INCLUSIVE Internal Communications Case Study Template
Context: Inclusive internal communications is about appreciating the evolving role of staff as partners and not just a stakeholder whom you consult when you feel like it. It is about listening intently to staff’s needs, being in their shoes, creating a transparent communication culture and involving them to continually improve their experiences. It is also using inclusive language, valuing talent for communication and driving sustainable change collectively. More in the book Inclusive Internal Communications by the author Aniisu K Verghese Ph.D.
Use the following template to share your organization’s case study on inclusive internal communications. Mail the case study to Aniisu K Verghese Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) with reference materials (posters, leaflets, online links etc) that substantiate these aspects and with permission to use on digital media such as Intraskope (www.aniisu.com) and Linkedin.
1. How does your organization prioritize inclusion through employee communications?
This was the mandate to involve maximum employees to be part of this exercise. Since we had close to 30 thousand employees in the plant, we had to look at various options to weave the employees into the communication blanket. For example, in the annual Freedom run we had over 12000 participants.
2. What do you do to listen, involve, partner, co-create, value talent, recognize and celebrate employee participation in organizational communication?
Now while managing the locals was a tough task as we had employees who were in thousands. We had to keep them professionally engaged hence we had tailor made events working along with HR wing in different departments within the organization. That included safety events, environment day events, cleanliness initiatives, engineers’ day programs etc. These were competitive in nature with prizes to top three performers. Now since they were living in townships adjoining the plant, we also had weekly social events where employees can showcase their talent be it acting, dancing, singing, playing an instrument etc. This brought big crowds which also worked as an entertainment for the audiences.
Now to keep the families also engaged we had to link up with All India Radio (AIR) we had a daily presence in this medium through various interventions, while weekends would be for performing children in sports, academics, music, arts etc. which was interactive. Bellary district had 40 lakh radio listeners on a daily basis which also gave brand the boost.
3. Please share an example or two of how this works in practice?
1) Safety day was an opportunity to send the message through tailored skits which sent the Safety message it also involved group of employees. This was an ideal way to send the desired message. While the talent came out in open message also came out very clear. They were rewarded too.
2) Now on the AIR we had an interactive program with a lady Loco driver. This was a super hit as we had three Loco engine lady operators, when they spoke their story on AIR it was heard by many within the plant & outside too. This was a motivation for women workers.
4. What changes have you made in your communication culture to empower staff to contribute as partners?
We also had a monthly inhouse newsletter which would cover plant activities also performing employees & children featured in it. This was most awaited day for everyone as they would look at being covered in it. This was a huge motivation for everyone. There was a healthy work culture which was evolving to be featured in the magazine. We had requests from employees to be covered or featured in it. Even employees children from the school within were curious to be spoken about. This was very well appreciated.
5. What policies and governance framework do you have in place that enables staff to go over and above at the workplace for communications?
Since this was a large manufacturing facility we had to eat, live & sleep JSW. We had a uniform to wear which was mandatory. IT laws were very stringent as no leak of information was allowed. Photography wasn’t allowed in the plant. Now for departmental events we started training MC’s or comperes so that they were seen & heard within. This was done with the consent of HR wing & also departmental head. We ensured everyone was taken along the internal communications journey.
6. What incentives and recognitions do you to encourage staff to contribute even more to communication?
There were rewards & recognition for every initiative. We had printed certificates, they were spoken in the newsletter, they also gained some bonus points which helped their internal promotions. But it was all done with the consent of HR & respective departments.
7. What changes to the language you use allows you to be more inclusive in communication practices?
Now while managing the locals was a tough task as we had employees who were in thousands. We had to keep them professionally engaged hence we had tailor made events working along with HR wing in different departments within the organization. That included safety events, environment day events, cleanliness initiatives, engineers’ day programs etc. These were competitive in nature with prizes to top three performers. Now since they were living in townships adjoining the plant, we also had weekly social events where employees can showcase their talent be it acting, dancing, singing, playing an instrument etc. This brought big crowds which also worked as an entertainment for the audiences. There was a large local population while there were also people from diverse cultures when it came to plant managament, now they too had to be kept engaged. Which did by creating events for such audiences.
8. How do you bring synergy with existing engagement practices to surface staff’s talent with inclusive internal communications?
Most of initiatives were meant to be inclusive. Now every 15th August we would conduct a freedom run which was a great hit among many, here everyone would participate from MD to the last worker, we had a stretch which was 9 KMS here too we recognized top three in three categories to keep the age factor in mind. Now here right from a floor worker to MD will participate employees were waiting to be part of this as every senior management would be there. The mental distances were reduced with this one activity. Even social events for every season was tailor made for locals separately so that they could relate & connect.
9. Any other comments and thoughts
I present you a case study of internal communications during my association at JSW Steel Bellary between 2008-2015. Bellary is 340 KMS away from Bengaluru & is a part of North Karnataka. The plant is spread over 140000 acres of land with three townships for close to 30,000 employees. Initial part of the journey was laden with illegal mining activities which was high impact media communication & TV media was buzzing with activity. Another impact this led to was companies located in remote areas had the India/ world attention. But this industry also employs huge number of people which is both advantage & disadvantage too. Advantage was that one could interact with large audiences who had a local bent of mind and came from surrounding disadvantage was that the top rung had diversity as they came from different backgrounds & regions.