If the leap-year fairy waved her magic wand…

 

It won’t have escaped your notice that this is a Leap Year. A whole extra day to do what we want to. We asked Sequel editor Carol Luck, as an internal communicator, what she’d do with the extra day given the choice…

 

Can it really be four years since London 2012? In that case, we’re well on our way towards Rio 2016. It’s also a leap year, which means an extra day’s work – not just for the builders to finish the Maracana Stadium, but also for me.

And that got me thinking about what I’d actually do if I had the chance to spend my extra day on an internal comms activity of my choice. I’ve come up with two options…

The first is to put all thoughts of pressing deadlines to the back of my mind and devote time instead to the bigger picture. I’d use the break from the rush of production as an opportunity to think about our clients’ communication strategy and how we can best help them deliver it. A chance to review the projects we’ve completed, what we’ve learned and how to apply that learning going forward. A chance to think about working smarter and making the most of the comms channels available.

And what about measurement? Although there’s nothing new about embedding measurement metrics into intranets and ezines, how can we capture the effectiveness of our communications and use that information intelligently? A survey published by the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) found that 36 per cent of communicators said the most difficult things to evaluate are organisational objectives and values; it’s notoriously difficult to capture and measure actual behavioural change and its impact.

So I guess I’d spend part of my extra day thinking about what to measure, when and how to do it (surveys, social media, focus groups – the possibilities are endless). And reflecting on why we’re doing it, of course. What insight do we want to gain? And how will we use this insight to improve communication?

Moving on to option number two, I work from home so getting out of the house would make a nice change – that’s a given. So I think what I’d really like to do is to spend the day working with operatives on my client’s production line. I’ve written all about the installation of some pretty remarkable new technology and how it’s so much faster and more efficient than what went before, but with few opportunities to see it in action.

I’ve interviewed the operatives to find out what they like about the new system and how it makes their lives easier. But I’ve never stood alongside them for a full shift to experience what it’s like to do their job, or sat with them during their tea break to find out how they unwind from the stresses of their day.

Given a bonus day, I’d welcome the opportunity to get under the skin of my client’s organisation. Not for the purposes of writing an insightful report about work practices or employee motivation, but to get a stronger feel for what it’s really like to work for the organisation.