The Power of Performance: Maximising Your Internal Communications Results

Event: October 2012

Speakers: Katie Hadgraft, Essex County Council;  Fliss Cox, Kerry Foods

Internal communicators heard top tips in how to continue to effectively deliver against a backdrop of recession and budget cuts.

Entitled ‘The Power of Performance: Maximising Your Internal Communication Results’, the key speakers were Katie Hadgraft, and Fliss Cox head of Internal communications at Kerry Foods.

Each spoke about the challenges they faced, highlighting the similarities and differences between the public and private sectors.

Katie Hadgraft, head of Internal Communications and Employee Engagement at Essex County Council, talked of the challenge of being asked to do “more for less” in an organisation undergoing major transformation programme and with a five year target to reduce its budget by £370m.

A key focus has been on line managers and encouraging more face to face communication and creating opportunities for more collaboration.  Email lists for all line managers have helped to segment messages for this audience and the team brief has been redesigned into clear sections such as organisation news, the change programme, and space for their own news. Online resources and toolkits also help as well as encouraging them to hold coffee mornings and brown bag lunches. The IC team is also starting to use its own camcorder to create video footage for events and the weekly online newsletter.

Her tips included:

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve
  • Engage leaders with your work
  • Know where your role starts and ends
  • Nurture your team
  • Have the courage to experiment
  • Keep your ears open and listen.

Fliss Cox, who was previously Kerry Food’s Strategy director, said her first challenge on taking on the internal communication role was to better understand the number of channels she had at her disposal and which of her four target audiences – from the company’s top 100 to factory floor worker – each was aimed at.

She praised her network of communication champions – mainly drawn from the company’s HR  community –and explained how they were instrumental not only in getting messages to front line colleagues but giving feedback on how that message had been received.

She said the introduction of daily huddles, where the company’s 8,500 employees gather first thing in the morning, and the relaunch of the employee magazine, KFN, were all vital tools to enhance employee engagement.