Countdown to Christmas: Day 17

There’s only a few days left of my Countdown to Christmas series, which means the big day is getting ever nearer. Every day this month I’ve been highlighting a story from an internal communicator to share their thoughts, with the final one going live on Christmas Eve.

If you’ve missed any, simply change the date in the URL e.g. will bring up day 10, will show day 12 etc.

I’ll then be taking a break and be back in January. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my blog this year, it’s always good to feature new voices and a variety of writers and highlight what’s working well – and what there is to learn from situations that don’t go quite as planned.

Today’s article is written by Nishwa Ashraf, Assistant Editor at Melcrum. You can find her on Twitter @NishwaAshraf

How Shell connects business strategy, channels and conversations

“Do you see how your business or function contributes to the company’s strategy?”

When this very question was posed at Shell, the results were alarming. While most leaders (83%) could see a direct link between their day-to-day work and the company’s business goals, only half of mid-level managers (54%) could say the same. On the frontline, those in the know were fewer still (38%).

These results are undoubtedly cause for concern, but not entirely surprising. The ‘line-of-sight’ connecting employee activities to overarching goals is a common challenge addressed in Melcrum’s latest study Innovation and Intervention in Manager Communication. This research highlights the value and challenges inherent to manager communications and provides powerful examples of how companies are re-engaging managers as agents of engagement and change. Shell is just one of those examples.

To improve understanding of its new strategy and empower employees to deliver on it, Shell’s Internal Communication team reframed the way it approached channels and equipped managers. Tightening the (broken) link between mass communications and manager dialogue.

Here’s what they did:

  1. Introduced Global Strategic Dialogues  – a model integrating channels and content to reduce noise and ensure the right conversations are occurring up, down and across the organisation at the same time.
  2. Launched skip-level sessions to provide opportunities for employees to dialogue with their manager’s manager, and for senior managers to get closer to the frontline.  This drove accountability and generated buzz about the strategy.
  3. Committed to a Content Calendar to focus communications—and managers—on the right strategic themes, at the right time.

As a result, communication is targeted and noise is down.

Melcrum report Managers are engaging with their teams on important topics, using simplified and streamlined toolkits. Dialogue is happening across the organisation and, more importantly, it’s focused on the right business priorities.

Shell isn’t the only organisation working hard to re-establish that human touch.

Download your free copy of Melcrum’s latest Executive Summary, Innovation and Intervention in Manager Communication and discover how some of the world’s best Internal Communicators, from organisations like Volvo and Alstom, are rethinking how to engage managers in break-through communications and rich conversations.

Post author:  Nishwa Ashraf

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