Internal communications: Speaking to the people

first_imgInternal communications: Speaking to the peopleOn 14 Mar 2006 in Personnel Today A decade ago, internal communications, in all but the largest of organisations, amounted to one writer turning out reams of staff newspapers that were swiftly consigned to the bin.Now, the function has become so sophisticated and widespread that universities offer postgraduate diplomas in internal communications. Gone are those dog-eared newspapers, replaced by e-mail, poster and plasma TV campaigns planned by career communications specialists.At the same time, it has become fashionable for the heads of organisations to cite in their annual reports that the business is almost entirely dependent on the spirit and motivation of its employees, and that effectively communicating with them is the key to this. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in retail and service businesses, where a large contingent of customer-facing staff effectively act as the company brand.As the internal communications function has matured, it has grown in power and responsibility and, in the process, has been moved out of the HR department. The majority of FTSE 100 companies now have a separate internal communications department, reporting to a corporate communications director or a marketing director. At food and personal products conglomerate Unilever, for example, internal communications used to be spread across the HR and corporate relations departments. But last May, internal communications began to report into a newly streamlined global communications department.At mobile phone company O2, internal communications reports to corporate communications. But it works closely with the marketing department, enabling the mobile phone company to integrate what it says to its customers with the messages it sends to employees.Brand republicThe fact that internal communications is no longer part of the HR function does not mean that HR can’t get stuck in. HR still has an important role in maintaining the employer brand through the way it recruits, retains and deals with staff, but communications experts are arguably better placed to gain employee buy-in for it. Mark Beedon, group communications and engagement director at Cable & Wireless, describes his primary role as that of a “broker between the aims of the organisation and the aspirations of our people”. He says: “It’s more subtle than just telling employees what the company’s policies are. In an organisation where HR is focused on policy issues, it is often seen by employees as the mouthpiece for management. A separate internal communications department has the advantage of being seen as a little more independent.”One area where internal communications has grown in prominence is through its crucial role in cultural change projects. Frequently, it’s the people in marketing who plan the customer advertising and drive these messages home to employees. The recent Barclays brand relaunch, for example, was headed by group chief executive John Varley and group brand and marketing director Jim Hytner. The duo starred in staff roadshows around the country to explain how the bank’s ‘Now there’s a thought’ advertising campaign centred on employees having good ideas for customers.Talking shopBut should HR departments take charge of workplace communications, since they are closest to staff developments? Dan Bobby, managing director of brand consultancy Dave, believes not. He is critical of internal communications as an addendum to HR, because he sees this structure as encouraging a one-way style of communication.“HR people know all about reward and recognition policies, but they’re not always the best communicators,” he says. “Internal communications should be about engaging employees in a dialogue to involve them, especially if you want to change how they think about their job, their relationship with customers, or their relationship with the company.”Cable & Wireless attempts to pursue this ‘dialogue’ strategy by setting up ‘listening groups’ – focus groups that aim to discover how employees feel about an issue before starting to alter behaviour or opinion.Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is another company where HR no longer controls internal communications. Its internal communications director Philip Ashley reports to the corporate affairs director, who sits on the board of directors.Ashley believes it is crucial for internal communications to be independent for the kind of tasks he is involved in. Public controversy is at an all-time high following announcements of another 22% hike in gas prices and its 11% rise in operating profit to £1.5bn for 2005. So Ashley works closely with marketing to ensure that the messages that are going out to customers – that the prices are justified by the fact that gas costs have risen 70% in the past year – chime with what staff have been told about the same issue.“We need to make sure that our 17,000 staff, many of whom work in customer-facing roles, are all aware of the issues and Centrica’s point of view, in case customers ask them about it,” he explains. That is not to say HR is shut out of the process entirely. Another internal communications task at Centrica had everything to do with HR. The company closed its final salary pension scheme to new recruits to be able to fund the scheme for its existing engineers. This required careful collaboration with the pension specialists in HR and the unions to communicate the company’s strategy on the issue. The fact this led to a one-day strike shows that you can’t always win the battle even when you’ve planned a persuasive communications campaign.Smarter workingThe reality of internal communications, says Helen Purdey, a consultant specialising in internal communications at recruitment agency Michael Page, is that it requires a set of skills and attitudes that are closer to those used by marketing rather than HR people. “Good internal communications people are primarily good communicators. They need to be able to write and edit well, and build strong relationships with others across an organisation,” she says.Beedon believes that, eventually, the term ‘internal communications’ will cease to exist as a separate discipline; it will become subsumed into a general communications department which will plan to send out messages to audiences concurrently for maximum impact.“As organisations get smarter,” he says, “we’ll all be finding ways of working together better, so that the different agendas between HR and marketing won’t matter.”02 finds the personal approach rewardingMobile phone company 02 is in the early phases of rolling out a new total rewards programme. The scheme requires a substantial internal communications effort so that employees understand the individual value of holiday and other rewards, and make their choices based on the value they are allocated.The project leader for the scheme, head of pensions Tina Stanley, believes that having an internal communications unit separate from HR only improves the effectiveness of getting her message across.“I don’t profess to be a communications specialist. It’s fair to say that HR can sometimes be a little blinkered in that we assume everyone else will understand something just because we do,” she says. “I’d thought, for example, that we should put up posters and send e-mails to let people know about the total rewards scheme, but our internal communications people told me that wouldn’t work. Posters get ignored and people get so many e-mails anyway because we’re a technology company.” As a result, she decided to adopt a more personal approach to the communications, with notes on people’s desks, managers doing group briefings and roadshows, and broadcasts on the plasma TV screens around the company’s offices.The other advantage of having an independent internal communications department, according to Stanley, is that because it is the only group sending out messages to staff, it can avoid any clashes between various departments’ agendas. “The last thing I’d want is for another department to be making a major announcement the same day as our programme launches and take all the attention,” she says. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Utah Baseball Drops Home Opener, 2-1, to Sacramento State

first_imgMarch 23, 2018 /Sports News – Local Utah Baseball Drops Home Opener, 2-1, to Sacramento State Robert Lovell Written by Tags: Baseball/Utah Utes FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailSALT LAKE CITY – The Utah baseball team dropped its home opener, 2-1, in the first of a three-game series against Sacramento State on Friday evening.Josh Tedeschi was strong on the mound, allowing just two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and three walks in the loss. Spencer Kevin Johnson struck out three and did not allow a hit in his five innings pitched.Although Utah out-hit Sacramento State, 7-4, the Utes were felled by seven runners left on throughout the game. Erick Migueles had three hits for the Utes, going 3-for-4 on the night, and Oliver Dunn hit a solo home run for Utah’s only scoring on the night.Sacramento State took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, Utah limited the damage with a double play ball that allowed a run to score before a ground out ended the inning. The Hornets took a 2-0 lead in the third after a leadoff triple would lead to a run on a ground out.Dunn hit his second home run of the year in the bottom of the third.Utah had its best chance to tie it up in the sixth. After Matt Richardson reached on a throwing error to lead off the inning, the Utes were unable to take advantage when he was called out for leaving the base early while tagging up on a fly ball. Rykker Tom and Migueles both singled with two outs but were left on base. Braden DeBenedictis singled in the ninth with one out but was also stranded on base.Utah and Sacramento State continue the series on Saturday, playing a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. MT. The teams are playing a doubleheader due to inclement weather forecasted for the Salt Lake area on Sunday.last_img read more

FC Dallas beats 10-man Real Salt Lake 4-2

first_imgDamir Kreilach was shown a straight red card in the 17th minute for a head butt of Carlos Gruezo. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailSANDY, Utah (AP) — Paxton Pomykal scored two goals and FC Dallas beat 10-man Real Salt Lake 4-2 on Saturday night. Written by Marcelo Silva headed Albert Rusnak’s corner home in the 66th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2 for RSL in the 66th minute. Jefferson Savarino pulled Real Salt Lake (1-3-1) even at 1-all with a one-hopper from behind the penalty arc in the 31st minute. Jesus Ferreira flicked in Michael Barrios’ cross to cap the scoring in the 69th minute for FC Dallas. Pomykal gave FC Dallas (3-1-1) the lead for good on his first MLS goal, a low hard shot into the left corner that made it 2-1 in the 32nd minute. The 19-year-old Homegrown player made it 3-1 in the 64th minute, benefiting from a deflection off Real Salt Lake’s Nedum Onuoha. Real Salt Lake lost its third game in a row. March 30, 2019 /Sports News – Local FC Dallas beats 10-man Real Salt Lake 4-2 Tags: FC Dallas/MLS/Real Salt Lake Associated Presslast_img read more

GenelEnergy increases stake in SL10B13 block, onshore Somaliland to 100%

first_img GenelEnergy increases stake in SL10B13 block, onshore Somaliland to 100%. Photo: courtesy of skeeze from Pixabay. GenelEnergy plc (‘Genel’ or ‘the Company’)is pleased to announce that it has increased its stake in the SL10B13 block, onshore Somaliland, to 100%, having acquired East Africa Resource Group’s 25% stake.As previously announced, a farm-out process relating to the block is now underway, with Stellar Energy Advisors appointed to run the process.Interpretation of the 2018 2D seismic data together with basin analysis has identified multiple stacked prospects, with each of them estimated to have resources of c.200 MMbbls. A further program of surface oil seep sampling and analysis reiterates the presence of a working petroleum system on the block. Source: Company Press Release A farm-out process relating to the block is now underway, with Stellar Energy Advisors appointed to run the processlast_img read more

News story: Derailment at Doncaster

first_imgThis item has been moved to the National Archives as RAIB has published its safety digest describing this accident. See safety digest 04/2019.,At around 17:17 hrs on 21 December 2018, the third locomotive in a train of four light locomotives derailed at approximately 13 mph (21 km/h). The locomotive had just left Roberts Road depot and was traversing a tight left-hand curve towards Doncaster station. There were no injuries, although some infrastructure was damaged and train services were heavily disrupted.We have undertaken a preliminary examination into the circumstances surrounding this accident. Having assessed the evidence which has been gathered to date, we have decided to publish a safety digest.The safety digest will be made available on our website in the next few weeks.last_img read more

Expert etiquette

first_imgWe’ve all wondered how to confront a friend who has mastered the art of not tipping or who always seems to weasel out of paying half the check.And who can forget the family member who very obviously gifts you used (not even lightly worn!) sweaters for Christmas when you’re ponying up serious dollars for that new KitchenAid stand mixer?Life’s bottomless cocktail of conundrums calls for a trusted guide to light the way on how to deal with and resolve our conflicts all — mini and tall.Enter Miss Conduct: Manners and etiquette sorceress and Boston Globe columnist.In her regular gig, Miss Conduct, whose real name is Robin Abrahams, doles out advice on readers’ most perplexing dilemmas. But on Jan. 18, she answered questions on workplace etiquette from Harvard’s workforce.The event was a HARVie chat, a series of informal discussions offering members of the Harvard community the opportunity to learn from experts across campus.Abrahams, who is also a research associate at Harvard Business School and author of “Miss Conduct’s Mind over Manners: Master the Slippery Rules of Modern Ethics and Etiquette,” dove head first into University employees’ stressful queries:What to do with a bully boss who loses his temper and raises his voice at you?What to do when your co-workers work late and you leave right at 5?And what about your co-worker’s strong perfume that nobody likes? How do you say something without hurting her feelings?On the topic of the bully boss, Abrahams did not dilly-dally: “If you have a bad boss, you have to get a new job, period. That’s really the only solution. You can talk to an ombudsperson who can help resolve conflicts, but unfortunately, no one can change another person’s nature. Life is too short to work for bad bosses. Take a bad job with a good boss over the reverse any day!”Tough but sensible, Abrahams didn’t sugarcoat the truth: “All organizations employ bad bosses,” she said. “At least at Harvard, there’s a lot of other Schools and departments you can go to in order to escape them without losing your seniority and accumulated years of service.”High-five? Consider the impression you’re giving when you leave right at 5, Abrahams told the questioner. Do you want to give the impression that you’re working hard, or hardly working?As for the smelly situation, Abrahams suggested taking the matter right to human resources. They’re there for a reason, after all.Many inquired about the role of technology in the workplace — from underperforming co-workers distracted by cell phones to co-workers surfing dating sites. Voice your concern to the person, Abrahams said, or speak with a manager.When it came to email etiquette, Abrahams recommended David Shipley and Will Schwalbe’s “SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better.”“Small talk in the office is fine, but work e-communications should only be about work,” she said. “Also don’t keep people on an email chain forever. No one wants to get a whole series of emails discussing the next staff meeting they’re not even attending.”Abrahams said that in all of her history as Miss Conduct, her most bizarre inquiry involved a man who refused to use workplace restrooms and would instead take a cup into the office library, urinate into it, and pour it down the sink.Ah, the joys of work.“Pretend you’re an anthropologist,” said Abrahams. ????Does Jane Goodall take it personally when the chimpanzees throw branches at her? She does not.”For a complete schedule of upcoming HARVie chats.last_img read more

A season of helping

first_imgThe 2011 campaign for Harvard Community Gifts is under way, with a blend of Harvard traditions and new opportunities. The campaign — a workplace giving program that dates back to World War II, lets Harvard faculty and staff donate to nonprofit and charitable organizations by payroll deduction and check.This year, using a new secure website, employees also can make donations by credit or debit card, a convenience many have requested.“The charities and the people they serve benefit from the enormous generosity of our faculty and staff,” said Katie Lapp, Harvard’s executive vice president and co-chair of the 2011 campaign, along with Provost Alan M. Garber. “By joining together with others, we multiply the effect we have on our neighbors and communities.”The 2011 campaign runs through Dec. 9. Employees may donate to up to five charities with one gift. American Express, Discover, Visa, and MasterCard are all accepted. Donations can be made to any 501(c) charity; hundreds of organizations that Harvard employees have supported in the past are already in the website’s database, but employees may also add eligible charitable organizations. Donations are tax-deductible. You can learn more at the Harvard Community Gifts website.Kicking off the annual program, the second annual Harvard Giving Fair was held at the Queen’s Head Pub in Memorial Hall Nov. 17. Hundreds of staff and faculty members dropped by, where they could speak with representatives from more than 25 local organizations, while also mingling and enjoying appetizers and a cash bar.Lapp and other Harvard leaders were guest bartenders at the event, and all tips were donated to the campaign, which last year raised $500,000.“It’s not just the charities that we support that benefit. We also benefit here at Harvard in terms of strengthening our community and building a caring workplace culture,” said Lapp.last_img read more

Guatemalan families think massacre victims were migrants

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Relatives of migrants from Guatemala believe that at least 13 of the 19 charred corpses found in a northern Mexico border state could be their loved ones. If true, the killings could revive memories of the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants in the same northern border state of Tamaulipas. Ramiro Coronado told The Associated Press his nephew was with a group of 13 migrants who left the province of San Marcos and were travelling together, before family members lost contact with them on Thursday. On Saturday, authorities in Tamaulipas found 19 shot and burned bodies near a town across the Rio Grande from Texas.last_img read more

RoseMERRY Christmas!

first_imgRosemary plants are gaining popularity as a holiday gift and miniature, living Christmas tree. After the holidays, you can use it as an indoor houseplant. With a little care, holiday rosemary plants can be added to the landscape in the spring.Botanically speaking, Rosmarinus officinalis is an aromatic, woody shrub that originated in the Mediterranean. The word “rosemary” is derived from the Latin rosmarinus, meaning, “dew of the sea.” This refers to where it grows natively, among the misty hills of the Mediterranean coast, in France, Italy, Spain and the Dalmatian Islands. Rosemary is an herb steeped in history, and valued for many reasons. It was used in wine, perfumes and medicines. It was also used as an air purifier and aromatic kitchen herb. And it may help repel mosquitoes when planted near patios or porches. During the holiday season, rosemary plants are often sheared into formal topiaries or Christmas tree shapes. Most of the rosemary plants sold during the holiday season were grown in greenhouses. Therefore, they don’t react kindly to being transported, displayed and then carried through the cold into the dry warmth of heated homes. In northern Georgia , rosemary plants are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by. Every light touch of the needle-like leaves releases enough fragrance to perfume an entire room. Even if the plants don’t survive indoors past the holiday season, they make wonderful temporary houseplants. It’s mostly the dry heat in our homes that make survival difficult for rosemary plants. Raising the humidity level can help the plant survive. Also keep the plant away from direct sunlight, heat registers, fireplaces, televisions and other heat sources. Routinely spray the leaves several times a day with water from a hand mister. Place the plant’s container on a tray of stones or marbles so that as the water evaporates, it helps humidify the plant. Clustering houseplants together also helps keep foliage hydrated. In late winter, if your rosemary plant is still living, start placing it outside in a sheltered spot during the day. Protect it from drying winds, and you may be rewarded by new growth. After it has acclimated itself to the outdoors, you can safely plant it outside where the rosemary plant will thrive year round. Rosemary does best in slightly alkaline, well-drained soil and can handle either full sun or light shade. It can grow to be 3 to 5 feet in height, and because of its Mediterranean origins, rosemary is naturally drought resistant once it becomes established. With a little extra care, the gift of a rosemary plant can survive and become a remembrance of the holiday season and add seasoning to your favorite recipes. For more information about reastablishing holiday rosemary bushes outside after the season, search for the UGA Extension publication “Herbs in the Southern Garden” at www.caes.uga.edu/publications.last_img read more

Sunday: U.S. Energy Agency ‘Vastly Overstates’ Future Oil and Gas Production

first_imgSunday: U.S. Energy Agency ‘Vastly Overstates’ Future Oil and Gas Production FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:There’s no denying that fracking has turned the U.S. into a force in the global oil and gas markets, which has more than a few people abuzz about the prospect of energy independence.But now, researchers at MIT have uncovered one potentially game-changing detail: a flaw in the Energy Department’s official forecast, which may vastly overstate oil and gas production in the years to come.The culprit, they say, lies in the Energy Information Administration’s premise that better technology has been behind nearly all the recent output gains, and will continue to boost production for the foreseeable future. That’s not quite right. Instead, the research suggests increases have been largely due to something more mundane: low energy prices, which led drillers to focus on sweet spots where oil and gas are easiest to extract.“The EIA is assuming that productivity of individual wells will continue to rise as a result of improvements in technology,” said Justin B. Montgomery, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the study’s authors. “This compounds year after year, like interest, so the further out in the future the wells are drilled, the more that they are being overestimated.”Extrapolating from field studies Montgomery and his colleague Francis O’Sullivan conducted in North Dakota’s Bakken shale deposit, the research suggests that total U.S. oil and natural-gas production from new wells could undershoot the EIA estimate by more than 10 percent in 2020. Things would get progressively worse each year after that as wells in various sweet spots are exhausted and technology fails to close the gap.Margaret Coleman, the EIA’s leader of oil, gas and biofuels exploration and production analysis, said in an email “the study raises valid points” and the administration is looking at ways to give its estimates a tighter focus. She added that many shale fields lack the detailed well data that informed the MIT study, which means EIA forecasters have to use known geologic information and assumptions about prices and technology to come up with estimates.There’s little doubt the technologies used to extract oil and natural gas trapped within rock formations thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface — like drill heads, mapping software, fracking techniques and so on — have gotten better. And intuitively, it makes a lot of sense that better methods have boosted U.S. shale output and helped lead to new finds.But if the MIT researchers are ultimately right, the implications could be significant.In the past three years, oil prices have been stuck around $50 a barrel on the back of rising shale output in the U.S., while natural gas has been selling for an average of less than $3 per million British thermal units. (As recently as 2014, prices for both were twice as high.)Not only could a slowdown in production mean higher energy prices, but it also might just mark the end of the U.S. shale industry’s role as the one swing producer able to counter OPEC’s might. The shale boom has repeatedly frustrated the Saudi-led cartel’s attempts to control oil prices.The MIT researchers aren’t the first to question the projected growth of U.S. shale. Analysts have long debated varying methods used to predict output. Yet MIT’s findings stand out by providing some evidence that backs those assertions. The problem with the EIA’s numbers, the researchers say, is that they give drillers too much credit for coming up with ways to improve fracking.While the EIA’s model assumes that technical advances — such as well length and the amounts of water and sand used in fracking — increase output at new wells by roughly 10 percent each year, MIT findings from the Bakken region suggest it’s closer to 6.5 percent, according to Montgomery.Some signs of a slowdown have started to emerge. Gas output in the Marcellus basin has fallen 10 percent on a per-rig basis since reaching a high in September 2016. In the Permian, per-rig oil production has decreased almost 20 percent over a similar span.Richard Bereschik knows firsthand that shale isn’t a sure thing.The bearded, burly superintendent of schools in Wellsville, Ohio — a small, Rust Belt community located along the western bank of the Ohio River — recalls the rush he and other townsfolk experienced when Chesapeake Energy Corp. came through some six years ago, leasing out huge tracts of property for development.Wellsville sits atop the Marcellus and Utica shale formations and is only 20 miles from a concentration of sweet spots, but Bereschik says Chesapeake stopped renewing leases after the bottom fell out in prices.“Everyone thought we’d found a goose that laid the golden egg,” Bereschik said. But ultimately, “it’s not the boom we all expected.”More: U.S. Vastly Overstates Oil Output Forecasts, MIT Study Suggestslast_img read more