Smash hit internal communication ideas by award-winning companies

The best practices in internal communications, as recognised by the industry.

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Type of IC: Employee engagement
Company: Multichoice, a dominant video and internet company in South Africa.
Goal: To engage their distributed workforce, in this case, the customer service agents.
What they did: Launched a year-long initiative called #ninentynine to bring customer service agents together for one common goal: resolve the top 99 frustrations voiced by customers. 
Recognition byCEB Internal Communications Awards, 2017.
How they did it: They launched the initiative with a full buy-in from the management: in fact, the CEO took on the first challenge. The company also launched a roadshow for the call centre agents, and visited each region twice to spread awareness and take stock of matters. Mailers and reminders were used to sustain awareness and draw attention to the progress of the campaign. Surprise parties were thrown each time a challenge was overcome by employees. At the end of one-year, all 99 challenges were solved: as a result, self-service customers doubled, the churn reduced and escalated customer complaints dropped by 37%.
Incentive for employees: Limited-edition branded gifts, badges, peer-recognition.
Your Takeaway: Always get a buy-in from your C-level executives. Employee engagement initiatives have far-reaching impact when there is a show of support from top management.

 

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Company: Sovini Group, a UK-based property management and development firm.
Recognition byChartered Institute of Public Relations Awards 2017
Goal: Replace annual conferences with something better, so that the mission and values could be imparted more effectively to their dispersed staff. The goal was to also do it within the existing budget of £35,000.
What they did: Launched “Sovini Games”, a weeklong team-building event in 2016. The event, packed with fun mental, physical and gastronomical challenges, had 100% positive feedback and 0% impact on frontline services. It was miles ahead than their annual conference in terms of outcome, and was also cheaper by 88%.
How they did it: After a 11-day research and risk assessment, the company launched the concept to its employees. With 2 months to go for the event, it put all resources on handling communication and logistics . Right from creative visuals, to SMS reminders, and announcing event calendar, the team ensured that there was a constant buzz , pre and post event. To get employees to become more involved, the team appointed several captains and used their photos for their poster campaign. It also set up a voting system for teams, to make communication bidirectional. No aspect of it was outsourced, the enthusiasm was such that employees themselves did it all inhouse. (this translated to huge savings for the company) 
The games was voted as the best staff event for the year. A month after the Sovini Games was launched, an 8% higher staff satisfaction was achieved.
Incentive for employees: None. Just that they were a part of a fun week-long event.
Your takeaway: Annual events should not follow a template. They should be designed in a bottom-up fashion, after understanding what the staff really wants.

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Type of IC: Information dissemination
Company: Royal Mail Group, UK’s designated Universal Postal Service provider.
Goal: Engaging with 150,000+permanent postal workers.
Recognition byInstitute of Internal Communication Awards, 2017
What they did: Reinvigorated old channels of communication, and merged them with new ones. They moved with the changing times.
How they did it: The company overhauled their newsletter (“Courier”) with a flashier tabloid-like design. The newsletter, which was circulated to employees’ and many pensioners’ home addresses ten times a year, also featured QR codes so readers could look up additional information on their phones. Courier “newsflashes” were also used for getting the facts out fast to their staff. Courier now has a circulation of 210,000, according to the company.
Your Takeaway: Digitizing all or part of your IC strategy proves to be a win-win for you as well as your employees.

 

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Type of IC: Creative campaign
Company: NHS Merseyside, a mental health trust and a NHS provider in UK. 
Recognition byInstitute of Internal Communication Awards, 2017
Goal: Getting 1,000s of NHS staff to take get a flu jab, so they don’t pass on their infection to vulnerable elderly patients.
What they did: Launched a creative campaign called #Jabdone.
How they did it: NHS, with help from marketing communications firm Kenyonstook a light-hearted approach to a serious problem. For the staff, a flu jab was a trivial waste of time, as they had to nurse life-threatening diseases of elderly people everyday. But it was important that they did it, as it helped protect vulnerable patients. And so, instead of coaxing their staff, Kenyons used a mixture of traditional, paper-based and digital media material to encourage NHS employees to get injected: “Get the #jabdone” did the trick. The staff were also encouraged to take a ‘flu selfie’ once their injection was administered. 
The campaign was featured on BBC’s ‘The One Show’ and was expected to be replicated across other trusts. About 75% of their staff got vaccinated by 31 December 2016, resulting in the best performing year for NHS staff flu vaccination uptake in Merseyside to date. 
Incentive for employees: None. Just a chance to be a part of a fun watercooler conversations.
Your takeaway: A well-designed piece of content reaps handsome rewards. Make sure to dedicate enough time to fine-tune and refine it.

 

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Type of IC: Survey
Company: Queensland Urban Utilities, Australia-based retail water supplier.
Goal: Understand what factors influenced employee safety motivation and behaviours, as it had higher-than-anticipated number of lost-time injuries from routine activities.
Recognition byPRWeek UK Awards 2017
What they did: The company invested in an in-depth research following principles of psychology to understand employee perceptions and existing gaps. They gathered the data they needed to focus their communications on specific internal audiences. Drawing from the insights that the survey offered, the CEO did a roadshow, post which 81% of employees said they felt empowered to contribute to helping build a more positive and constructive culture. The company also launched Contractor Safety Partnering Forums and 95% of them reported a safe work area.
Your takeaway: Invest time and resources on your ground work. It is critical for the long term success of your internal communications strategy.