Communications Academy

Finding your Own Voice as an Internal Communicator

June 26, 2019 Season 1 Episode 21
Communications Academy
Finding your Own Voice as an Internal Communicator
Chapters
Communications Academy
Finding your Own Voice as an Internal Communicator
Jun 26, 2019 Season 1 Episode 21
Staffbase
We talk with Engagement Mastermind, Kristin Hancock. Her abilities to strengthen internal communicators and showing the world just how awesome they really are is exceptional.
Show Notes Transcript

Top 10 (ok 12) Incredible Quotes from Kristin Hancock (@KristinAnneH)

“Internal communication...it’s about your employees being fulfilled at work, it’s about how the employee experience is, whether that’s onboarding or training or all those kinds of pieces” - Kristin (4:17)

“Part of why I’ve become so passionate about [internal communications] is because I’ve seen the impact in both ways. I’ve seen the really positive impact when you have a thriving culture and employees who are fulfilled and enjoy coming to work everyday. I’ve also seen the other side of it, where people don’t want to go to work everyday and dread being there” - Kristin (4:52)

“Are you listening and are you paying attention to what [your employees’] natural state is and what their behavior is? Maybe we’re not. For me that’s the biggest first step, looking back and looking at the big picture but also looking at the little nuances. What is your culture in its default state? … It’s not going to help you to build anything without knowing that” - Kristin (6:33)

“Spoiler alert: if you launch a new intranet app, a shiny tool… but your workplace culture sucks, the tool isn’t going to work” - Kristin (11:35)

“Finding people within your organization who are champions of your messaging; that is, I think, the secret sauce in launching a new tool, in rolling out a new strategy… on the flip side… leaning into your skeptics can also be incredibly powerful… finding people who are not tech savvy at all…  because if you can bring them on early, they will become champions because they will feel empowered, they’ll feel like they’ve learned something new, they’ll be telling everyone else” - Kristin (14:40)

“Yes it’s about the technology and it’s about the tool, but it’s so much more about the culture… If you have a culture where leadership controls the message, you likely also have a culture where employees have a fear of owning that message as well. It’s about flipping that whole script so part of it is that leaders are comfortable letting other people be empowered but also letting those other people know that it’s okay for you to comment or post or share or like, those kinds of things” - Kristin (17:46)

“Half the reason people watch the Superbowl is for the Superbowl ads… because it’s video, it’s engaging, it’s emotional, it tells a story… If you are in internal comms, then you are in sales and you are in marketing and you are in advertising and you are in PR, and all of those departments use video to sell a product or a service, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be using video to sell an engagement story or strategy, or a new initiative or tool” - Kristin (23:50)

“Do high production value videos have a place in the internal communications world? Of course they do. But… if you have a district manager who once a month shares a message about something and they’re sitting at their desk using their iphone to shoot the video, that’s relatable… it's an easier level playing field” - Kristin (30:12)

“In terms of KPIs and what to measure… one of my favorite things to measure on an employee survey… Would you recommend a friend to work here? That’s a really powerful question to ask because if most people are saying no, that means that maybe they’re just sticking it out, going through the motions to keep their paycheck… The other powerful question i love asking is how peopl

Speaker 1:
0:03
Thanks for listening to the podcast. We've got a ton of great content that covers the full journey of deploying a branded employee app. Go to [inaudible] dot com click on resources and select employee app guide. That's it. Best wishes and back to the show. Hello and welcome. Today we are talking with engagement mastermind. Kristin Hancock. Kristen, thank you so much for joining.
Speaker 2:
0:26
Thank you for having me. That's quite the intro. I shouldn't, I should read my intro intros more often.
Speaker 1:
0:30
We were going to go with Jedi master, but we thought, uh, you know, just a mastermind as well as just a little bit more exceptional for, you know, uh, for this conversation
Speaker 2:
0:41
totally at and at the risk of alienating many of your listeners, I have never seen star wars. So Jetta, I doesn't really make much sense for me to use
Speaker 1:
0:49
all the better then. That's good. All right, so we're good. Good. Move on. Not Using Jedi. That's fantastic. Um, the, uh, we're going to talk today about finding your voice as an internal communicator. Uh, you and I had the, uh, had a really good offline chat about this ahead of time and I'm really excited about this. But before we dive into that topic, could you just tell us a little bit more about yourself, what you do and why everyone that meets you thinks you're pretty awesome?
Speaker 2:
1:21
I hope that's exactly what people think when they meet. Well, I'm often the token Canadian at events, so I'm from a very small town in the province of Manitoba and Canada. The town is called oak bluff. Uh, I'm last population count. I think we were at 300 and something people were, so it's a, it's a thriving metropolis. Uh, but I live in Winnipeg, which is a little bit more of a bigger center. I started off, uh, my journey into communications by going into business. That was my first university, uh, attempt and at the encouragement of some high school guidance counselors who said to me, there's, I know you don't, I know you don't really love math, but there's not that much math. And I was like, oh, okay, well that sounds fine. And then I go through a part of my first year and realized it's all math.
Speaker 2:
2:11
That's what business is. So, uh, through random flukes of looking for things for some other people stumbled into communications and realized that I could do that for a living and I could write and speak and you know, do all these really cool things and that, that was a job that I didn't realize before. So that's how I ended up in communications. I have always done when it pegs a relatively small city. So that's allowed me to do communications for all different kinds of organizations and also doing all different kinds of communications. So started out doing PR and media relations and some fundraising and external communications and you name it. Um, and then really realized that internal was my passion and where I, where I felt that the communications role in the business world could make the most impact. So that's where I've attached myself to.
Speaker 1:
3:07
Interesting. And so yeah, I think this, this is actually something I wanted to tap onto that you were just talking about that I don't think it gets talked enough about, quite frankly, is this word internal communicators. Like I think sometimes I think it resonates pretty well with most of the people that are listening. But I hear, I hear internal communications a lot and I think that it gets sort of taken for granted what it actually means. And if you're saying that this is your passion, I'd love to just have you expand a little bit more about what specifically about internal communications really gets your get your energy going.
Speaker 2:
3:42
You know, you bring up an interesting point about the term internal communications because in working now with clients there have, there was one of the very first conversations I had after I started my own business last fall, was with the founder of a company and I made comment to him about, oh well what I'm really focusing on in my work is internal communications. And he looked at me and said, well, what's that? And it was as really a powerful moment where I realized that internal communicators are often talking about internal communications, but business leaders don't always speak that same language. When I said to him, it's about your employees being fulfilled at work. It's about how you're the employee experiences, whether that's onboarding or training or all those kinds of pieces. And when I started describing it and workplace culture, those terms, he understood of course he understands when he started a business.
Speaker 2:
4:34
Um, but when I said internal communications, he was like, I don't, I don't know what that is. So I think a lot of it is using the right language, uh, for who we're speaking to and who and what we are explaining and digging a little bit deeper because internal communications is very broad. Um, so I like part of why I've become so passionate about it is because I've seen the impact in, in both ways. So I've seen the really positive impact when you have a thriving culture and employees who are fulfilled and enjoy coming to work every day. And they've also seen the other side of it where people don't want to go to work every day and they dread being there and everyone just sits at their desks and you're, I'm sure you have to. We all probably have.
Speaker 1:
5:21
Yeah. And I think that's, that really starts to de, to, to open that that little door that says, okay, what exactly are we trying to accomplish here? And I think a lot of the conversations I'm having, uh, with other folks, and I'm sure you're just constantly hearing this struggle, which is just how do I find ways to get folks to read, respond, and be active participants in my communication strategy? You know, and I'm just so curious where you have found the most success and just where you, where you see these and why they exist in the first place.
Speaker 2:
6:00
We, we talk a lot about, or we question a lot, um, about why people aren't reading what we're putting out. Why aren't people paying attention? Why are people listening? Why is no one responding to what we're putting out there? And I think the question should be, are we listening? [inaudible] I think that question should come first and you know, in, in, in many ways, maybe it's like parenting or, you know, even training a pet for that matter. Like, why aren't they doing what I want them to do? Are you, are you listening in? Are you paying attention to what their natural state is and what their behavior is? And maybe we're not. And, and I think that's, that's, uh, for me that's the biggest first step. So stepping back, looking at the big picture, but also looking at the little nuances are people, do you, what is your culture in its default state? And once you have that data, then you get to look at why aren't people communicating? Why aren't people reading? Why aren't people, you know, active participants in these conversations? Um, but I think until you look at that initial state, it's not going to help you to build anything without knowing that.
Speaker 1:
7:18
That makes a lot of sense. And I know you mentioned earlier offline about the phrase communication strategy, and maybe it sends a few chills down your spine hearing it. I'd love to get your feedback on that specifically.
Speaker 2:
7:34
Uh, yeah, I would, that's not my favorite word. I used to joke in my last role that my, one of my least favorite words was policy. Another least favorite word of mine was reports. And I will say communication strategy might be up there as well. Having said that, it doesn't mean it's not important. Um, but I think when we build out a strategy, we are often building strategies. I'm guilty of doing this myself. We're often building strategies based on a template and based on um, textbook examples of what a strategy should look like. And I would love to see us build strategies that take into account that natural state of an organization instead of just, this is how you build a strategy, fill in the filling, the gaps are filling the pieces because it's just not a, it's a lot for me. It's not a one size fits all.
Speaker 1:
8:27
That's a really interesting point. And it reminds me of, I saw someone post the other day on linkedin about, they're like, please don't say that. You're trying to just delight your customers. I feel like communication, strategy, delight your customers, it's, it's almost like people are looking for the easy button. If they could just find and oh well I just need a communication strategy and everything will be fine. It's like, okay, I feel like in the same thing with delight your customers, like of course you want to delight your customers, of course you a communication strategy. But let's talk about what that means. Let's get tactical about it. And then I feel like if you can back it up with why and not just why, but actually the how aspect of it, then okay, sure. That it becomes a lot more tangible. Um, but I hear you, it's like sometimes you hear these words and you're like, oh, you know, okay, that's, that's fine. But let's, let's get, let's, let's go this drill a little bit further down into that to understand what you're actually trying to solve here.
Speaker 2:
9:22
Well, I think leaders are, I've, I've been asked many times by leaders, will, we need to be strategic. We need to be successful. No Shit. What else are you doing all day? But, but I think we get caught up in this be strategic means build a strategy. And I think we were jumping ahead. Sometimes we're not looking at where we're at right now. Um, and, and what the reality of your workplace is. And I think you need to do that before you're looking at all these wonderful things, ping pong tables that you're going to put in the lunch room.
Speaker 1:
9:58
Absolutely. And I think it's to your point earlier, it's just about understood, you know, taking a big step back and trying to understand what is, you know, what is your culture and what are, what is your idea of what culture is supposed to be? And then really start to ask, ask people, you know, our, you know, what is it that your, what is your interpretation of that? Um, do you do, here's what we think it is. Do you feel that way? And then from there you can start to develop, okay, well I can certainly see where we're lacking and where we need to improve, et cetera. Uh, and see what resonates as well. Um, part of what you were just talking about, um, made me think of, okay, well having this strategy in place is one thing, but also there's going back to that easy button, there's this tendency to say, okay, well what I need is this is something new, something different that'll shake it up.
Speaker 1:
10:53
So, uh, we talk a lot about mobile and mobile technologies being okay, well that's definitely the answer. If I just go mobile, everybody will have access to the information and well, guess what? It turns out that even if you use a shiny new amazing tools such as mobile or whatever it may be, um, that doesn't change a crappy communications plan. If it's not working in whatever way that you're sending and sharing this information, it's still not good on a new shiny tool. And I'd love to get your feedback or something that your experiences on that.
Speaker 2:
11:32
That's like a spoiler alert thing, right? Will or alert if you launched a new intranet app, shiny tool insert shiny tool name here, but you're, you're workplace culture sucks. The tool isn't going to work. That's how it goes. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. But I think that's being brutally honest about your current state and recognizing that launching a tool in that current state means the tool is going to reflect that state. If you are in an amazing place and you've got a very fulfilled, energized workforce, great, well maybe that's a great time to launch a tool. If you have cultural problems and you have communication problems without that tool, then there are probably deeper rooted issues that you need to sort out before launching that. Um, interesting. I have launched an intranet at a previous job and one of the things we found that before we went after we launched that we didn't realize beforehand was that the demographic of people that were using this tool was a demographic that was not native to platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all of those social networking platforms.
Speaker 2:
12:48
And so when we launched it, they didn't understand the, I'll call it the culture of liking something or commenting on something that was new to them. And it was a really eyeopening experience for us that we were like, well, why is no one engaging? Why is no one commenting, no one's, you know, we're the only ones who are liking these posts. Well because they didn't, they didn't understand the nature of how that works because the social media mindset wasn't something that was inherent to them. So.
Speaker 1:
13:19
Okay. And that goes into something too that I think is a, I've been hearing from, I actually was, I was doing an interview, a couple I've been wanting to say a month ago and I was talking to in her thing was she was kind of a team of one right for about two or 3000 people and she said the only way that she feels that she's been so successful is by finding internal influencers. And the more I hear about that, the more you know people are looking for familiar faces and if they can hear it from those types of folks that can really help. I'd love to understand, I think you and I are in agreement on influence. Finding influencers is absolutely a great thing, but how to find them. Is there another journey? And I'd love to get your feedback on that.
Speaker 2:
14:08
You know, I worry a little bit about using the word influencers, but I agree. I don't, I don't and I don't know. I don't know what else to call them at this point. I don't like the, I don't want to use evangelists either, but maybe champions is a better term. The reason I'm determine influencer makes me nervous is because it's starting to evolve on social media into this dishonest kind of like we're starting to learn now that all of these accounts with millions of followers don't really have millions of followers and it's a bit of a bit of a lie. And, um, but to your point to finding people within your organization who are champions of your messaging, that is I think the secret sauce in launching a new tool in, you know, rolling out a new strategy, whatever it might be. Um, because those are the people that are going to help you get there.
Speaker 2:
15:04
On the flip side, I will also say in specifically in terms of launching a new tool that leaning into your skeptics can also be incredibly powerful. One of the things that we, that I've done with launching new tools is finding people in the organization who are either skeptical or who are not tech savvy at all, um, who are not glued to their iPhones, who are not, you know, mobile friendly kinds of people. Because if you can bring them on early, they will become champions because they'll, they'll have feel empowered. They'll feel like they've learned something new. There'll be telling everyone else, oh, there's a scurry to it. There's all these cool things you can do with it because it's new to them. Right. A lot of us are used to social media and being online 24 seven and so when an, when a new tool is launched, we're like, yeah, cool. It's a new app. That's cool. Yep. I know how to use that. I use those out all the time. If you can get someone who isn't comfortable in that space to become comfortable in that space, they are going to jump all over it and be your biggest fans. And I think that's something to keep in mind too.
Speaker 1:
16:09
Thanks for listening to the podcast. We've got a ton of great content that covers the full journey of deploying a branded employee app. Go to staffbase.com click on resources and select employee app guide. That's it. Best wishes. And back to the show. Oh, I love that. I mean that, that reminds me of, uh, several years ago I was working for an organization and we are, we were pushing out new types of mail, email technology, and it was always used. It was usually on the leadership level. Uh, they would have someone that controlled their lives. They were the people that were managing their email, managing their calendars, managing their, their documentation. So if that person couldn't buy into this new technology, Oh boy, there was a lot of trouble. And so being able to find a way to work with those folks and say, all right, talk to me about your concerns. Help me understand where you're seeing problems, why doesn't this seem like a good idea for you? Because, and yeah, from there work backwards and say, well, now I have a, I have a template of how to explain it because if you can understand it and you are absolutely against it, oh boy. And Yeah, to your point, finding an influencer, us or, or a champion out of that is a wonderful, I do agree that the word influencer, it's kind of, it's, it's starting to creep into a bad word. Yeah, yeah,
Speaker 2:
17:36
yeah. Yeah. I think part of it too with with, and I'm sure you, you see this all the time with launching an app in an organization or an intranet or whatever it might be, whatever digital tool it might be, it's fascinating how, yes, it's about the technology and it's about the tool, but it's so much more about the culture. If you have a culture where, like you say there, you know, we worry about leaders who are afraid of giving up control of the message. But also if you have a culture where leadership controls the message, you likely also have a culture where employees have a fear of owning that message as well. And so it's about flipping that whole script. So part of it is that leaders are comfortable letting other people be empowered to share a message, but also letting those other people know that it's okay for you to comment or post or share, like those kinds of things.
Speaker 1:
18:27
Yeah. That's such an interesting dynamic because you have these leaders that are just so desperate to, I was having a conversation with, uh, someone, a for a large global organization and you know, rewind 20 years ago and it was a team of 15 people, you know, and they used to be able to sit around a pizza box and have a nice conversation and run the company, you know? Yup. And now they have, they have organ, they have facilities that very likely some of leadership has never even set foot on. Yeah. Which is so, and I, I, I can sense that that is, that's a struggle. Like, how do you feel like, wow, I have my people that do, they don't even know who I am. Maybe, um,
Speaker 2:
19:14
that's where internal communication professionals are the catalyst for that. And we need to own that role because we have an incredibly powerful position within the company because we touch all aspects of the business and very few other positions have that exciting role. And so when it's scaling like that, and there's lots of, you know, groups I've worked with that are same thing, well we had 12 people and now we have 200 and we don't know how to scale that. How do we scale the pizza bog meet at peaks pizza box meetings right into these town halls and everything else. And that's where, that's where we get to come in. And that's amazing.
Speaker 1:
19:57
I completely agree. And it's, and I, it has such an interesting effect on, on, on, on both sides of the pendulum, right? These, so on the one hand there we have the leaders that are just, they want to be present a at scale to your point. But on the other hand, you have these, you know, you could have, if you have a factory, you could have fat 2000 workers that are, you know, feed on the ground that don't feel like they just, they show up to work, they do their job and they go home and they feel completely distant from or unaware of anything that has happening high above if you will. And then by, by using internal communications, you completely change that and flip it on his head and all of a sudden you're engaging with both sides. And that is so exciting.
Speaker 2:
20:46
It is exciting. Yeah. And I don't think we
Speaker 1:
20:49
own that like we could. Yes. I think you're spot on. Um, so you had a video, um, uh, that I was watching on Youtube, which I'll put in the show notes cause it was really interesting called a zero to hero. Um, and I think this is really relevant to the topic, which is just finding that voice, which we've been talking about. And if you're an internal communicator, what is your voice? And you talked a lot about this zero to hero, uh, methodology. And in particular you talked about, uh, just an interesting way of incorporating video into your strategy to help. I'd love to hear more about it
Speaker 2:
21:30
if video is not something, so this is funny, I'm going back to my college years, the communications program I did. And in your first year you learn a little bit of everything. So they had four areas. I was journalism, advertising, PR, and at the time it was called broadcast production. I think it's called media production now or something. Anyway. And so the broadcast production piece was TV studio work and film work and learning how to use the cameras and all that kind of stuff. And it was my least favorite of all four of those majors. So I did not major in broadcast production, but I knew enough to have conversations about it. And that's the important thing with communicators, whether it's accounting or video production or even coding or website building websites, you need to know enough to have a conversation. You don't need to know how to do it yourself necessarily.
Speaker 2:
22:18
So video production is not my area of expertise. I don't want it to be, it doesn't engage me at all, but there are luckily many people who are awesome at it and I think the first part of that zero to hero talk that I've done it a number of different conferences talks about the power of video and, and what a difference it makes with internal communications. My first experience with that was when I was working for Ronald McDonald House. Again, one person show, you know, you're the communicator, you're the fundraiser, you're the, you know, volunteer coordinator, you're taking all these different jobs. And so for our volunteer appreciation evening, we, I thought, you know, how cool would it be to put a video together? In hindsight, it really was more of a slide show than a video. However, still something that had audio and had video and had impact and volunteers, I can, I can still, I still see that room because they saw themselves and they saw the impact that they had.
Speaker 2:
23:20
And we had families share, you know, quotes about, oh, I loved coming back to the house after being at the hospital all day. And there were, I'd always smelled like cookies and it just to hear for them to see that impact was incredible and so so moving and that was the first foray into using video for volunteers or I guess maybe a pseudo internal audience, but for that internal piece of it, you know we all have share amazing advertising commercials that we see are at Superbowl ads. Right. Ever. That's half the reason people don't like football watch super is for the super bowl ads or maybe the only reason I'm because it's video, right? It's engaging, it's emotional, it tells a story and if you are in internal comms, you are in sales and you are in marketing and you are in advertising and you are in PR and all of those departments use video to sell a product or a service and there's no reason why we shouldn't be using video to sell an engagement story or a strategy or a new initiative or a new tool.
Speaker 1:
24:25
I am so glad you said it that way in particular because I have found when, when I'm looking at the internal coms industry of the United States in particular the United States, not the rest of the globe, really focus on the United States. There's a huge, I could sit down at a conference for internal communicators and I guarantee you maybe only one person at that table actually have the phrase internal communicator in their title. Yep. There's a huge chance that they're in PR, they're in HR, they're in marketing or they're in sales, et cetera. And it's because of exactly the point you just nailed on because this hat that this person is wearing is so dynamic, so vast it, I mean you need to, yeah. You are a cheerleader on every possible aspect of the business in terms of creating and sharing a message. And I think that's why so many people get inherited into the role and you know that, ah, that's really a really strong point. Um, uh, do any thoughts on that before I move on?
Speaker 2:
25:36
Well, you know what I was going to say to that is that internal coms is a relatively new field. When you look at, you know, the history of PR say or, or even the business world, and so many people who are internal communication professionals are not, that's not what they went to school for. That's not what they entered the, the working world to do. And so they generally have a background from somewhere else. Even for myself, my background originally in school was, was business and then became more sort of fundraising PR. That's an incredible background for internal COMS, right? I could look at my two years trying to finish up a business degree and go, oh well that, what a waste. I did financial accounting and I did organizational behavior and no, that's so useful for internal communications. All of it is. So I think it's also a matter of recognizing that your background, I guarantee your background brings something really helpful to your role in internal comms.
Speaker 1:
26:32
Yeah. And it's, it is. So I get so fascinated with from a marketing perspective that this whole topic is something that it's, it's, it's infuriating on one end I guess I'm like, who are you? Uh, but on the other hand, it's so exciting cause it's such a, it's such a, there's such a wide net of folks that could totally fit the role, be absolutely amazing. And a lot of the people that I talked to, that's exactly how they found themselves in the role in the first place is leadership or a, anyone in an organization is like, Oh, you've got to talk to Sarah. She's so amazing with how she can handle this and that. Maybe she was in marketing before or maybe she just an unbelievable a sales representative. We've got to get her to figure out a way to do what she does out there externally, internally. How do we do that? And then while a, she's part of the industry.
Speaker 2:
27:34
Alright, great. Part of me wonders, this is possibly a tiny bit unethical, but part of me wonders if we, if you hosted a job ad rental comms role, but you didn't say it was an internal club's role and you said, okay, I want someone who is a connector of people. I want someone who is very creative, who can do marketing, who can, you know, target audiences and segmentation, all this kind of stuff. You'd get some amazing ad in PR and marketing people applying for it and then say to them, oh yeah, by the way, your audience is always going to be our employees, right? It's sort of, that's I think how we need to look at it.
Speaker 1:
28:09
I completely agree. And I think actually I unexpectedly, one of the, one of the more interesting examples when I was just learning about the industry, I think it was a, the, the medical, uh, um, medical group, they usually, there's usually a lot, uh, use of the word mark, internal marketer or some like there are, they actually look at it as it, you are, you are a marketing person, but you're not marketing to the hospital. You're marketing to the employees of the hospital. Yeah. And I found that really fascinating. Fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. Are they just like, okay, well that makes total sense. Yeah. Here you're all, everything that you're trying to say is you is, is exactly what internal committee should just communications is about, but you're marketing it as talked about. That really was interesting. Um, the, go back to video real quick. I think that one thing that you were talking about what you do, especially with the Ronald McDonald House for example, and it's when the production value and also just what the content is showing is so important.
Speaker 1:
29:16
I think whenever I talked to someone, this is all I want to do video, but I'm worried about like what equipment do I use? How do I, I don't know how to do video. It's like, no, no, no, no. If you have a camera, if you have a laptop, you can do video. Because at the end of the day, you, what matters is your message. What matters. When you showed those pictures, even though you said it was more of a slideshow with audio, those memories, that's what, that's what made it, right. And so I, there's like when you have a a floorman or I'm off a district manager for a logistics company that does a little, hey, good morning video, it could be on your iPhone. It wouldn't, it doesn't matter. You know, that it's, it's just the thought and the familiarity and the way that I can relate to that person that's so much more important than any super cool equipment set up ever. Um,
Speaker 2:
30:12
no. Do you do high value or do high production value videos have a place in the, in the internal communications role? Of course they do. Absolutely. But to your point, you know, if you have, you know, a district manager who, you know, once a month shares a message about something and they're sitting at their desk with using their iPhone to shoot a video that's relatable because I guarantee you the vast majority of your employees are not video production people. So they, in some ways I think that makes them more relatable and it's an easier kind of level playing field, but oh yeah. My district manager uses their iPhone to shoot videos. So, you know, let's makes it more on my level. Right.
Speaker 1:
30:56
Completely agree. Completely agree. Um, yeah. So I'm going to jump back to this role of this inherited role, um, which is, I find it so fascinating because yeah, people are coming from all different realms of, of, of, you know, PR, HR, sales, et cetera. Um, wow. If you found someone that just started that role today, uh, what would you say to them? Welcome,
Speaker 2:
31:33
welcome to the best industry. Um, I would, I would ask lots of questions because I would want to know where they came from, what, you know, what business role were they in before, what industry were they in? Because there are all kinds of really useful nuggets that they're going to bring to this role. And I think if you, if you are an adult, then you have been employed anywhere, you know, the value of internal comms. You just might not know that that's what it's called. You know, if you are a cashier at Walmart, you understand what internal comms is because I'm sure there were times where you didn't know something that you needed to know or maybe there are times that you went, oh yeah, no, I always find things out from my manager and they, when I come in for my shift, I look at this board and that's where I see everything.
Speaker 2:
32:17
You know, an internal comms is, you just might not have known that it was called internal comms. So whatever you learned in your other roles about how you learned about new policies, say or how you learned about a new initiative or how you shared information about what your team was working on. All of that is useful to bring to this role because you know what worked and you know what didn't work. So I think sort of curating all of that experience is what's going to be most helpful for you and make you the most successful.
Speaker 1:
32:47
That is, that is so spot on and it's Aye. Aye. If I was in the role myself and I was just starting out, I would probably be a little terrified. Yeah. And, but also trying to figure out what is, what am I being measured against and how am I going to be measured? And we did a, we did another episode with our CMO and we talked all about measurement and talked to all about the different statistic, you know, different metrics that are available and out there and it's, there is no one metric. I think that's really what it comes down to. What are you finding that, you know, if you were able to say, okay, can I at least list out some things that, that do matter that do help at the very least say, alright, these are some KPIs that I can look at to say I'm doing good. I'm, I'm, I'm, you know, or I need to improve.
Speaker 2:
33:40
Yep. Uh, I think one of the first things I would tell, especially if someone was new to a role or new to internal comms, I would have a sneaking suspicion that the company they are working for might not be measuring things at all as they relate to internal comms. And so the, the reason that it's easy for us to not measure things is because it's never been done before. So there's a little bit of fear of the unknown, but there's also, I think a little bit of laziness where it's not being done. Why do you want to add more to your plate? Right? Why, why do we need to add? I'm, you're already got all kinds of things you need to get done. Measurement falls by the wayside. That, but I think what looks amazing then is if you can define what your company should be measuring and how you can tie that to business outcomes.
Speaker 2:
34:33
Uh, I mean, I, I certainly if I was a manager and an employee came up to me and said, you know, I know I'm new in this role and I noticed that we don't measure a lot of things, so here are some ideas for things. We, I think we could be measuring to get a baseline and then set some goals from there. I'd be like, do you want my job? That's amazing. Right? I mean, put the dream for most managers to have an employee who's self-starting like that and, and aware enough to recognize those things. So I think the first thing is to not be afraid of looking at measurement and exploring what that might be for your role or your organization. Um, in terms of KPIs and what to measure. I mean, like you said, there are hours and hours of podcasts that could talk about measurement alone.
Speaker 2:
35:14
My, one of my favorite things that was measured, it's a little bit of a scary thing to measure, but on an employee survey, uh, at a place I worked, once they asked, would you recommend a friend to work here? Would you refer someone to work here excluding things about yes, of course I you don't, you might not want to work with your friends, but excluding those kinds of, would you refer someone to work here? And I think that's a really powerful question to ask because if most people are saying no, well that means that maybe they're sticking it out and I'll go through, go through the motions, keep my job and keep my paycheck. But I don't know if I would tell someone else to work here. And I think that's, that's a powerful question. The other powerful question I love asking is how people feel on Sunday night. I think it's okay. Maybe a scary question to ask cause you're going to get some answers that might make you think twice, but I think that says a lot about your culture. You know, how people feel before the week starts if you're working in a typical Monday to Friday kind of office.
Speaker 1:
36:22
I love that. I think one thing you said, two in particular that really resonated with me was this word called fear. Um, I, I, I've, I ha, I feel a lot of it with folks there. There's like, whether it's, and maybe it's because the of the responsibility I'm sending out this message that in historically has been unsuccessful. Maybe they don't even want to hear the message. And so the, then they get, they're the recipients of, you know, that that negative feedback and it's just co and they, there's this, so I think then some of the conversations I've had, it feels like they're there feel for a full of what's gonna come back at them. A few are full of feeling that, okay, well if it's unsuccessful then whoever's in charge of what I'm doing is going to be unsatisfied with me as well. And you're just kinda getting hit from all these different angles. Um, and so I th the, your, the, your, your questions about saying, you know, how do you feel on Sunday night? How do you, you know, would you recommend someone to work here? I love that. I think that that just, that kind of expands it outside of just communicating from a message standpoint and it's communicating from a culture standpoint, which I really, I like that quite a bit.
Speaker 2:
37:45
Well, an internal comms, as you said, is a newer industry. And when there's, when it's, when an industry is newer, there's no charted path. So we are all doing that right now and that's scary. But that's also really awesome that we get to create and invent and decide what is helpful for measurement and how we should be sharing messages. So I think we, you know, there's a quote that I have on a card that I found at a whole foods one time. It's in my, I haven't posted in my office and it says be nervous, but don't be afraid. So be nervous about things but don't fear it. We need to flip this fear into an excitement about the industry and charting new territory for everyone.
Speaker 1:
38:33
Hmm. I love that. That's great. And I hate it. Is your, sure. So yes, it is new. It is. And people are kind of figuring it out, but, and there's, and there's just so many great people like yourself that just can really help tap on those things and you know, figure out different ways of like, okay, well what is the message that we're trying to say? And I think, you know, to kind of summarize what you were talking about it, it keeps coming back to culture. What, what do we want to be as a company and how are we going to do that? And it's, there isn't an easy answer. There isn't a tool that can solve that problem, but there's a, there, there's definitely some work to be done in order to figure out how to make sure that you're, you're staying on track with what that, that vision is.
Speaker 2:
39:23
And the other thing with it being a newer industry, part of what I have grown to love about the internal communication profession is the community that we've built. Two of my, I did an exercise a few months ago about personal values and the two that I narrowed down to for myself were compassion and community. And that's what I love about the internal comms world is that it's this really empowering, supportive community of professionals. I have yet to meet someone who has refused to help or chat or you know, share ideas. So I think for anyone who's newer to the industry, that is going to be the best part as you grow, as having this network of people who are all trying to do these amazing things together. And I don't know if any one person has it all figured out, but together, man, we're making headway. For sure.
Speaker 1:
40:15
That's a solid point. And I can say, I can attest that going to events and just interacting on Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin, the community is wonderful. I mean, and it's like even with like even when talking to competitors, it's just such a friendly experience. It's like we're all just trying to do this thing that helps people be better and feel good about what they do every day. And that's pretty awesome.
Speaker 2:
40:45
Awesome. I wish we would acknowledge that more often. Like we're all trying to, when I want to explain this is my Uber driver pitch. When you know you're chatting with your Uber driver. Well we, what do you do for a living? I'm here for conference. Oh, what's it about? Internal Communications. And then they always say, I don't know what that is. And I always say I help employees enjoy going to work. That that's what an awesome rule, right? I help make people's workplaces more enjoyable. Everyone wants to look forward to going to work. So
Speaker 1:
41:13
absolutely the best. That's so cool. Oh, Kristen, this has been such a good conversation. Um, I have my last and final question. It's my favorite question to ask is I want to know what, if anything, super fun that you're working on today that you want to talk about?
Speaker 2:
41:29
Well, when you're me, everything is fun. Part of it. I did laundry today, which is maybe not fun but very fun for me cause I'm dog sitting. So I was getting blankets ready for my dog sitting friends. And all serious though I'm building a business has been a, a journey of all kinds of, uh, roller coaster moments and fun and excitement and you know, nervousness and fear and all those kinds of things. I've been doing that since October. Um, and then on the personal side of it, the building a life, uh, and, and working through the immigration process to move to the u s so that's been, I dunno if fun is the right word for that, but I'm trying to make it as fun as I can.
Speaker 1:
42:17
Wow though. That's really exciting. I mean that's those two things combined. I mean, that is very exciting. Probably a little stressful, but probably
Speaker 2:
42:29
you've got a trouble for the most part, so. Awesome.
Speaker 1:
42:33
Oh, that's great. Chris, did I really, I just want to thank you again. I'm certain that people are going to find everything that you had to talk about really helpful and will resonate very well, especially if you're new to the industry or if you just try to take a step back and you're in the grind and you just want to go, ah, what am I supposed to be focusing on again? What is it, this thing that I'm supposed to be doing? Why am I here? And I think a lot of what you talked about, just going back, just understanding what your culture is and making sure that folks that you talk to simply want to show up on Monday. Pretty great
Speaker 2:
43:13
internal homes. Pros need to all need to put our crowns on and owner roles.
Speaker 1:
43:17
Mm, yes, yes. That was, yeah, it was, that was the other point you made. There was, so this power to be able to reach people on a level that not, I can't think of another field that can do that. Uh, so regularly. That's awesome. Thank you so much for your time. Uh, I wish you the best on your, on your ventures ahead and, and, uh, and uh, hope to see you in the United States. Awesome. Thanks for listening to the podcast. We've got a ton of great content that covers the full journey of deploying a branded employee app. Go to [inaudible] dot com click on resources and select employee app guide. That's it.
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