Kath McNiff

Kath McNiff

Recent Posts

The Top 15 Digital Workplace Conferences for 2019

Posted by Kath McNiff on Feb 5, 2019 10:34:40 AM

 

If the calendar of upcoming conferences is anything to go by - excitement around the #futureofwork is reaching fever pitch.

HR, Comms, and Digital Workplace professionals from all over the world are joining forces in an attempt to understand, leverage and shape the technologies and processes driving workplace transformation.

 

So - get out your calendar, book your flights and join them!

As well as witnessing thought leaders in action, you may get a chance to hob-nob with celebrity keynoters like Oprah, Martha Stewart and Garry Kasparov.

These 15 conferences from around the globe will challenge you, inspire you and drag you (kicking and screaming?) into the new world of work.

ATD TechKnowledge

WHEN: Feb 6-8

WHERE: West Palm Beach, Florida

HASHTAG: #ATDTK

atdtk

TechKnowledge is a learning technologies conference for talent development professionals that delivers practical how-to’s, advanced strategy and solutions, and everything in between. 

Keynote Speakers

  • Dean Kamen - inventor of the Segway Human Transporter

  • Shaili Chopra- Founder of SheThePeople TV and Award-Winning Journalist

  • Ben Nemtin - Number 1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Star of MTV's The Buried Life

Digital Workplace Summit

WHEN: Feb 13

WHERE: Melbourne, Australia

HASHTAG: #digitalworkplace19

ForeFront-DW-Summit

The Digital Workplace Summit gathers leaders of Digital Workplace and Employee Experience to explore the latest thinking around collaboration, UX, technology and the future of work. 

Keynote speakers include:

Digital Workplace 24 

WHEN: Feb 26-27

WHERE: Online

HASHTAG: #DW24

DW24

Digital Workplace 24 is a unique digital workplace insight event, broadcasting from around the world over 24 hours. Hosts from Europe, North America and Asia Pacific take you live into the digital workplaces of the world’s leading organizations, with live tours, demos and guest interviews (including one with US presidential Candidate fo 2020, Andrew Yang)

Studio Guests:

Ragan Internal Comms and Culture

WHEN: March 6-8

WHERE: Chicago

HASHTAG: #RaganInternalComms

ragan2019

This conference focuses on how to keep employees engaged and build a culture that withstands any upheaval. It looks at ways to revamp outdated channels, break into new platforms, improve executive communications and demonstrate ROI.

Keynote Speakers

  • Theresa Ludvigson - Senior director, global onboarding Salesforce

  • Ally Bunin - Vice president, employee engagement Brighton Health Plan Solutions

Intra.NET Reloaded

WHEN: April 04 – 05

WHERE: Boston

intranetreloaded

Intra.NET Reloaded Boston provides organizations with insights into new developments in the digital workplace landscape and covers strategic and technical aspects of employee communication, as well as change management strategies.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Yuri Aguiar - Director of Innovation and Transformation Ogilvy Group

  • Brooke Buchanan - Former SVP of Communications and Government Affairs, Whole Foods Market

ATD International Conference  

WHEN: May 19-22

WHERE: Washington, D.C.

HASHTAG: #ATD2019

ATD2019

The ATD International Conference & Exposition is the largest event for talent development professionals worldwide.

It focuses on the knowledge, strategies, and solutions organizations need to effectively attract, develop, and retain top talent. 

Keynote Speakers

Gartner Digital Workplace Summit

WHEN: 29-30 May

WHERE: Orlando, Florida

gartner

A conference focused on the technologies people use to get work done in today’s modern work environment.

Featured Speakers:

  • Matt Cain - Vice President Gartner

  • Jeffrey Mann - Research Vice President for collaboration and social software at Gartner Research.

  • Helen Poitevin - Research Director with a focus on HCM technologies

2019 IABC World Conference

WHEN: 9-12 June

WHERE: Vancouver

HASHTAG: #IABC19

IABC

The 2019 International Association of Business Communicators World Conference explores challenges and opportunities facing the communication profession. The event draws over 1300 attendees from around the world.

Keynote Speakers

Festival of Work

WHEN: 12-13 June

WHERE: Olympia London

HASHTAG: #festivalofwork

CIPD

The CIPD Festival of Work brings together business leaders, technologists, people professionals and learning and development experts to explore, debate and celebrate why the future of work is human after all.

It explores ways of leading, harnessing technology and equipping employees with the skills to succeed in the future of work.

Keynote Speakers

  • Garry Kasparov - Former World Chess Champion, Chair of the Human Rights Foundation, Best-Selling Author

  • Neil Harbisson - World’s first Cyborg Artist and Co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation

Enterprise Digital Workplace Summit

WHEN: 17 June

WHERE: The British Academy, London

Enterprise Digital Workplace Summit

Hosted at the British Academy in London, the Enterprise Digital Workplace Summit is a European event which brings together professionals to discuss the future of work with the digital workplace. The summit includes keynotes, lessons learned, case studies and workshops.

Keynote Speakers

Digital Workplace Experience – DWX 2019

WHEN: 17–19 June

WHERE: Chicago, USA

HASHTAG: #DW2019

Digital Workplace Experience Conference

Digital Workplace Experience (DWX) is an interactive event for the global community of intranet and digital workplace professionals that is a collaboration between Digital Workplace Group and SMG/CMSWire.

Discover how organizations like NASA, H&R Block, The Scottish Government, Walmart and Southwest Airlines run their digital workplaces.

Keynote Speakers:

SHRM19 Annual Conference and Exposition

WHEN: 23-26 June

WHERE: Las Vegas

HASHTAG: #SHRM2019

SHRM

This year's Society for Human Resource Managers Conference focuses on creating better workplaces. It delves into technology, innovation and the changing landscape of work. 

Keynote Speakers 

  • Blake Mycoskie - Founder and Chief Shoe Giver, TOMS

  • Vineet Nayar - Founder Chairman of Sampark Foundation

  • Brené Brown - Author and Researcher, University of Houston

  • Martha Stewart - Emmy Award-Winning Television Show Host, Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author

Digital Employee Experience (DEX) 2019

WHEN: 18-20 September

WHERE: Sydney, Australia

HASHTAG: #DEX2019

DEX

Digital employee experience (#DEX) considers every touchpoint between staff and their employer. This conference brings together intranet teams, digital teams, internal comms, IT and HR to explore what great DEX looks like.

 

HR Technology Conference and Exposition

WHEN: 1-4 October

WHERE: Las Vegas

HASHTAG: #HRTechConf

hrtech

A conference focused on the HR technology market - with this year's theme being Women in Technology.  It looks at the ways HR and IT executives can leverage technology and secure their pivotal roles in overall company success.

Keynote Speakers:

Boye 2019

WHEN: Nov 4- 7

WHERE: Aarhus, Denmark

HASHTAG: #boye2019

Boye19

This digital leadership conference is a blend of keynotes, workshops, sprints, customer stories and analyst talks. 

Speakers:

 

 

Topics: workplace, conference, digital workplace

The 5 Enemies of Effective Workplace Collaboration

Posted by Kath McNiff on Jan 23, 2019 5:28:39 PM

Collaboration is king in the new world of work.

Disruptors like Uber and Airbnb and have shown that small teams of diverse thinkers are capable of toppling industries and building breakthrough products that change the world.

With the #futureofwork on our doorstep, collaboration has become more important than ever - it's the secret sauce of innovation and is vital for business survival and success.  

As Jason Fox (wizard rogue and author of How to Lead Quest) says:

"To find futures, we need to venture into the angst of uncertainty and systematically and collectively use our imagination to explore what's possible."

But collaborating (especially amidst uncertainty) is not as easy as it sounds and organizations can struggle to get it right.

For specific ideas on creating a space for collaboration, you might want to check out our White Paper:

Get-Your-Team-Going_Call-To-Action-1For now, let's review a few of the barriers that get in the way of collaboration and look at ways of jumping them.

Lack of training

Businesses build break-out rooms and setup team messaging tools in the hope that collaboration will just happen.

But like any other skill, collaboration requires training - tailored to a company's unique challenges and goals.

To collaborate effectively, teams need to understand how to

  • Actively listen

  • Have challenging conversations

  • Use collaboration tools

  • Develop effective partnerships

  • Manage accountability

HR leaders can build a truly collaborative workplace by helping people to understand the art (and science) of collaboration - including how it plays into everyday processes and broader business goals.

5-enemies-of-collaboration-training-5

Those damn Silos

A recent survey from My Customer.com, reveals that 40 percent of employees feel unsupported by their colleagues because "different departments have their own agendas."

When departments hoard information and focus on their own goals, the business at large misses out on the convergence of perspectives and potential improvements that a more collaborative approach would provide.

In her book The Innovation Formula, Dr. Amantha Imber shares a funny yet telling anecdote about a lingerie company where "bras didn't talk to panties"  - two ridiculously siloed departments that led to mismatched underwear and significant customer frustration. 

One of the problems is that different departments tend to favor different tools and processes - so getting on the same page in a digital sense can prove difficult. This is where a central platform for communication, cooperation, and coordination can help to break down the silos and bridge the information gaps - and voila, matching undies! 

Senior leaders need to bring departments together regularly - to set complementary agendas, share challenges and reap the benefits of cross-pollination. 

5-enemies-of-collaboration-silos 3

Fragmented Tools

Collaboration tools are hot right now - and they'll stay hot according to a recent report via Computer World.

 "...collaboration software has become an increasingly integral part of how work is both organized and carried out".

But the sheer volume of disparate tools can defeat the very purpose they're intended to serve.

Email, Skype, Slack, comments in Word docs and PDFs - with so many conversations going on all over the place, it can be hard to keep track of collaborative efforts.

The proliferation of collaboration platforms shows no signs of slowing down so the challenge will be to consolidate and find a simpler, more holistic solution -  one that engages workers, organizes collective knowledge and ignites the collaborative spark - or as the recent research from Deloitte suggests:

"HR organizations must work with IT to bring their expertise in team management, goal-setting, and employee development to help make using the new wave of connectivity tools productive, simple, and engaging."

5-enemies-of-collaboration-holistic 5

The 'T' Word

According to PWC's Global CEO Survey, 50% of CEOs worldwide consider a lack of trust to be a major threat to their organizational growth.

Trust is at the heart of every great collaboration - it starts at the top of an organization and filters down.

It practical terms, it means that people can depend on each other to:

  • Follow through and do what they say they will do

  • Put skin in the game (share the risks and rewards)

  • Acknowledge good work

  • Compromise where needed

  • Show vulnerability

  • Empathize

  • Share opinions without fear of ridicule, reprisal or idea-theft

  • Overcome personal biases and default ways of thinking

Research has shown that people working in trust-based cultures are 60% more likely to enjoy their jobs and 70% more aligned with their companies' purpose - the perfect storm for collaboration and innovation.

5-enemies-of-collaboration-trust 6

The Other 'T' Word

Collaboration? Who's got time for that?

Time is precious and there's so much work to do. Dr Jason Fox calls this relentless busyness "the curse of efficiency" and goes on to explain how it crowds out time for collaboration, innovation, and good strategic development.

Operational efficiency is crucial to business success but it doesn't drive change or push the boundaries.

So, why do we continue to focus on it? Because we're good at it, because it feels comfortable and because it's less frightening than tackling the big problems or seeking new horizons.

Organizations can free up time for collaboration by automating the busy work - using their intranet for online forms, workflows and tick-the-box compliance requirements. 

To carve out time for intentional collaboration (instead of just hoping it will happen in an ad-hoc or serendipitous way) organizations can set particular days of the week as 'Collaboration Days' - where people plan to be in the office for team meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Or, like Atlassian, they could run regular ShipIt Days where teams can drop what they’re doing and collaborate to "make something awesome.”

Get Collaboration Going

From building an International Space Station to mapping the Human Genome or composing Hey Jude - collaboration is key to our greatest leaps forward.

The same is true for your business.

For a deeper dive into the challenges of collaboration and how your intranet can help, download our White Paper. 

 Get-Your-Team-Going_Call-To-Action-1

 

Topics: company intranet, Collaboration, innovation, esn

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.

banner-jason-fox-AHRI-2018

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.

banner-employee-engagement

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

banner-shall-not-to-broadcast-email-article

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! 

3-ways

 

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

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.

blog- Mood-board11

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.

blog_calendar01

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

blog_agenda11

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.

blog-news

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.

blog-celebrate-success01

Now, you deserve a break.

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

blog-annual-leave

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

The secret to writing intranet articles that employees love

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

 

write_intranet_articles_your_employees_love

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.

manasvita-s-844576-unsplash1

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

Employee Engagement 2018: The Ultimate Crash Course

Posted by Kath McNiff on Aug 10, 2018 2:00:00 PM

banner-employee-engagement

Search on the term ‘Employee Engagement’ and Google will serve up over 121 million results - a mind-boggling collection of strategies, statistics, trends and expert advice.

If you’re trying to get your head around the concept, it’s a lot to take in.

Maybe you’re even a little skeptical about the whole Employee Engagement thing – wondering if it’s a passing fad.

Or maybe you're on board with the idea but don’t know where to start.

The following lessons will lead you through the labyrinth, pointing out useful resources along the way.

Lesson 1. What is Employee Engagement?

Like Shrek and that proverbial onion, ‘Employee Engagement’ has so many layers.

  • For senior executives it has to do with culture, values and competitive edge.

  • For managers, it’s about building trust, facilitating relationships, recognizing accomplishments and empowering people to do their best work.

  • For individuals, engagement is wrapped-up in the neuroscience of motivation, well-being and happiness. It’s about being switched-on, proactive, enthusiastic, involved and driven by a sense of purpose.

This definition from the MacLeod Report succeeds in capturing the onion-like layers:

“Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being."

This one, from author Daniel Cable, captures the spirit in a single sentence:

"Encouraging people to bring their best selves to work."

If you want to up-the-ante on Employee Engagement in your organization, you’ll need to create a definition that suits your unique challenges and goals – think of it as an Employee Engagement mission statement.

employee_engagement-mission

Lesson 2. What Employee Engagement Is Not

To make sure you’re using the right terminology, it helps to understand how Employee Engagement differs from other closely-related concepts.

For example, it's more than Job Satisfaction which tends to be measure of how employees feel about ‘hygiene factors’ such as pay, hours and flexible working conditions.

It intersects with, but is separate from, Employee Experience – a fairly new approach that involves tracking the employee journey and creating an environment that encourages people to do their best work.

Also, most experts agree that Employee Engagement it is not about ping-pong tables, free muffins or dog-friendly offices (though I don’t see how these could hurt).

Lesson 3. Why Employee Engagement is So Hot Right Now

Why has it taken us this long to realize that a highly motivated workforce is central to success?

It seems so obvious.

Somewhere along the line we lost sight of humans and decided to focus on Gantt charts, performance metrics and sales funnels instead. But the tide is well and truly turning.

Leaders are looking up from their spreadsheets and beginning to understand that people are at the centre of business success – both as customers and as employees.

Need evidence that Employee Engagement is trending?

Earlier this year, the annual Employee Engagement Awards ceremony was held in London's Wembley Stadium (think Beyoncé and FA Cup).  It sold out.

If you’re wondering whether your organization needs to get serious about Employee Engagement, here's a snapshot of the main drivers:

  • Disruption - Uber and Airbnb proved that you could change the world with a great idea and a small team of committed innovators. To compete, the big players need to leverage the creativity and enthusiasm of their people and innovate from the ground up.

  • Blended Workforce - Different ages, genders, cultures - including a mix of part timers, contractors and remote workers - has made it increasingly difficult to unite and engage employees. Also, many employees (especially those pesky millennials) are beginning to place a higher value on learning, growth and sense of purpose.

  • Sobering Statistics – From around 2006, Gallup began reporting on the crisis in Employee Engagement. They found (and continue to find) that 85% of employees are disengaged and that this has a catastrophic effect on productivity and profitability.

  • Economics - Falling levels of unemployment and a changing economic landscape have made it increasingly difficult to attract and retain talent.

Lesson 4. Who is responsible for Employee Engagement?

Building an engaged workforce takes a lot of effort.

Whose job is it?

The prevailing consensus is that we are all responsible for Employee Engagement – everyone, from the CEO (Chief Engagement Officer!) to the customer service people on the ground.While this rings true, it takes strong leadership to build a workplace where Employee Engagement is the norm. Here are the main instigators and torchbearers:

  • Senior Executives need to create a transparent and intentionally-designed culture where employees can easily see the connection between their day-to-day tasks and the vision and aims of the organization.

  • HR Specialists also have a crucial role to play (many of the websites and white papers dedicated to Employee Engagement have been written by HR consultants). As the custodians of hiring, onboarding and compliance – they are uniquely positioned to introduce and champion Employee Engagement strategies within an organization.

  • Internal Communication departments are also key to successful Employee Engagement programs. Getting everyone on the same page via a thriving intranet and making sure that communication runs freely between employers and employees.

Current thinking also suggests that we, as individuals, need to take responsibility for our own engagement – understanding what motivates and inspires us and taking the steps to make it happen.

Lesson 5. The Neuroscience of Employee Engagement

So, we are beginning to understand how and why Employee Engagement has captured the corporate imagination.

But how does Employee Engagement feel?

The psychology of human motivation is complex and widely studied – but it’s worth getting familiar with these leading theories.Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsA theory of human motivation based on a pyramid of fundamental human needs:

  • Physiological - water, food, sleep and shelter

  • Security – personal, emotional, financial and health

  • Social belonging – friendships, intimacy and family

  • Ego – recognition, status, importance and respect

  • Self-actualization – reaching full potential

In this scenario, basic needs must be met before employees can reach their full potential.

banner-employee-engagement-maslow

Flow

A state described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi back in 1990.

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Think about the last time you were truly engaged in an activity – work or otherwise.

A time when you were totally absorbed – in the zone. When time passed unnoticed and hunger pains went ignored. When your brain was firing on all cylinders and a clear goal was in sight.

Felt pretty good, didn’t it?

This kind of discretionary effort and intrinsic motivation is at the heart of Employee Engagement.

Drive (the surprising truth about what motivates us)

In his paradigm-shattering book, Daniel Pink ignited the discussion around Employee Engagement by suggesting that humans are not motivated by rewards like money.

Instead - based on decades of scientific research - Pink outlines the trifecta of human motivation:

  • Autonomy – the desire to be self-directed

  • Mastery – the drive to keep improving at something that’s important to us

  • Purpose – the sense that what we do produces something meaningful

Lesson 6. Practical strategies for Employee Engagement

The theories are great but how can individuals or organizations put them into practice?

The internet is awash with potential Employee Engagement strategies - here are the top 7:

  1. Encourage employees to play to their strengths, experiment and try new things - Atlassian runs regular ShipIt Days where ad-hoc teams can “drop what they’re doing and make something awesome.”

  2. Take an individualized approach to on-boarding. Ask new hires to articulate their personal view of Employee Engagement – what is unique about you that leads to your happiest times and best performance at work?

  3. Let employees invent alternative job titles to describe their unique values, identities and talents. For example, at the Make-A-Wish foundation, the CEO is known as “Fairy Godmother of Wishes” while the administration assistant is “Goddess of Greetings”.

  4. Adopt the Cultural GAME Plan as described by Christine Comaford - (a template for Growth, Appreciation, Measurement and Engagement).

  5. Run regular Employee Engagement surveys and be sure to act on the results – people soon become cynical when their carefully- considered feedback disappears into a black hole.

  6. Employ mentors to guide employees along their career paths.

  7. Provide a centralized digital workspace and social network where employees can absorb the culture, build relationships and keep up to date with the latest developments.

    Discover how your intranet can amplify employee engagement strategies - download the e-book 3 Ways to Make Your Intranet a Launchpad for Success

Lesson 7. Who is getting it right?

According to Glassdoor, these are the top places to work in 2018. The employee reviews give great insight into what it takes to attract and retain engaged employees:

USA:

  • Facebook – “Good work-life balance and flexibility” “An AMPLE amount of free food”.

  • Bain & Company - "High impact on businesses worldwide, extremely steep learning curve, supportive environment and colleagues you are proud to work with"

  • Boston Consulting Group - "Great opportunities to grow and shape your career"

  • In-N-Out Burger – “High paying, good team atmosphere, great management, lots of opportunities for promotion”

  • Google – “Free food and baristas in every building" “Amazing people, great benefits, interesting work and opportunities galore”.

UK:

  • Anglian Water - "With a clear direction from the top and a friendly working environment."

  • Bromford – “Empowering environment where you're supported and encouraged to achieve your potential.”

  • Facebook - "Empowered and Emotionally intelligent engineers."

  • Salesforce - "I really like the 1-1-1 model that allows us to volunteer up to 7 days per year."

  • Lookers – “They hire the right people, who are friendly and very proactive”.

Lesson 8. The Risk of Getting it Wrong

The price of a disengaged workforce can be high – it’s important to understand the risks:

  • Bad reviews on sites like Glassdoor can be a red flag to new talent and can also put off prospective customers.

  • Poorly treated employees often take their negativity into new positions or onto social media – word travels fast.

  • Research shows that disengaged employees take more sick days and are less productive.

  • Being actively disengaged can lead to physical and mental health problems – Gallup reports that an alarming 54% of disengaged employees say that work stress caused them to behave poorly with friends or family members.

  • Investors are becoming wary of rule-driven cultures that “cause an organization to miss opportunities, miss how to allocate resources and misuse their talent”. (Gary Hamel)

Lesson 9. Tools and technology 

What technologies are available to support Employee Engagement?

Online Surveys – these can be used to ‘take the pulse’ of employee sentiment at regular intervals or gather more in-depth feedback over time. You can create your own or choose from a wide range of off-the-shelf offerings like Culture Amp or TinyPulse.

Data Analysis Tools - often, companies do an annual survey and the results (particularly the free form answers) languish in a spreadsheet somewhere. These are the words used by your employees and it's vitally important to "listen" to what this data is telling you. Tools like Interpris can help you organize and make sense of this crucial feedback.

Performance Management Software - helps you to set employee goals, manage one-on-one meetings (aka performance reviews), and give real-time feedback. Again, there is swag of tools to choose from – crewmojo, Bridge Performance Management and Cognology just to name a few.

Digital Workspace solutions – these are Intranets or digital workspaces that bring your people, documents and conversations together in a centralized platform. You can choose from a full-blown customizable solution like SharePoint or with an offering like GreenOrbit with everything you need, built in.

Lesson 10. Follow the influencers

Use Twitter to keep track of the latest thinking around #EmployeeEngagement.

Here are a few of the top influencers to get you started:

employee_engagement_beedupreemployee_engagement_danielpink employee_engagement_christine_comaford  employee_engagement_annamamalaki

Also, you can learn a lot from these Twitter #hashtags

#FoW or #futureofwork
#hrtech
#worktrends
#organizationalculture
#workplaceculture
#hrtransformation
#measureyourculture

Conclusion: Keep Learning

The concept of Employee Engagement, as workplace approach and cultural revolution, is evolving as we speak.

Hopefully, this crash course gives you a firm foundation for further exploration and inspires you to learn more.

What's your take on Employee Engagement?

Where are you in the journey to workplace enlightenment? 

Any articles, tools or influencers you would add to the mix?

Drop us a line in the comments below. 

Topics: employee engagement

Get our take on the latest intranet trends

Explore our perspectives on the intranet best practices, trends, and tips you need to get your organization going.

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts

Posts by Tag

See all