Summer holidays, kids and work: The great juggling act of the modern parent

Posted by Terri McKinnon on Jan 14, 2019 12:29:00 PM

The New Year’s bell has now tolled and I’ve been back at work for well over a week now. The holiday break was welcomed, but it is now all hands on deck and the workload certainly didn't get the memo that it's summer, and to settle the pace. Not to mention, the kids!

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For the best part of six weeks, Australian school children are on summer break, and parents need to accommodate the minding of them during this time, usually a mix of leave taken by each parent to balance the care, play dates at friend’s houses, calling in the grandparents to help, or sending them off to camps and holiday programs.

Each of these options have been utilized by me to keep my children occupied and as a remote worker, the juggle of keeping them entertained whilst working becomes a blurred line in work/life balance.

I feel very fortunate, that GreenOrbit is a flexible workplace allowing employees to work remotely and flexibly as required. Recognizing that many of my friends, due to their occupations, do not always have the same options.

Summer holidays for me means early morning starts at 6am where I check in with projects that are happening in the US and keep in contact with the day-to-day there. As I work remotely, it's the company intranet which is my lifeline to the files and information that I need to get work done.

My children will rise and help themselves to breakfast popping their heads into my office to say good morning - then proceed to binge on every possible streaming service for the few hours, as I tell myself that their brains won't turn to mush, and I continue to work.

By mid-morning we discuss the plans that they want to do, riding bikes to friends’ houses, or visiting grandparents who live close by. They enjoy having a little independence to go do their exploring without my watchful eye. No helicopter parenting here.

By lunchtime, my work moves poolside and with the laptop setup, any number of friends could be at our house to enjoy the water.

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In starting early, I have the ability to finish earlier and enjoy some quality time with them and they appreciate that I’m not always working.

This would not be possible without the technology to support my working environment and an intranet that provides the communication and collaboration facilities to keep in contact with colleagues and continue to work.

My apologies to those that don’t have the ability to access this flexibility. I’m just very grateful that this is an option in my workplace.

What tips do you have for working at home while your kids are on holidays? I'd love to hear...

Topics: communication tools, company intranet, workplace, wellbeing, organising, mobile intranet, digital workplace

The Future of Work - Popular Posts and Workplace Trends

Posted by Kath McNiff on Dec 23, 2018 10:01:00 AM

 Ok, 2018 happened. And what a year it was!

Royal weddings, under-water cave rescues, Zuckerberg apologies, and the unstoppable tide of workplace transformation. Royal-wedding-king-s-church-international-671140-unsplash

Here, at GreenOrbit, we've had the most extraordinary twelve months. 

We spent it refocusing on what it takes to get work going - on what it takes to drive ultimate collaboration and productivity in the new world of work.

But it looks like we're not the only ones interested in how work is changing.

Our top 5 most popular blog posts tell the story - they're  like breadcrumbs leading the way to what preoccupied readers in 2018.

BLOG POST #1

7 Habits HR Needs to Break

Intended as a round-up of the 2018 AHRI National Convention - this post asks HR to take a long hard look in the mirror and do some honest self-appraising.

Awkward.

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Speakers across the conference called on HR to stop:

  • Age stereotyping and using generational labels like 'millennials' and 'baby boomers' - Lynda Gratton pointed out that people are more than just their age.

  • HR-splaining - using jargon in contracts, policies and other types of communication.

  • Conforming to the status quo - don't continue doing what got you here because 'it won't get you there'. Herminia Ibarra called on HR to shake things up and innovate.

  • Getting tied up in busy work - Dr. Jason Fox said we should look for ways streamline and automate 'administrivia'.

  • Sitting in your ivory tower - Fiona Michel implored us to get out and see what work is really like for people on the ground.

BLOG POST #2

Employee Engagement: The Ultimate Crash Course

Employee engagement continued to be a hot topic in 2018 - this post aggregates all the amazing information out there into a digestible crash course.

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The crash course includes 10 lessons:

  1. A definition of 'employee engagement' - including what it means to senior executives, managers, and individuals.

  2. How employee engagement differs from 'job satisfaction' or the broader concept of 'employee experience'.

  3. Reasons why employee engagement has become such a hot topic - fears of disruption, challenges of a blended workforce, sobering statistics and a changing economic landscape. 

  4. Who is in charge of employee engagement - senior execs, HR leaders, internal comms and ultimately, all of us.

  5. The neuroscience behind engagement including an exploration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Michael Csikszentmihalyi's concept of Flow and Daniel Pink's work on human motivation.

  6. Practical strategies for getting started with employee engagement - think onboarding, surveys, mentors and cohesive digital workspaces.

  7. A round-up of the companies who are winning at employee engagement - based on the Glassdoor's top places to work in 2018.

  8. The risks of ignoring employee engagement (hint: bad for productivity and overall business outcomes).

  9. Which tools are available to support and drive employee engagement  - everything from pulse surveys to data analysis tools and digital workplace solutions.

  10. The leaders and influencers in the employee engagement space - and a handy list of hashtags to follow (#FutureofWork, #hrtech, #worktrends...)

BLOG POST #3

Welcome to GreenOrbit

This post explained our interstellar journey from Intranet DASHBOARD to GreenOrbit.

Rebrand-in-action

The post is a behind-the-scenes look at:

  • Our new direction: a renewed focus of what employees need to get work going. 

  • Our new name: a name that reflects our adventurous spirit (orbit) and our down-to-earth approach (green)

  • Our new look: bold and decisive with images of people looking outward to a bright future - embraced by swirling orbits of neon green.

  • Our expanding global footprint with offices across North America, Europe, Australia, India, and Asia.

BLOG POST #4

Centralizing communications: Thou shalt not have broadcast email

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Email fatigue is real and this post struck a chord with our readers.

It explains how the Financial Services organization, VicSuper redirected information and knowledge away from bloated inboxes and into GreenOrbit's centralized platform.

Pushing collaboration away from email and into GreenOrbit meant several conversations could take place concurrently through news posts, forums, pages and activity feeds – getting messages out at the right time to the right people.

Read the case study to find out more.

BLOG POST #5

Enterprise IT as the Torchbearer of Workplace Productivity

This post explores the ways IT teams can meet user expectations and drive productivity throughout an organization. 

Enterprise-IT-chaos

It focuses on doing user research to benchmark the digital employee experience - and using it to make evidence-based improvements.

IT experts should be freed-up from endless support tickets so they can think strategically and build a collaborative and productive workplace. 

To get a head start with improving productivity in your organization, download our free ebook: 

5 Barriers to Productivity in the New World of Work.

Are we ready for 2019?

What trends can we expect to see in the new year?

Here a few that spring to mind:

  • An upturn in employee engagement stats - the needle is moving.

  • Greater focus on overall 'digital employee experience'

  • 'Work-life-balance' repositioned as 'Work-life-blend'

  • Greater emphasis on 'people analytics' to inform decision making

  • Digital workspaces to calm the chaos of 'tool overload'

  • Continuous learning 

  • Death of the performance review

  • Diversity and inclusion reign

  • Increased transparency in business culture and practices

  • HR focus on reskilling employees for the future of work

What are your predictions?

What's worth exploring in our upcoming blog posts?

Share your thoughts in the comments below - we'd love to hear from you! 

5-barriers-to-productivity

 

Enterprise IT as the Torchbearer of Workplace Productivity

Posted by Kath McNiff on Dec 20, 2018 2:00:00 AM

 

We expect a lot from our digital workplaces - that's because as tech consumers and smartphone aficionados we know what's possible.

From paying bills, to booking appointments and bingeing on Netflix - we've grown accustomed to smooth interfaces and predictable digital experiences. Things just work - and if they don't, well... there's an app for that.

Enterprisee-IT

Chaos vs Control

Jumping between apps is fine for us as individuals, but spells chaos for the IT professionals in charge of modern digital workplaces.

At the office, collaboration is king and organizations need a cohesive way of getting things done. If some people are on WhatsApp and others are on Messenger - how can they share ideas and get work going?

This dichotomy leaves Enterprise IT caught between a rock and a hard place.

Employees want to use their flavor-of-the-month tools and, since the IT procurement team don't want to rain on anyone's parade or halt real productivity gains, they may turn a blind eye or add the tool to the already congested software register.

Thing is, this tool might be great for one department but a nightmare for another, and there's a good chance it'll be thrown to the curb when the next shiny thing comes along. 

Enterprise-IT-chaos

At the other extreme, Enterprise IT might put their foot down and get serious about which tools are allowed and which are not - because how do you manage security and maintain a level of assurance in an 'anything goes' software scenario?

To maintain control, the organization might have a well-defined process for selecting software solutions - and refuse to stray from the Preferred Vendor playlist. They may even stick with tired legacy infrastructure because it represents a significant financial investment and "is the way things are done around here".

In the first scenario, IT is left picking up the pieces of an impossibly fragmented workplace - while in the second they're being blamed for forcing everyone to use outdated and inflexible technology.

Is there a happy compromise?

The Middle Ground

Tim Flower, Director of Business Transformation at Nexthink, believes there is.

In a recent webinar via CMSWire he said the answer lies in taking a step back and spending time on research, reflection and strategic thinking.

The key to an exceptional digital workplace is not about the latest shiny app or complicated technology stack - it's about people and the tools they need to get work done.

Flower suggests that IT teams need to benchmark the current digital employee experience and look for evidence-based ways of improving it.

He says they need to spend less time responding to isolated issues and more time empathizing with users and understanding what a typical day is really like.

This involves taking a holistic view of the digital workplace backed up by quantitative and qualitative data - what are people doing and how do they feel about it?

Flower's company, Nexthink, makes a nifty device that gathers this intel as people go about their day-to-day work.

Oscar Berg - the webinar's co-presenter and author of  Digital Workplace Strategy and Design - shared this slide to emphasize the power of asking users to "tell me how you really feel":

Enterprise-IT-slide

No sugar coating that. Email overload hurts productivity but no one considers complaining to IT about it.

He goes on to explain that productivity takes a nose dive when workers are faced with "interruptions, inconsistently designed systems and bad performance".

As both experts rightly point out - once IT teams truly understand the barriers to productivity in their organization - they can make informed decisions about the best way forward.

They can take a proactive stance and look beyond the issues that cross the help desk: "I'm stressed out by the number of tools I have to use" said no support ticket ever.

5 barriers to productivity

Making Informed Choices

To calm the chaos of disparate communication tools, Enterprise IT might choose to deploy a digital workplace that has everything built in. One that gives users the social and collaborative features they crave without the distractions of platform-switching and multiple sign-ons. 

To free themselves from the tyranny of support tickets and reactive problem solving, IT may look to implement a digital workplace that's secure, cloud based and easy to maintain - and do away with the complexities of shared licenses and messy payment cycles. 

Focusing on the Big Picture

By implementing a digital workplace that's high on productivity but low on maintenance, IT professionals free themselves up to focus on what really matters - providing a digital employee experience that delivers true business value and measures up to the expectations of today's tech savvy workforce.

The correlation between effective collaboration and productivity is well documented - and Enterprise IT is uniquely positioned to ignite this flame.

Starting a fire instead of always putting one out!

To get a head start with improving productivity in your organization, download our free ebook: 5 Barriers to Productivity in the New World of Work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: workplace, productivity, Collaboration

7 Ways to Maximize an Offshore/Onshore Development Team

Posted by Josie Mangano on Dec 14, 2018 11:44:43 AM

LAST

A great acronym for a conference, right?

It stands for Lean, Agile, and Systems Thinking - three concepts close to my (nerdy) heart.

The LAST Conference is an invaluable forum for sharing software development stories and I was thrilled to be a speaker earlier this year.

I talked about the challenges of engaging and mobilizing a global development team - a situation faced by an increasing number of technology companies.

Here are 7 key takeaways from my presentation – I hope you find them useful.

Setting the Scene

A few years ago, GreenOrbit (formerly Intranet DASHBOARD) faced the all-to-common conundrum of implementing an extensive development roadmap within the confines of a fixed budget.

To address this, we chose to expand overseas while at the same time retaining our Australian team (many of whom worked remotely).

Instead of contracting the offshoring work to an external organization, we decided to handle recruitment and project management ourselves.

This decision forced us to re-examine our work culture and day-to-day processes – and we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Global

1. Commit to your decision

Taking ownership of offshoring gives you complete control (including the ability to mess things up).

At the outset, it’s crucial to make sure leaders are on the same page and 100% committed. 

Do all you can to encourage onshore teams to support the decision. This involves articulating and reiterating what you’re trying to achieve and then supporting your people through the journey.

2. Choose a winning location

Choose an offshore location that you and your onshore team are eager to visit. Make sure it’s close to the airport and easy to get to - with good universities and similar companies nearby.

Take time to explore the options for offices, infrastructure and internet access.

Choose an area where staff are keen to live.

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3. Take an agile approach to recruitment

Conduct face-to-face interviews – you want prospective staff to get the best possible impression. Learn about the language, culture, job market and university intricacies.

Figure out how to ask the right questions – this will become clearer as you review and adjust your interview approach.

Technical know-how is a top priority, but it must be combined with communication skills and cultural fit. It can take time to find the right people.

Don’t give up!

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4. Build multi-locational teams

As far as possible, include someone from each location in every team. Foster the habit of video meetings – this forces all team members to speak-up and communicate clearly.

Run these meetings at a time that works for all locations.

Encourage team members to get to know each other outside of meetings.

Your company intranet is great platform for this – use channels like #MyWeekend and #MyFamily to break the ice and build relationships.

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5. Aim for frequent face-to-face contact

Visit the offshore team as often as possible.

Immerse yourself in what they’re doing, thinking and feeling. Run team days, celebrate company milestones and observe cultural holidays.

When you can’t be face-to-face, talk frequently and ask direct questions.

Provide ample opportunity for staff to voice concerns.

6. Focus on strong leadership

For offshoring to work, leaders must share and commit to a united vision.

They should visit offshore staff regularly and be present in all locations.

Look to promote from within (including offshore employees) and clearly define what you expect from a leader.

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7. Treat everyone equally

From a company culture perspective, it’s important that onshore and offshore staff feel equally valued (even though you may pay them differently).

Keep everyone in the loop and enjoy the ride!

GreenOrbit is an intranet solution with everything you need built in. It empowers businesses to communicate, collaborate and get real work done.

To see how GreenOrbit can get work going in your organization, download our eBook: Steps to Building a Great Intranet

 

Topics: offshoring, software development, teams

A Day in the Life of a Strategic Intranet

Posted by Kath McNiff on Nov 29, 2018 11:23:03 AM

 

If I asked you to describe your current intranet in four words or less, you'd probably say something like:

  • Bloated and clunky

  • Chaotic and unloved

  • Old school

  • Wait. We have an intranet?

You're not alone - according to  survey by Prescient Digital Media, only 13% of employees report participating in their intranet daily—31% say they never do.

Why?

Is it because employees have no use for tools that make collaboration and communication easier? Is it because they enjoy using a million different platforms to get things done?

Not likely. 

Fast and effective communication is more important than ever. It drives productivity, innovation and employee engagement - a must-have trifecta in today's competitive market place.

Maybe it's time to flip the script on intranets. Maybe it's time to stop thinking of them as dumping grounds for stale documents and, instead, focus on the value they are perfectly positioned to deliver.

For a deep dive into leveraging your intranet - check out our e-book:

3 Ways Your Intranet can be a Launchpad for Success.

Set the Scene

So what would a day with an effective intranet look like?

Let's say you're a designer - working on a logo for your company's latest new product.

You can't work in a vacuum. What steps do you take to get communication and collaboration flowing?

1. Go gather your team

You know that you'll need buy-in from stakeholders across the company - so you start to build a logo taskforce. 

Searching through your intranet's profile directory, you easily zero-in on the right people. 

GreenOrbit-Staff-Directory-Search02

2. Make a collaboration space

Next, you setup a separate space in your intranet where your stakeholders can come to discuss requirements and collaborate on ideas. To kick things off, you welcome people to the new group and explain its purpose.

You upload the brand guidelines, along with inspirational images from your mood-board - a great way to get the logo conversation started.

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3. Book a brainstorming session

You know that face-to-face contact is important too - so you use your intranet to book a meeting room and invite your new taskforce to a brainstorming session.

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Then, you post the agenda in your private group so that everyone is on the same page.

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Your post sparks a few comments - people want to add items to the agenda. 

During the actual meeting, ideas begin to flow and you capture them on a whiteboard. At the end of the session, you take photos of the whiteboard so you can upload them to the private group later on. 

4. Gather Feedback

Back at your desk, the creative juices are flowing and the logos begin to take shape.

You settle on three potential designs and upload them to your intranet to see what people think.

For fun, you create a Quick Poll to see which one is most popular.

 blog Quick Poll

 

Most people seem to like Logo1, but they have a few comments related to color, size and font. The conversation continues back and forth - you take the feedback on board and refine the logo (uploading changes as you go).

5. Spread the Word

Finally, you have a logo that your stakeholders love!

You create a News article on your intranet to share the final version company-wide.

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In the article, you explain the thinking behind the logo and show its evolution from a whiteboard scribble to a polished work of art.

You sit back and smile as the Likes and positive comments come rolling-in.

6. Celebrate!

The Product Owner is excited about the new logo and decides to celebrate with a delicious lunch. He posts an invitation on the #celebrate channel and adds the event to your intranet's company calendar.

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Now, you deserve a break.

How do you apply for leave? Use your intranet of course.

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Your intranet is key to success

This is just one scenario where an effective digital workplace can be the wind beneath your wings.

It's time to take your intranet seriously - don't put up with a bloated digital workspace that slows everyone down.

Look for an easy-to-use platform that has everything built-in. One that drives productivity and delivers real competitive advantage.

Want to learn more about leveraging your intranet for better business outcomes?

Read our e-book - 3 Ways Your Intranet can be a Launchpad for Success.

Topics: company intranet, communication tools

Welcome to GreenOrbit

Posted by Stewart Bairstow on Nov 12, 2018 11:36:22 PM

Today, we publicly announced that Intranet DASHBOARD has been re-branded as GreenOrbit.

For over 20 years we have been helping customers build great intranets - and we continue to do so. 

Why the change?

Why mess with something that's loved by over a million people worldwide?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Right?

Unfortunately, that approach only gets you so far and we wanted to go further. Much further. We wanted to get out there and tackle the complexity of the modern digital workplace. We wanted to deliver a new intranet with everything built in. An intranet that would calm the chaos of disparate tools and fractured processes. An intranet that would get your people going and put your organization ahead of the pack.

That's why we're so excited about launching GreenOrbit.

We've taken all the best parts of Intranet DASHBOARD and re-imagined them for today's workplace. We've made features easy on the eye and even easier to use. We've streamlined tools and processes so that your people can be up and running...and creating...and collaborating in no time.

 

Collaboration - Build a thriving workplace culture (1)

A new direction

We've updated our software, that's for sure. But we've also renewed our focus. We don't want to be everything to everyone. We want to zero in on what you need to be successful and on what your people need to make the most of their work day. 

We know that clunky, bloated intranets slow everyone down. Not only are they counter-productive and costly, but they undermine even the best employee engagement efforts. We also know that complicated add-ons and integrations are really just black holes for time and money. 

We wanted to up-end these frustrations one by one. But it's hard to be revolutionary and forward-facing with a name like Intranet DASHBOARD. Sure a dashboard may have been exciting back in 2004, but these days it conjures up images of boring control panels not dynamic communication hubs.

A new name

We needed a name that better reflected our new direction.

Going places.

Not afraid to explore.

Fun and inventive.

With our partners at The Starr Conspiracy we tried out all sorts of names. Some made us laugh, some made us cry and, frankly, some made us scratch our heads in confusion. But GreenOrbit was the one that stuck. It's friendly and adventurous - daring to journey out among the stars (orbit) but also down-to-earth and practical (green).

Rebrand-in-action

We love our new name, but it's not about us. It's about you. We hope it resonates with you and that 'GreenOrbit' becomes synonymous in your mind with 'get work going'.

A new look

After refocusing our attention and choosing a name, it was time for a new look to bring it all together. 

The GreenOrbit logo emerged organically as we worked with The Starr Conspiracy - it started as a squiggle and slowly morphed into a living, breathing symbol of our explorer mentality and 'get going' ethos.

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Despite what they say, looks do matter - especially when it comes to inspiring confidence and communicating the right message. Our new color palette is bold and decisive and there's nothing diluted about it. Our illustrations show people working together or looking outward to a bright future - embraced by swirling orbits of neon green. 

All of this is the result of intentional design - a design that supports who we are and where we want to go.

GreenOrbit_illustrations

New offices

New direction, new name and new look. What's next?

New offices of course.

Last week, the Melbourne team said goodbye to their previous location of 14 years and made the move into sparkling new offices in Abbotsford. Now the physical setting matches our emotional state - fresh, innovative, and ready for the future of work.

New_home_for_GreenOrbit

Meanwhile, it's all systems GO in the US as our team expands to fill bright new premises in Raleigh, NC. 

Raleigh_team

A new world order

The GreenOrbit global footprint now extends across North America, Europe, Australia, India and Asia. The upshot of all this action? We can serve you better with more frequent touch points, localized on-the-spot support and greater access to qualified technical talent.

Of course, we'll never forget our heritage. We'll always remain focused on delivering effective intranet solutions to the world's leading companies - but now we'll do it with renewed energy and vigor under the banner of GreenOrbit.

Documents, workflows, collaboration and productivity - we're committed to moving the digital workplace forward with everything enterprises need in one single comprehensive solution.

It's all about respecting the past and moving boldly into the future. We can't wait to take you with us.

Oh, the places we will GO!

Topics: business growth, corporate changes, intranet

Your intranet needs are changing

Posted by Stewart Bairstow on Nov 12, 2018 10:51:00 PM

And so are we.

Intranet DASHBOARD is now GreenOrbit.

Driving productivity in today’s complex workplace is becoming more and more challenging. Your intranet needs are changing. And, we’re changing, too. We’ve re-imagined our brand to reflect our new focus.

Intranet DASHBOARD is now GreenOrbit.

We’re taking the complexity out of digital workplaces and moving the intranet industry forward with everything enterprises need in one simple, comprehensive solution. We’re doing this in the following ways.

Brand and platform experience

New brand look and website
Updated UI/UX (limited release)

Client and partner relationships

Micro-focus at regional and local level
More frequent touch points

Market expansion

Four new offices: USA - Phoenix, AZ and Raleigh, NC; UK - London; Australia - Abbotsford
Global footprint across North America, Europe, Australia, India and Asia

Talent pool

Greater access to qualified tech talent

Why

We need many different tools to get work done and get your organization where it needs to go —document collaboration, content sharing, group chats, on boarding forms and processes, leave requests, calendars, surveys — the list is endless, and so are the possibilities for errors, wasted time, and system failure.

Without the right intranet solution, your employees become burdened with unnecessary administrative tasks, reducing their productivity and dragging your business down. Give your people the intranet they need to go further and go faster — GreenOrbit. Everything you need to get going, built in.

When

The new brand will go live on November 12. Sign up to get a first look or learn more at greenorbit.com.

Get going — with GreenOrbit.

Topics: corporate changes, business growth, technology

The secret to writing intranet articles that employees love

Posted by Kath McNiff on Sep 26, 2018 11:11:44 AM

 

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People are busier and more distracted than ever.

We live in a world where attention spans are 9 seconds long and 'content fatigue' is the new normal.

How do you entice time-poor employees to read (and act on) your carefully crafted intranet articles?

Here are 5 over-looked fundamentals that can make all the difference.

Know your audience

Maybe you've heard the adage:

"If you're marketing to everyone, you're marketing to no one"

Well, the same is true for that intranet article you're trying to write.

Start by asking yourself:

"Who am I writing this for?"

If your answer is "the employees in my company" -  then your canvas is too broad.

You need to zero-in on the employee segment you want to engage. What are their particular needs, passions or pain points?

For example, let's say you want to tell everyone about the new office that just opened in Japan.

You could create an intranet article titled 'New Office Opens in Japan' and then go on to describe when it opened, where it is and include information about what the expansion means for the business.

Nice enough.

But, as an employee, why should I click to see beyond the headline?

Sure, I'm happy we have a new office but unless I can see what impact it has on me or on others in my department - I'm not likely to be drawn in.

To encourage engagement, look at how you can deliver the content in a more personal way - by targeting specific employee personas. 

What's an employee persona? Glad you asked because here's a neat explainer video:

 

 

By understanding what motivates and inspires the different types of people in your organization - you have a better chance of engaging them.

Now, back to the Japanese office example.

Based on your new personalized approach, you could write an article targeted at the sales team:

Japan opens the door to new prospects

Or one that appeals to those in customer support:

What keeps our Japanese customers awake at night?

Think about ways to position your article to hit the sweet spot for a given persona.

To get started, you'll need to do a little research:

  • Check employee intranet profiles and make a list of job titles and interests.

  • Interview staff from different departments, cultures and age groups. You'll learn what kind of content resonates - you can also create great articles from the interviews themselves.

  • Conduct a staff survey asking people about their challenges, topics of interest and how they like to consume content.

Know your objective

Now that you know who you're writing for - it's time to think about what you want your article to achieve.

There are two main questions to ask:

  • Does it align with your Internal Communications strategy? If you have one, that is. According to a recent report44% of organizations don't.

  • Is your article addressing a business objective?

It's easy to fall into the trap of writing content for content's sake - but you should use your publishing power to make a difference.

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While all organizations are unique, most are focused on one or more of the following:

  • Productivity

  • Profitability

  • Customer Service

  • Employee Engagement and Retention

  • Growth

  • Change Management

Does your article move the needle on any of these objectives?

Does it help employees to do their jobs more effectively? Does it make them feel connected to their peers or part of a vibrant culture?

Purposeful content that is clearly aligned with your company's mission is more likely to engage employees (and win the approval of senior management). 

Respect your reader's time

"I didn't get time to read that"

Sound familiar?

Lack of time is one of the major reasons your content goes unread.

With so much competition for their attention, employees often put internal communications on the back-burner.

Instead of lamenting this fact, look at ways you can lighten the cognitive load:

  • Make headlines clear and specific so that readers know what they're getting into - this free headline analyzer can help.

  • Have a point and get to it quickly - don't be that person who tells meandering, pointless stories that never seem to go anywhere.

  • Avoid slabs of text and use plenty of white space.

  • Break up the content with scannable headings, videos, images and pull-quotes. 

  • Drop the jargon and use every day conversational language.

  • Take time to proofread (typos not only reflect badly on your credibility but they break the reader's flow).

Be people-focused

We've already looked at ways to personalize content based on employee personas but actually writing about people is another sure-fire way to improve engagement.

Tell stories about individual employees and demonstrate their value to the business. This doesn't have to be 'heavy' content - you can ask employees to describe their morning routines, give their productivity tips or share favorite recipes.

Also, write articles that bring customers into focus - this helps employees to see why their work matters and goes a long way to fostering employee engagement. 

Use faces in your imagery - and, where possible, choose real people over stock photos. 

According to Sally Hogshead, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Fascinate

Faces are so key to our survival, in fact, that we're born to be fascinated by them.

Get the message out

So now you have a persona-driven, easily digested, people-focused article with a catchy headline and fascinating imagery. Well done!

The next step is making sure people know about it.

Take care to add the relevant keywords, meta-data and #hashtags so that your article can be pushed out to the appropriate channels or found via search.

When you share the article on your intranet's social network, be sure to @mention individuals who might find it particularly useful. 

Although you want to avoid broadcast email -  you might consider sending out a round-up of the month's best articles.

What engagement strategies have worked for you?

We'd love to hear about your successes in the comments below.

Topics: internal communications strategy, company intranet, intranet, Internal Communications, employee engagement

7 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break

Posted by Kath McNiff on Sep 6, 2018 11:46:38 AM

7-habits-HR-needs-to-break

HR Professionals from around the world gathered at the AHRI National Convention last week to talk about the future of work.

So many insightful presentations and eye-opening ideas. In some ways, it felt less like a conference and more like a call to arms. 

A single thread running through the sessions was the idea of repositioning HR - from a deer caught in the headlights of workplace transformation to a united professional body leading the way to better human-centered outcomes.

But how does HR take on this leadership role?

According to many of the presenters - it has a lot to do with what HR should stop doing.

As keynote speaker, Herminia Ibarra, so brilliantly pointed out:

"What got us here, won't get us there". 

So what are the habits HR needs to break? Here's a round-up of the top 7, gleaned from presentations across the conference.

1. Don't Age Stereotype

In her persuasive keynote, Lynda Gratton asked us to drop the unhelpful and potentially damaging generational labels we insist on using.

Sure, millennials may want "meaningful work" but so does everyone else.

According to Professor Gratton, "age stereotyping is more endemic than gender stereotyping" - it can threaten diversity and lead to workplace inequality. 

HR needs to understand that 60 really is the new 40. People are working for longer and this requires a flexible approach to recruitment and retention.

For example, if you're interviewing someone in their fifties and you see they've taken a year off - don't jump to negative conclusions. Gap years or "periods of recovery" are crucial, particularly when most of us will be working well into our 70s.

Instead of leaning on stereotypes, Gratton believes that HR professionals should strive to change perceptions and should help CEOs to "build a narrative about the future of work."

2. Don't use jargon

CHRO, Fiona Michel called for an end to 'HR-splaining' not only because it hinders communication but because it adds fuel to the fire of "Why we hate HR".

To recast itself in a more positive light, HR should stop all the jargon and simplify the language used in contracts, policies and other types of communication.

As an inspiring example of what's possible, Michel provided this visual leave policy created by the HR team at Aurecon.

aurecon-visual-leave-policy

She also shared this funny video demonstrating just how ridiculous jargon can be:

Other speakers were also on board with this keep-it-simple idea. In fact, some took an even more heretical stance asking HR to "burn the policies" and "break the rules'.

In his keynote, Peter Cheese supported these radical ideas as way to "put the human back into human resources." 

Make your intranet a jargon-free zone. Use it to open a clear line of communication between leaders and employees.

3. Don't (just) be yourself 

Leadership expert, Herminia Ibarra, told the story of how her early lecturing style was falling flat with students. A colleague suggested that she needed to 'work the room'.

"But that's not me" she told him, feeling sick at the thought of performing - surely the content should stand on it's own?

Deciding to give it a try, she stepped out of her comfort zone to engage with her audience. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Acting in this new way, changed Ibarra's perception of her 'authentic self.'

Her story illustrates the challenges that HR professionals are facing right now.

They need to take action - trying fresh approaches and pushing the boundaries because as Ibarra says:

"You are more likely to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting."  

4. Don't get tied up in 'busy work'

Dr Jason Fox, motivation design expert (and hilarious wizard-rogue), talked about the "rich pantomime of busyness" that governs so much of our working lives.banner-jason-fox-AHRI-2018

Fox says it's this curse of efficiency that can prevent HR from thinking strategically or from making meaningful progress. For example, this might mean defaulting to the comfort of 'administrivia' - writing policies, shuffling emails or compiling reports that no one reads.

Herminia Ibarra calls it the 'Competency Trap' - things that we're good at doing, so we keep doing them.

According to Amantha Imber (Innovation Psychologist at Inventium), we should also stop multi-tasking. She explained that it is actually 'task switching' and it can cause things to take 40% longer.

We did a fun exercise to prove it:

Multi-tasking 1With your stopwatch on, write one word of Happy Birthday at the top of the page, then one number (counting backwards from 20) at the bottom - keep going until the song and numbers are complete.

Now try it again but this time write the whole song, then write the numbers. Which takes longer?

GreenOrbit is a intranet software that gets your people going and takes care of the 'busyness' around forms and policies, leaving you to focus on what matters.

5. Don't sit in your Ivory Tower

Another gem from Fiona Michel's presentation - she explained how important it is for HR to understand what's going on in the business as a whole.

Take time to get out of corporate headquarters and sit with customer facing staff to better understand their particular challenges. Do the work, if possible, in order to 'feel' what it's like.

It's also important for staff to see HR on the ground - not just during recruitment interviews or performance appraisals. 

6. Don't Stagnate

Meant as a message for HR, it applies equally to anyone who wants to succeed in the modern workplace.

Keep moving. Try new things, prototype and iterate.

Lynda Gratton extolled the virtues of lifelong learning - particularly in the context of an aging workforce. HR professionals can apply this to their own careers and can create a context in which learning is fundamental part of employee engagement.

To get yourself started, here are a few thought-provoking books (written by AHRI presenters):

Peter Cheese also highlighted the importance of becoming certified and "respecting ourselves as a profession" - a crucial pathway to staying in touch with the latest issues.

Feature Checklist

7. Don't miss the next AHRI Convention

Be sure to register for next year's AHRINC (in sunny Brisbane) - because who knows what changes will be afoot by then!

The world is moving at a breathtaking pace and this convention is a great way to catch up.

Share your bad habits

What would you add to this list of don'ts?

Feel free to expose your bad HR habits in the comments below.

Go on - we won't judge.

GreenOrbit (formerly Intranet DASHBOARD) was proud to be an event sponsor of 2018's AHRI National Convention. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

 

 

Topics: hr, employee engagement

15 Low Cost Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Posted by Annabelle Willis on Aug 24, 2018 4:36:11 PM

15 low cost ways to improve employee engagement

Unless you've been living under a corporate rock, you know that Employee Engagement is crucial to business success.

Countless studies prove that it encourages innovation and increases productivity.

It's also common knowledge that engaged employees deliver a positive customer experience and stand up as ambassadors for your employer brand

Most importantly, they drive profitable business growth.

But Employee Engagement is a journey, not a destination - so it makes good sense to look for cost-effective ways to engage your people on the daily.

Here are 15 low cost strategies to get you started.

1. The Essentials

Before you can address the more complex factors of employee engagement, you’ll
need to
get the basic 'hygiene factors' sorted out.

No, we're not talking about clean bathrooms (although these are super important).

We're talking about the fundamentals of job satisfaction - things like pay, benefits, safe working conditions and job security. Without these, your employee engagement efforts are doomed to fail - no matter how many perks, bonuses or carrots you dangle.

Give people the right conditions and access to the tools they'll need to get their work done.

2. Environment

You don’t need to install a Google-style golf course to make a tangible impact on employee engagement in your workplace.

Focus on the small but effective wins.

Common indoor plants are 'feel-good factories' that can calm stress and boost mood. According to NASA, they also filter the harmful toxins that plague our synthetic-filled offices. 

Office plants

A recent study by the American Society of Interior Designers showed that 68% of employees are dissatisfied with the lighting at work  - too dim and it strains the eyes, too harsh and it causes headaches and fatigue.

So unless you're working for Vampires Inc - it's worth assessing the lighting in your office to see if you could make use of task lamps and dimmer switches or improve access to natural light.

As far as other essentials go, never underestimate the miraculous power of good coffee and healthy snacks.

3. Clear values

In an ideal world, engaged employees work for more than just a pay cheque - they work to achieve your organisation's mission.Using the tools you have at hand, you can make sure that people understand the mission and feel connected to it. 

  • Make your values visible - on your website, your company intranet, on the walls of your building, everywhere!

  • Regularly talk about these values in meetings and CEO addresses, and how new projects and tasks will serve to uphold them.

  • Publicly recognize staff who best represent your values in the work they do

banner-lowes-article

4. Transparency

Transparency isn’t just good ethics - it’s good business.

Research shows that organizational transparency is the highest determining factor of employee happiness. So, it’s time to start sharing!

Open communication between management and employees establishes a relationship built on trust. And when there is trust - there is an emotional commitment to the company. 

The best thing about transparency is that it’s completely free. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Encourage regular communication from your CEO, whether it be a weekly internal blog post or a news article.

  • Share stories of what’s happened around the business that week, particularly within upper management, and tie it back to your organizational mission.

  • Host a quarterly company-wide meeting to discuss upcoming developments, departmental updates, strategic objectives and initiatives, and financial performance.

5. Recognition

It can be difficult to ‘switch off’, and many of us take home some of the feelings we experience at work.

Essentially, the happier our work experience is, the happier we are.

One of the most powerful determinants of employee happiness is simply being thanked.  And what are the other effects of leaders acknowledging staff’s efforts?

Employees feel a stronger connection to those leaders. Culture expert, William Craig, reports that “90 percent of employees who received recognition from their boss in the past month indicated higher levels of trust in that boss. Among employees who received no recognition, only 48 percent indicated they trusted their higher-ups.”

So, how can you start saying thanks?

  • In meetings, verbally thank employees that contribute strong ideas or that actively demonstrate your core company values.

  • For exemplary work, send a thank you email to the employee and CC a relevant manager or leader.

If you have an Enterprise Social Network or intranet, give the employee a ‘shout out’ in the appropriate forum.

6. Have a voice

Disengaged employees adopt the mindset that “What I say doesn’t matter." In contrast, an engaged employee contributes their ideas, and is confident that they will be heard respectfully. When employees give feedback, it shows that they truly care about the direction of the project or organization. 

  • In meetings, leaders should encourage two-way communication. Ask questions and show that you value the input of others. Where appropriate, action suggestions and credit the contributing staff member.

  • A well-designed intranet is another fantastic way to enable communication across all corners of your business and to help employees find their voice. To encourage adoption, set clear guidelines around which conversations should happen where and what kind of content is appropriate. Have senior staff lead by example via regular contributions and to respond to posts where appropriate - remember, there’s only value in staff voicing their ideas if you’re actually listening.

7. Relationships

Harvard Business Review reports that close friendships with colleagues boosts employee satisfaction by 50% and “People with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.”

Help facilitate employee connections by:

  • Encouraging staff to connect with their colleagues by offering communal spaces, team lunches and outside of work activities.

  • Forming a team to enter a fundraising event or a social sporting competition to help personal connections flourish.

  • Assigning a mentor or 'buddy' to each new starter - a great way to build relationships and share knowledge.

8. Social cause

A 2017 survey by O.C. Tanner found that “Charitable giving is an opportunity for companies to reinforce their purpose - their greater cause, beyond just products and services- and help employees connect to that purpose.”

The data further confirmed that when employees participate in corporate charity, 78 percent of employees express support for their company values.

To get started, you might enter a team in a fun-run, hold a fundraising event, or volunteer at a local shelter.

9. Mental health support

With 6.7 percent of US adults having at least one period of severe depression per year, a 2003 study by Stewart, et al found that mental illness costs business approximately $225 billion annually. Those battling the black dog are likely to struggle to feel passionate about their work or perform at their best. 

Any mental health initiative must be authentic to be successful. People can sense insincerity from a mile away, so don’t offer to help if you have no intention of following through. Instead, put tangible measures in place to support your staff.

Let’s look at some actionable ideas to supporting your team:

  • Run an anxiety management or mindfulness workshop.

  • Embrace initiatives such as World Mental Health Day and direct employees to who they can talk to for help.

  • For those that are suffering - work with them to put a plan in place, including provisions for time off to attend counselling/treatment.

Encourage employees to keep an eye out for each other, and reward those that demonstrate camaraderie.

10. Wellness initiatives

The ROI of investing in the health of your staff can be seen beyond just employee engagement levels.

Harvard Business Review found that, on average, employers who invested in health and wellness initiatives reaped $6 in healthcare savings for every dollar invested.

For employees, wellness initiatives such as office yoga classes, gym membership deals or step challenges, are both enjoyable and beneficial for their overall health.It shows that you care about staff wellbeing, - and makes people feel supported and appreciated.

11. Inclusion

Embracing gender, cultural and LGBT diversity within the workplace is key to creating a vibrant, innovative workforce that can tend to a broad range of customers’ needs. In fact, businesses that operate in an inclusive culture outperform others by an incredible 80 percent.

For staff, it goes without saying that feeling safe, accepted and respected is imperative if they are to be engaged, and thus high performing, at work. Stephen Frost, author of The Inclusion Imperative, writes that “When LGBT people remain in the closet, they are 10 percent less productive than when they feel able to be themselves.”

Steps you can take to achieve inclusion:

  • Incorporate diversity into your key business values, and promote this internally and externally. Your company intranet is a great place to share this.

  • Celebrate initiatives such as Multicultural Diversity Day. At GreenOrbit, we got in the spirit by each bringing a traditional dish to share with each other at lunch!

At work events, such as your end of year celebrations, encourage staff to bring their partners and families.

12. Rewards

Too often, incentives are used as a Band-Aid solution for employee engagement. Having read this far through the article, you’ll now know that employee engagement is a complex beast. While these initiatives undoubtedly have their time and place, they form a piece of a much larger puzzle. 

Rewards should be reserved for engaged employees who exceed performance expectations.

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Rewards should be reserved for engaged employees who exceed performance expectations, rather than as merely an incentive for under-performing staff to get their act together. Everybody loves cash, but there are plenty of ‘money can’t buy’ rewards that will truly excite and engage your team.

Jeff Haden, author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win, suggests:

  • Lunch with the CEO: This provides a rare opportunity for the employee to network with a senior leader and share their ideas and thoughts. On the flipside, your CEO gets to connect with staff they might not know well, and gain insight to the business from another perspective.

  • The premier parking spot: Let the high-performing employee park in the best parking spot for a week. Jeff suggests even placing a small sign with their name on it to make it ‘official’ and to really highlight your appreciation.

  • Free team lunch: Let your employee choose where they’d like to go, and bring their workmates along with them. They will get to enjoy their favourite food and connect with their team in a relaxed setting, strengthening their relationships.

13. Work flexibility

Gallup has consistently found that “Flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.” 

In fact, 64% of employees would choose a lower paying job if they could work away from the office just 1 day a week.

Why?

Because balancing work and life is hard. By offering flexible hours, people are able to work when and where they feel most productive. They can easier balance family commitments and other passions while they work, alleviating stress to increase their quality of life.

14. Education

Investing in the education of your staff is crucial to helping them grow and develop. In turn, your business will reap the rewards of their new-found skills.

So where do you start?

One of the easiest ways to educate your team is to provide online training, allowing staff to complete learning in their own time, while it’s both easier and more affordable for managers to create.

If running courses internally is not an option, there’s plethora of free online qualifications that staff can complete. Gather a team and schedule a meeting each week to work through the course together.

15. Career development

The LinkedIn Global Job Seeker Trends Report states that the number one reason employees leave jobs is due to a lack of career progression opportunities - and the top draw card for a new role is the ability to progress their career. 

As discussed above, education plays a big part in this and is a great first step to building skillsets and experience. Commit to annual performance reviews and quarterly informal catch ups to provide feedback and direction to employees - ask them where they’d like to progress in their career, and define a pathway with KPIs to help guide them there. 

A great way to encourage staff to adopt a long-term vision is to highlight the stories of those that have forged a successful path within your business. This might be in the form of networking events, as part of a podcast or a video series on your staff intranet.

Employee engagement infographic

When it comes to employee engagement, the results speak for themselves; productivity and profitability rise, while turnover and absenteeism decreases. A commitment to employee engagement really is a commitment to success. 

Remember, seeing and treating your employees as a collective group of humans is the first and most important step.

From there, wholeheartedly and consistently practising these 15 tips will ingrain employee engagement in your culture. 

 

Topics: company intranet, employee engagement, enterprise social network

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