How visible are your leaders?

One of the Engage for Success key indicators is senior leadership visibility. For me, this is very much dependent on the individual and how they want to work things from a communications perspective. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great organisational leaders who have embraced this wholeheartedly.

Sean Harriss was our CE at Lambeth and he had a pretty straight talking and honest approach which resonated well with colleagues. He cascaded information from the top and provided the answers that staff needed.

At the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sue Owen – Permanent Secretary is a huge advocate for employee engagement. The 69% engagement score from the 2016 People Survey  is testament to this. Her style and the size of the department lends its self to face-to-face opportunities, including monthly stand ups and twice yearly staff conferences.

How could we take this further?

I think the next steps and the greater challenge is ensuring that this visibility runs throughout the whole leadership team, rather than just the figurehead.

I’ve tackled this in the past by opening up a broader Q&A with questions to all members of the leadership team. Champion roles, e.g. in relation to networks or diversity also help directors to get involved with different parts of the business and attend different types of events.

Leaders at events

An obvious way to ensure visibility of leaders is at events. There are lots of different ways to do this which will also depend on the style and presentational skills of the individual.

I recently attended an IOIC event: The rise of multi-location hybrid events. The event covered the following:

Bridging distance to engage employees

There’s little doubt that employee events are an extremely powerful way to communicate internally. But for businesses with people in multiple locations the challenges of reaching everyone can be daunting.

Bringing everyone together in one place is often impossible, roadshows have their own challenges and webcasts are low on engagement. Which is why organisations from TED to the Post Office are increasingly turning to multi-location hybrid events – linking audiences in different cities together in a single cohesive live experience.

The agency perspective- Live Union

Jez Paxman showed some great new technology including personal streaming with Snapchat spectacles, Intel – virtual reality headsetHoloLens mixed reality from Microsoft and double robotics.

I’m not sure how feasible these are in the public sector from a cost perspective at the moment, but in time some of the hardware and applications could become everyday tools.

Jez went on to talk about a hybrid event that he had organised at multiple locations which delivered a single experience. His top tips were to ensure the following:

  • Extensive scripting and rehearsal
  • Quality technical production
  • Find the right venues to focus on the experience
  • Have a contingency in place.

The agenda was mind blowingly complex but with the leadership team on board the agency and organisation were able to pull it off, achieving some great engagement scores.

This solution enables the issues of cost, time and travel to be overcome whilst still achieving the benefits of human congregation, as a single experience.


The client perspective – Post Office


I was surprised to hear from Paul Swanton that the Post Office is the U.K.’s biggest retailer. Paul shared his experience of working with Live Union to deliver a next-generation event. He needed to get together employees and franchisees from across the country and wanted to give them the same experience. Paul held Team Talk Live in cinemas at five locations across the country. He experienced challenges in terms of sequencing content and the logistics of the operation. He was bold in delivering an innovative approach to employee engagement and this is something that has helped him to gain the trust of the senior leadership team for future initiatives.

How do you do yours?

I think this is a great solution to get disparate colleagues colleagues ‘together’ and ensure that they have the same experience. Albeit from a different geographical location!

It would be great to hear about any events you’ve done along these lines. Did anyone else at the IOIC event have any thoughts? I hope I get the opportunity to manage a next-generation event in the future! Contact me @katygibbins1

Events – it’s all in the detail, part 2 of 2

The next stage of event planning

I hope you can benefit from my experience and advice and have smooth running events every time (well almost as a lot depends on outside factors)!

For part 1 on some of the basics and initial steps to follow see below.

Events- it’s all in the detail, part 1 of 2

Continue reading Events – it’s all in the detail, part 2 of 2

Insight from a recent event #TheBigYak

The format

I attended The Big Yak internal communications unconference last Saturday and found it hugely valuable for networking and the collaborative opportunity to answer questions and solve issues that have been raised on the day.

TBY board

I was new to the unconference format which is based on Open Spaces Technology. Like-minded people come together without a set agenda and agree this during the day. The event was facilitated by Benjamin Ellis. This is a format I would like to try out at an event I am organising in the future. Continue reading Insight from a recent event #TheBigYak