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You Asked. We Listened Campaign
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Our Employee Engagement survey results highlighted a need to promote cross-departmental interaction and open communication at PPL to create an engaged workforce. This feedback and insights were used to shape and improve our internal communication strategy and channels. We introduced a number of initiatives such as a dedicated internal magazine, Pulse, as well as holding engaging quarterly events for our 300 staff to share company news, motivational guest speakers and involve PPL’s employees in the development of the company strategy. The implemented initiatives has led to measurable increases in overall customer satisfaction and the engagement of our employees.
We are a music licensing company based in London, employing circa 300 employees. The company licenses the use of recorded music in the UK for broadcast, online and public performance, on behalf of its 90,000 record company and performer members. The company does not retain any profit for itself and there is no joining fee or administration charge for members.
Drivers for Change
Our 2015 Employee Engagement survey results showed an overall need to improve communication between teams and create a unified internal voice at PPL. Compared to the 2013 Employee Engagement survey results, only 49% of employees thought “Communications are good between different teams and departments” and only 58% thought “Individual departments and teams within PPL come together as one organisation”. This highlighted a need to promote cross-departmental interaction and open communication at PPL to create an engaged workforce.
The engagement survey also highlighted the need for the Executive Management team to be more open and approachable as only 59% of employees said “The Executive Management Team are open and approachable”.
Another engagement issue was the lack of technology available to communicate business challenges at PPL. We do not have an active intranet or communication channel available for employees to communicate and share ideas across the business.
As PPL internal communications were not owned by a single department or position at the time, this meant a number of internal emails would be sent from various people across the business and in high volume. There was a lack of an internal voice and personality of PPL’s culture and language. We recognised a need for a resource to purely focus on internal communications. Our project aim was to create an internal communication strategy to engage, connect and share business successes to create a unified PPL internal voice that engaged with our employees.
You Asked. We Listened Campaign Objectives
Before we set our objectives for the improving internal communication at PPL we wanted to hear and know what our employees wanted. We did this by first reviewing feedback from previous quarterly PPL Communication events, social events and Employee Engagement Surveys. The employee feedback highlighted four common themes;
- Employees wanted to learn more about the music industry they work in and are passionate about.
- Receive relatable content that was more targeted to our millennial workforce
- Learn more about the different roles and teams at PPL
- Provide opportunities for employees to be actively involved in events and communications
This highlighted that internal communications had to be driven by what our employees tell us and what they want to hear as they are the heart of everything we do. We used this feedback to create our objectives for the “You Asked. We Listened” campaign, where we aimed to:
- Develop a culture whereby employees share ideas, stories and knowledge across the business and music industry
- Improve internal communications between teams by creating a greater focus on cross department interactions
- Develop relevant, simple and relatable communications channels to create a motivated and engaged team
Prior to implementation we presented a proposal to the Executive Management Team and Heads of Departments to gain their insights. Their feedback played a significant part in the process, as it helped us to make changes to the design and strategy prior to the companywide launch. We also consulted with our Marketing department to ensure there was an alignment with our external voice.
Based on the feedback from our employees, we decided to focus on three main areas to improve internal communications across PPL:
- Unifying PPL Internal Voice
Our employees found they were receiving too many companywide emails from various departments. We decided to create one email stream to communicate company updates and news from the “We Are PPL” email address. Our aim was to have standardised, planned and scheduled communications that reflect our defined voice and branding.
- Themed PPL Comms Events
Feedback from previous events indicated that our employees were finding the sessions too long, disjointed and the venue too small. We increased engagement and interaction by packaging the events to have a cohesive theming. We did this by creating an event that taps into all 5 senses and with more audience participation to create an enjoyable experience for them to retain the information. We also introduced guest speakers from the music industry to further our employee’s knowledge within the industry with relevant topics.
- Create an Internal Communication Platform
We launched a new monthly internal magazine; “Pulse”, not only focusing on company news but incorporating people’s personal stories, department and music industry news. Employees are encouraged to evolve, own and shape the news themselves by being part of our internal communication committee the “Pulse Crew”. The Pulse Crew is made up from a variety of people across the business so all aspects of the business are represented in the internal voice. Members of the “Pulse Crew” are encouraged to interview people they don’t normally work with to encourage a one team environment and an opportunity to meet people from other departments.
The backbone of PPL’s internal communication strategy was that it needed to pull on the PPL employee’s hearts, to do this, it needed to stem from the feedback our employees shared with us. To make it clear to our employees that they played a part in designing and shaping our internal communication strategy we launched a “You Asked. We Listened” campaign. We wanted our employees to see the connection that they asked us to improve internal communications from the employee survey so we listened by implementing a number of new initiatives. The campaign involved a mixture of soft and hard launches, with the biggest being the launch of our new internal magazine Pulse. It involved a hype campaign prior to launching at PPL Spring Comms event with a video showcasing the various elements of the magazine and with the employees receiving the first copy the following day.
With all these elements we regularly survey our employees to get insight to what content they want to hear as its pinnacle they feel part of the process to keep them engaged in the initiatives.
In September, we resurveyed specific questions regarding internal communications from the 2015 Employee Engagement survey results to measure our employee’s insights on internal communication strategy. Overall we’ve seen an improvement across all five questions, with the biggest increase being 14.64% for the question “Communications are good between different teams and departments”.
As the internal communication strategy has a greater focus on cross department interactions with communication with the launch of Pulse. Employees have recognised this improvement as the second biggest improvement was “Individual departments and teams within PPL come together as one organisation” with an increase of 10.18%.
We not only have seen an improvement in our overall engagement survey results but also improvements around each individual internal communication strategy. After six months of launching our new communication platform, Pulse Magazine, we surveyed our employees to get an indication if the objectives of the project were being achieved. The results indicated that the magazine has a strong presence and influence at PPL. We now have a solid platform to communicate changes and celebrate business achievements. It showed that across the company employees found the content relevant and informative;
“I think it’s an excellent resource and Pulse has a really strong presence. We’ve not had something like this in all the time I’ve been here!”
“I really love the articles about people within our organisation finding out interesting things about the people we work”
We feel it’s important to continue to update our employees on how we continue to improve communication at PPL. At our Summer Comms event this year we presented a segment called “You Asked, We Listened”, the segment highlighted that we listen to their feedback to shape internal communications at PPL.
We received our highest score ever in the Licensee Experience survey in March 2016 of 77%, which is up by 4% from January. We also received our highest score ever in the Member Experience survey in May of 90%, which is up 12% from January.
Our “You Asked. We Listened” campaign centres around listening to our employees and tailoring our internal communications strategy to what they want to hear. The aim of the project was to create a communication channel to produce in-house and as we didn’t have an active intranet so we had to think of innovative ways to communicate at a low cost. We decided to go back to basics and implement an internal newsletter, Pulse, which has now grown into a monthly magazine. The key to its success was we not only focused on company news but incorporating people’s personal stories, department and music industry news.
As we didn’t have an internal communication team, creating an ongoing monthly magazine and regular communications would not have been attainable for the one person to achieve. To overcome this challenge we created a small internal communication committee called the “Pulse Crew” to meet once a month to create and design the monthly magazine with our Engagement Advisor overseeing the production. The committee is made up from a variety of people across the business so all aspects of the business are represented in the internal voice. By employees actively being involved in the process they felt more engaged and empowered to share their stories and ideas with the business improved team morale.
By simply involving our employees in our quarterly communication events and internal magazine our content was relatable across the organisation and was retained. We were surprised by the impact of sharing employees personal stories in Pulse magazine had on the business. We’ve found these stories had the highest click rates and biggest response rates in feedback. Employees that have featured in Pulse sharing their music interest, hidden talents or hobbies, have received interactions or heard from people that they’ve never spoken to. By sharing these stories in Pulse it’s broken down the barriers for employees to communicate to one another as they are finding people that have similar interests.
The biggest learning from improving internal communications at PPL is that you always have to be adaptive and responsive to what your employees want to hear. We mainly found this with Pulse, when we first launched Pulse; the magazine was segregated into 5 main reading parts. Our employees told us they wanted a single click downloadable version so we had to respond to this by combining all 5 segments into one magazine. In June this year, we got a new open plan break out area where employees can enjoy lunch and meet up so we created printed versions of the magazine.
It also highlighted the need to consider differing department workloads throughout the year. To improve this, we created and implemented a communication calendar to log key dates of upcoming company events and projects. Since implementing it back in June, time management has improved as we’ve had more time to proofread, review and design content without it being a last minute rush.
The success of our internal communication strategy was rooted in the engagement of employees at the very beginning of the project. PPL listened to its employees and used the insight to make changes that impact and benefit everyone. Finally, we’ve learned that internal communications never stands still as it has to constantly grow and build on what our employees want.