6 Apr, 2018
Posted by Jennifer Appleton, Operations Director
Spring brings with it the start of a new financial year which is a great time to review and refresh internal communications. The saying “communication is key” is as valid today as it’s ever been but why?
It all boils down to engagement. Engaged employees have a positive attitude towards their work and go the extra mile to meet their customers’ needs.
If we don’t engage our employees, what hope do we have of engaging our customers?
Communication is critical to engagement. How can we get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet unless we communicate effectively?
We help hundreds of organisations to improve their communications as part of their certificated ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard so we have to practice what we preach! Our ISO 9001 processes include regular management reviews, weekly meetings and quarterly telephone calls to our business associates as well as communication of non-conformances so we can drive continual improvement. Even internal auditing – traditionally seen as very much a ‘one-way process’ – provides a great chance for interaction and communication.
Technology helps us all communicate but when you have a geographically diverse team, as we do, it’s not always enough to send an email or a newsletter. There’s great value to be gained from bringing departments together as we do at our annual conference.
Last month, we opened our conference with the unveiling of our new corporate video which outlines the scope of our business. It may be teaching people to suck eggs but it makes sure that everyone remembers what we’re in business for: to help organisations improve through the application of management standards (and to make management standards simple)! We kept coming back to this key goal in the departmental presentations which both celebrated successes and outlined plans for the future.
Of course, successful communication is two-way so we gathered valuable ideas from attendees during round table discussions – it takes a lot of effort to ensure that attendees feel comfortable enough to constructively criticise elements of what we do as well as commenting favourably on what they like, but we’d rather hear it from a colleague now than in a customer complaint further down the line!
The conference also gives the team the chance to recognise each other’s successes and achievements both at work and in their personal lives. There is no better way to celebrate the business’s achievements than with those who made them possible so we also invite suppliers who are key to our continued success. Some may see it as a risky strategy, but we want them to know our goals so they can best meet our needs.
Holding this type of event requires lots of advance preparation but the feedback makes it worthwhile. The team places great value on the day as is shown in the comments received (nerve-wracking as it is for the presenters, we ask every attendee to give honest feedback). This year comments included, “very informative, interesting and instructional”, “a good overview of the business and its successes” and “good networking event and information sharing by ISO Quality Services”.
At the event debrief, the presenters were delighted to hear that attendees scored them over 9 out of 10 in key areas: good use of time, topics covered, relevance of information and relevance to each individual’s job role.
Colin Dearing, one of our new business associates also commented: “Coming from a Civil Service background it has been quite a culture shock being so well looked after by a private concern, you certainly feel part of the bigger picture. The conference was conducted extremely professionally. Content was excellent, the presenters knew their subject matter, session times were comfortable and attendance by the board showed Management commitment.”
Top tips for driving employee engagement
For those wanting to hold their own conference, we recommend:
Don’t forget that implementing a management standard, holding weekly team meetings, sending internal newsletters and even having suggestion boxes are all great ways to improve communication and engagement!
ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.
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