and aims of the company.” Further changes to River Island’s culture have been made to achieve this: “We’ve moved from annual surveys to pulse surveys, which allows us to receive real time feedback. We’ve got dashboards – we can see that people are rating and responding, highlighting areas of improvement, and airing any ideas that they have. Part of this culture development is breaking down the barriers to allow to provide feedback, and if you couple that with engaged employees connected with the brand value of spreading the joy of fashion, then overarchingly this creates a much more open culture, where people can bring their full selves to work, they do meaningful work, and they can provide feedback without fear of reprisal or being ignored.” Collins says that the tone of the company’s internal communication was an additional element of this transformation. “Our communication used to be very text-driven, and whilst we used some imagery from our marketing colleagues, it didn’t look or feel like our external marketing and PR campaigns.” To amend this, Collins’ team worked closely with River Island’s marketing department to make templates and create the desired tone of voice and better brand for internal communication. “I think that shows through the content that we are creating now, whether that is an e-newsletter, an online booklet, our new podcasts, or our talks. We are using video much more heavily as well, which we’ve invested in to ensure quality, and it more than pays for itself.” Another significant benefit of the internal changes River Island has undergone is the saving of over £100,000 in recruitment fees to date. Collins says that this number is the result of several combined factors. “That is savings in the way that we use LinkedIn and LinkedIn Recruiter, and savings around using external agencies for our career site hosting, and career site development. When I started, the careers site looked good but it didn’t bring to life River Island; it was very much just a customer-facing website that we would sell our clothes and products on. Over the last 12-18 months we’ve flipped that to make it more about River Island and the people that work here.” “We need to bring the narrative to life around our stories. As a team we’re accountable, we genuinely care about this stuff. From cradle to grave we are orchestrating our own campaigns, reviewing analytics and data in ways that we never have done before, and that’s allowing us to see trends and patterns, and be much more proactive rather than reactive in the way in which we are spending our budget, but also being able to react to demands across the business.”


Moving forward, Collins says that reward and recognition are elements that his team are looking to improve upon. “We’ve got a really successful recognition programme at the moment called Pride, and everybody around River Island can vote for people who align with our values. We want to take that to the next level and we want to do more around instant feedback. We want to recognise people who go above and beyond, or even people that do just their job, but do it really well.” Helping employees establish a good work-life balance is also a priority, and looking into introducing ‘greater ways’ of working, such as flexible working or remote working. “The biggest thing we need to be aware of as a People Experience team is that we’ve got to continue to evolve as our business does, technologically or otherwise, and try to look ahead and think ‘what’s next’, driving value back into the business,” he says. “It’s a really exciting time for us, with lots of exciting things that we’ll be learning. Hopefully we’ll have more stories to tell over the coming months.”



10 minutes with Clare Bowers Clare Bowers, Internal Communications Manager at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and speaker at our 2019 Internal Communications Conference, gives insight into her case study and role…

Can you provide us with an insight into a ‘day in the life’ of your role? I’m lucky that no two days are the same at ZSL, but that is what you get for having a desk based within the world’s oldest scientific zoo. I might, for example, be working with our senior leadership team on how we cascade our employee engagement results and the action we are taking as a result, drafting updates on our strategy implementation plans, planning the content for our next staff and volunteer update sessions, or updating our intranet, Zoogle, with the latest news and events. A highlight of my day is checking on our Yammer feed – especially when there are updates from our Zoo teams, or our teams based overseas. I’m also lucky that if I’m having a hectic day, I can walk around the Zoo during my lunch break to visit some of our animals. My current favourite is Elio, our baby sloth. I am fortunate that our 1,000 colleagues at ZSL are so passionate about what they do, but being globally based and working in huge variety of roles, my challenge is to unite everyone in our purpose to inspire, inform and empower people to stop wild animals going extinct.

What do you think is the most important factor affecting Internal Communications today? Time is the biggest factor. People are being asked to do more with less – which means they can become too task focused and don’t give themselves time to discover all the great things happening with their colleagues and in the workplace. So, any communications we produce needs to worthwhile and stand out.

What do you think the future looks like for Internal Communications? We need to be agile and accessible, providing content to suit the way people want to consume it. How people communicate in their personal lives will influence how they want to communicate at work. Employee voice is becoming more crucial, with colleagues wanting the freedom to express themselves and talk directly to the senior leaders in a channel that works for them. Senior leaders need the confidence to respond quickly, honestly and personally – probably not something all are comfortable with. As trusted advisors, IC professionals need to encourage and support this behaviour.

Could you give an overview of your case study? With over 1,000 ZSL colleagues undertaking a diverse range of roles spread across the world, keeping up to date with what everyone is working on is tough. We wanted a solution, so thought we would give Yammer a try. From addressing concerns about ‘what people might say’, ‘will this stop people working’ to ‘isn’t this just another thing to update’ – I outlined how we launched Yammer to our UK and overseas colleagues and continue to encourage people to join in the conversation. Almost one year in, our Yammer community is still growing. Our Yammer feed is packed full of project updates from around the world, animal news, fundraising highlights, community projects and our amazing people, along with some stunning photos. Yammer is igniting our passion for wildlife, bringing ZSL colleagues closer together, generating content for our external channels and uniting us in our purpose to inspire, inform and empower people to stop wild animals going extinct.

What did you enjoy most about the event? I really enjoyed hearing what other IC professionals are working on. It’s great to hear that we experience the same challenges and good to learn some top tips on how to overcome them. It also gave me the opportunity to reflect on what we are doing well at ZSL and think about how I can continue to improve our internal communications approach. I left with lots of great ideas and excited about the future.



INTERNATIONAL ENGAGE AWARDS 2020 MONDAY 9 NOVEMBER Welcome to the International Engage Awards Following on from the success of the 2019 Engage Awards, which saw Financial Services and Retail sectors as the big winners, we’re delighted that the 2020 Engage Awards are open for entries. This year sees 24 categories spanning every aspect of engagement, giving you more choice of categories than ever before. As the only customer and employee engagement awards programme, if you’ve achieved great things with your engagement initiatives, then the Engage Awards are perfect for you. We’re open for entries until Monday 13th July, so don’t miss out on recognising your efforts. We wish you the best of luck with your entries.






Contact centres remain well-placed to become the beating heart of an organisation’s customer engagement strategy. It is the contact centre that can deliver the customer insight that is needed in a business environment where our customers are in control of how they choose to interact with organisations and where the so called ‘customer journey’ is ever more complex.

Engaged employees are more important to organisations than ever before. Providing our people with a truly digital workplace environment enables new and more effective and efficient ways of working while improving engagement levels and at the same time relationships with our customers.





The challenges and opportunities relating to the mental, financial and physical health related wellbeing of our people are now firmly at the top of the business agenda, alongside increasing awareness and understanding of the myriad of issues involved.

Progressing into its seventh year, the Employee Engagement Summit is firmly established as Europe’s premier event, examining all aspects of work under the overarching theme of how technology is changing the face of employee engagement.





Every interaction that a customer has with a company, be it online or offline, changes their impression of the brand. For this reason, there has never been a more important time for the marketing function to ensure a great CX through each touchpoint of creating awareness, driving conversions, and keeping existing customers happy.

Our customers, their expectations, their journey, and the ways in which they interact with organisations have changed almost beyond recognition over the past few years, and that pace of change is accelerating. Organisations must also transform if they are to thrive in this brave new customer world.





This Conference will take an in-depth look at the fast changing world of internal communications and how it is increasingly taking on the critical employee engagement role that has too often been neglected by those in HR.

Our exclusive Engage Focus groups allow senior individuals working in customer and employee engagement to come together and voice their thoughts and share experiences across a wide range of topics in a structured professional environment.





Our flagship Customer Engagement Summit is back. Delegates will hear from 45+ speakers, and we’ll be covering the latest, hottest topics in the industry.

Following on from the success of the 2019 Engage Awards programme, which broke records across the board, we are delighted to announce the renaming of our programme for 2020 to the International Engage Awards.

For more information please contact us at: tickets@ebm.media or 01932 EngageEmployee.com

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Internal Communications Conference Industry Report 2019  

A very warm welcome to this year’s Internal Communications Industry Report. We hope you enjoy what’s inside! This edition has been a delig...

Internal Communications Conference Industry Report 2019  

A very warm welcome to this year’s Internal Communications Industry Report. We hope you enjoy what’s inside! This edition has been a delig...

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