“Organisations need to communicate effectively with their employees. It sounds simple, but the reality is less so. And as organisations get bigger, this becomes a more complex challenge.

“At the most basic level, you have to communicate well at the right time so employees know what is expected of them and what is happening in the organisation. At a deeper level, for employees to feel engaged with their workplace and give their best, they have to believe their organisation cares about their views and understand how their role contributes towards overall business objectives.”

Institute of Internal Communication

The importance of good internal communications is clear: to achieve an engaged, commited workforce keen to help the organisation succeed in its goals and best serve its customers. Survey after survey has repeatedly shown that businesses and not-for-profit organisations are all more successful when they effectively engage with their staff and take them on their corporate journey.

Taking staff on a journey is also an apt metaphor for the internal communications of the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS). The NHS organisation has been through some troubled times in recent years. As the NHS seems to get busier and busier, with hospitals finding themselves almost full of patients with little room for more ambulance admissions, the problems are formidable, particular in the winter months. Furthermore, the NHS is ever changing. In a bid to try to tackle the ever-increasing patient demand, new services are set up, out-of-hours services are altered, and this can all result in potential confusion for ambulance clinicians seeking the best clinical destination for their patient.

Against this backdrop, EMAS wanted to improve their internal communications and engagement with all their staff - with their colleagues out on the road and with team members back at the base. They wanted to increase the awareness and understanding among staff of the corporate EMAS vision and critically obtain the views of staff into helping shape how the organisation carries out its life-saving services. They wanted to begin a constructive and enlightening conversation with their staff about how EMAS could best meet the needs of their colleagues and enable them to contribute to the organisation in the most effective ways.

EMAS communciations contacted Touch Design and we have worked with them as partners to understand their communications objectives and deliver a product that would enable these communications to effectively take place. From having fully considered the brief we produced an animated video that captured some of the issues facing EMAS and raised a number of talking points, for example, the introduction of new patient electronic records and staff training needs. The video has been used as the introduction and scene-setting start for online staff engagement (approximately 75% of the workforce are out in the community) via the EMAS staff e-magazine, and promotion at their internal Conversation Cafe's also designed to start conversations, raise awareness, and share ideas. Parademics and support staff can see the issues faced by ‘Sanjay and Jane’ while out and about on East Midlands roads and identify with the challenges, opportunities and successes. The video has helped encourage conversations and in a way de-personalised some of the commentary. It has become a vital internal communications tool for EMAS and could now be extended into other areas. One issue often faced by ambulance services around the country is inappropriate use of services by members of the public and here at Touch we are considering how we could use animated videos to help educate the public about correct use of the 999 service. It’s been an interesting project working with EMAS and we look forward to continuing this relationship in other communications concepts. If you would like an animated video putting together for your organisation, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on 0115 950 9394.

 "Touch have a unique way of inspiring and encouraging us to think differently, to use the knowledge we have of our own organisation, mixed with their fresh creativity, to produce #EMAZING results." Melanie Wright, East Midlands Ambulance Service.

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