For an effective internal communications campaign you need to really think about what it is that you want to achieve, you need to consider what you want people to think and how you want them to act as a result. People like to read about people and in our ‘Operating Styles’ campaign, our employees were able to learn about the many varied roles and interesting personalities of people working for Essex County Council. It’s really important to tap into the networks of colleagues as well so you can source interesting stories and hear all about the great work that is going on. You cannot carry out engaging internal communications campaigns in isolation.” Holly Baker, employee communications manager, Essex County Council

How critical is employee engagement to the success of your organisation? It sounds a fairly daft question with an obvious answer but you may be wrong. In a survey of global business HR, internal communications and corporate communications functions with 566 respondents, four out of every five (82%) said employee engagement is very important to the performance of their organisation. So far, so good. But when asked in the survey (Edelman, April 2015) whether their organisation has an employee engagement strategy, only a little over half (55%) of them did. Furthermore, 38% of them do not have a measurement strategy for their employee engagement. So while most respondents seem to value employee engagement, far fewer have a strategy to implement and/or measure.

Your staff are the co-creators of your organisation’s values and are the people who deliver services/productivity. Yet many organisations around the world would appear to be failing in their strategic approach to how they involve, support and empower their key internal resource. When asked which function manages employee engagement, 55% said HR/organisational development, 19% said internal communications, and 13% said the senior leadership team. This would appear to be worrying both for the prominence of the internal comms function in relation to the retained dominant power of HR, but also for the majority of organisations whose senior leaders are not owning the dialogue and relationships with their staff.

Touch Design have worked with several of our clients over the past year on campaigns that promote the strategic function of employee engagement. With Essex County Council we developed the branding for the Art of the Possible event, which worked with staff to generate ideas as part of a change management process within the organisation. Additionally with the Essex local authority we developed a multi-media campaign, utilising video, posters and blog content, to promote their vision and values (‘operating styles’) through the first person narrative of colleagues showcasing the operating styles in action. 

“The campaign to promote our Operating Styles (ways of working within Essex County Council) ran for five months. It generated lots of conversation across the workplace, as a different employee was profiled each week with a poster, blog on our intranet homepage and a video in our weekly e-newsletter. While the campaign was designed to show how the council needs to operate differently to transform services, it also became a platform to highlight and celebrate the success of our employees. Some of the blog posts attracted a large number of comments talking about the inspirational nature of the work that colleagues are doing.

“Working with Touch made running the campaign remarkably easy. They took the pressure off me and it was such a smooth process. If I had not used Touch, I would have had to book a videographer, a photographer, a writer and a designer separately but they co-ordinated everything. It would have been a logistical nightmare otherwise. Instead, it was easy, simple and straightforward. I really enjoyed the time we spent out on location with Touch and our interviewees, and the time finalising the campaign afterwards. The logistics and end products have all been fantastic, and everything has been sent through on time.” Holly Baker

For our client Tanita, a global leader in health monitoring, we produced the 'I am’ campaign promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers and adapted this message to ‘We are’ for their staff, ensuring consistent visual images and messages to internal and external audiences. This roll-out of the campaign stressed the importance of the people (the staff) behind the products.

“Involving all Tanita Europe staff in internal communications is an important part of employee commitment, team building and inter-departmental networking. This has proven to be essential in building a positive and constructive working environment that we all benefit from.” Kim Ramessa, international marketing manager, Tanita Europe BV

In other areas, we aligned internal and external messaging, perfectly capturing brand values, in the production of an annual report for the Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust (more details on this in our next blog post).

“The Trust has eight patient pledges and the annual report produced by Touch was a really creative way of encouraging staff involvement and ownership of those pledges.” Rebecca Beedie, media and copywriting manager, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Our work illustrates our view that good design and creative approaches have to be linked to good business process. Creative should not just be developed for creative sake – there has to be a purpose. In the campaigns we’ve highlighted here our work has been strategically aligned and complementary to the overall business plan of our clients. In proudly sponsoring CommsCamp this year - an ‘unconference’ for local government and health communicators, PR professionals, digital specialists and marketers – we will be asking attendees what makes for good internal communications and where employee engagement sits within their organisations. Critically, we will be asking delegates to consider how employee engagement can be improved. Some questions that CommsCamp attendees, and others involved in this area, might wish to consider in their work are:

  • Are your people engaged with the customers?
  • Are your people engaged with the brand values?
  • Do you have an employee engagement strategy?
  • Are your employees engaged with your business plan?
  • Would your organisation benefit from the production of an ‘employee toolkit’?
  • What materials, print and online, do you have to support employee engagement activities?
  • Is employee engagement critical to the success of your organisation? If not, how can we make this happen?

These and many more questions and answers will be provided at CommsCamp and we look forward to seeing you there. If you are involved in employee communications and engagement but cannot make it to CommsCamp, we would gladly offer our insights and expertise to you, based on experience to date and tips and ideas gained from the event. If you have an internal comms challenge, feel free to get an external view from Touch – call us today.

Touch Design are the proud sponsors of the comms2point0 ‘CommsCamp’ – an open space ‘unconference’ for public sector communications, PR, marketing and digital professionals – see

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