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Our evolving workplace is changing for the better and empowering employees. The dynamic is shifting and companies now have to do a better job marketing the employee experience to attract everyone from tenured managers to hourly employees. Not only is the job market tight, but people have higher expectations from their employers and a megaphone to share the good and bad of what it is like to work at your organization.

Start from within, engaging your employees so they support the employer brand, from the inside out

Employer brands are more than total rewards programs, great place to work awards, or positive press. Simply put, an employer brand reflects the company’s reputation as a place to work. But to do employer branding really well, you need to have an employee experience that reflects your companies values. Without this, your employer brand will fall flat. To build your employer brand this way, you have to start from within, engaging your employees so they support the employer brand, from the inside out.

Let’s Start with Defining What an Employer Brand Is

A company’s consumer brand is based on its reputation in the marketplace for its product and services. Today, company’s have much less control of their brand as the consumer perception defines the brand and social media gives them a platform. Of course, companies have not stopped focusing on their brand because of the rise of consumer influence. Smart brands are taking an approach that is honest, engages the consumer, and celebrates their participation in the brand experience. Employees are consumers, too, and have certain expectations. This shift towards participation, personalization, and authenticity is what employees have come to expect of the employee experience.

Who owns the employer brand?

As an employee experience agency, we get to work with amazing companies and there is an increased emphasis on the ‘employer brand’. It is a relatively new aspect for many organizations and the question many are trying to figure out is who is the keeper of the employer brand.

The ownership of the employer brand may float between marketing, comms, and HR. There is no right answer or approach to where it ‘should’ live. What is needed is a clear vision and alignment around what the employer brand means to a company. When this is discussed and defined all parties can move in the same direction. The challenge is getting there.

Four Tips to Develop your Employer Brand

Your goal is to translate the company brand architecture, tone of voice and visual styles for internal use, providing your company with an employer brand vision and a foundational set of tools used to communicate and manage the company employer brand.

  1. Review the consumer brand core values (what the brand believes in), personality (the character of the brand), emotional rewards (what/how the brand makes employees feel) and functional benefits (what tactical reward employees get from having a relationship with the brand).
  2. Translate the above into terms that will resonate with employees.
  3. Develop a tone and positioning guide to steer messaging/communications to employees and for use in recruiting.
  4. Develop an initial Style Guide to establish color palettes, fonts/typography, photography and graphic styles.
three steps to how internal communications and HR teams can play a role in creating an employer brand

Step #1: Get out of your silo and work with people across your organization.

To be honest, any internal comms department cannot develop an employer brand alone. So, your first step should be to assemble your cross-functional team. Marketing is going to bring a brand voice and tone perspective. HR is going to be your subject matter expert. And having an executive sponsor is going to help you break down walls and keep the momentum going.

Step #2: Leverage your knowledge of your workplace culture.

As an internal communicator, nobody knows the ins and outs of the organization like you do. You are the subject matter expert on what is important to the company, what is great about the culture, and where your organization needs to improve. With this knowledge, you are the key to making sure there is not an ‘expectation gap’ between your employer brand and the reality of your organization. HR will keep you honest on benefits. Marketing will keep you honest on brand. You will keep everyone honest on culture. Selling a candidate a lie will erode the employer brand you are trying so hard to build.

Step #3: Create an ‘inside-out’ employer brand.

Your employer brand needs to be real and transparent. Being transparent can be scary for many organizations, but it’s necessary and effective. If you or your leadership are concerned about what people are going to find out about the reality of your workplace then any employer brand you develop will be sitting on a throne of lies (yes, that is an Elf reference). When you leverage employee voices, activities, successes, and passions, you will attract like-minded candidates. This inside-out approach will drive your content and creative strategy. Candidates want to imagine themselves working at your company. You should paint the best and most accurate picture for them.  

Build your dream team, keep the brand honest, champion employee voices, and your employer brand is going to stand apart from the stock image, canned language, not entirely accurate employer brands that are a dime a dozen.

Need help creating an employer brand? Reach out and we would love to see how we can help.

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We’re excited to announce that our Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Lepis, will be presenting at the upcoming PRSA Oregon’s premier annual professional development conference, CommCon 2019, on May 3, in Portland, OR.

PRSA CommCon 2019 Conference: Communicating Through Chaos

The annual Communicator’s Conference attracts strategic communications (e.g., public relations, internal communications, content strategy) professionals spanning various industries, careers, and levels of experience. The event also attracts professionals working in other fields, including human resources, marketing, and media. The conference draws an audience of approximately 250 professionals. The conference focuses on trends that impact the communications professional by offering industry insights, interactive discussions, and tangible skills. This year’s theme, Communicating Through Chaos, promises to deliver valuable content and exciting presentations. Attendees will be able to connect with some of Oregon’s most influential companies and organizations.

Vignette’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Lepis will lead a presentation on How to leverage creativity in a time of chaos

Employees need consistency, clarity, and meaningful information to stay engaged and thrive. A moment of crisis or chaos in your organization can throw this out of balance and have lasting effects. Think of the fallout of a poorly handled layoff announcement. Bringing creativity to these situations can bring solutions that will cut through the noise in a time of chaos. An open mind, courage, and a process will deliver novel solutions that bring order to the chaos. The biggest enabler to a creative approach is permission to do things differently. Crisis moments have built-in timelines and boundaries which will help the creative process. Using human-centered models such as design thinking give the challenge a framework that people can follow for rapid solutions to communicate through chaos.

Come away with these key takeaways:

  • Understand how to find out what communications employees in your organization need during a time of crisis or chaos or crisis.
  • Advocate for novel and non-traditional approaches to solve communication problems in your organization.
  • Gain an understanding of how to use design thinking to develop creative solutions at a time crisis or organizational chaos.

Hope to see you there!

Tickets at the EARLYBIRD rate are now available — don’t miss out on your savings! Get your ticket now!

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Our weekly hand-curated Employee Experience roundup features articles and resources, guidance, and inspiration for those who have a role and responsibility in shaping the employee experience. We include a variety of sources and topics ranging from internal communications, employer branding, content, employee communications & campaigns, HR trends, and workplace culture.

In this week’s Employee Experience Roundup, in honor of National Employee Appreciation Day, read about 51 Powerfully Easy Ways to Appreciate Your Employees, discover the Best Places to Work in 2019 from job and recruiting site Glassdoor’s 11th annual Employees’ Choice Awards, plus more.

51 Powerfully Easy Ways to Appreciate Your Employees on Employee Appreciation Day— Inc. By Peter  @bizzwriter
“Today is Employee Appreciation Day — the first Friday in March — set aside to take a moment to do something special for your employees to let them know you care. According to a survey by employee recognition firm O.C. Tanner, while 44 percent thought it was “extremely or very important” to recognize Employee Appreciation Day, only 8 percent knew when it was observed, and only 10 percent said that their current place of employment does anything to actually celebrate the day.”

Why Companies Can’t Afford to Ignore National Employee Appreciation Day — HR Technologist, By Hani Godldstein
“According to the survey around employee appreciation, nearly half of employees feel their value at the company is reflected in the gifts received. Here are the top reasons people feel unappreciated at work, and what employers can do to correct that.

Employee Appreciation Day might sound like another fluffy holiday like National Donut Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day, but companies should not be so quick to dismiss this day. Given it is still a candidate’s market, businesses are finding the fight to attract and retain top talent is greater than ever. To reduce turnover, employers have to get honest about the status of their team’s morale, and creative with benefits, to show employees they’re invested in their growth as well.”

Enough About Employee ‘Engagement’! Focus on the Digital Employee ‘Experience’ Instead. — Entrepreneur, By Steffen Mair @stgmaier
“While employee engagement has long been a buzz phrase for companies, recently employee experience has become the new, trending focus. Think: a holistic approach that covers engagement, culture, performance management and career ownership, all rolled into one.”

Employee experience must transcend mere engagement, experts say — HR Drive, By Morgan Fecto
“Cultivating better employee engagement was top of mind for experts in HR, finance and marketing who spoke as part of Paycor’s 2019 Rise Web Summit — a two-day webinar series on Feb. 19 and 20. Webinars covered a variety of HR’s other focus areas, too, such as benefits compliance and unconscious bias in recruiting.”

What Exactly Is The Employee Experience? — Forbes Coaches Council, By Anette Franz @ForbesCoaches
“The employee experience. It’s finally getting the airtime it deserves. Yes, some of that airtime is in the form of more consultants talking and writing about it, but when they’re doing that, they’re spreading the word and pointing companies in the right direction.”

Glassdoor Just Announced the 100 Best Places to Work for 2019 (Is Your Company on the List?) —Inc. By Peter Economy @bizzwriter @Inc
“Job and recruiting site Glassdoor just announced the winners of its 11th annual Employees’ Choice Awards, honoring the Best Places to Work in 2019 across North America and parts of Europe. These awards are a bit different than most because the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback about their job, work environment, and employer over the past year.”

CAN YOU ‘KONDO’ YOUR COMMS? — Sequel Group @sequel_group
“Decluttering expert Marie Kondo has inspired household purges all over the world, but what would it mean to apply her teachings to the world of internal communication?”

Ep. 75: How HR leaders can shape the future of work. — ex Podcast interview with Jason Averbook @ex_summit @jasonaverbook
“The workforce is changing, and we must change with it. In fact, HR is going through the same disruption as Marketing went through 10-15 years ago with the rise of technology. “HR departments that grasp the value of the ‘digital workforce experience’ and its role in keeping people happy, productive, and engaged will lead the charge into the future. Those who don’t will find themselves woefully behind”.

HR has historically been focus on processes, policies and compliance. HR leaders must seize this formidable opportunity to bring the “human” function at a more strategic level in our organizations, leveraging the power of digital to break down the silos, bring EX advocates from HR, Marketing, Recruiting, Customer Experience, Operations, IT together to build a frictionless workforce experience, designed with and for the people they serve: the employees.”

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Our weekly hand-curated Employee Experience roundup features articles and resources, guidance, and inspiration for those who have a role and responsibility in shaping the employee experience. We include a variety of sources and topics ranging from internal communications, employer branding, content, employee communications & campaigns, HR trends, and workplace culture.

In this week’s Employee Experience Roundup, watch a TED Talk on 8 lessons on building a company people enjoy working for. Smart, simple, direct advice from Patty McCord who served as chief talent officer of Netflix and helped create the Netflix Culture Deck. Also, read about the 2019 State of the Sector—The Definitive Global Survey of the Internal Communication and Employee Engagement Landscape, plus more.

8 lessons on building a company people enjoy working for — TED Talk, Patty McCord @TEDTalks @pattymccord1
“Most companies operate on a set of policies: mandated vacation days, travel guidelines, standard work hours, annual goals. But what happens when a company looks less to control and more to trust? Patty McCord, the iconic former chief talent officer at Netflix, shares the key insights that led her to toss the handbook out the window.”

State of the Sector 2019 — Gatehouse @gatehousegroup
“State of the Sector is the definitive survey of the internal communication and employee engagement landscape, informed by responses from thousands of leading practitioners around the world. With a focus on all things IC – including careers, budgets and working practices – you’ll gain a real insight into what’s working inside other organisations, current trends and the latest channels, enabling you to benchmark against others.”

2019 State of the Sector—The Definitive Global Survey of the Internal Communication and Employee Engagement Landscape – IABC Webinar @iabc

Why leaders should never underestimate the power of face-to-face communication — Poppulo, By Saskia Jones @PoppuloSays @saskiahjones1
“For all of the beauty of technology and all the things we’ve helped facilitate over the years, nothing yet replaces human interaction,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal. If your role is to help leaders communicate, there is one thing you cannot ignore. The immense importance of face-to-face communication. Seems obvious? It is. But despite this, you may be increasingly asked to create a new employee app, a video or send out an all staff email. These all have their place, but not at the expense of building connections with staff in person.”

The end of the beginning for Internal Comms — Happeo, By Mike Klein @mklein818 @HappeoHQ
“This is the second in a six-part series of research performed by one of Internal Communications’ most recognizable veterans: Mike Klein. Internal Communications is going to go away – at least the version we’ve known for the past two decades. Simply put, more and more initiatives, processes, practices and technologies will need bona fide Internal Communication support and integration into larger streams of business activity. This demand will likely overwhelm the capacity of today’s IC functions and practitioners to support them.”

How to Communicate Changes Big and Small — Internal Comms Procast, interview with Rachel Miller @AllthingsIC @InternalCommPro
“How effective are your change comms? Whether you’re facing large or small organisational changes, the need to communicate well is paramount. Today I’ve been featured on the Internal Comms Procast talking about the best ways to communicate change. Topics I discussed with the show host Barry include the need to have a strategic approach to your internal comms and the importance of knowing how your business as usual comms work. I’ve also revealed why listening and stakeholder mapping can aid your change comms and shared my top planning tip.”

Why CIOs Should Care About Employee Communications — Social Chorus, Culture Comms & Cocktails Podcast, By Chuck Gose @SocialChorus @chuckgose
“Culture, Comms, & Cocktails is a new podcast where internal communications is served straight up. I’m your host, Chuck Gose, strategic advisor at SocialChorus. Over cocktails, I’ll introduce you to the latest ideas in corporate culture and real-world examples of how to engage employees with the best workplace communications programs. Today, I’m excited to present Susan Gerock, CIO at Washington REIT, as our expert guest.

Susan has more than 22 years of management and information technology experience in commercial real estate, manufacturing, and retail. Prior to joining Washington REIT, she held various roles at Corporate Office Properties Trust; her most recent position was senior vice president and Chief Information Officer.”

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Our weekly hand-curated Employee Experience roundup features articles and resources, guidance, and inspiration for those who have a role and responsibility in shaping the employee experience. We include a variety of sources and topics ranging from internal communications, employer branding, content, employee communications & campaigns, HR trends, and workplace culture.

In this week’s EX Roundup we’re featuring a new report: The Present and Future of Internal Communication — can practitioners change the game?
Published by Happeo, this is the first in a six-part series of research performed by one of Internal Communications’ most recognizable veterans, Mike Klein. We’re thrilled that Vignette’s Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Lepis, was interviewed for this new report.

“Can IC professionals change the game before the game changes them? The world of Internal Communication is changing – particularly as it heads into massive upheaval in the areas it is meant to support and influence. Why? Because IC still has yet to overcome challenges and obstacles that have plagued it for at least two decades. The need for effective IC has never been greater, yet the profession still hasn’t positioned itself as capable of meeting that need. The clock is ticking.” You can download the first report, here. @happeohq

Are IC Practitioners Ready for the Next Wave of Change? Or Do We Need to Listen to Samuel L. Jackson? — LinkedIn Pulse, By Mike Klein @mklein818
“It is not news that the world of internal communication is changing. But how is it changing? And can IC practitioners help drive that change instead of being driven into the ground by it?

That is the question I am venturing to address in my six-part research project commissioned by Happeo — looking at “The Present and Future of Internal Communication – can practitioners change the game?”

Report: Employee experience will drive business success in 2019 — HR Drive @hrdive, By Valerie Bolden-Barrett
“Brief: A positive employee experience will be a top priority for employers in 2019, as they look to attract, retain and engage talent. In the ExecuSearch Group’s 2019 Hiring Outlook, The Employee Experience: 4 Ways To Attract, Engage, & Retain Employees In Today’s Competitive Market, the group recommended a range of ways to enhance the employee experience, from hiring through retention.”

Company Culture: Why Employee Experience Can’t Exist in a Vacuum — HR Zone @HRZone By Jasmine Gartner @jasminegartner
“As the focus shifts from employee engagement to employee experience, HR practitioners must not forget that the deeply ingrained culture of a company – whether good or bad – will hugely impact how employees feel about their working environment.”

Engagement In A New Era Of Business: An Invitation To Communicate Differently — Forbes @Forbes_Agency, By Tracey Grove
“Regardless of what business you’re in, an organization’s ability to adapt to change can be crucial for success. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution increases the pace of change in almost every industry, I believe that leaders may need a new approach to communication — one that emphasizes a personal connection with employees, customers and partners.

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive marketplace, leaders are faced with having to motivate and inspire employees in new ways to retain talent, all while flawlessly navigating the continuous stream of email and other digital communications that threaten to take over every minute of the day. Success in this digital economy may take a new level of engagement, reconnecting at a very human level and paying attention to the real conversation behind every interaction.”

The Employee Experience Starts with Flipping Mindsets — HR Trend Institute @hhrtrendinst, By Sara Coene
“It’s not about you, it’s about them! In an era of technology, the human side becomes key. Technology will disrupt the status-quo. We hear it so much that we might believe that the future is only about technology. But it’s mainly about us and how we, and the organisations we are part of, can transform. In an era of technology, the human side becomes key and building the unique quality called ’empathy’ is a prerequisite.”

Great Customer Experiences Start With Your Employees — Forbes HR Council @ForbesHRCouncil, By Paul Phillips
“The customer experience is often at the forefront of a business’s strategy, and for good reason. Even if you believe the customer isn’t always right, they’re clearly essential to success. No customers, no business, right?

The best brands know that a great experience — from product design to customer journey to digital and in-person interactions — is what customers either remember or try to forget. Brands deliver great experiences in part by genuinely paying close attention to every detail along the way. They listen to what their customers crave and provide experiences that surprise and delight.”

Why You Need a Digital Employee Experience Design — The HR Trend Institute @hrtrendinst, By Hans Mangelschots @mangel_h
“Digitisation is everywhere, whether you like it or not. It disrupts the way we live and the way we work (together) – sometimes even subconsciously.

Like in every change process there will be resistance, that might feel like it is delaying what needs to be done. However, when you can convince your toughest opponents, they will become your best allies. In this article,  I will share my views on the potential of the digitisation in the workplace, especially for HR.”

Why internal Communications Needs to be at the Centre of Digital Transformation — Marketing Tech News @MarketTechNews, By Cyrus Gilbert-Rolfe
“It’s no surprise that today’s enterprises face increasing challenges, from brand reputation to employee retention, which can be exacerbated by a lack of synchronised communications or reliance on one tool to reach everyone. You may often wonder how you can better inform, support, and connect to all of your employees using modern communications strategies? However, thanks to software and the proliferation of handheld devices there has never been a better time to digitally transform your internal communications.”

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Welcome to our weekly hand-curated roundup of articles and resources, guidance, and inspiration for those who have a role and responsibility in shaping the employee experience. We include a variety of sources and topics ranging from Employer Branding, Content, Employee Communications & Campaigns, Recruitment Marketing, and workplace culture.

In this week’s Employee Experience Roundup, in honor of #NationalStorytellingWeek, read about 6 lessons from Children’s Stories to Help Leaders Become Powerful Storytellers, check out The 13 Best Internal Communications Blogs (we’re honored to be included in this list), and find out The 7 Best Internal Communications Podcasts to listen to, plus more.

6 lessons from Children’s Stories to Help Leaders Become Powerful Storytellers — H&H, By Saskia Jones @handhagency @saskiahjones1
“When leaders tell stories, they can capture our hearts, inspire our minds, and ignite the potential to create positive and sustained change for all. Communications extraordinaire Saskia Jones dives into the most timeless genre of storytelling – children’s fiction – and picks out 6 eye-opening lessons it can teach us about shaping stories that last a lifetime.”

2019 Employee Experience Trends and Predictions: What is on the Radar of EX Professionals This Year? — Vignette, By Mike Lepis @vignetteagency
With the new year already in full swing, we have tapped some great thinkers in the world of Employee Experience (EX) to discuss the trends to keep an eye on in 2019. There is no doubt EX is on the map–companies across all sectors are realizing the urgency and competitive advantage of investing in their people. It is rewarding to observe this sea change. We are seeing companies of all sizes reach out and share that EX is a priority coming from the executive floor.

To mix up our 2019 trends post, we reached out to our colleagues, peers, and top thought leaders to hear what trends and predictions are on their radar for 2019.

The 13 Best Internal Communications Blogs — Bananatag, By Kyla Sims @bananatag
“I have read nearly every internal communications blog out there. The good. And the bad. All so I can learn as much as I can about internal communications and how to help communicators kick butt. And I am consistently blown away by how many people and organizations are contributing to the conversation.

The amount of time and the depth of thought that some internal communication blogs are putting into their articles and resources is truly impressive.”

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer — Edelman @EdelmanPR
“The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust has changed profoundly in the past year—people have shifted their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers. Globally, 75 percent of people trust “my employer” to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57 percent), business (56 percent) and media (47 percent).

Despite a high lack of faith in the system, there is one relationship that remains strong: “my employer.” Fifty-eight percent of general population employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues.”

Employee Experience Books & Articles for 2019 — Bonfyre, By Matt Stolpe @BonfyreApp
“No matter the time of year, it’s never too late to start thinking about how to improve employee experience. That’s why we here at Bonfyre have assembled a handy reading list of employee experience books & articles to help out.

Below you’ll find a list of the best employee experience books, articles, and miscellanea that should be on your radar as you build out your strategy for 2019 and beyond.”

Do These Things to Create an Engaging Employee Experience from Start to Finish — Fast Company, By Rob De Luca—GlassDoor
“Engagement is a good thing. It’s been a metric for success and a driving force behind content marketing for years; organizations know the more engaged a customer becomes, the more likely they’ll be to purchase or recommend a product or service.

The same link between customer engagement and positive outcomes holds true for employees: Research indicates a correlation between engagement and almost any positive outcome you can think of. And a lack of engagement is linked to any number of negative outcomes, including billions of dollars in lost revenue.”

Top 13 hopes and trends for Internal Communications in 2019 — Poppulo, By Tim Vaughan @PoppuloSays
“What’s in store for internal communications in 2019?  How is the role of IC going to evolve in the digital workplace? Are too many communicators still going to stay content as internal PR practitioners rather than being valued as strategic advisors and key drivers of organizational objectives and business goals, adding (and proving) value instead of being seen as cost centers? So, to get a sense of what might lie ahead for IC in 2019 we sought the views of several communication leaders.”

The 7 Best Internal Communications Podcasts  — Bananatag, By Kyla Sims @bananatag
“If you’re looking for the best internal communication podcasts, look no further. And if you’re not looking for internal communication podcasts, then let me enlighten you my friend. Here’s the thing: Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most valuable sources of information and insight for internal communicators.

They are like a window into the minds of the best practitioners and consultants in the industry. And they are just sitting there, waiting for you to climb through and soak up all of their knowledge.”

The Best Internal Communications Conferences You Must Attend in 2019 — ContactMonkey, By Filza Naveed @contactmonkey
“Here are the best internal communications conferences happening in 2019. Learn the latest communication best practices from some of the biggest influencers and changemakers within the internal comms field. Save the date and book your flights for the top 7 internal communications conferences for 2019!”

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With the new year already in full swing, we have tapped some great thinkers in the world of Employee Experience (EX) to discuss the trends to keep an eye on in 2019. There is no doubt EX is on the map–companies across all sectors are realizing the urgency and competitive advantage of investing in their people. It is rewarding to observe this sea change. We are seeing companies of all sizes reach out and share that EX is a priority coming from the executive floor.

To mix up our 2019 trends post, we reached out to our colleagues, peers, and top thought leaders to hear what trends and predictions are on their radar for 2019.

Looking forward to another stellar year for Employee Experience! Cheers!

Mike Lepis
Co-Founder Vignette, EX Thought Leader, foodie, and MLS soccer fan, resides in the magical Pacific Northwest, with his wife and two young kiddos. @mikevignette

Earning the Trust of the Associates with Humble and Transparent Leadership

Employees today are no different than a savvy customer base. They demand and deserve the same respect, authenticity, clarity, and attentiveness you would give a customer who pays for your service or product. For generations, employers have transmitted information top-down, leaving employees waiting to find out information, and expecting, sometimes incorrectly, that the employer would provide all the answers. When inevitably those answers didn’t come, trust between the two is eroded.

Technology and evolving expectations of the workplace have upended this traditional employee-employer communications model, and it’s up to the company to adjust. The relay of information is now a two-way street, where employees expect to have a voice heard by their employer and expect the organization to be responsive and proactive with information. The failure of organizations to adapt to this new reality often leads employees to wonder, “What are they hiding?,” or even, “Do they care about me or only the bottom line?”

The good news is there are many companies who have built a strong foundation of trust with employees, as evidenced by the many long years of service that many associates have at the organization. Big or small, how companies approach their communications is more important than ever.

Trust starts with being authentic and is supported by being consistent. Put yourself in the employees shoes and try an empathic perspective. Humility is a bit more of a challenge. Many leaders shy away from humility for a variety of reasons, including old-school role models of leadership. But we’ve seen oftentimes what separates good leaders from great leaders is the ability to own shortcomings in performance, culture, or previous approaches to the employee experience. Showing humility provides an opportunity to have a genuine conversation that respects the employee and humanizes the organization.

If trust and humility are something you want to work on in your company’s approach to the employee experience, there is a simple test you can do. Create a filter to help guide you. A filter can be a person who you bounce things off of, or consider a set of tenets you check your communications against.

Gregg Apirian
Employee Experience Leader | Marketing, Communications & Technology Expert

2019 will be the year of digital transformation

But where do you start? Define your vision for what the digital transformation looks like, just like marketing has done. Platforms, tools, and out-of-the box solutions can power your communications to a new level. Now is the time to leverage technology that was previously cost prohibitive in employee communications. You really have no excuse. But be mindful–a tool without a vision is not going to bring you much value. So before you embark on your digital transformation, plot your course.

Keep in mind technology has its advantages and disadvantages. We live in the age of distraction (media, kids, family, school, etc) which makes competing for attention a challenge inside the workplace.

As you are planning your transformation, take note of a few insights to help guide your journey:

  • More than 80% prefer mobile comms, and employees deserve and expect an app content management tool.
  • Employees deserve an app content management tool. Push and pull content for the back-end source.
  • Don’t overlook change management in your technology plans.
  • Leadership needs to lead. Without their support your swimming against the current.
  • The need to measure and leverage dashboard analytics is more important than ever. Seek solutions that make measurement a key feature.
  • Understand your audience, their likes, and dislikes. Don’t be tone deaf to your employee audience–ask, listen, and deliver.

Kristin Hancock
Leading the workplace revolution in fabulous shoes. Never met a hot dog I didn’t like. @KristinAnneH

Internal communicators will continue to “tribe up”

Internal communicators will continue to “tribe up” and foster relationships with fellow ICers to celebrate success and share ideas on how we can improve. What we need to do is build stronger relationships with our business partners in IT, HR, and finance (to name a few) to collectively elevate the voice of the employee.

Internal communicators will continue to seek out ways to earn a seat at the elusive table

What we need to do is measure our success to provide tangible evidence that what we’re doing matters and has an impact on the bottom line.

Internal communicators will continue to be asked to do more with less

What we need to do is stay creative and remember that it doesn’t cost anything to show appreciation..

Katie Augsburger  
Portlander, Parent, HR expert disrupting how we think about employee experience through client engagement and thought leadership, purveyor of pretty objects. @katiepdx101

Building community in our organization for 2019

With so much happening in the world, it can feel impossible to figure out where to put your focus for the coming year. But from my lens, those of us in HR should put our energy and focus on building community in our organization for 2019.

With all the political, economic, climate upheaval, people are looking for stability, relationships and a sense of trust in organizations. Working to strengthen community, increase authenticity and provide clarity might not seem revolutionary, but in these turbulent times, it may just be the key differentiator between you and your competition.

Mike Klein
Netherlands-based internal comms pro, Principal of Changing The Terms, author of the Happeo IC research series and 20-year fan of Tottenham Hotspur, an English soccer club. @mklein818

#EmployeeExperience will develop multiple definitions

Vendors selling one will surprise companies expecting something else, and then task IC/EE/HR staff to somehow close the expectation gap.

I see three definitions of #EmployeeExperience emerging. Tech vendors are trying to sell a better, or even a seamless “employee user experience” as simply “employee experience.” Others will see and focus on the “employee lifecycle journey” from onboarding to alumni status as “the employee experience.” Still, others will work towards wholesale transformation towards “employee-centric culture” under the rubric of “employee experience.”

None of these concepts are bad — and there will likely be other approaches that add to this list.  What is concerning — is when those selling one of these outcomes start claiming that they will produce another: e.g.: that somehow having a functioning IT platform will fundamentally make an organization’s culture employee-centric.

We’ve seen this before with employee engagement, a term defined in wildly different ways, but whose pursuit has always been unwavering and pressurized. Organizations with unrealistic expectations have been sold inappropriate solutions. And, more often than not, internal comms and HR teams were either tasked with cleaning up the mess, or bore the brunt of management cynicism about the inability to “move the people side of the needle.”

I don’t see this trend as avoidable. But I do think IC and HR professionals are the key to tempering it. In-house pros have to move beyond the “any investment is better than no investment” mentality. They have to be brave in engaging senior leaders to define realistic, clear and appropriate expectations, and in helping them navigate their way to vendors who can tangibly address those expectations.  If not, they will again be likely to have to clean up the mess.

Saskia Jones
Communications Consultant and Coach, specialising in internal communications and advising leaders and managers on communications. She loves boxing, being in the mountains and spending time with family and friends. @saskiahjones1

Employee experience drives customer experience

Countless studies have now shown that what happens on the inside of your organisation is felt on the outside by your customers. Plus, thanks to digital and social technologies, employees have found a public voice, whether their bosses like it or not. Workplace experiences get quickly shared online. The importance of a positive employee experience is vital to customer experience and company reputation. More companies will embrace this in 2019 and invest in employee experience, realising that it is a strategic priority.

Employee experience is a team effort

As companies become more and more driven to create an exceptional employee experience, it will be clear that this cannot be achieved by HR teams alone. HR leaders in 2019 will increasingly be partnering with marketing, brand, internal communications, and IT – all of whom own different pieces of the jigsaw, and who can come together to create a seamless employee experience.

Senior leadership communication remains vital

Senior leaders need to engage employees in order for employee experience efforts to thrive. In PwC’s Fulfilment at Work survey in November 2018, nearly one-third of respondents named senior leaders as a barrier to finding fulfillment at work. In 2019, there will be a continued focus on supporting leaders to develop a personal connection to employees. Key to this will be encouraging leaders to show recognition of individuals at work, engage in conversations, listen to people at all levels of the organization, and speak with employees openly and authentically. Relationships with leaders will remain an invaluable facet of employee experience.

Rachel Miller
Helps #InternalComms pros to succeed by boosting their skills & confidence. Chartered #PR. Fellow @CIPR_UK & IoIC. @theICcrowd Founder. Mum of 3, including twins.

My predictions for trends that are set to stay and grow in 2019 are:
  1. Face-to-face

Always. We’ve been trying to recreate it inside organisations with webinars, live-streaming, and videos for at least a decade. But nothing beats an in-person conversation without a screen in-between. The value of being able to read body language in the same room, catching the micro expressions and the physical connections we make, speaks volumes.

In the age of the machine, we need to be human now more than ever. You cannot beat face-to-face for truly effective interactions.

I spotted a trend along these lines earlier this year as lots of my clients and comms friends were renaming their Town Halls FaceTime. BUT make no mistake, it’s not just for our CEOs and senior leaders to have their faces visible. It’s to enable our leaders to make a physical, emotional, and human connection with our workforce and see their faces. Having your leader physically in a room is tangibly different. Yes, of course, you can use technology, but you’re trying to replicate face-to-face.

How can you make the most of face-to-face opportunities in your organisation? How can you encourage both your leaders and employees to be more visible? What would the impact be?

There will always be a need for face-to-face communication. When I write my 2029 predictions, I think it will still be on the list. Will it be robot-to-robot? Hmm, unlikely. AI (artificial intelligence) certainly has lots of wonderful uses and application for internal communication, I know I will be writing much more on this in the future and it fascinates me. But for now, many organisations need to focus on getting the basics right.

Further reading: Three technology megatrends you need to know now.

  1. Repurposing content

How can you repurpose your IC content so it works harder for you? I’m plotting a blog post on this for early 2019. I’ve been championing it all year with my clients and think it’s an opportunity for IC pros to make the most of in 2019 and beyond.

What does it mean? It’s about thinking about your content in a different way when you start it. For example, as I mentioned in Paul Sutton’s podcast earlier this year, you could take a video, strip out the audio and repurpose it to be an internal podcast.

If you have employees who are unable to watch videos, could they listen to audio such as a podcast? Many organisations are now using podcasts. How can you record audio from company occasions, meetings, and employee events and use it in other places?

Your content needs to work hard for you, it’s not about replicating information, but making smart choices with your time.

Auditory learning is on the rise and podcasts are incredibly popular. We’ve used Voice for internal communication for years. From RAC having cassette tapes in their recovery vehicles in the 1980s and 1990s, to recorded information lines in the 1990s and 2000s. Voice isn’t new, but there are now multiple ways to use it. The majority of my household is controlled by Voice, it’s quickly becoming the norm..

Trends are an excerpt from “Internal Comms predictions for 2019…

We hope you enjoyed our trends post

We think 2019 will be a stellar year for EX. If you need some help kicking off your 2019 EX strategy or are inspired to take on one of these trends please reach out. We would love to chat and see how we can help you.

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As we approach Thanksgiving, we wanted take the time to pause and reflect on what we’re grateful for. It is a privilege to do what we do. We’re a special kind of agency — an employee experience agency, we help organizations focus on what’s most important to them: the people who make up every company. We spend at least a third of our waking hours at work (and some of us much more than that, you know who you are). We asked a few Vignetters what they’re grateful for, not only this week but all year long. Cheers to a Thanksgiving table filled with laughter, good eats, and good company. And thanks for letting us do what we do.

Mike 
I’m grateful that I’m exactly where I belong at Vignette. Running a business with the mission to help improve the workplace through insights and creativity is amazing. And I get to do it with my remarkable wife and kick-ass team.  And I’m grateful for my young kids who still believe in Santa. It’s amazing to see the world through their eyes–especially when they get super excited about the big guy in the red suit.

Shona
First and foremost I’m grateful for my family, two independent, charming and rambunctious kiddos (three and seven-years-old), my husband (best friend, Vignette Co-Founder, and partner on this crazy journey of living the #agencylife). I also appreciate the amazing team of Vignette partners and collaborators that go the extra mile, make us laugh, and on occasion send dancing GIFs (you know who you are). I’m proud of the amazing work we do at Vignette for our clients that affects employees lives for the better. I’m also grateful for our cozy new office digs that we moved into this year. I really appreciate having a new space to gather, stoke the fire, come up with good ideas and strategies to continually make our work better.

Kim
I am always thankful for my family and loved ones and their unwavering love and support. The personal experience that I am most grateful for this year is that my father is alive and well. We received news of an unexpected heart failure and things were touch and go for a bit. From that news, all of my dad’s daughters (poor guy wanted all boys, instead he got four girls) met in Alaska and my younger sister was reunited with my dad after 11 years. She also got to meet our two little half sisters whom she had never had a chance to meet prior. One of the greatest moments/feelings to have all four girls there and my dad in one place, together. From this near tragedy came a priceless reunion and the rekindling of very important relationships. My takeaway is that, it’s never too late to mend a broken relationship and that you have to make the time and effort to love on those around you because you never know when they could be taken from you.

Professionally, I am grateful and proud to be a part of such an incredible team,. They are the experts in employee experience, so you bet working with them is wonderful. The flexibility and care they give is bar none.

Rhonda
I am thankful for my amazing little family and my husband who is the glue that makes it all stick! Without him, this year couldn’t have been possible.

Renée
I am most thankful for two major experiences this year. The first was being able to take my mom up to wine country, and spoil her with a mud bath, wine tasting, good food, and fun. It was the first time I’ve been able to really take her on a trip like that, just the two of us, and it was amazing to be able to show her even a modicum of the amount of love she has shown me my whole life.

The second thing is actually many wrapped into one. I’m thankful for a career that gives me flexibility in location, the ability to travel and room to grow and develop professionally. It has opened me up to so many different experiences and those have been absolutely priceless.

Paul
I’m thankful for a terrifying medical emergency, an experience that reminded me to make the most of every day, and of every hour I have with the people, work, and beauty around me.

Nicole
Aside from joining the Vignette team :)… the one experience that I am most thankful for this year is when my daughter thanked me for all of her “birthday stuff,” the morning of her fifth birthday. Not only do I feel like I’m doing something right as her parent, but most importantly it deeply warms my heart that she is growing up to be such an amazing person who is grateful for the simple things in life. I’m so proud of her!

 

The post What we’re grateful for: Celebrating Thanksgiving at Vignette appeared first on Vignette.

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Welcome to our weekly hand-curated roundup of articles and resources, guidance and inspiration for those who have a role and responsibility in shaping the employee experience. We include a variety of sources and topics ranging from Employer Branding, Content, Employee Communications & Campaigns, Recruitment Marketing, and workplace culture.

In this week’s EX Roundup, read about how to Improve employee experience with consumer-centric HR, listen to the HR studio podcast on how to build a strong culture, and learn how to use multimedia content to boost your reach to employees, plus more.

What we’re grateful for: Celebrating Thanksgiving at Vignette — Vignette blog
As we approach Thanksgiving, we wanted take the time to pause and reflect on what we’re grateful for. It is a privilege to do what we do. We’re a special kind of agency — an employee experience agency, we help organizations focus on what’s most important to them: the people who make up every company. We spend at least a third of our waking hours at work (and some of us much more than that, you know who you are). We asked a few Vignetters what they’re grateful for, not only this week but all year long. Cheers to a Thanksgiving table filled with laughter, good eats, and good company. And thanks for letting us do what we do.

Improve Employee Experience With Consumer-Centric HR— Gartner HR By, Jackie Wiles
“To drive both performance and productivity in the digital age, HR needs a consumer-centric mindset and approach to employee experience. To drive both performance and productivity in the digital age, HR needs a consumer-centric mindset and approach to employee experience.”

How to Build a Strong Culture — HR Studio Podcast
“Just aired on HR Studio Podcast – Scott Overcarsh returns to share more on the culture at Chick-fil-A. He offers advice to HR Leaders who are seeking evidence that employee-centric leadership, policies, and programs can yield improved results.”

How We Designed a Studio Space That Reflects Our Values IDEO
“At IDEO, our values are the guideposts for everything that we do. And that commitment extends to our office spaces. As our London studio looked to create its new home, we envisioned an environment that embodies design and innovation, serves as a hub to welcome clients and visitors, and sets a tone for our employees to do their best work. And, as designers who work on projects that help shape the future, we also wanted to be sure that the design would be flexible enough to fit our needs and work for years to come.”

Why HR Teams should Recognise and Reward a ‘Mission-Centric’ Work Ethic — HRZone
“Academic research highlights the need for HR departments to focus on the positive impact individuals can have on an organisation when they are genuinely motivated by its central mission.”

Beyond the written word: Use Multimedia Content to Boost Your Reach — Guide by Poppulo
“It’s only a short few years since communicating with employees was – apart from Town Halls and assorted events – all about the written word: notice board posters, emails, word documents, etc.

But these days the digital-savvy, multi-generational, workforce expects a lot more from their employer. They want choice as to when, where and how they consume messages.

It has never been easier to create and deliver messages that resonate with all your audiences, using so many different media. We take you through some of them here”

The post Employee Experience Roundup: Improve Employee Experience With Consumer-Centric HR appeared first on Vignette.

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Welcome to our weekly hand-curated roundup of articles and resources, guidance and inspiration for those who have a role and responsibility in shaping the employee experience. We include a variety of sources and topics ranging from Employer Branding, Content, Employee Communications & Campaigns, Recruitment Marketing, and workplace culture.

In addition to our weekly EX Roundup we would love to see you at our Vignette Office warming party this week on Thursday, November 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. See details below. Hope to see you! RSVP here.

In this week’s EX Roundup, learn how organizations can open the door to employee engagement, eight ways to build employee engagement for launching new marketing initiatives, and read about how to have better meetings, plus more.

New Marketing Initiatives: Eight Ways To Build Employee Engagement — Forbes
“Company growth and development often hinge on rolling out new initiatives. No matter what the business is launching, generating employee excitement and new marketing buy-in is vital: Without good information and engagement, people are not going to be able to play their parts perfectly. This can lead to product delays, customer confusion and campaign damage.

Yet, not all internal employee and peer outreach approaches for new initiatives are equally effective. So which methods of sparking employee and peer excitement are the best ways to garner both results and genuine enthusiasm? Below, eight members of Forbes Communications Council break down their most effective ways of generating new marketing buy-in.”

3 Tips to Help You Prototype a ServiceIDEO, By Melanie Bell-Mayeda, Visuals by May Kodama
“In my years at IDEO—and at companies like LeapFrog and Virgin Entertainment Group—I’ve seen service prototypes come in many shapes and sizes, but I’ve found the most successful ones are based on real customer needs and co-created with the people responsible for delivering the service. Whether you’re building storyboards and sketches, simulated interactions, or mocked-up physical spaces, these three tips should give you a little inspiration to help you create your own.”

How Organizations Can Open The Door To Employee Engagement — Forbes, By Lucy Rivas-Enriquez
“Employee engagement is a strategic imperative for organizations that want to be successful in attracting and retaining talent. As I heard Dr. Lisa Nishii, Associate Professor and Chair of Industrial and Labor Relations International Programs at Cornell University, describe it in a class once, employee engagement is how work does or does not get done in an organization. Engaged employees are connected to the organization and its goals, and invested in outcomes. Disengaged employees are trying to do just enough not to get fired (at best) or may be sabotaging the organization (at worst).”

Is Technology a Friend or Foe to Your Well-Being? — Deloitte WorkWell Podcast
“Technology can make life more convenient, connected, and efficient. But with all that it gives us, could it also be taking something away? How can we use technology to enhance our well-being and not diminish it? On this episode, Deloitte Well-being leader Jen Fisher and colleague Carolyn O’Boyle, national managing director of Talent Strategy and Innovation discuss strategies to maintain a healthy relationship with your technology with Amy Blankson, a leading specialist on mindful living in the digital era.”

If You Can’t Have Fewer Meetings, Have Better Ones — IDEO By Jayme Brown, Visuals by Jane Ha
“Meetings. Maybe you’re in one right now. (Are you paying attention?) Maybe you have one in ten minutes. (Are you prepared?) We know them well—and we know they’re not usually the highlight of your day. In fact, they can be quite the opposite.

At IDEO, we like to breathe new life into the mundane with design. In an effort to shape a new paradigm of meeting-dom, here are some of our best resources on making your next conference-room gathering stand out—in a good way.”

Employee Check-Ins: 6 Essential Components for Success — HR Bartender
“Over the past few months, we’ve talked about the importance of “checking in” with new hires to make sure their employee experience is going well. This activity can take place in-person or online. The goal with a new hire check-in is to make sure that employees are in a position to focus on their work, which ultimately fosters employee engagement and retention. But I’ve spoken with many people who tell me that the challenge isn’t about convincing anyone that check-ins are valuable. Organizations know that. The challenge is in designing a check-in process that the organization will embrace.”

 

The post Employee Experience Roundup: build employee engagement for new marketing initiatives appeared first on Vignette.

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