Claire Canning, Marketing and Communications Manager at United Welsh shares some Mr Motivator inspiration for your internal comms campaigns in this two part series.

Work with the audience

Successful internal communication is collaborative. It’s an old staple that channels need to combine the right mix of ‘tell and talk’ so they are inclusive; people receive the information they need but are also able to give their opinions and ask questions too.

Mr Motivator does his bicep curls with baked beans (or whatever is on supermarket shelves right now!) to make his workouts easier for people to join in with, and the best internal comms makes it easy for people to get involved too.

People appreciate the opportunity to join in and feel heard.

At United Welsh, we first used Microsoft Teams for an all-staff engagement event in February, but since our offices closed in March, its usage has soared.

Our CEO Lynda leads a weekly live video broadcast on Teams to tell staff the latest news for the business, and then the floor opens for a Q&A. This is done through the Instant Messaging function on our Coronavirus channel so everyone has ample opportunity and nothing is missed. Also, understandably, not everyone is comfortable with being on camera in front of 150+ people!

It wasn’t without technical hitches at first but we’re in the flow now. Core updates are also being emphasised on the intranet and through email, as well as our monthly staff newsletters.

Staff have enjoyed catching up and have appreciated the opportunity to raise concerns.

People aren’t going to feel motivated to carry on if they don’t feel like they are being heard.

Be yourself

Mr Motivator knows who he is. He wasn’t coming back in 2020 without his eye-popping moves or the vivid lycra prints that were fashionable in the GMTV days of ’93.

We know what we’re going to get with Mr Motivator and that’s partially why he’s still so well-loved.

The point I’m making here is more for senior leaders within organisations – you need to keep on motivating staff, but you need to do it in your own, authentic way.

Microsoft Teams broadcasts and TikTok are not for everyone; neither is sharing personal stories or political views, but showing up in your own way is what counts.

In uncertain times, leadership is critical to boosting morale, but you don’t need to do it wearing a head bandana and busting a groove (unless you love that sort of thing!)

It’s enough to lead and embrace a culture that welcomes people to have fun with their internal communication in their own way.

Working in the housing sector and missing the usual April premiere of a certain epic TV series that ended last year, I thought it was a stroke of genius when United Welsh’s Customer Engagement team named their work quiz “Game of Homes”.

Virtual bootcamp and egg-decorating contests have lifted spirits too, as well as a space on Teams called ‘The Bench’ where staff can ‘sit’ and enjoy a cuppa and chat like you would in the park.

A good internal communication strategy considers how employees can be social and enjoy time together, even if that must be in the virtual sense right now. Life is hard at the moment so in the way that’s right for you and your organisation, keep on giving people something to smile about.

To finish off, here are some well-known internal comms routines that don’t just apply during Covid-19:

  • Be comfortable with things not being perfect: If an electrical glitch meant that Mr. Motivator’s brand-new workout was off-air for a minute or two, would he stop exercising? I think not. Sometimes, technology fails, but don’t let it put you off trying new things. The more virtual meetings we do, the stronger we get.
  • Use different channels to amplify your messages and add variety: You won’t catch Mr. Motivator doing the same muscle builder in the same tropical unitard over and over, so don’t do it with your internal comms.  It’s ok to re-emphasise your messages on different channels that your employees like, so staff are more likely to see it and hear it
  • Remember that internal communication has a big impact on external reputation: Well-informed staff can steer the perception of their organisation in a positive direction. Having conversations will contribute to good health for a company in future

Stay safe and in the words of Mr Motivator: “Let’s start the day right.”

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Claire Canning, Marketing and Communications Manager at United Welsh shares some Mr Motivator inspiration. Part 2.

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