Would you let a robot into your bank account?

February 5th, 2018 Posted by Digital, Our opinion 0 comments on “Would you let a robot into your bank account?”

Yes, I would. I have! Let me set the scene for you: I recently moved banks – from Santander to First Direct – and within days really appreciated the improved smartphone experience. First Direct has a great mobile product – it’s easy to use and it’s well designed. But once that novelty wore off, I found myself wanting more functionality, more intuitiveness. Why can’t I scroll back more than 30 days? Why are so many features limited to ‘web browser only’? Why can’t I have some kind of dashboard?

While some banking apps are better-designed than others, they all offer the same very basic functionality. Banking apps are a tired product.

Last year, when pitching a chatbot to a client in the insurance industry, we discovered Cleo – an ‘intelligent assistant for your finances’. It was a great example to show and added gravitas to our own idea. I wanted to try Cleo, but the moment I discovered that it runs solely through Facebook Messenger, I was suddenly very unsure.

Emojis? Really?

Since the UK banking crisis in 2008, we’ve had little-to-no trust in corporations, financial or otherwise. We are all more cynical, and we have good reason. The very same can be said of Facebook – often called out for what may or may not be shady privacy practices. So now we have a bank plugging into a social network, with your own money being the talking point between the two. Cleo uses 256-bit industry-standard encryption, which certainly reassures me. But would that reassure my Mum? What good are big words if people don’t know what they mean?

Cleo certainly isn’t struggling to attract early adopters, but if it wants to appeal to the less tech-savvy, it has a job on its hands to convince people that Facebook Messenger and emojis are a sensible way to manage your money.

Olds hacks / new hacks

Hack your route to work. Hack your shelving. Hack your stir-fry. ‘Hacking’ has taken on an entirely different meaning in the last few years. No longer kids in basements tapping into mainframes, hacking is now about taking control of a fairly ordinary situation and making it work for you. In this context, it’s the perfect descriptor. Taking control of your finances is no longer logging in to a website with your mother’s maiden name and the name of your first pet – just to cancel a direct debit. Taking control of your finances can happen by engaging in an artificial conversation. With a robot. A chatbot that can provide you with a dashboard, some graphs, some stats, and maybe even an animated GIF.

Meeting Cleo

As with any digital product, there is some set-up time. Cleo will try her best to categorise your transactions, but she needs you to help by telling her what’s what. But once that’s done, you’ll see the benefits. Did I really spend that much on car parking last month? Holy cow, I need to spend less on Amazon. Why do I always have a big lunch on Mondays? And so on. The smack around the face of checking your balance is somewhat softened when it’s served up to you with a GIF and a cheeky comment.

Over time Cleo will learn your habits and your spending, which helps her build up a better idea of what’s best for your balance.

Criticising Cleo

It’s clunky. Honestly, it feels unusual pressing buttons in an app and having to wait for a response. I press ‘Balance’ then have to wait for Messenger to ask Cleo to reply with my balance. Its smarter features – such as graphs and dashboards – are beautifully-designed pop-ups, and these I really like. But the overall process of chatting to your bank account is a little laborious. Having said that, Cleo does talk to you unprompted with well-timed check-ins.

It’s a generation thing

Growing up with Myspace, broadband and watching mobile phones evolve from bricks to super computers, I certainly welcome innovation in personal finance. I often ask myself why the banks don’t just do this themselves. And I answer myself, too, with the following:

  • Most customers look at their bank with a degree of cynicism, and banks know this
  • Apps need a hell of a lot of funding behind them, and it seems that Cleo has been lucky enough to secure this
  • If you pitched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to banks, most would laugh
  • But… putting this bot into Facebook Messenger, a channel that many already use, is a stroke of genius

And that’s where Cleo has nailed it. Cleo had an idea so unusual, so subversive, so left field, that it’s just what dusty old personal banking needed.

Why Millennial Managers need to be better than their predecessors

January 18th, 2018 Posted by Our opinion 0 comments on “Why Millennial Managers need to be better than their predecessors”

Was there ever a generation that has been so frequently analysed as the Millennials? Born and raised while Larry Page was codifying the entire world’s information, they entered adulthood with technology in the palm of their hands. By the time they hit the workplace, they were being tabled as the most connected, the most demanding, and, here’s the crunch, the noisiest of generations – simply because there were more of them. By 2025, 75 per cent of the global workforce will be Millennials and they will bring with them greater expectations of their employers.

For a start, they want businesses to take a more responsible approach to the wider world. They want employers to have ethics, work to have meaning, and (good Lord!) they also want to have fun. Some commentators, such as Simon Sinek, have notoriously claimed that they feel more entitled than those that went before them, which makes them pretty difficult to manage.

Well now the joke is on everyone else. Why? Because, having been in the workplace for 10 years or so, many of the more ambitious Millennials are now becoming managers themselves. The chances are that if you were born before 1984 and are not a manager yourself, your boss will soon be one of Generation Y, or as the Chinese call them, ‘ken lao zu’ – the generation that eats the old.

For insight into the high-flying Millennial Manager, I went to Deloitte’s Annual Global Millennial Survey that, since 2011, has provided in-depth analysis of graduates from the developed and developing world, working in full-time employment.

Constant themes emerge that Millennials are keen to work for companies with vision and they believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance. According to the latest report: Business has the potential to be a force for positive change that shines through as a core belief of the Millennial generation.” They prefer to work in less hierarchical and more collaborative cultures, where people take personal accountability. In the UK, there is also a strong rejection of the view that level of responsibility should be directly linked to seniority or pay.

For themselves, Millennials are also looking to the longer view. They want to own their own homes, find a partner for life, and strive for financial security that allows them to save enough money for retirement. At the same time, they seek a good work-life balance and they expect access to technology to enable greater flexibility in their working arrangements. For sure, Millennials want to play a part in changing society for the better, “but in so doing, they wish to stay true to their personal values”.

 So, with such high standards themselves, how are Millennials expected to fare as managers?

According to Deloitte in 2016, the emphasis on personal values will continue into the boardroom and Millennial leaders are expected to base their decisions as much on personal values as on the achievement of specific targets or goals. However, although Millennials regard leadership skills as the most prized attributes, less than 25 per cent think leadership was a strong personal trait of theirs on graduation and believe that businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap. Subsequently, they regard their own development as far from complete. Such self-awareness is encouraging and points to a generation that is primed for continuous learning.

Heralding the arrival of more Millennials into the C-suite, the 2017 survey dedicated part of its investigation to the view that Millennials have of the next generation. While mainly positive about the impact of Gen Z on the future workplace, they regard the gap in leadership skills continuing into the next generation.

Millennials point to the need for their younger colleagues to develop softer skills – such as patience, maturity and integrity – rather than technical or specific knowledge. “Senior Millennials rated information technology and social media skills as being of relatively low importance – especially when compared to attributes such as communication, flexibility, leadership, and the ability to think creatively and to generate new ideas.” Their practical advice includes working hard, being open-minded and ready to learn as much as possible, and from others.

All this is valuable intelligence. But one of the issues I have with commentators on the Millennial Generation and the future of work is that the bias is painfully skewed towards the younger end of the working population and too little attention is given to the growing demographic bubble at the other end of the working life. One of the greatest challenges for the Millennial Manager is that they will be running companies that encompass four, if not five generations of employees, as increasingly older and healthier workers remain at work beyond traditional retirement ages. If they are to capture the learning from hard-earned experience, they will need to include healthy Baby Boomer employees in the equation.

This is not simply a case of swapping digital savviness with emotional intelligence, or youthful curiosity with the patience of maturity. Cross-generational partnering and mentoring has its place and some companies have already created such exchanges with good results in the past. The task for Millennial Managers is more about challenging and changing the attitudes of countless generations before them, who have regarded older workers as more expensive, more intransigent, less energetic and less productive.

The problem is that, as with the stereotypical statements about Millennials, we have all seen enough examples of the uncomfortable truth. Some older employees do have complicated health issues, remain obstinate about adopting new systems or technology, refuse to listen and are patronising about untested ideas. But the more emphatic truth is that, just like their younger colleagues, the vast majority of Baby Boomers want to work in a meaningful role, where their contribution is valued, and where they can keep adapting their skills for a longer working life. Like the Millennials, they may need flexible working practices, albeit for different reasons, but while they are at work they are some of the most loyal and productive contributors.

According to a leading article in The Economist’s World in 2018, “intolerance of ageism should be the hot corporate cause of 2018” and prejudice against older workers needs to be fought on many fronts. Well said. But from my own experience of working with a multigenerational team, that means understanding the depth and diversity of people within each generation, rather than flinging headlines at each other. We should all practice what we preach and be open to learning from people as well as statistics. When we explore the personal motivations and values of each individual, we will find there is more that unites us than divides us.

Listening to Millennials, I find people with a sense of purpose and work ethic that is not so different from my own. They want the world to be a better place and to be respected for their role in it. They have all the hope and optimism that I had when I was 30. What they lack in experience, they make up for in knowledge, or at least the access to it. They sometimes appear to have supreme self-confidence, but that is because if they don’t know all the answers, they are hard-wired to go and look for them.

My hope for the future of business is that the Millennial Manager will apply all their intelligence to solving the problems in the workplace where previous generations have failed. But before we ask them to turn the tables on ageism, we need to cut the ageist crap that is constantly flung at them. Then I believe they are well up for the job.

So what do the Millennials at theblueballroom think? How far do they relate to the labels about Millennials? What advice would they give to the next generation of people entering the workplace?

 Sophie, Content Manager

“We are certainly constantly connected, but that’s just the world we’ve grown up in. We do want to work differently and we won’t settle for mediocre careers, because we want to be passionate about something. We’re multi-taskers, open-minded and generally confident, we’ve got self-expression down. We value trust, we want guidance and feedback, we want to have fun, and we don’t want to be micro-managed. Aren’t these things to be proud of and take advantage of? And aren’t many of these things what every generation has always wanted?

The advice I’d give to EVERYONE joining the workplace, no matter what age, would be:

You have to earn trust. Be eager to learn. Respect everyone. Be yourself. Care about your colleagues. And if you’re not happy – move on.

 Steve, Designer

I haven’t really been called a Millennial/Gen Y in the workplace, but people have used the words ‘young’ and ‘kid’ which is a bit patronising. People assume that everyone in my generation is constantly on social media and has all the apps, always on it etc.  But the big challenge is getting into work in the first place.  When you first come out of college, or university, it’s very hard because most jobs require a few years’ work experience and a good degree. Companies seem to want more qualified people in junior roles, whether that was paid or free work.

My generation are most likely to have no retirement age at all and end up working all their lives, so I think it’s really important to find a career path you enjoy, I always say try and learn from people older and more senior, but also be open to the fact that they can learn something from you.

What are your thoughts? Please share your views below.

Is Generation Z really that hard to understand?

January 8th, 2018 Posted by Our opinion 0 comments on “Is Generation Z really that hard to understand?”

There has been a lot of conversation around Millennials over the past few years, however more recently our focus has moved to the topic of Generation Z (Gen Z) entering the workforce. The Gen Z demographic is defined as people born from the mid 1990’s to the early 2010’s. I often feel as communicators we can over complicate and over analyse different generations in the workplace, therefore I have asked our straight-talking Gen Z account executive Abbey to clarity a few points.


What the Helvetica?

January 2nd, 2018 Posted by Our work 1 comment on “What the Helvetica?”

If you’re in the design industry, it’s instantly assumed that you’re a ‘font guy’. There are the usual clichés that you’re expected to subscribe to: Helvetica is awesome; Comic Sans is terrible; and there is bad kerning everywhere. Perhaps all true, but you could argue that if the whole world was filled with beautifully designed and perfectly kerned typography, everything will start to look the same.

My fiancée bought me the Helvetica film for Christmas – a 2007 indie documentary by Gary Hustwit. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Could I really sit through 80 minutes of Swiss typeface designers adjusting their expensive spectacles and twiddling their moustaches? Thankfully it was so much more than that. In fact, it’s the best documentary I’ve seen in some time.

There was no shortage of opinions from well-respected graphic artists and type designers such as Massimo Vignelli, Paula Scher and, my personal favourite, David Carson.

The film did well to explore the bold history of the font which, believe it or not, is now way over half a century old. But it also offered some diverse and challenging opinions from modern-day heavyweights – opinions not far from my own…

What is so great about Helvetica; if not Helvetica, what else; and just how prominent is Helvetica?

To answer that last question, it really is EVERYWHERE. Helvetica’s success is down to its legibility, versatility and its diverse range of weights – from Ultra Light all the way through to Black. Helvetica adorns street signs, council notices, public transport systems, government paperwork… not to mention thousands of brands, large and small, that have adopted it as part of their logo.

As a designer, you always want to rebel. You want to produce something different. Something that will get you noticed. Where’s the fun in doing what everybody else is doing? I spent my early years pushing out gig flyers covered in distressed, grungy fonts. These were often for distressed, grungy brands, so it kind of worked. But in hindsight those fonts were just awful and often unreadable. Par for the course, right?

The latter part of the film zooms in on this conundrum – how do you stand out from the crowd when you know for certain that your company name WILL look awesome in Helvetica Bold, in crisp black ink on bright white stock. New York’s subway network uses Helvetica because Helvetica works. Imagine trying to find your way around Manhattan by following unreadable signs in a novelty font. Maddening.

The onus is on us, the designers, to ensure that (a) we select the right typeface for the job and (b) we treat it right. When was the last time you saw a beautifully designed kebab shop sign? Probably never. The problem isn’t the typeface. It’s what the designer has done with the typeface. Helvetica, however, is quite forgiving.

“Any good typeface can be completely destroyed when misused or extensively overused. Helvetica seemed to sustain a beating like no other.”

— Alexander Gelman

But if your local council is using it on their ‘No ball games’ signs, is it really going to be the first font you try when designing a logo?

“If you have no intuitive sense of design, then call yourself an “information architect” and only use Helvetica.”

— David Carson

We could debate this for hours and still struggle to settle on exactly where Helvetica sits in our modern, design-led world. But I’ll leave you with this thought: it’s a beautiful typeface in the hands of the right designer. We mustn’t be afraid to use something because it’s been used a hundred times before. If Helvetica works for you and for your client, there are a thousand things you can do to differentiate it from a ‘No ball games’ sign or the Microsoft logo. That is our job, and surely why we do what we do.


Nicky’s very unChristmas carrot cake

December 8th, 2017 Posted by Our team 0 comments on “Nicky’s very unChristmas carrot cake”

As most of you know, our love for cake lives on (and on and on and on) – we eat it when we’re happy, when we’re sad, and everything in between. So we’ve called on our resident baker to give us her most excellent carrot cake recipe to share with you all this year. Nicky’s carrot cake is our current favourite, so if you fancy a change from the usual Christmas cake this festive season, try this! Over to you, Nicky…


Employee wellbeing to drive a happy and productive workplace

November 9th, 2017 Posted by Events 2 comments on “Employee wellbeing to drive a happy and productive workplace”

I recently had the pleasure of attending the CityWork conference in London which explored the topic of productivity and employee wellbeing. It was great to hear best practice examples, latest statistics and research from businesses such as CBRE, British Council of Offices, Virgin Pulse and Great Place to Work. Hundreds of HR professionals joined to soak up the talks, attend workshops and meet a variety of carefully selected sponsors.

A general theme throughout the day was the importance of having a wellbeing strategy in place that meets employee needs from an environmental, physical and mental standpoint. Gone are the days where a one-off bowl of fruit and a football table are considered enough. Wearable technology means we can now be smarter about our health and wellbeing. Air quality, light, the number of steps we take – we know more about our surroundings and expect a working environment that meets our needs.

Out of 30 million working people in the UK, 11 million work in an office environment – a number that has grown by 3 million in the last 30 years. That’s a huge number of people working in environments that are often not designed or optimised for productivity. Given the UK’s staggeringly high levels of sick leave, stress, burnout and low productivity, it is time to take wellbeing seriously.

Wellbeing has been proved to show a positive impact on the bottom line, especially when incremental changes are made. For example, Great Place to Work research showed that companies who take wellbeing seriously see a 2 to 7 per cent increase in turnover. As a result, financial analysts are beginning to look at a company’s employee engagement levels when making investment decisions.

Virgin Pulse also revealed insights from recent research on HR challenges and priorities. No matter what industry we work in, we all face similar challenges. So it was great to learn that wellbeing is one of HR’s top four priorities this year. In fact, two in five HR leaders say they would like to invest in wellbeing in the next three to nine months.

2017 HR priorities:

  1. Recruitment and retention
  2. Employee engagement
  3. Wellbeing
  4. Culture

Engagement challenges:

  1. Budget
  2. Culture
  3. Adoption
  4. HR resources
  5. Leadership buy-in

Main wellbeing drivers:

  1. Values aligned to leaders
  2. Teamwork and sense of community
  3. Recognition by line manager
  4. Work environment – equipped with the tools to do your best work

It is important to note that wellbeing can’t be ‘done to’ employees. To drive long term success, you must let employees take ownership of wellbeing and give them the right tools to make it happen in the most effective way. The conference also looked at how successful wellbeing is communicated by line managers who are equipped with the right technical and soft skills. If we want to see a real change and success with wellbeing programmes, management training needs to become a part of the strategy early on.

Top statistics from Great Place to Work, Bupa and Forbes:

  • Better workplaces find it easier to attract talent, typically resulting in a 40 per cent increase in applications.
  • Better workplaces can halve the rate of sickness and avoid burnout.
  • 2016-2017 saw a 20 per cent decrease in productivity in the UK.
  • People are 60 per cent more productive when they are happy and well.
  • 54 per cent say the office environment is mentally damaging.
  • 95 per cent of HR leaders experience burnout.
  • 2016-2017 saw 12.5 million days lost due to stress and illness.
  • 78 per cent of millennials see quality of workplace as pivotal when applying for jobs.
  • 69 per cent of millennials choose environment over other benefits.

I had the pleasure of joining a workshop with Lewis Beck, Head of Workplace at CBRE, who shared details of its research into a world-class employee experience in the workplace. It was interesting to learn how architects who take a human-centric approach to building office environments can boost employee performance and wellbeing. Overall results showed that 10 per cent less mental effort was needed in enhanced office spaces.

CBRE’s research was conducted over seven months with 120 people in two control groups to see if wellbeing initiatives had an impact on employee performance. The first control group received no wellbeing improvements at work and showed a higher risk of burnout. The second control group got new lighting, natural spaces, healthy food, mindfulness training and physical activities; the following percentages show accuracy test improvements in this group compared to the first one:

  • Healthy food: 45 per cent
    Reduction of caffeine and sugar intake, plus healthy options made available (smoothies, fruit, nuts and fruit infused water).
  • Mindfulness: 30 per cent
    Included onsite massage and mindfulness video training.
  • Physical activity: 12 per cent
    Included cycling at desks, standing meetings, yoga balls.
  • Lighting: 12 per cent
    Orange-tinted overhead lighting replaced with blue-tinted side and desk lighting.
  • Natural spaces: 10 per cent
    Plant and artwork on the walls around the office – whether fake or real, both had a positive impact.

Overall the conference provided fascinating research and statistics, as well as the opportunity to meet new people working in HR with similar challenges and great experiences. It is clear that having a wellbeing strategy in place can drive a more productive workplace in the long run. A great way to get leadership buy-in is to use the right statistics to show the impact of doing things wrong. At theblueballroom we love implementing this sort of strategy and have lots of experience in getting leadership buy-in. If you would like to chat about your current challenges, do get in touch. To learn more about future CityWork conferences, visit its website or twitter page.

When digital meets employee engagement

October 16th, 2017 Posted by Communications, Digital, Events 0 comments on “When digital meets employee engagement”

Achieving an engaged remote workforce – can it be done?

Whether your remote workforce has the flexibility to work from home or they are working remotely in the warehouse or store front, as internal communicators we need to keep up with the latest digital technology to keep this vital workforce engaged.

We’re excited to launch a series of webinars in partnership with the Sonin agency over the next few months which will tackle some key challenges in the internal communications space. From the best technology tools to use to engaging remote workers, from reward and recognition to knowledge sharing – to name just a few of the topics.

Our first webinar will go live on 25th October @ 11:30am and will focus on engaging a remote workforce. Our MD Kate Shanks and MD of the Sonin agency Paul Jarrett will be discussing this topic in depth, giving advice from their experience. Register to attend here.

During the webinar, we’ll cover questions like:

  • What challenges do companies face with remote workforces?
  • What are the most successful tools and technologies for communication?
  • How can you maintain a company culture when the majority of your employees work remotely?
  • How do you deal with security issues with remote apps?
  • What would be your top tip when engaging remote workforces?

A bit about the speakers

Kate Shanks

Kate is our Managing Director at theblueballroom, a specialist internal communications agency based in Farnham, Manchester and Hong Kong. Kate is passionate about employee engagement and has worked for over 15 years with a range of household brands on talent attraction, retention and development. Her key strength lies in really listening to key stakeholders and understanding what a business needs to maximise.

Paul Jarrett

Paul leads a team of expert mobile strategists and developers, creating bespoke apps for the Sonin agency. Paul combines his technical and business expertise to guide leaders – from initial consultation through to development, integration, security and retention – on the most successful routes to futureproofing their businesses using the latest technology.

Register to attend here.

Our next ‘Ask the Guru’ is in Manchester!

October 6th, 2017 Posted by Events 0 comments on “Our next ‘Ask the Guru’ is in Manchester!”

Ask the Guru events give you an opportunity to learn from the experience of internal communications experts and discuss your challenges with peers from across different business areas.

We are so delighted to launch our second Ask the Guru event in Manchester in collaboration with CIPR Inside. Our Managing Director and Guru to all things internal communications, Kate Shanks, will be leading the discussion around engaging remote workers.

We will cover:

  • The categories remote workers can be placed in, the latest trends and statistics in this area, and a number of case studies.
  • The challenges attendees are experiencing with their remote colleagues, and how these challenges can be overcome.

The event will be held on Wednesday 18th October from 4pm at the Steamhaus in Manchester. Visit the Eventbrite page to register for your ticket.

We hope you can join us, see you there!

Reaching a remote workforce

September 20th, 2017 Posted by Events 0 comments on “Reaching a remote workforce”

We were delighted to work in partnership with Communicate magazine to host a breakfast round-table on Friday 15th September at the vibrant venue, Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell. We were joined bright and early by a passionate group of internal communicators from a variety of industries such as Construction, Charity, Retail, IT, Security and the Public Sector to name a few. The topic on our agenda was how to reach a remote workforce – a challenge for everyone in the room.

We started off by defining what a remote workforce meant to our company. And it was understood that this disconnection felt by remote workers tends to be caused by cultural differences, connectivity issues or language barriers in global organisations.

It was agreed that there are four main ways to define a remote worker:

1.  Those that choose to be remote workers and have flexi-working. This type tends to work from home and have access to digital.

2.  Those that have not got a choice, the nature of their job, i.e. based in a warehouse, means they are remote and tend to not have access to digital.

3.  A hard to reach remote worker – those senior level workers who travel to many locations to get their job done.

4.  Those “zombie” workers who are based in the head office, accessible to all channels, but are, however, sadly disengaged from them.

Outside of work, we voraciously consume content 24/7; the speed, the channel, the design.As technology advances, so have our expectations. It’s an important time for internal communicators to deliver relevant content, at the right time, on a channel that is easy to use and reflects the brand. Sounds simple? In some cases, it can be with careful planning and a strong strategy in place. However, technology for internal channels has some catching up to do. So in the meantime, if we a get a single sign-on for our intranets, professional look and feel and mobile friendly emails, it is a step in the right direction.

It was interesting to hear how the channel strategy needs to be carefully considered for each type of remote worker. If there is a clear understanding of what your employees need and how they best consume content, this knowledge will create a strategy to drive adoption and engagement. For example, you would not invest in an employee app, if the majority of the workforce did not have a mobile device or the willingness to use their personal device. You may find the simple solution is often the best – a printed newsletter in their break out area. Listening to what employees want and delivering relevant content to help make their jobs better is key to engagement. Regarding apps, we discussed how valuable it can be to organically increase adoption by  utilising key ambassadors to show how it adds value. Other peers may then adopt it further down the line and it will become the ‘must have’ tool. This could be a great way to start when you have a proportion of your employees’ eager for this type of channel.

We talked about crisis comms, particularly relevant as whilst we were in discussion, the Parson’s Green bomb had gone off. There was discussion around how, if your crisis communications plan lives on the intranet, a  separate strategy for your remote workers is essential if they do not have access this. Thinking strategically, putting yourself in your remote workers shoes and listening, will allow you to have an appropriate plan in place. In addition, with cyber security breaches becoming more and more common, an offline crisis comms pack is essential, and not only for remote workers.

There was a lot of discussion around digital tools such as Yammer, Facebook Workplace and WhatsApp. It’s great to hear how these channels have enabled two-way communications, collaborative working and lots of fun. Popular posts and ways to enable adoption included leaders and CEOs doing everyday things like getting his/her morning coffee, competitions and we even discussed how pet pictures can go a long way. Breaking down siloes, and letting people know they can use their voice will then lead to business talk as well. The higher the adoption on these tools, the more topic groups and collaboration will occur. Ensuring your ESN works seamlessly with your intranet can make for a great experience culturally and improve productivity.

The role of traditional channels is definitely still alive and will complement the wider strategy to ensure all employees are touched with the key messages.

Kate Shanks at theblueballroom says; “I really love the work I do – being able to work on a strategy to surprise and delight is so exciting. Making employees, wherever they work, think differently and see the unexpected. Whether that’s a digital platform, roadshow event or even vinyls on the bathroom mirrors, letting employees know how they can play their part is key.”

There is still a big reliance on the cascade of information and the way the messages are communicated. If you have an inspiring management team, fully trained in the art of storytelling and geared with a toolkit to make their job easier, then that’s when the magic can really happen.

It is impossible to have “one culture” in a global organisation. With acquisitions, multiple languages and locations this would be incredibly challenging. However, all employees believing in the company purpose, values and mission is very achievable and what we all strive for as internal communicators. Two-way communications can be the ultimate goal for many organisations and may take a cultural change piece to achieve it. This is great to hear because top down messages will not engage in the long run. We need to spark innovation and encourage collaborative working to truly measure engagement.

We were so pleased to be involved with such a vibrant discussion and look forward to doing more events in this style. If you would like to discuss your remote worker challenges, or have a topic in mind for future events please get in touch to let us know.


What are words worth?

September 18th, 2017 Posted by We love 0 comments on “What are words worth?”

Word-based creatives are great fun. They can be a challenge for people who aren’t native English speakers, but simple wordplay still has a place when communicating to a global audience.

One of my favourite iterations is this branding for a UK band. It’s a really simple idea, but beautifully done here with a clever twist on the band’s name.

A simple contrast can also make a big impact, as with this poster that I created for the purposes of this blog.

There must be a lot of really simple, really clever word-based creatives out there. If you’ve seen one recently, please do share…