Emma Price – Principality Building Society

Emma is joining the Internal Comms Team on 1st September

Having completed an Internal Comms Review for Principality in 2015/16 one of our key recommendations was to upgrade their Intranet. Part of the implementation phase of our work with Principality was to put together a business case to create a new social intranet with a recommendation to use the EasySharePoint and Yammer platforms.

6 months down the line we caught up with Emma to find out how their new social intranet ‘Cwtch’ (Welsh for a hug!) has been received by colleagues and what she’s learnt along the way…

How have the business reacted to their new intranet?

We’ve had a fantastic response towards Cwtch. The site has not only signposted our move into the technological era that is the 21st century, it’s also become an expression of our brand, aligning our internal communications with the external presentation of our business. This investment has helped colleagues to feel more valued. The search functionality has made it quicker and easier for colleagues to find the information that they need to do their jobs and this has helped to improve the service we’re able to deliver to our customers, with colleagues citing the site as having had a demonstrable impact on their ability to serve the customer in front of them – sourcing competitor tables and key messages with ease. The site has become a trusted hub of information.

Cwtch is also able to better support and display more engaging content such as videos, infographics and images which has resulted in over 70% of colleagues saying that they feel more informed and engaged with what’s going on in the business. The polling functionality, together with the integration with Yammer in particular has given colleagues a voice – helping to encourage knowledge share, instant feedback on the content they are reading (by enabling comments on news articles) and better collaboration around change projects.

What impact has it has on your overall IC strategy and delivery?

Cwtch is a key channel in our communication infrastructure, designed to inform and engage colleagues across the Group with key corporate business updates. The functionality has enabled a richer user experience which has had a positive impact on the delivery of specific communication campaigns – for example, in a recent campaign to engage colleagues with Learning at Work week we’ve been able to create a microsite of all of the available materials, together with an integrated booking form for colleagues to book their place on a course. We’ve used the polling functionality to engage people’s views and launched a video to open up a focused Yammer conversation on the topic – none of this would have been possible before the new Intranet. What’s more, our recently appointed CEO has his own microsite where he regularly blogs and engages with individuals.

As a more informal, conversational tool, Yammer has helped to devolve ownership for communications, giving colleagues a tool to communicate with the rest of the business. This positions the internal communications team as less of a gateway/postbox to communication and more of an advisor and facilitator enabling the team to focus on the bigger picture, strategic communication pieces without stopping the conversation and communication flow on other topics of interest. It’s also given us the tools to facilitate true two-way communication, the ability to engage colleagues with decisions before they are made and collaboratively build ideas.

What have been the biggest challenges so far?

The biggest challenge has been in implementing our new Intranet alongside maintaining our BAU workload and managing the communication of a Transformation programme. Building an Intranet that was fit for our future and would create the single-point of reference that we desired was important and this meant creating new content that didn’t already exist within the current infrastructure. It meant building a site architecture that would house our growing business and it meant conducting a thorough content audit on our existing out-of-date Intranet to ensure that the content migrated was current and relevant. At the same time we’d launched a new purpose, set of values and strategy that we supported with an extensive communication plan and at times it was tough to manage the two deliverables.

And the biggest successes?

A huge success has been the way in which colleagues have embraced Yammer. With a network of over 70 branches and agencies, we have long struggled with the challenge of connecting colleagues and creating a ‘one-team’ mentality and Yammer has really come into play in this space. Colleagues are naturally talking to each other and are keen to share information and highlight their achievements.

What has been great is the way that our Executive team have also embraced the tool – it’s helped to encourage a culture of communication and information sharing which can only be harnessed further. In particular we’ve facilitated a number of successful YamJam’s – a focused online discussion using Yammer, where a group of people get together at the same time to share ideas, questions and views usually on a single topic. These have been received really positively and have created a new level of openness and authenticity around our communications as well as bringing further visibility to our leaders – with subject matter experts responding honestly to questions from colleagues right across the business.

And finally… Emma’s top tips for anyone considering developing / launching a new social intranet

  1. Don’t wait for the burning platform to change the Intranet – it’s often too late by this point and you will be presented with further challenges around engagement – stay committed to putting forward the business case for a new Intranet.
  2. Get the support and buy-in of your IT infrastructure team – you can’t overestimate their input!
  3. Be clear about what your objectives are i.e. to create two-way communication/ ease of access to information and stick to them
  4. Focus on getting the buy-in of the senior team to any two-way communication tools – they can help to lead the way in this space
  5. Embrace your champions – they can do the talking for you and really help to get everyone on board.
  6. Walk the floors on the day of launch – having a presence, hearing the feedback first-hand and offering people quick tips on how to make the most of the tool was really welcomed.
  7. Take every opportunity to talk about the upcoming launch and the benefits that it will bring to the organisation and them as individuals – tell stakeholders, colleagues and teams – drop it into the conversation at as many meetings as you can!

Speak to Jos on - 07415 504 705


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