A Leap Forward for Internal Communications

Posted by [email protected] on May 1, 2015 at 5:35 PM

Words cannot describe how pleased I am to be a member of the Colleague Communications Panel at Tesco. The panel is made up of colleagues that are representative of the business so I feel really proud that I was selected from so many applicants and privileged that I have been given a golden opportunity to represent my colleagues on how colleague communications are conducted in the future.


Being on the panel has allowed me to meet and collaborate with new people and share thoughts regarding the various channels of communication within the business, together as a team we will make a difference. I suspect I will remain in contact with some of my fellow panellists long after our term in office has expired.


I’ve worked at Tesco for five years as a Customer Delivery Assistant and I would describe my first four years as fairly uneventful and frustrating so the real buzz for me is the change in culture that I have witnessed within the business over the last year or so which has led to the panel being formed.


My frustrations were caused by the fact that I was bursting with ideas but the channels were not in place to guide them to the relevant people. In KPI driven businesses, ideas from the front line often go unnoticed because there is not a KPI for ideas.


The introduction of Yammer has opened up communications between colleagues across the UK business and addressed my frustrations. Colleagues can share ideas and get the information they need to perform in their roles better in just a few minutes. I believe that in a healthy business, colleagues have a moral duty to put forward ideas that may improve the business and in return, businesses should take those ideas seriously before deciding whether to accept or reject them. Yammer has opened up a channel for ideas submission.


I also find it fascinating that Yammer has created a shift in mobile phone at work policy. Overnight there was a shift from colleagues being strictly banned from carrying their own mobile phones at work to colleagues being encouraged to sign up to Yammer and being encouraged to bring their own devices to use Yammer and the inform app.


I wasn’t a regular visitor to the Ourtesco website so it was by pure coincidence that I just happened to take a look on that particular day and came across Globe’thon 2014, a global hackathon competition. I applied to join and used an external Yammer network to put a team together. Winning the UK leg of the competition gave me the opportunity develop an idea on secondment at Tesco Labs.


I now visit Ourtesco most days so that I don’t miss out on what’s happening around the business and this has paid off on a further two occasions. Firstly seeing the invitation to apply for this panel and also the invitation to be a New Tesco Technology Advocate, my task to trial and review the new HUDL2, my reward a free HUDL2 prior to launch. Over the last year I have witnessed great improvements in the design and layout of the site. I look forward to seeing future improvements but also having the opportunity to shape those improvements together with the internal communications team and my fellow panellists.


I’m really looking forward to the launch of the new colleague magazine and I have already started putting feelers out for interesting stories, it’s something I’m really going to enjoy getting my teeth into over the year. I love the idea of the magazine having a Sunday supplement feel and that a core element of the magazine is about the people in the business rather than about the business itself. For years to come, each time I pick up the magazine, I will look at the name and strapline and it will raise fond memories of the day that was first meeting of the communications panel.


So as we enter the future and develop our digital and printed channels of communication, we must not forget the most important channel of all, face to face communication. I think face to face communication can be split into two areas, official communication such as Team 5 and face to face communication between each other as colleagues.


I think we need to look at face to face communication and smash down any barriers we find that restrict verbal communication taking place, particularly towards the lower end of the chain but also how to ensure responses are passed back up the chain too.


We need to ensure our core purpose and values are upheld so that our colleagues communicate well, listen to and understand each other and that we use these values to communicate with our customers too. Face to face communication is the linchpin in the smoothness of the operation of a successful store.


So as I have said, much has been done to improve the channels of communication over the last year and at our meeting we found out more about what is planned for the future and the different roles that we can all play. What I like is the coordinated approach that internal communication is going to take, deciding the best primary channel for a topic based on its own merits and then linking it to other channels for maximum effect and response capture.

Categories: Communications, Innovation, Managing Change