Who said engaging with employees was easy?

January 2019

More often than we all would like, we see internal communication strategies overlooked or simply not given enough resources to really have an impact. A strong and effective internal communications strategy is essential when it comes to creating a shared vision and meaning across all teams within an organisation, and ensures everyone is working collaboratively towards a common goal.

However, we’re not saying this is a straightforward task. When it actually comes to organisations communicating and engaging with their employees, as simple as it sounds, the reality is actually less so. Especially as organisations change and grow, this becomes more complex a challenge.  

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust is an organisation that provides health and wellbeing services for a population of around 1.5 million people, and helping them do that are a workforce of 7,000 staff members.

So what’s their story? Earlier in the year the results of their staff survey were released, highlighting some issues they weren’t already aware of and areas for improvement across the organisation.

The Trust immediately began work to come up with solutions and put in place initiatives to address the issues raised and make Lancashire Care a great place to work again. As a result, the ‘People at the Heart’ internal brand was born.

Fast forward one year, in the run up to the next staff survey there was a realisation that this activity had not been communicated across the organisation as far as required, and so not all staff were aware of the steps taken to improve their workplace.

A strong, sustainable and effective internal communications strategy was therefore needed to ensure staff were aware of all the great initiatives that had been put in place over the previous months.

With only eight weeks until the next survey was to be released, Cynergy were brought in to help create an engaging and interactive campaign with the aim of fostering a dialogue between employees at all levels and helping everyone understand the bigger picture. Ultimately, employees needed to believe that their organisation cares about their views.

To kickstart the campaign we helped create a high level, visual strategy which clearly outlined what the ‘People at the Heart’ campaign was all about, how it linked to the previous staff survey and what people could expect in the following weeks.

The Trust’s ‘People at the Heart’ brand was vibrant, fresh and engaging, and represented their refreshed organisational values, so we were able to work and build on this by linking themes (proposed by the team) to the six values, and from this we integrated the messages to create one, unified narrative.

Board members of the Trust were also nominated to take ownership of a value and became the face of the campaign, demonstrating that the approach is owned at all levels within the organisation and effectively championing the work and theme of the week. We supported each lead by creating briefing sheets and scheduling calls to outline the value they were championing, the theme of the week, key messages, and to suggest creative ideas that could bring it all to life.

Over the following eight weeks each theme and value was communicated through key deliverables including:

  • Visual screensavers: to reach the vast number of staff at the Trust, acting as a highly visual reminder of what the theme was and a signpost to find out more about the activity and who was leading.
  • The 8-week visibility programme: Nominated board members visited different locations across the 8-weeks, interacting with staff and conveying the week’s theme through different initiatives.
  • Interactive video content (e.g. short vlog interviews): To be shared on social media and microsite with the aim of engaging staff through visible leadership.
  • Social media campaign: To encourage interaction and discussion with staff, share updates, images, videos with #peopleatheheart to show they are ‘living’ the campaign day-to-day
  • A-Z cards: Printed folded Z-card which demonstrates the things that make their organisation so special and highlight what they are doing to make Lancashire Care a great place to work.
  • Innovation Exchange portal: Platform for staff to share their ideas, innovations or challenges with the whole trust.

 

Through each of these deliverables we aimed to collaborate and engage with staff, to co-produce a culture based on their values of integrity, respect, excellence, accountability, compassion and teamwork.

Internal communication strategies can never be a flash in the pan. Following completion of the campaign and after the survey had gone live, we encouraged Lancashire Care to continue engagement to show the integrity of the campaign and to truly embed the message and values into the mind’s of their staff.

And our work isn’t done yet! Cynergy and the Trust’s team are currently working together to implement the next steps to keep the ‘People at the Heart’ campaign alive and kicking – so we’re sure Lancashire Care will see another great year of transformation and growth!

A well-thought-out and robust internal comms strategy can really help your employees understand how they fit into the bigger picture, allows you to gain honest insight from the frontline and also creates better leaders; leaders who are better able to understand employee needs and ultimately how they can meet those needs to motivate and inspire.

How are you engaging with your staff? Need a boost of inspiration? Get in touch to see how we can help!