What’s The IC Space?
What are the 3 best ways to kill a great idea?
What can we do to build strong communities of remote employees?
And how on earth do you achieve a 95% response rate for your annual employee survey?
These questions were all answered by the inspiring speakers at the brilliant LGcomms seminar: Communicating from the inside out, held at Hanley Community Fire Station in Stoke on 25th March.
And they just scratch the surface of what was a thoroughly enjoyable, informative and entertaining event.
I was delighted to be asked by Emma Rodgers (@EmmaRodgers) to join the line-up of speakers, sharing my thoughts on creativity in internal comms and facilitating a quick workshop where a room full of IC pros came up with a mass of top ideas.
I’ve summarised my own experience of the event with my top inspired insights – and wow, that’s a tough job after soaking up so much great stuff (so I’ve made it a bakers dozen).
So, in no particular order:
- What’s The IC Space all about? Russell Grossman (@Russellgrossman), Group Director of Communications from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills talked us through the online toolkit produced by internal communicators for internal communicators via The Government Communication Service. A brilliant resource not only for public sector communicators but more widely for any IC pro. ‘Plenty of tools, tips, techniques and tricks!’ (@ICSpace)
- ‘It costs more to do internal comms badly than to do it well.’ And it needn’t cost a fortune in the first place. The secret sauce is a blend of goodwill, good attitude and good communicators.
- How do you kill a great idea? Paul Taylor (@PaulBromford), Innovation Coach at Bromford Lab had attendees enthusiastically nodding in agreement with his take on the 3 three top ‘idea killers’ – Meetings murder great ideas, corporate hierarchies strangle the life from them and confining employees to restrictive job descriptions is a one way ticket to the innovation graveyard. How can we keep them alive? Identify who is responsible for bright ideas, ensure they’re solving the right problems, make their ideas visible, give them a safe space where it’s okay to be crazy and let them work with anyone – regardless of job description.
- Only 25% of what we work on will be a success. We’ve got to get better at failing and being honest about what doesn’t work. We can only change things by making sure we don’t make the same mistakes as before. Admit we don’t have all the answers and talk about what doesn’t work to help build trust.
- How do we tackle ‘laggard leadership’? Assemble a coalition of rebels – aka champions, early adopters and green dots. Connect the passionate people to each other, the ones who welcome change, generate energy and attract possibilities.
- People say they want to change, but really they don’t. Why are we surprised when people don’t welcome innovation? Why doesn’t everyone sit around and applaud the next big idea? Rogers Diffusion of Innovation Bell helps us recognise why we shouldn’t be surprised when people don’t welcome innovation. (Note – there will always be people who will never be convinced and that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.)
- ‘Lurkers can be listeners too’, said Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds), Director of Social for the People. Lurking by employees online is still valuable. It doesn’t mean they’re not engaging so don’t be disheartened.
- How can you connect remote workers? Anna Lowman (@annalowman), Employee Comms Manager at TFL gave some brilliant insights. ‘Find out what matters to them most and understand how they consume information – and the best way to do that is to get out and about with them and see what they experience. Recognise that employees have twice as much trust in their peers as they do in their CEO – harness that! Empower employees with information that they can spread to their peers and naturally tailor to their own audiences, use your network of champions to tell the stories.’
- How to incentivise employees to complete a staff survey. The award winning Kate Shaw (@Kes1981) from Nationwide Building Society wowed the room when she announced the impressive 95% response rate for their annual employee survey. Just how do they do that? A contribution to one of two charities as a small thank you does the trick.
- Don’t drown employees in strategies. How many is too many? Kate Jones (@how_IC_it) – IoIC Board Member and UK Head of Internal Communications at Atkins encouraged attendees to think ‘strategy in a box’ – keep it simple, provide employees with clarity of direction and define one clear business strategy.
- Remain true to your values. Look to your values to engage your employees – make them count – always.
- Present an authentic voice. When directors are blogging, ensure they’re doing it themselves, rather than via a PA. Fran Collingham (@frannycoll), Assistant Director at Coventry City Council says ‘let their authentic voices shine through like nothing else.’
- Where can you get even more inspiration? Talk to IC pros who have won awards to get loads of great ideas. Take a look at the recent winners of the IoIC Central Region awards and get inspired!
Did you attend the event or follow the #LGcommsIC hashtag on Twitter? What were your top takeaways? Tweet me @Alivewithideas to share your thoughts.