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Highlights from SMiLE

Emma HanleyEmma Hanley·

 

On November 9th I attended the recent SMiLE event. This was my third time attending the event and I have to say it was probably the best one yet. The sessions that Marc Wright and his team had organized were interesting and insightful and some of them were great examples of the direction enterprise social networks and supporting channels such as intranets and email are moving in.

Some of my highlights from the event were:

Dennis Agusi from Philips showed us what an internal community should look like. They currently have 66,000 employees active on the Philips community! That is an incredible number and resulted in gasps throughout the audience.

What I found most interesting was how Dennis ensured that their leadership team were on board by focusing on getting one leader at a time visible and active on the community. He mentioned that their leaders now see the community as a way of cutting out the “middle man” and talking directly with employees.

What was really fascinating – and a great sign of trust within Philips – is that they do not moderate their internal video channel, BlueTube. Employees can directly upload a video to the channel without waiting for it to be approved, and there haven’t been any issues to date with the content that has been uploaded.

Veronique Vallieres from ABB discussed how they are using Yammer to collaborate across their regions and functions, in particular regarding customer problems. She had a great example of how an employee in Korea asked a question on Yammer regarding a piece of equipment and received a response from a colleague in Sweden, as a result the employee in Korea was able to respond to the customer within 90 minutes with an answer. Thanks to their use of Yammer across the organization, Veronique believes that they are becoming more agile and reactive to new campaigns and also with experimenting.

Den Carter from Virgin Trains’ session with Wedge was worth the wait – he is in the process of completely phasing out the use of an intranet. As much as it pained Wedge to hear it is incredibly impressive. Upon completing a review of the purpose of their intranet, Den and his team found that they did not actually need an intranet as they do not have a high dependence on documentation so it was actually an easy decision to make.

The Paddy Power Story

A blog post discussing the highlights of the event wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our customer Rosie Valentine from Paddy Power. Rosie is the Head of Internal Communications at Paddy Power, she has only been in the role for 14 months and along with her colleague (yes only 2 on the team!) they have accomplished outstanding results.

To start Rosie undertook some research; she visited all of the Paddy Power offices, reviewed exit interview data and issued an internal survey for all employees. From the results of this research Rosie had her strategy – focus on getting the basics right and adoption by employees.

Their internal communications activities evolved from posters and emails to events, including their first ever all employee town hall, videos from their leadership team, an internal app and a smarter use of the email channel. They are experiencing success such as 750 employees turning out for the first town hall, 61% open rate on their weekly PaddyFlash newsletter and employees sharing their appearances in PaddyFlash on their own external social networks.

The biggest takeaway that I took from Rosie’s session was how important it is to ensure that your external brand is aligned internally – having your employees aware of what the brand is doing externally builds on the feeling of inclusion and will help drive engagement.

If you missed the event I’m sure there will be copies of the sessions on their site in the coming weeks. You can also have a read through the Twitter stream here.

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