The Employee Experience Podcast Season 2 Ep. 9Caz Meech – Global Head of Internal Communications, Employee Events and Engagement at Keyloop
‘We’re all human. It’s not hard to be kind and to give people a voice.’
This week’s guest on The Employee Experience Podcast is Caz Meech, Global Head of Internal Communications, Employee Events and Engagement at Keyloop.
To round up a fantastic second season of the Employee Experience Podcast, Gillian was joined by our Chief Marketing Officer, Gidi, in a special bonus episode to speak to Keyloop’s Caz Meech.
As well as chatting about her background and how she ended up in her role as Global Head of Internal Comms and Employee Engagement, Caz shared her thoughts on the evolution of internal communication and how its transformation impacted culture at Keyloop.
“I came into the company in September 2021 and Keyloop had divested out of a larger company in the March of that year, so it was quite unsettled. People were unsure about where they belonged. The communication strategy was essentially top-down. People didn’t have a voice, they were just using an email system, which I was able to track and then see that the interaction was around 28%.
“So I took a holistic view of that, spoke to people across the company, across the geographies, and worked out how we could fix that together.”
In driving the company’s transformation, she drew on her own experiences and beliefs. “We’ve all got stories where we’ve worked for poor managers; people who don’t trust their staff, they micromanage, they tell them what they should think and how they should think. And all that leads to is a workforce that’s disengaged, unhappy, and they don’t want to do the best for the company.
“At the end of the day they just feel like they’re going to work to pay the bills and they do not give any more of themselves because they’re not inclined to. Why should they? In my experience, I’ve had a lot of really, really excellent managers who have helped me kind of form my way of working and who trusted me.
“We’re all human. It’s not hard to be kind and to give people a voice, and once you do you find that they are happier. Even if they want to voice something they’re not happy about, at least you’re giving them a voice and you can help find a solution with them. I think the key to it is just not dictating to them.”
But what you also need when striving for such an open communication model, Caz explained, is an executive team who leads by example. “Those people who are setting the tone for the company have a responsibility to be themselves and we wouldn’t have the atmosphere we do have if I didn’t have the backing of our leaders.”
Listen back to Caz’s conversation with Gillian and Gidi now.
About The Employee Experience Podcast
The Employee Experience Podcast, hosted by Gillian French, is the podcast series for leaders pursuing innovative ideas to engage and connect with their employees. Listen to trailblazers across internal comms, employee engagement, and HR share the best ways to connect with employees, build healthy cultures, and deliver an employee experience where everyone can reach their potential.
Guests so far on Season 2 of The Employee Experience Podcast include:
– Jane Datta, Chief Human Capital Officer at NASA, on employee experience, connection & leadership
– Debra Corey, Chief ‘Pay it Forward’ Officer at DebCo HR, ‘Recognition is more important than ever for our wellbeing’
– Hollie Delaney, (Former) Zappos CPO, on why empowered employees are engaged employees
– Peter Cheese, CEO at CIPD, on what employees want: the changing expectations of leaders
– Nadine Hack, CEO at beCause, on connectedness and openness: a company’s most powerful tools
– Pat Divilly, Podcaster, Author, and Facilitator, on why overcoming emotional disconnect starts from within
– Hamira Riaz, Executive Talent & Assessment Director at Lloyds Banking Group on people strategy
– Mark Miller, Vice President of High Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A on culture
Welcome to this special edition of our Employee Experience podcast. I’m Gillian French and I’m here with Giddy, our chief marketing officer and Caz Meach for the global head of Internal Comma at Key Loop. So I’m delighted to be here with you today, Caz and Gidi. So Caz, I love your jumper. It’s the Pink Panther. Where did you get that? Is this in mark of the day after Valentine’s? Was this a gift? It’s gorgeous.
Yeah, well I just like to wear things that cheer me up, so bring a little smile to people’s faces. Got it. From H&M if anybody is desperately wanting one.
Nice. Hey Gillian and Caz, sorry from my voice. I’m just recovering from the flu. That’s what you get for having kids and yeah. That’s going to be my voice here today. Caz. It’s great to see and hear you again. Last time that we met it was at our customer summit I think in Dublin.
It was, yeah. It was a great event. Really enjoyed it.
We were at a bar with all our customers. I was going to get a simple beer and then Caz looked to the waiter and told them “A Monkey 47 gin tonic with Elderflower please.” And obviously left me no choice. We’ll just say “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Well, I’m a bad influence. What can I say?
Brilliant. So listen, we’re so delighted to have you here today, Caz, and so excited to hear. I think our listeners would love to hear about your career and how you’ve gotten into the role that you’re in today. So would you mind sharing a bit about your story with us?
Sure. I’m very happy to. So I had great time at school but flunked out of college after a year. Just didn’t want to really be there but my parents absolutely insisted that I wasn’t going to be a dropout. So I found an apprenticeship and I did my apprenticeship at IBM in marketing and I managed their translations of brochures, various things for the first few years and that led to an 11-year career with them, which was fantastic. Really enjoyed it. I did a lot of travel, it was great introduction to how I guess work life is now. We worked remotely for quite a lot of the time and we are, oh, I’m going to reveal my age a little bit now, but we are talking kind of 20 odd years ago when I started there.
I can’t believe it.
Oh, thank you so much. I’ll pay you afterwards. So yeah. Actually it was a really good introduction to going into what I do now. Before I left there and had my children, I ended up working in internal communications, and kind of really found my love for communicating with other people there. I then had quite a long career break where I had, I’ve got four kids, so I had about 10 years out, but still got bored quite regularly and set up my own business while I was running an art club for kids. Again, I was always around people and always loved being around people and just missed that interaction with adults when I was at home with the children, which I think a lot of parents can probably resonate with if they stay home with their kids.
And then after that I’ve had what we call a squiggly career. So I then went into healthcare, then I moved across into banking, then I moved across into academia and then I ended up going into broadcast media, which was back into the internal comms kind of area, and just really rediscovered my love for it. Worked there for 18 months, maybe two years, and then moved across into Key Loop where I’m working now. And one thing I will say is that I know that obviously Covid was a terrible thing to happen to the world, but for me, career-wise, it was absolutely transformational because I always knew with IBM that I could work from home and work efficiently really well from home and connect with people really well from home as well as being in the office, but Covid really reinforced that, and the people in my previous job who weren’t confident in people working from home all of a sudden had to realize that people who are working are adults and can manage their own time. And I saw I had two promotions in that time fully working from home, so for me in my career, it was really life-changing.
Yeah. That gives you that really good work-life balance. So you’re fully remote now?
Yeah, we do have an office. So I’m a hybrid worker actually, but I kind of get the choice to go in when myself or my team want to gather, really get together.
But I do, I love your title, the Global Head of Internal Comms and Employee Experience and the employee experience and internal comms piece is definitely something that a lot of people talk about. And I think you are actually with the employee experience team, like the HR team. That’s where internal comms sits with.
Yeah, because we’ve had a debate before, does it sit with marketing? Should it sit on its own? I’d love to get your perspective on how it works for you and does it work well? I’m assuming it does, but you should never assume anything.
Yeah, it’s funny because when I was purely in marketing in the early part of my career, I’ve sat very comfortably there and actually really enjoyed working in the marketing team. And when I go to conferences for internal comms, there’s always pretty much a 50/50 split as to whether it sits in marketing or whether it sits in HR. My experience of it being HR has been that I found I can do my employee experience part of my role much more efficiently ’cause I have a little bit more of insight as to what’s going on in the company and HR level, so actually I find it works really, really well for us.
I think that we’re seeing that all around as well. I think that internal communications has never been more important. We’re still feeling the aftershocks from Covid and all the uncertainty and changes that are taking place in the world right now. The thing is, maybe as a CMO, when you manage internal communications, it’s important but it’s never your most important thing. It’s never your most important thing. When it is managed in that employee experience part of the house, by the way, there are more and more chief experience officers and companies that we see. It gets I think a little bit more protagonist, more importance. And I do see that conversion happening between engagement and communications as part of that larger discipline of employee experience. Would you feel the same?
Yeah, definitely. And I would also say it’s still really important though to maintain the relationship with marketing. So my team have a really good, close relationship with the marketing and brand team with Key Loop. So we make sure that our messages are always consistent, that we’re working in harmony with one another, I guess is the best way to say that.
When I worked in the previous two organizations I worked in, internal comms always sat within my team as in the people team and I found I would’ve been lost without them and it was so good to have them within our team and I think they really found the benefit of it as well. Before I move on to some of our deeper questions, I’d love Caz, if you could just tell us a little bit about Key Loop and what they do?
So Key Loop has been around for a while. So we’ve got some heritage in the automotive industry and the software within automotive with dealers, OEMs, and manufacturers. So we essentially have a range of software products and layered apps that manage everything from the manufacturer, the OEMs, through to the end of the journey where the customer is then buying their car and linking everything up together. So it’s not my first role in the auto industry. I started when I was seven years old. My dad was a car dealer and would regularly get me out to clean cars on the weekend before he had people come in to view cars, so I’ve been in the auto industry a long time.
In order to, we’ll talk a little bit about Key Loop, the transformation that you were leading in Key Loop in order to try and provide as well always do on this podcast inspiration to other communication and engagement leaders looking to transform their own. I think that in the base of every true transformation there is a strong belief system, which I know following you, reading your stuff, you definitely have. I wanted to read you something that a brilliant thought leader that I’m following has written recently, and get your take on it. So “Good communication in the workplace isn’t just nice to have. It’s critical. When managers communicate well, their staff are happier. It’s truly as simple as that. When information is available at our fingertips, the old adage of no news is good news just won’t cut it in today’s world. So trust in your staff and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.” Who wrote that?
Did I write that?
Of course you wrote that. It was a trick question. Come on.
I’m going, “God, that sounds really good. I’d say that.”
That sound so smart. Who is that person? So you write a lot about trust and about open communications and giving people a voice and read the rewards, the rest will follow. I’d like to hear a little bit in your own words about your own belief system that help you design the transformation that we’ll talk about in Key Loop.
Sure. I think, we’ve all got stories where we’ve worked for poor managers. Most people have worked for one poor manager in their career history if they’re unlucky. But I have worked for people who don’t have that ethos. So they don’t trust their staff, they micromanage, they tell them what they should think and how they should think. And all that leads to is a workforce that’s disengaged, unhappy, and they don’t want to do the best for the company. At the end of the day they just feel like they’re going to work to pay the bills and they do not give any more of themselves because they’re not inclined to. Why should they? In my experience, the managers, and I’ve had a lot of really, really excellent managers who have helped me kind of form my way of working, if you like, who trusted me.
So when I started my apprenticeship at the age of 17, a year into that my mentor actually left. She went on maternity leave. But instead of finding me a replacement manager, they just said, “Actually you can do this. Step up. You can do her job.” I mean it’s great for them. I was being paid 35 pound a week. So they got some cheap labor there. But what it meant was that I was stepping up into a role, I was being trusted to manage multimillion pound budgets. I was asked what my opinion was regularly. I was asked to give input on really large meetings at the age of 18, could have been quite scary but I didn’t let it scare me because I had that support system around me. And really I think that’s just formed my opinion on how you work with everybody.
We’re all human. It’s not hard to be kind and to give people a voice, and once you do you find that they are happier, even if they want to voice something they’re not happy about, at least you’re giving them a voice and you can help find a solution with them. I think the key to it is just not dictating to them.
Yeah, yeah. Makes a lot of sense. I definitely subscribe to that. So going back to Key Loop, so you guys are 40 plus offices, right? In 20 or 30 different languages, a lot of different parts of your organization that need to connect, engage, communicate, you come into the company, what do you see culture-wise, communications wise? What was the situation back then? What needed to be fixed?
So I came into the company in September 2021 and Key Loop had divested out of a larger company in the March of that year. So it was quite unsettled. People were unsure about where they belonged if you like, because there had been a little bit of a history of divested companies and other companies coming out of it. So when I came in, they had moved from a localization model to more of a global functional model and that was something that people were struggling with that I could see. The communication strategy was essentially top-down email everybody. And that was it. People didn’t have a voice, they were just using an email system, which I was able to track and then see what the interaction was. So the interaction was around 28%. Even when we were saying people had a Christmas gift, so a free gift, it only went up to around 32% of people even bothering to open the email.
So if you are being given a present and people are still not opening their emails telling them they’re getting a present, you’ve got a problem. So I just took a holistic view of that, spoke to people across the company, across the geographies and worked out how we could fix that together. And I know I say this a lot when I talk about it on social media with Workvivo, but having the inherent translation capability was a really, really big part of pulling people together, because it saves loads of money on translations, which is obviously a real benefit when budgets are squeezing, they’re always squeezed. But it meant that I could write something in English and I could even use my colloquialisms and people could translate that, and even if it didn’t translate brilliantly, it was start a conversation. And so you are starting to see people’s culture because they are writing in the way that they would speak and it’s not formalized, and when you are doing formal translations, they are much more formal, they tend to be in my experience. So that makes-
A lot of times right, it’s less authentic a lot of times.
Yeah, exactly. And our company values are, “We are authentic, we are bold, we are united.” And that really helps to cement that because people can be themselves, and I think that’s what, it was hard. It was hard. I’m not going to say that it’s easy when you are going through a transformational cultural change, but having the right tools does really help you to do that. It will take time, it always takes time. But we’re definitely further along the journey than I thought we would be at this point in time.
And what was some of the other feedback that you would’ve gotten from employees around communication in the organization? Was there any other sort of bits that really shocked you or that you took away with you from those interactions with the employees of what was not working?
I think, especially as we’d just come out of Covid as well, people felt very isolated and being able to have things like Zoom meetings is great, but then when you can also transfer that into the platform as well and record things that people are doing in an office, it’s such a simple thing, but it does help people feel less isolated if they can see other people doing things or even in their everyday lives, sending a film with you out with your dog or whatever and putting that on the platform, it makes you feel like you don’t have to just be very corporate, but you can really share yourself, which I think really did help with that isolation or feeling of isolation. And it’s still something we have to manage ’cause we’re a hybrid workforce.
And I think in that article that Giddy talked about, one of the parts I love in it as well was just about the human, you talked about being human in your communication and you do talk about that a lot just even in our conversation just there. How do you do that? How do you bring that life in an organization that’s so big and how do you bring it through your communications to show that we’re human and we’re connecting with you?
You lead by example, really. Those people who are setting the tone for the company have a responsibility to be themselves and we wouldn’t have the atmosphere we do have if I didn’t have the backing of our leaders. Our CEO Tom is fantastic. What you see is what you get. And he’s always been very accepting of me in the same way and the same with my director Charlotte, she accepts me as who I am and I fully accept I may not be everybody’s cup of tea. I’m a real extrovert. Quite often you can’t shut me up, but they let me be who I want to be, and that it turn helps other people be authentic I think. Not everybody’s going to want to come out and say what their true feelings are of everything, but if we lead by example and show people that it’s a safe space and there’s not going to be poor repercussions if they’re voicing a true opinion, that’s where you start and that’s how it drip feeds out across the company.
And did you find that was slow at the start and then it really started to ramp up over time when people saw other people sharing bits of themselves?
Yeah, definitely. And I think people weren’t necessarily used to a personality like mine where I will just, I do say what I think. Okay. But again, that comes with just be kind. You can say what you think, but as long, and everyone has an opinion and everyone has a valid opinion, and it did take a while and it will take some people longer than others and we know we have lurkers in our platform, but we also have 62% month to month engagement. So even if they’re lurking, they’re still there watching something.
Wow, that’s amazing. And so, sorry, go on Giddy.
For the sake of people in the audience that don’t know Workvivo and don’t know exactly how it looks, maybe explain to us a little bit more in detail about your vision driving this, going from that top down email to the community that you have today, how you use it, how you call it, how does it feel in people’s day-to-day work life today in Key Loop? I think that would be very helpful.
So what I wanted to create was an atmosphere of self-serving and people not being afraid. So we do give out permissions for people to publish their own news articles. I don’t believe in being a massive gatekeeper. Yes, there are times when that is appropriate and those communications do come via my team, but it’s not appropriate all the time, and that for me has kind of been the key piece where people wanted to hear other voices around the company. They didn’t want to just hear from senior leaders and they also wanted an opportunity to feedback. So no matter who was posting on the platform, anybody can interact with that. And really my vision is that that will continue. We’ll start to, oh, excuse me. And we’ll start to see more people feeling safer in sharing things about their work life there, their home life if they choose to and I’m not saying that everybody has to, but people sharing recipes for example, or sharing pictures of their pets or their children if they want to.
And actually that has crossed over into employee experience where I’ve recently produced a booklet and I’ve been able to use photographs from across the company in the booklet so I don’t have to use stock photography. So you get that ripple effect of it going out across over areas of the company.
Maybe talk to us a little bit, I know you’re a part of your role as the employee experience and we were talking previously, you’re really a great innovator and you have wonderful ideas and we were talking about some of the recent enhanced employee experience, things that you came up with for Key Loop. So if you wouldn’t mind sharing, I think again, our listeners would love to hear the new ideas and things that you’re doing.
Sure, yeah. Very happy to. I think this definitely comes back to the being human element. And in the past year I’ve had an experience where my husband’s been undergoing chemotherapy and there was a point in time where we didn’t know what his prognosis was going to be. So prepping as you do when you’ve got a large family, I thought, “Well what’s going to happen if the worst happens? If my husband does pass away, what do I do? What support am I going to get from work?” And I know I have great support, but it led me to look into policies. And again, I looked in the industry and what the standard was and 2, 3, 4 days at the most bereavement leave was kind of the standard paid bereavement leave. And I thought, “God, if anything happens to Mike, what am I going to do with four days and then not have a salary coming in when his bank account will be locked, there won’t be any money coming in. I won’t be able to pay the bills, I won’t be able to pay the mortgage?” I thought “I can’t be the only person in this situation.” So this is where that employee experience journey kind of started for me.
So we have bought in six weeks paid bereavement leave for people who have to deal with these situations. They don’t have to take it all in one go. They can take it in chunks of whatever suits them because grief doesn’t just happen in a block of six weeks. Some people need the full six weeks off. Some people might want two weeks off and come back to work to take their mind off things. And also we recognize that family isn’t just the person you are married to or just your child. We include the broader range of what family means to people. So that would be stepparents, stepchildren, adopted children, foster children. It might even just be somebody that you have caring responsibilities for. So that was I think the biggest kind of one that we’ve brought in.
We’ve also have additional paid support for carers. So it’s emergency support. In lots of countries you do have statutory rights anyway, but we’ve bought in three additional days, which can be taken in blocks of half days. If for example, you need to suddenly run to the hospital with somebody, they’ve got a hospital appointment or something. We’ve bought in additional support for people experiencing the menopause. Managers now have permission to make adaptions in the workplace to expense various items, like you might need a desk fan for example, or even to look at working patterns. So if somebody is not sleeping at night because they’re having night sweats or whatever, we can look at that working patterns and see what might work better for them. So that’s just a small selection of what we’ve bought in and the feedback so far, I’ve had some really nice messages that they’re things that not everybody is going to use. If you need to use them, it really makes a difference for you.
But I think it’s always when you bring stuff in. I remember over the years bringing different things in around maternity leave and extra benefits and actually, and a lot of male colleagues would’ve text me and said, “That’s really lovely.” And they’re delighted because you’re enhancing for everyone. It shows that you’re thinking about people and their circumstances.
It’s really important to think about inclusivity as well because, in our policies we talked about paternity leave, that’s not an inclusive policy because parents aren’t just men and women, it extends much greater than that. So we have parental bonding leave and that extends to people who might be having a child through surrogacy. It’ll be either gender families, mixed families. I think it’s really important to make sure that you are being as inclusive as possible. As it’s saying, we brought in gender transition support as well and support for people if they’re experiencing pregnancy loss. And that extends to people who are having pregnancy through surrogacy as well. I think it’s just really important that you recognize that there is no kind of cultural norm for what a family is anymore. Families are made up of all shapes and sizes, right?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think then the benefit, ’cause I know we were only talking the other day and I think you had just launched it and announced it and you were obviously getting feedback live there and then, which I always found a huge benefit when you do something or you’re making change, you can see how people are interacting with it and get that instant feedback on how policies and different things are landing, which is great.
And that was on Workvivo, so I was able to see that coming in straight away. It was great.
You said authenticity is a big company value, cultural value of Key Loop and, on a system like Workvivo or others that do the same, and for some it could be a disadvantage that people could say what they want within boundaries, could say what they want. But the big advantage that I see probably in your case as well is the authenticity, is to have a direct feedback loops to feel that you can be connected to your HR department or to your CEO, leaders could feel the feedback less polished maybe, but real and fast as well. Is that something that you feel on a day-to-day basis in the communications that takes place in the community, in the platform?
Yeah. And I want to come back to something you mentioned earlier, actually Giddy when you talked about trust and it was something that people did point out, “Oh, if people can say anything, are they going to say anything?” And actually we’re all adults here, so I trust that people aren’t going to take advantage of that and be negative, and they don’t, because we’re all adults and we’re all professionals and we all work together every day. And I also believe that providing filtered feedback is not necessarily helpful. If it’s filtered feedback, it’s not feedback.
No I remember you give an example in your comms and you did a whole training session and then at the end you were asking about who the person was and they wouldn’t give it to you and they wouldn’t divulge. Yeah, I remember the article you wrote.
And it’s true. There’s no point.
No, if you’re asking for feedback, you need to see the good, bad and the ugly. There’s no point in just massaging people’s egos for the sake of it.
I think that for a lot of years, pre-Covid, and I’ve seen a lot of companies internal communications for a lot of CEOs that would be a segue to my next question, they used to consider it as sort of a necessary ego, something that they need to do, and there’s internal comms managers and they’ll talk to them and then they’ll be a newsletter and 90% won’t probably read it, but they didn’t consider it as a critical thing. Now there is increasing understanding that it’s one of the most critical things that there is.
A recent Gartner survey study shows that in companies going hybrid, the number one concern by CEOs today is losing culture, morale and stuff that are driven by internal communications. It’s happening in a big way. How did you manage to get buy-in in order to change how you communicate internally from this email to something that’s so much more democratized and flat with the risks that people might have been concerned about, and how should others go at it and try to elevate the importance of internal communications and get the buy-in from the leaders that are such important players in the internal communication strategy?
I would say that when I was bought in, the senior leaders knew that what they had wasn’t working. So if something’s not working and it’s one way of doing things, you have to look at an alternative, and what’s the worst that can happen? Because if you’re in your worst situation anyway, then what’s the worst that can happen if you bring something new in? And you’re right, for anybody when you are looking at new platforms, you’re spending additional money, you go, “Oh, is it actually going to give me what I want from it?” So for me, honestly, I wouldn’t have moved to Key Loop had I not wanted to work with the senior leadership team, had I not already had an inkling about what their ethos was and the way that they wanted to work. And very quickly from almost first interview with the CEO that came across that Tom wanted change.
He knew things weren’t working. He was willing to take risks, and these are all in our values. So it does start from the top. People do need to buy into it, but they also need to trust the people who are experts in this area. I wouldn’t have been recruited into this role had there not been some confidence in the fact that I know what I’m doing. At least I’d hope that was the case. So again, trust your people. If you’ve got an internal comms manager and they’re giving you advice, trust that that’s their role and that’s what you’ve asked them to do and try not to second guess them and give them a chance, because anything can be a risk, but actually those risks pay off and it’s really paid off for us.
What’s been the impact so far? You’ve been running with Workvivo for about a year and a half, two years now?
No, we’re just about to hit our first anniversary with Workvivo. Giddy obviously feels like you’ve been working with me forever. Sorry about that.
Yeah, yeah. It’s the Caz effect.
We have found that interaction started off really well. So we did a piece on the day of launch where I guess you could say we bribed people a little bit and said you’re going to get some swag, but you have to go into the platform to get your swag. So instantly we had 91% I think of our workforce had gone in on day one and registered on the platform.
So people actually claimed that gift, not like in the newsletter?
People actually claimed their gift in that instance, which was good. So obviously then it dropped off a little bit because people aren’t in there all the time. But we’ve leveled out, as I said, about 62% engagement on the platform. We can see our busy times, we can see our less busy times. We’re starting to see trends of what things people are in engaging in a little bit more, which we couldn’t see before because we had a pretty kind of static Salesforce-esque kind of intranet space, but there was nothing that you could really interact with if you like. So this enables us to see what really gets the juices flowing. So when we put industry news up, for example, about electric vehicles, that ad hits within minutes of 60 odd people going in and commenting or liking or being really interested in that. So you can see that when people are able to share their own opinion on a subject, you get higher engagement. And I think that’s been quite insightful for me because I wouldn’t have necessarily have thought that would be the case.
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, I always say this that I think that the big change we’re seeing everywhere is that people are changing their relationship with work a little bit, so they don’t want to be just selling their time anymore. I mean, you spend hours in that place every day and you want it to be meaningful. It’s not like everybody could have their American dream job, but they do deserve for it to be a meaningful experience, which starts with belonging and being heard and being able to chime in, and feeling the people that actually steer the company forward and so forth and so forth. So when they have that feeling, I think that you get a lot more out of them too. That’s the human-centric aspect that we talked about before, I think in a nutshell.
Yeah, definitely. And we certainly don’t dictate to people that they have to download the app, for example, onto their own devices if they don’t have a work phone. They don’t have to put it onto their personal devices, but many do. And actually I like it when I’m seeing it the weekend, people are taking pictures of their family or out for a walk with their dog and things like that, because they’re choosing to interact in their own time. Yeah.
They’re making it a part of their lives, not just a few hours where they have to sell their time in order to finance the rest of their lives. And I think it’s a much more natural way to look at it.
What was the feedback from employees? What was the feedback? Was it very different for them? What were you hearing
When we implemented Workvivo, you mean?
When you implemented, how did that change from then to today? Do people like it?
Yeah, one of the pieces of feedback I have got is that it can be quite busy, because there is a lot of information that you can share on the platform. But what I then maintain and I know from experience is if you’re not going into the platform regularly, yes, it becomes very busy. And again, this is part of the cultural change and getting people to use the platforms for the reason that they’re there. I’m not there to email out every piece of information about the company, about the news, about org updates, about meetings. I’m not there to drip feed that to everybody because like I’ve said everybody’s an adult, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the job you’re in. So there is an element of people needing to take responsibility to come into the platform on a regular basis to get the news that they want, get the information that they need, and once people are in and they’re comfortable, the feedback is fantastic.
It’s getting them to that place and I think that is the thing that’s probably been the only challenging piece of implementing this new platform into a workforce that wasn’t used to it either, and perhaps people that weren’t really so used to using a social media thing at home in their own time. Once they’re in, the feedback is really good. And actually we’re running in our employee Pecon survey this month. One of the questions is specifically about Looped-in, so we’ll have to run another podcast. You have to ask me next month and I can tell you what the feedback is.
Sure, sure. I’ll also take care of that drinks and beverages so we could have that Monkey 47 gin with Elderflower.
I mean that sounds great. Just don’t go to the hotel I went with to where I ordered this Monkey 47 gin and my husband was stood the other end of the bar and he started laughing at me and I’m like, “Why are you laughing?” He’s like, “It’s fine, it’s fine.” I was like, “Okay.” And I handed my card over, he went, “No, no, this one’s on me.” I’m like, “Why? What are you talking about?” He went, “They only serve doubles.” I’m like, “Oh right.” So the Monkey 47 gin, which is one of the strongest gins you can get, they serve me as a double, cost me 20 quid. Or actually it got him 20 quid. I was like, “Why’d you serve them in doubles and not tell people? That’s really dangerous.”
There’ll be a lot of internal comms people hopefully listening to the podcast and getting lots of ideas. But I’d love to know where do you go to get resources and to learn what’s happening? And I know you contribute yourself and a lot of people would follow you, but where do you get your inspiration from?
So I’m part of quite a few kind of internal comms networks that then have events as well. So I don’t have a huge amount of time to do the reading during my working day in addition to my job. So I tend to go to these events so I can absorb it in real time. Having a neurodiversity, it’s a little bit harder as well to kind of constantly remember the stuff that I’m reading. So when I’m learning practically in real time, that’s really what works for me. And I can answer your previous question. So we ran something last summer, it was May time, and we had something called Learning at Work Week. So people were sharing what they were learning, but they were also producing doodles. So it was a doodle week and the engagement for the doodle week just was kind of off the scale. So again, people sharing their own skills, but also combining it with what they’ve learned.
So amazing. And I’d love to know when I ask everybody this, what’s your favorite Workvivo feature?
Oh, I love the new billboards. Hands down, love billboards. Because you can see instantly. We just put a fundraiser up for the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. That’s gone straight up as Billboard. And we can see instantly that people are clicking, clicking, clicking to go in. They don’t have to go and find the information somewhere else
That was an exciting campaign for people in the company that want to be looking for purpose, want to be a part of the purpose. It’s hard to just put it on a wall somewhere and ask for everybody to engage but, if you have this digital center and the company’s standing behind it, how does that work? Are you like the company’s putting something in for every employee that [inaudible 00:37:39], how does it work?
We’ve done this under our Power to Change CSR program, although we call it Corporate Social Environmental Responsibility. So it’s CSER at Key Loop.
Very catchy. Very catchy.
Oh, thanks. So yeah, we say that everybody has the power to change so, whatever we run through that campaign, we match or everybody kind of participates and everybody takes part so you can see a difference. So what we’ve done with this is we’ve put 10,000 pounds into the funding pot so far, and then every employee that donates either through the same fundraising platform or even if they fundraise through a different platform, as long as they send me the receipt of what they’ve done, we will then match funds what they’ve fundraised up to another 10,000 pounds.
That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. And it’s also easier to do when you have a digital place to put it so people could access it on their phone, see it on the billboard, and it’s a really nice initiative. I would be proud to have something like that as an employee for sure.
And it makes it easy. Anything you make easy for people, they’re more likely to do. So that’s what Billboards definitely has given us.
Caz, I’d love to ask you if there’s teams out there, we have varied listeners, and some may have a very low budget and low resources. What sort of high impact activity would you recommend that teams with probably a low budget within internal comms or employee experience should do that would reap really, really good benefits for their company and for their employees?
So I think probably what’s come up, what we’ve just discussed actually, two things would be, find out about your people. Ask them to share what they want to share about themselves or any skills they’ve got or any hobbies or something along those lines. The artists that came out of this kind of doodle thing that we did, and we ran another one at Halloween, and we have a lady, actually several talented people, but one lady in particular that people are looking at her artwork saying, “Wow, why are you working here? You should be an artist.”
So that’s really good because again, it’s getting people to show a little bit of themselves, and it could be people who are more introverted who wouldn’t necessarily want to write about themselves or talk about themselves, but if they got something else that they can share, then I think that’s really nice. And also in terms of giving back to your local communities, if you can work out what people love to do. So that’s how we run our Power to Change program is we don’t dictate to people where they should be donating or what programs they should be participating in. We ask them to tell us what they want to participate in and then we support them. So it’s a giving back element, because that makes people feel better about themselves and so it’s a well known fact. It increases your satisfaction at work if your company is supporting you in doing those things.
It keeps everybody closer to your values and it helps always work towards a mutual purpose. It could be a company purpose or it could be something like this, donating for a cause. Still it brings the company and the people in the company together around the purpose. There is something very aligning emotionally I think about that that makes people proud to belong to a place.
And we also give people volunteering days, which is, I know lots of companies do do that, but we give people two days volunteering where they can either go and do their own thing, they can split it into hours, and then they share their stories with everybody else at the company. And then we’ve started an awards program. So anybody who has done that work goes into one of our awards and each quarter we pick a winner for the impact that other employees have voted on. So we use the awards program in Workvivo to do that as well.
Amazing. Gillian, it feels like we were talking about high level stuff and then we kept all the cool stuff to the end.
No, that’s amazing. And I think really, really great help for our listeners. I think you’ve given such really great advice, so I’d like to thank you so much for joining us today, Caz. We really enjoyed your conversation, you’re a amazing role model and also an amazing partner of Workvivo. I’m so delighted that you took time to share your insights with us today. So thank you very much.
Oh, thank you. I love working with you guys and I get paid to talk, so can’t be better than that, right?
Yeah, thank you.
It was great speaking to you and thanks for all the insights and, one last thing. If you have to say, give one word of Caz advice to internal communications engagement managers out there that are really wanting to make an impact in their company, get their CEOs to listen and do something, what’s your Caz piece of advice?
Be yourself and be interested in who other people are.
Oh, I love that.
I think I’m going to put that on a T-shirt and send it over to-
Yeah. Oh yeah, I’ll model that for you.