To mark Advent and celebrate success in the world of internal communication, I’m highlighting a story a day by internal communicators via my blog in a countdown to Christmas.
Every day until 24 December I will be sharing the thoughts of IC pros who have written guest articles, with the final one going live on Christmas Eve.
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 highlight what’s working well and what there is to learn from situations that don’t go quite as planned.
I look forward to sharing some new voices with you over the next few weeks.
Today is day nine and this article is by Andy Johnson, @andyjatbromford, and was originally published in September this year.
How to communicate the DNA of an organisation
What would happen if you removed your company vision, head office and managers and mission statement? What would you replace them with and how would you communicate it?
I heard about a company that has done exactly that and decided to share it with you.
One of the organisations I enjoy reading about is Bromford Group. They are constantly in my Twitter timeline with various employees from the social housing group sharing, communicating and highlighting not only the good work their organisation is doing among its 1200 employees, but encouraging other comms pros through their interactions.
Check out their interactive timeline for an overview of the company who manage and maintain around 27,000 properties. (You may recognise the name from the guest post their communications officer Jarrod Williams wrote for my blog last year).
Bromford’s website states: “We inspire people to be their best. Through our range of housing and support services we help customers and colleagues to achieve ambitions and succeed at reaching personal goals. Whether that’s getting in to training, volunteering or employment, owning or renting a home, getting life back on track or simply living independently – we’re here.
“We don’t work to a mission, vision and values. Instead we look for colleagues who share our DNA, the principles of which are; Be Good, Be Brave, Be Different and Be Commercial. These are the guiding principles that shape our every decision and action.
“It’s a culture thing you see. We’ve done away with head offices and managers, and instead have commercial and brave leaders who lead teams of like-minded colleagues. It’s this great mind-set that makes us different and has ensured we’ve built up 50 years of heritage through homes, support and much more.”
Sound good? Want to know more about their culture? Me too.
I asked Andy Johnson, Learning Communities Manager at Bromford (pictured) to write an article for my blog to share with readers some of the cracking work that has been taking place there, particularly as the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
He describes himself as using his passion for social and digital media to help colleagues be the best that they can be. I’ve certainly seen evidence of that and love the approach. I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Over to you Andy…
How to communicate the DNA of an organisation
I wonder how many of us could name The Beatles? My guess is that most would name theFab 4 without breaking a sweat, right? Now, how many of us could reel off our company’s mission statement, vision and values without hesitation? Not so easy is it.
Like The Beatles we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary here at Bromford and it’s been during this milestone that we’ve opted for a cleaner and more leaner approach of inspiring people to be their best.
We’ve ditched the tradition of a mission statement, a blurred vision and an exhaustive list of values.
Instead we look for colleagues to work with us who share our newly launched DNA;
- Be Good
- Be Brave
- Be Different
- Be Commercial – our very own awesome foursome!
You can see an overview of what the culture is like at Bromford through the words of its employees:
Just last week, six months since their launch, a number of leaders from across Bromford (including me) were presented with a challenge; to go and investigate our DNA and then feedback to a wider audience what we found.
We were asked to visit other teams, see how colleagues are embracing ‘the Be’s’, look at how they are bringing them to life and to, well, Be Nosey!
The day arrived and we had our usual army of tweeters and yammerers (is that the right word, do we even have one yet? If not let’s invent one!), who were on hand to pledge their support and give real-time updates to those who couldn’t be in the room.
We were treated to a great variety of presentations ranging from videos to Haiku Decks, a specially built website to a live recording of a podcast!
The session was absolutely brilliant; not only did it showcase the wealth of talent we have across Bromford, it also gave us insight into our teams that may have only surfaced previously during lunch breaks and through team meetings.
Using comics to communicate
So for me, someone who relishes a challenge and wanting to #BeBrave and #BeDifferent, I prepared my findings in a unique and inexpensive way. I presented back through ourfirst ever Bromford comic book.
The comic’s content is taken from video screenshots of our HR team’s away day. What really stood out for me is the fun and engaging way in which colleagues were able to represent and demonstrate the respective Be’s from their team’s viewpoint.
Inspirational lyrics, poems, amateur dramatics, avatars and future gazing – this team had it all, and don’t forget they were talking about something that had just replaced all that corporate jargon we used to have!
Now, how many of you reading this can honestly say that your mission statement, vision or values truly enable your colleagues to bring them alive in this way? Will they still be circulating like the Beatles are now; 50 years since they formed?
We certainly hope that our new approach will stand the test of time and who knows, we could still be talking about our DNA come our 1st century!
Post author: Andy Johnson
Thank you for all the feedback on my Advent series. If you have missed a post, you can see them all below:
Day one: How to release the power of innovation – by Ian Brownhill
Day two: Countering event fatigue – by Oli Howard
Day three: How to get more value from internal communication – by Gloria Lombardi
Day four: From BBC to IC: An insider’s view – by Mike Ramsden
Day five: Diary of an IC student – by Jess Grant
Day six: Can you imagine a day without IC? – by Aniisu K. Verghese
Day seven: How do you engage people with disabilities? – by Hayley McGarvey
Day eight: It’s good to talk: Communicating with call centre employees – by Tory Frost
Looking for Christmas comms advice? Here’s my Christmas comms survival guide.