A newly merged organisation was trying hard to bring its people together. It was meeting resistance and needed to know what was causing the challenge while also overhauling its approach to internal communication. I ran a survey, held a series of interviews with key stakeholders across the organisation and focus groups with different teams to find out where the blockages were and to understand what communication people valued and how they liked to receive company information and interact with each other.
My findings through this discovery project enabled this housing association to cut ineffective channels from its communication armoury, build on the areas that were working and introduce Workplace from Facebook with a clear strategy, to help them bring their people together across sites. With teams on the road or in different offices it was previously hard to connect. Add to which some styles and methods of communication needed a review and so line manager communication was enhanced through training and tools to help key people communicate more confidently. Now the teams are connected through the app no matter where they are working and the division has disappeared over time with conscious leadership that worked hard to overcome the challenges.
I helped a small charity with a full culture and customer audit to give them insight and a deep understanding about what was working well and what was blocking their progress in key areas. By talking to volunteers, paid staff and the users of the charity’s services I was able to provide them with a comprehensive view of gaps in their communication and disconnect between what was being said and the reality on the ground. This audit provided key decision makers with the information to take definitive action on some hotspots in the organisation and ensure their ability to continue delivering a vital service. This audit was particularly challenging as it was working with vulnerable individuals and extremely passionate volunteers set against a deep history and a challenging future.
I partnered with an agency to support them with a client with growing needs to deliver a full mix of employee communications and events. The client operated within the biotech sector and had a strong culture and history of autonomy and flexibility. As the organisation was adapting to future needs it was keen to bring people together and connect them under the brand and their corporate strategy. We worked together to support them in creating and running monthly Town Halls, campaign content and an all-employee event. This event transformed their historical summer party into an opportunity for everyone to play a part in sharing their extraordinary knowledge and work with each other. Engagement and fun were key factors of the day and feedback from attendees was fantastic.
An NHS trust had introduced some significant changes to its service structure and delivery. The change happened rapidly after years of debate through management teams; inevitably there was some resistance. I was called in to find out what staff really thought about the change, the way it was managed and communicated, beyond the chatter that was being heard.
I created and managed a large all-staff survey and team sessions for line managers to have collective conversations with their people. I also hosted open drop-in sessions with senior managers on hand to answer questions and pick up operational issues. I used a range of methods to encourage open and honest discussion across two days and two locations. The response to the survey, conversations and drop-in sessions was brilliant and we learned so much to help the trust adapt the services further to work more effectively and improve the approach to future changes.
Many organisations have values. It’s standard practice, but all too often they can become less relevant, or people in the organisation may no longer connect with the values. This can happen when the values written on the wall are not practiced in the organisation, or sometimes because an organisation has adapted and not continued to communicate the values and their meanings.
At this organisation it was the latter. They’d been so invested in other changes happening and big projects to move the organisation forward that the values no longer seemed relevant. After spending a couple of days with the different teams and having one-to-one conversations with leaders, I provided a comprehensive piece of research and action plan with a menu of options to help them reignite the values in the organisation and guide some behaviour changes to help people reach their potential in their work and develop their careers.
I’ve been mentoring communication practitioners through my work with Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) committees and my network on an informal basis for years. In 2016 I decided to join the Charity Comms network as a mentor there. I’ve supported people from different backgrounds to achieve their career ambitions. As a member of CIPR, it adds a standard of professionalism and credibility to me as a mentor. I’ve helped comms professionals in different scenarios at various stages in their careers from starting out to the final stretch before retirement.
For example I supported a communication leader preparing to retire and helped her to ensure her team was resilient and ready for the future. In another situation I helped an individual who was struggling to find her path in her current role, so supported her to consider her options in her role, where she saw her future and help her to achieve her career goals.
I was working with a team in local government. They had been through an incredibly busy time, and experienced numerous changes in the team and the wider council. Individuals were tired and stressed, losing sight of their abilities and value both of themselves and as a team. They needed a reboot. I created a bespoke lunch and afternoon workshop to help them to reconnect with each other and their work. I ran sessions to help them have some fun together, find their superpowers and see the impact of their work for the council and local residents.
We covered the core topics of strategic narrative, brand, media relations approach and building a reputation. What made the day a success was the team bonding and having the realisation that they all had a ‘comms superpower’ and were making an impact. It was a great launchpad for the team and they went on to establish stronger relations within the council and continue to deliver excellent work.