Last month, I was one of the lucky ones who attended a free IABC summit presented by Workplace at the Facebook office in Toronto. The event sold out as Communications professionals yearned to learn more about key strategies for improving their approach to communication.
Introduction to the summit
More and more companies moving away from one-way information into effective conversations across global and frontline teams.
According to a study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and Rob Cross, Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College, organisations that promote collaborative working result in higher performance. Effective collaboration results in greater productivity, satisfied customers and improved communication. So how do we achieve it? Keep on scrolling.
Part 1 – Abby Guthkelch from workplace
Abby Guthkelch is an amazing presenter and serves as a global communication solutions lead and communication industry expert for the Workplace by Facebook team. Here are a few things she pointed out:
1) Culture is paramount
- Start with a mission to develop a culture as it constitutes DNA of any organization
- To develop your culture, go back to your core values and be open and transparent about it
- Always release info first internally then externally. Stay open.
- Employees want a visible leader who is connected to them
- People seek transparent leadership that recognizes the importance of communication
- Eg. Mark Zuckerberg does internal Q&As every week to enforce a transparent culture
- Leaders need to become engaged members of the community and listen to their employees
- Leaders should use offline connections and share them with a wider audience online
- Use technology for recognition, coordination and quick fixes
4) Employees are people too…
- Employees are a huge part of the community
- 61% of knowledge workers regularly access 4 or more systems to get the info that they need to do their job. Only 56% can find the info that they’re looking for.
- Keep them engaged – it’s all about relevance!
Main takeaway: companies need to invest in their workers and achieve their goals through the power of everyone as it’s the only way to become successful.
Part 2 – Carrie Basham Marshall – how to help executives connect with employees?
Carrie also gave a great presentation as she talked about the way social media changed the way we interact and use social for work spaces. Carrie Basham Marshall is principal and CEO of Talk Social to Me, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping Communications leaders use social and collaboration tools for effective employee engagement.
Main internal communications challenges:
- The volume of communication is too high and/or lack of time to read communications
- Poor line manager communication skills
- Internal technology doesn’t fit for purpose
- Executives often don’t understand social media
How to bring leaders on board?
- Convey to them that it doesn’t take much time to make an impact
- A picture is way better than words – you don’t always have to write a long paragraph, it can be just a quick snap
- Be strategic – keep everything short and sweet
- Target & ask questions – posts that ask a question get the most responses as they invite people in
- Give a recipe for executives that gives them a reminder for reference on ‘what to do’, ask them to use their ‘weekend voice’ and drop formalities. Combine it with weekly simple tasks and you’re on the right track.
Part 3 – Tim Hortons
After two main presenters, XX and YY spoke about Tim Horton’s integration of workspace and their key learnings. This part of the event focused on application of the technology and its integration into the overall communications strategy.
Overall, internal communications technology’s main ROI is about giving marginalized people a voice.
For effective use of internal communications technology send out some exclusive information only on those sites (e.g. Yammer) and abandon everything else.
To figure out how to increase engagement on internal communications tools, ask people who use it, why they use it? And use that language to promote the tool to their fellow employees.
Apart from amazing presentations, IABC set up a panel for questions from the audience which was followed by a networking session. Through out the event, guests could also enjoy coffee and desserts (which were really, really good). They also had a bar of pretzels with a variety of dipping sauces. Trust me, I do go to events not just for food.
Facebook office is also a great place to experience. They have their Facebook wall where anyone can leave a mark, amazing views of Toronto and lots of artsy décor. By just being a visitor to the office, you feel a part of Facebook culture.
Shout out to all the organizers for these amazing and informative events. Stay tuned & go out more.