Five steps to a productive and happy team
During tough economic times it is tempting for business leaders to be preoccupied with the bottom line and cost-cutting, but making people and organisational culture the top priority can have significant and positive flow-on effects across the entire business. It can be easy to say you value your staff, but when push comes to shove staff engagement can take a back-seat, having a negative impact on morale, productivity and employee turnover which ultimately is costly to the business. Here’s five of our tips to fostering a happy and engaged team (and they wont blow your budget line).
1. An apple a day
Offer a bowl of fresh fruit in your lunchroom to encourage staff to curb afternoon sugar-cravings the healthy way and give their diet a daily vitamin-boost. At communikate et al, we replenish our fruit bowl once a week and keep things interesting with different seasonal fruits – it doesn’t need to be expensive. Or try Keane’s Organic Food, who delivers boxes of super fresh organic fruit straight to your door.
2. Set targets
Keep staff motivated and engaged as a team by setting business targets for the group to achieve in fun and interesting ways. We assign a theme to each quarter with associated activities and targets, tracking progress at fortnightly staff meetings and rewarding achieved targets with treats like free movie tickets and an espresso machine for the staff kitchen.
3. Time out
Managing stress levels and encouraging staff to take time out can make all the difference to their wellbeing, and happy and healthy employees can make all the difference to your bottom line. Each month we offer half-hour massages onsite, offering everyone a little indulgence while also looking after neck and back issues that come along with daily deskwork.
4. Let them be heard
Giving your staff the opportunity to contribute to business planning and strategy will keep them involved in broader activities outside of their immediate roles, and motivate them to be as invested in the success of the business as you are. Regular one-to-one catch ups with the management team also provide a forum for staff to raise any concerns or discuss other matters in depth.
5. Peer support
Give your staff plenty of opportunities to learn from and connect with their colleagues and peers. We coordinate mentoring programs, both internal and external, and offer a professional development allowance for each staff member to use on industry memberships, training courses and networking events. End-of-month drinks and regular team building afternoons punctuate our busy working year with some fun and allow colleagues to connect with each other away from the office.0 comments
Social media and fundraising – getting a bang for your buck!
This week I co-hosted a breakfast panel on social media and fundraising with the Fundraising Institute of Australia (SA Chapter). Moderated by CK’s managing director Kate Hannemann, the panel also featured Tania Cavaiuolo (National Manager, Marketing & Communications, Leukaemia Foundation) and Marta Harbuzinska (Executive Manager Fundraising, Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation).
The informative discussion covered several hot topics surrounding social media and was full of practical advice and real-world case studies from the panelists.
On the topic of branding, Tania explained how the Leukaemia Foundation integrates social media into the marketing mix and use it as a way to amplify what is going on in other channels. In comparison, the Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation use social media primarily as a relationship building tool to develop personal connections with its community.
From a strategy and planning point of view, I believe it should all start with the audience and understanding how social media can cut through the noise and add value in every engagement.
The panel agreed that resourcing should not be a barrier to getting started in social because you can always start small, even just by monitoring, before scaling up into engagement.
When it came to measuring the return on investment, website referrals was the most common metric used by each of the panelists along with the usual reach and engagement metrics. The University of Adelaide is an organisation that has integrated social media and its CRM allowing it to track the impact of social media engagement on both student engagement and retention.
One of the most hotly debated topics of the session was crisis management with some great examples including how to deal with persistent Facebook and Twitter trolls, and losing control of the message by not responding fast enough during a crisis. This segued into discussion on the value of legal advice where an aversion to risk can sometimes come at the expense of creating a genuine two-way engagement.
On the topic of platforms, there was a lot of interest in the promise of crowd funding platforms like Pozible and Kickstarter. While P2P platforms like Everyday Hero are still incredibly valuable for Marta and the Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation, there is a growing shift toward crowd funding to give donors a greater sense of ownership. Google Analytics’ social media report is also a great way to identify which social media channels to focus on.
With the session drawing to a close, the panel gave its final tips on control versus engagement. Listening, understanding your audience, varying content, resourcing appropriately and knowing who you can go to internally for answers were all listed as great ways to generate engagement while still maintaining control.
Is it time for a digital detox?
It doesn’t take long for the hours spent dallying with digital devices to add up in my day. From the moment I’m woken by my iPhone alarm clock to the time I reset it for the next morning, my day is consumed with checking emails, computer work, Yammer, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, online news, iTunes, Spotify, podcasts, tv, Skype – the list goes on and I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
And I’m not alone - more than 50 per cent of Australia's population owns a smartphone, 11 million of us are on Facebook and the average Internet user spends almost 24 hours online each week.
For many of us, the digital world dominates and we’re always connected. The rise and rise of social media and online engagement means that for most waking hours we’re consuming some form of digital media, even while we’re being active and socialising. The benefits of these advances in technology are obvious – the biggest one for me as an advocate for flexibility in the workplace, is the portability of ‘work’.
But where do you draw the line? What effect is this digital addiction having on our health? The American Psychiatric Association’s latest diagnostic manual includes ‘Internet Use Disorder’. Psychologists suggest that heavy technology users are becoming accustomed to continuous task-switching, shallow information processing and diminished attention spans - all behaviours that do not equate to the most productive of minds. This of course is all in addition to the health risks associated with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
So what can we do to maintain balance in a digitally-demanding world? One option is to head off on a digital detox retreat to cleanse your mind, body and spirit by spending a few days tech-free. Or, on the flipside, you could make the technology work for you:
- Set aside time to use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on your iPhone, which will silence all incoming calls and alerts. You can adjust the settings to still allow calls from your 'Favourites' list
- If you’re renovating, consider installing this wallpaper that blocks wifi signals in certain rooms of your house
- Install the Anti-Social app that blocks access to your chosen social media sites for a set period of time
- Make good use of your email’s auto-reply function so you don’t feel pressured to regularly check your emails on your days off
Is it a bird or is it a plane? Neither… it’s a turtle with ten tits
There has been a flurry of media activity surrounding Patricia Piccinini’s outrageously excellent Skywhale, which is currently dominating the skies of Canberra.
Piccinini was commissioned to create the one-of-a-kind public art piece to coincide with the Centenary of Canberra celebrations, and it has got people talking. But I am sure the chatter is not all positive…one can only imagine those detractors, whose taste in art is as dry as a slice of 10 ten day old bread left in the sun for a further 10 ten days, sitting around talking about their levels of pay and how this piece of public art (cheaper than any other commissioned in Canberra) is a ‘waste of tax payers money’. As Phil Coorey from The Financial Review said in a column recently “Given it’s Canberra it should have been a giant inflatable desk, or a fat public servant bum plonked on a chair.”
The piece’s connection to the Centenary of Canberra was designed to highlight the many amazing people Canberra has produced over the years. But according to a poll that ran in the Canberra Times, 60 per cent of locals want the Skywhale harpooned. Regardless of the negative reactions, no one can argue the fact that Piccinini has the credentials - she studied at Canberra’s Australian National University and has represented Australia at the Venice Biennale
Long story short… Piccinini and the organisers of the Centenary of Canberra took a risk and, in my opinion, it has paid off.
There is often much trepidation when it comes to taking risks, but the thing to remember is that there are major differences between risks and calculated risks. Signing a contract without reading the fine print - that is a risk. Signing off on an advertising campaign that pushes the boundaries or taking your business in a different direction when you have conducted thorough research - that’s a calculated risk.
Yeah sure we all make mistakes and some risks can be disastrous. Take PETA for example, or Belvedere, or even Huggies. What were they thinking? Even countries as a whole get it wrong, you only have to look at the UK and their ongoing run at Eurovision. Seriously…Bonnie Tylor? It isn’t working and they need to do something about it, they need to take a risk.
Wrangler is the perfect case study of a company that took a risk, and it paid off. Known worldwide for their country style jeans and clothing range, Wrangler has a history steeped in American cowboy culture. In 2005 however, the company took a risk and developed Aura (a revolution in how women buy and wear jeans, offering more styles and cuts). This was the catalyst for their development of the youth arm of the brand that is now stocked in the biggest fashion retailers and worn by those who have probably never even toyed with the idea of attending a rodeo. Wrangler took advice from a trusted source, based on research, and made a bold decision. It worked!
Yes there is the common saying ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’, but there is also a marketing saying ‘Change or die’.0 comments
News is bad for you?
“News is toxic to your body” – according to Swiss writer Rolf Dobelli in a recent article published by the Guardian.
As communikate et al’s Media Monitor, I’ll admit this statement came as a bit of a shock to me considering reading the news is a big part of my daily work. So, does that mean that I’m constantly harming my body?
Reading on, Rolf Dobelli had even worse news for me. He suggested that by consuming news I regularly put my body in a state of chronic stress, which could lead to impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, and bone), nervousness, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
Well, this news really alarmed me. My stomach started to rumble, my nose started to run and when I touched my hair I was suddenly convinced that it felt pretty thin!
But as I continued reading, my resistance to his idea grew. I came across some points I would definitely not agree with: for example Dobelli’s suggestion that news makes us passive.
Since I’ve been working at communikate et al I’ve come across some pretty amazing and touching stories of people who started charities after getting the worst possible news. Just take the founder of the Jodi Lee Foundation, Nick Lee, for example. He started the Foundation just months after losing his wife to bowel cancer to raise awareness of the disease – he needs people to follow the news.
As for me, I now dedicate some of my free time to the YWCA of Adelaide, after reading about the shocking number of women experiencing violence in our society. These stories made me anything but passive and I think there isn’t enough in the news about this cause to make people sit up and take notice.
I guess Dobelli’s article is a good reminder of how bad news can get you down if you allow it to. But in the end I think it is all about balance and everybody has to find their own way to consume news responsibly.
Cutting out mainstream news completely as Rolf Dobelli has done is a little extreme, but maybe just make sure you are getting an even balance of the good and the bad. I can assure you, there is plenty of good news out there too!0 comments