Management Articles


 

Building a collaborative workplace with employee communications

By: Anish V. Koshy

Anish V. Koshy presently handles content management for the website, Intranet and internal newsletter development as well as advertising with i-flex solutions limited, Bangalore, India as Assistant Manager - Corporate Communications. The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and it in no way reflects the views of his organization.

With a spurt of opportunities in the sunrise industries it is becoming increasingly demanding and difficult to keep employee morale at a sustained level.

Apart from company perks and benefits that employees expect, they look for a friendly workplace. Events and activities involving and revolving around them make the workplace interesting and collaborative.

That is where employee communications can play a key role.

Organizations of all types recognize the strategic importance of effectively communicating with employees irrespective of where they are located.
As a corporate communications or human resource executive, you may be interested in achieving the following:
  • Communicating corporate objectives and results to employees

  • Promoting productivity by communicating with employees regularly

  • Communicating breaking information to employees as it becomes available

  • Building a feeling of well-being and loyalty

  • Increasing interaction among employees and creating a strong internal brand awareness

  • Being able to reach the entire workforce simultaneously
A typical event should ideally encompass the entire organization using company wide resources, communication channels (newsletters, Intranet, e-mail network, notice boards, meeting rooms among others).

An event could be organizational (related to the company's history, milestones, achievements, people), situational/theme based (Children's Day, Christmas Day), employee motivational (awards, cultural, sports, training, health awareness), intellectual (quizzes, knowledge management, creative arts) or social/environmental (paper saving, power consumption, water conservation, child care).


Conducting a typical employee communications event

Decide on a type of event.

Choose a date that does not clash with say, a public holiday or any important organizational activity that will undermine the effect of the event.

Prepare a plan for the entire event.
This is the crucial part. The plan should include everything from budget, logistics to the timings of the activities.

Take for example - an Independence Day program for a company.

The following elements could form part of the communication mix:
  • A flag hoisting ceremony
  • A talk by a senior citizen of the city or a senior member of the company
  • A fun competition for employees
  • An employee pot-luck to raise funds for charity
  • An online quiz
Get senior management buy-in.

They need to be convinced of the return of investment or 'feel good' factor that arises from such events.

Once the buy-in occurs, the priority is to generate visibility for the event. Online and offline.

Plan also the post-event publicity via your company intranet and newsletter.

Either keep a quality camera handy or get video coverage for posterity.
These images could later be replayed at a company event or printed as an article in corporate literature.

Create a checklist of roles and responsibilities.

For the various groups and individuals involved in the event. For example, the administration and the human resources teams. No event is a one-man show.

Ensure there is an 'owner' for the event.

He or she should drive the activity from end to end. All requests and interactions should be routed through this person who would be responsible for maintaining timelines and schedules.

Evolve a theme.

For consistent branding and event recognition, all activities need to be strung together with a common thread. Arrive at a catchy name and a tagline, which sums up the event. Use a logo that can used - online and also as a printed version.

All communication should include elements of these designs.

Plan backward from the date of launch.

God is in the details! Work on the schedules to ensure a smooth finish.

Measure the event.

Get employee feedback - formal and informal to gauge the effectiveness of the event and how it can be improved the next time around.

Making the event memorable

Use this opportunity to build the equity with your employees. Event 'take aways' could range from a CD - ROM to freebies like branded T-shirts and mugs.

Keep the momentum going

You are only as good as your last event. Employees set expectations based on what they experience. Events should ideally continue with the same branding to establish themselves firmly in the minds of the employees.


Internal event flow chart

Seeding of event

Briefing (in-house or external resource)

Defining Communication Mix (Arriving at budget, effort, timeframes and deliverables)

Identifying target and post event results (Senior management buy-in)
Pre-event publicity Conducting event Post event publicity
(announcement of feedback,
results, 'take-aways')

© Copyright 2003 Anish V. Koshy

Other Articles by Anish V. Koshy

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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