Using Film to Engage Employees
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Staff. They can be a funny bunch. A group of disparate individuals thrown together for the vast majority of their waking lives for the purpose of delivering their employer’s products or service in return for a living.
As a small business owner for 13 years now, I’ve employed just south of 20 different people and currently oversee a team of eight of us. It’s fair to say our staff retention figures are pretty good. Our staff are literally the lifeblood of our organisation – and we like to think are recognised and rewarded as such.
But then keeping staff motivated, stimulated and ultimately engaged is one thing in the context of a small tight-knit creative business like ours, it’s quite another in a large organisation employing hundreds or thousands of people across multiple sites and functions. This challenge is what faces many of our clients, and on occasions has been a challenge we’ve been able to help them meet.
Film is undoubtedly a powerful and emotive communication tool – and no more so than when used to engage staff. If harnessed correctly, it can underpin internal campaigns and address all three dimensions of employee engagement as defined by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) – intellectual engagement (thinking hard about the job and how to do it better), affective engagement (feeling positively about doing a good job), social engagement (actively discussing work-related improvements with colleagues).
Another essential element of employee engagement identified by the CIPD is “being aware of business context, or understanding the line of sight between one’s own job role and the purpose and objectives of the organisation”.
When I think back over the many staff engagement projects we’ve produced at Mocha for our clients, it’s this element that seems to be the ever-present driver – that need to engage employees with the strategic vision and objectives of the business, and almost more importantly, ensuring they appreciate how they personally can contribute to successful achievement of those objectives.
From relatively simple weekly video updates for an online retail group, to high-end ‘vision’ films for large train operating companies and international manufacturing businesses, we’ve always sought to use film to bridge that gap and align the individual employee’s motivation for getting up in the morning with their employer’s strategic objectives.
HR specialists we are not, but as we’ve grown and developed our own business over the years, and been invited into many others to help them tell their own stories, we’ve got pretty handy at looking at a business, listening to their internal challenges and identifying what makes their staff tick. We know from our own experiences, that nobody can sell your business better than you can. But we truly believe that when communicating internally, an external view and interpretation of those messages can be the key to successful engagement.
When CrossCountry Trains approached us in 2012, they had a big challenge; to impart a new vision to their 1700+ existing staff as well as new recruits. The vision? “To be recognised for delivering great service on great journeys across Great Britain”. It was essential for CrossCountry that they bring this vision to life for their employees in a way that they could truly engage with and share the sense of purpose. In the words of the client at the time “this vision has a lot of distance to travel”.
We worked closely with CrossCountry and with their people, to really capture their hearts and minds and produce an inspirational short film – Great Journeys. The film has become the cornerstone of CrossCountry’s internal communications strategy, which has gone on to win awards and recognition for its impact, most notably The British Quality Foundation 2013 Achievement Award for Excellence in Employee Engagement.
Congratulations to everyone at CrossCountry for this fantastic achievement. Here is the finished film: http://vimeo.com/mocha/xctrains
And as I write, we hear that another client’s campaign has received an award nomination. Congratulations to everyone at BAE Systems who are nominated for best Internal Communications Campaign at the regional CIPR Awards 2013.
Check the film out here: http://vimeo.com/mocha/baefinal
It always feels good when our work wins creative industry awards, but it’s an even bigger kick when our clients win the awards and they receive recognition for achieving excellence – a level of excellence that our films have helped them reach.
Right – must crack on – it’s time for the 9:30 huddle…