6th Sense | 106comms106comms

Cindy and the Bots – AI for the employee

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Artificial Intelligence promises to makes thousands, if not millions, of people redundant.  We will be talking to, learning from and possibly even falling in love with bots.  (Yes, I said bots not butts.) In the world of AI (or as Jeremy … from IBM said, it’s more like IA – Information Assistants – at the […]Read more

Social mobility: are employers doing enough?

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26th September 2017, 8 in the morning, the sun is shining, and we’re in the City of London hosting another 106 Breakfast Series event, this time on Social Mobility and Early Talent.  We were lucky enough to be joined by a couple of great speakers – Rachael Millar from the Social Mobility Commission, who talked […]Read more

Employers feeling rejected by graduates…

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The latest annual survey from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE – and formerly the AGR) revealed a continuation of recent trends… Apprenticeships continue to rise – the number of vacancies growing by 19%. Salaries continue to rise – to a median of £28,000. Video interviewing continues to rise – now 53% of employers use it, compared […]Read more

Parental Advice: should we just make our kids tougher?

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19th September.  The Deck at the National Theatre.  A clear night sky.  And the launch of EY’s strategy to improve careers advice.  We had a panel of Sarah Beeny (property presenter), Steve Bartlett (head of Social Chain), Lee Janaway (Harrow College), LJ (from Youth Employment UK) and Florentyne Barrett (Apprentice at EY).  All hosted by Jack Parsons […]Read more

106 Breakfast Series: Apprenticeships, The Levy and Youth Marketing

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January 25th.  8am.  The Private Dining Room at The Delaunay.  A mixture of employers.  A fantastic breakfast.  And two great speakers.  Welcome to the world of the 106 Breakfast Series. This time, we focused on Apprenticeships, The Levy and Youth Marketing.  Here are our key take-aways: Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, outlined […]Read more

Magazine: The Apprenticeship Opportunity

The advent of the Apprenticeship Levy (April 2017) in the UK makes engagement more important than ever.  Many organisations will be suddenly looking for swathes of apprenticeship talent; while others will be inviting existing employees to join new apprenticeship programmes.  Everyone will be looking to maximise their investment, because otherwise they will be simply handing over a […]Read more

Apprenticeships: Getting it right on the inside first

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Did you see the apprenticeship campaign adverts on the TV this Christmas break? “Get in, go far” is the Government’s chosen theme to give the apprenticeship the big 2017 make-over in line with the mandatory apprenticeship levy in April. The series of beautifully produced short films show how Lucy, Daisy, Chris and others have bypassed […]Read more

Enterprise Social Networks and changing behaviour.

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Enterprise Social Networks have been around for longer than we may think.  JIVE was established in 2001; Yammer in 2008; and when you consider Facebook was only established in 2004, you have to wonder why ESNs haven’t become the indispensable tool that many thought they would be.  Perhaps with the launch of Workplace by Facebook, […]Read more

Our model for Change Comms

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Change is neither easy or quick.  The real secret of any change programme is not to let it happen to people but to bring them with you.  In fact, make them the architects of the change.  That is why our model is focused on letting colleagues shape the future and empowering them to take charge. […]Read more

106 Seconds with… Anne-Lise Johnsen, Youth Product Manager, Arsenal FC

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Anne-Lise Johnsen is the Youth Product Manager at Arsenal FC, a Marketing Academy Alumni, keynote speaker and named the Marketing Society’s Young Marketing Leader in 2016. She is currently putting Arsenal at the forefront of youth marketing; with a recent key highlight being the launch of the first app aimed at young sports fans by […]Read more

106 Breakfast Series: Change Comms

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Here at 106, we live with a belief that ‘great communication inspires action’. If it doesn’t, it ain’t worth the paper or code it’s written on. In many respects, the Comms function has one really important job. To help organisations change. To make them more competitive or collaborative. To drive new behaviours. To win more customers. To retain talent […]Read more

Internal Comms and the Agile and Responsive Organisation

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We ran a survey into how Internal Comms can support change and help organisations become more Agile and Responsive.  227 people took part – and what was the most important factors in driving change?  Find out by downloading the report.Read more

Truth be told: the art of storytelling for Employer Branding

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A recent report from IPG Media Lab, Forbes and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications said Branded Content is twice as memorable as display advertising. So there we have it.  Create content rather than simply peddle value propositions. Mmmmm.  Of course, if it was that simple, why isn’t everyone? Partly because it isn’t simple. Branded content requires effort to identify and […]Read more

Women in Leadership

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I was recently invited to speak at a conference for Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law by the wonderful Funke Abimbola. A niche group of people – all people working in Life Sciences, and the majority lawyers.  But the issues, barriers and opportunities they have are shared by females leaders in organisations around the world. I had […]Read more

Ethics and Engagement: simples…

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Why are ethics so important to organisations? We are bound by laws. It’s the right thing to do. It also makes business sense. As one leader in Ethics recently stated. ‘Ethics attracts talent. Talent drives capability. Capability wins clients.’ Simples. Or is it? The reality is very different for most organisations. Wells Fargo talk about how well they […]Read more

Diversity & Inclusion, and the age of personalised engagement…

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18 months ago, a small group of people got together to discuss diversity & inclusion and employee engagement, as part of Engage for Success. We didn’t know each other.  We were very different in many ways.  And we certainly didn’t always agree with each other.  But we had a common cause. Yesterday we hosted our […]Read more

“We’re all fine.” Why we need to talk about mental health.

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How are you? “I’m fine” We’re all fine. At least, that’s what we tell each other at work. We may say we’re busy, under the cosh, a bit stressed or completely swamped. But we rarely, if ever, admit that we’ve got a mental health issue. Because that labels us. It’s a stigma. It shows weakness. […]Read more

106 seconds with… Cara Norkett, AVP Human Resources, Allied World

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Cara Norkett is a Talent Acquisition Specialist who has been in the recruitment industry since 2005. She started her career as an agency recruiter in the Engineering sector, before moving in-house in 2008, and later switching industries to General Insurance, where she has been working for the last five years. She studied English Language and […]Read more

106 seconds with… Dan Barley, Change Communications Consultant

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Dan is a communications consultant who specialises in behaviour change. As a senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, and before that at the UK Government’s Central Office of Information, Dan has worked with a huge range of clients across sectors. Recently he set up as an independent, driven by a belief that the traditional approach […]Read more

Don’t be brand washed…

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I have nothing against Fat Face.  Some of my best swimming shorts are from there. But recently I was walking past the store and saw the headline ‘Washed in Happiness’.  I nearly spat my Starbucks coffee over a family of four. I can imagine the conversation between agency and client. Client: Our clothes. They’re not simply garments. Or […]Read more

106 Breakfast Series: The Apprenticeship Levy

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Next April, the government introduces the Apprenticeship Levy.  What does it mean for employers?  How can they maximise the opportunity?  And what are the barriers to doing so? 26 of us met at The Delaunay on 9th June to discuss the issues and opportunities, and also to hear from Sue Husband, the head of the […]Read more

The story of toilets and driving diversity…

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Toilets.  We take them for granted. You go to work and there’s a toilet there for you.  Whether you’re male or female. Except when you work on the train tracks for Network Rail. You could be fixing and maintaining the track miles away from a station and any accessible toilet. For men, not a problem.  The […]Read more

Voice of the Customer, vinyl records and engaging brain

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Today we (as customers) expect to be able to tell service providers what we think of them. How we do that depends on two things – one, our personal preference; and two, the ease of access to the people we want to tell. Imagine, like Sharon (real name), a vinyl record is delivered to your door folded […]Read more

Narrative Trumps Know-How

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Recently my wife and I were having lunch in Stone Street, Manhattan, just a stone’s throw from Wall Street. Next to us were two Wall Streeters tucking into nachos, guacamole and margaritas. So who were they favouring in the race for a nomination? ‘Clinton’ – replied the man. ‘Trump’ – stated the woman. Being the liberal, […]Read more

Employee Advocacy Magazine

We passionately believe Employee Advocacy can help organisations transform their social media reach with talent, grow reputation and, importantly, engage colleagues.  And it all starts with a story.Read more

“I don’t want to be a nuisance.” Notes from the Disability Cafe.

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Like all of us, I sometimes ask people to make small adjustments for me. ‘Can you say that again?’ when I don’t hear something properly. ‘Sorry, would you mind moving down the train?’ when I am squeezing into the carriage. I might be a nuisance at times. But I am rarely sorry for being so. […]Read more

106 Breakfast Series: Preparing for the Unthinkable

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Just over half of Fortune 500 has disappeared since 2000.  We will probably see 40% disappear in the next 10 years alone.  Change is happening – and faster than ever. We really do live in a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA). There are the very real threats of pandemics, terrorism, political decisions, financial […]Read more

Engaging Millennials: whose side are you on?

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In the green corner, we’ve got Deloitte.  (And a bandwagon of thousands.) In the blue corner, we’ve got the mighty IBM.  (And a few other sceptics.) Deloitte and others argue that Millennials are a completely different generation.  In the way they communicate.  Their (lack of) loyalty to organisations and brands.  Their work ethic.  Their desire […]Read more

From ad to advocacy: it’s time to get real…

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You may remember this story from a few months back. A straightforward recruiting ad featuring Isis Anchalee went from a metro poster to a following and almost a movement. In response to accusations (i.e. is this a real employee?) and blatant and disgusting sexism, Isis sort simply to clarify what it means to be an engineer […]Read more

Engaging content and the sad story of a slide deck

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A contact of mine was interested in working for Netflix. She had heard about its great culture. She was a fan of the product. So she went looking for a job at Netflix. Then she tripped over a slide deck on its LinkedIn page. The slide deck was entitled ‘Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility’. It […]Read more

106 Storytelling Magazine

Stories have a special power.  They connect with us in ways that facts, figures and statements just don’t.  They can touch our emotions, influence our views, persuade us to do things we wouldn’t normally do.  Read our magazine and see why we believe that stories are so important in engaging colleagues, attracting talent and building […]Read more

Strategic Internal Communications: sucking eggs, break-outs, bad news and branding…

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Towards the end of last year, we popped along to an Internal Comms Conference hosted by PR Week. Henry was on the bill, talking about the power of storytelling. You can download his presentation here. There were a number of things that struck us during the day. The value of Internal Comms – the panel […]Read more

Student engagement starts with stories…

Recently we helped Laing O’Rourke to develop an early talent engagement strategy.  I say ‘helped’ because it was a collaboration with so many different people.  First up, rather than conducting the usual EVP research (all a bit tired), we prefer to hold storytelling workshops.  So, that meant a series of 2-hour sessions with Laing O’Rourke school and college leavers, […]Read more

HR Summit and Expo in Dubai: Charan, Fons and Cheese

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Sometimes, you hear a speaker that makes you feel immensely humble.  This month, I was able to witness two.  Ram Charan and Fons Trompenaars stole the show at the HR Summit and Expo in Dubai.  (Sorry, Mr Cheese, Chief Exec of CIPD, while your talk was informed and impassioned, it wasn’t in the same league.) […]Read more

106 Breakfast Series: mainstreaming diversity & inclusion

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Our last 106 Breakfast Series of 2015.  Once again in the private dining room of the Wolseley.  The subject?  Making D&I mainstream in your organisation.  And it was probably one of the best discussions we have had.  A great way to end the year. Here are some of the key themes we discussed. The business […]Read more

Meetings, meetings and fewer meetings…

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Meetings seem to be the (un)necessary evil of the modern business. We need to talk about X.  Let’s have a meeting. The client wants to discuss Y.  Let’s have a meeting. A leader wants to cut Z.  Let’s have a meeting. We need to organise the Christmas Party.  Let’s have a meeting (with mince pies). Of […]Read more

Amsterdam, Talent Leaders Connect and double-decker trains…

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Recently I was lucky enough to be one of the speakers at Talent Leaders Connect in Amsterdam.  More than 60 recruiters from across the City (the drop-out rates are much lower than in the UK) came together in the Radisson Blu for four hours of talks, networking and some very fine food!  With any conference, you […]Read more

Employee Magazine: shall I compare thee to a scotch egg?

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The Scotch Egg.  Chicken’s egg (possibly). Surrounded by pig. Finished off by nuclear breadcrumbs. The staple of many a worker for many a year. Along with the sandwich, coffee and newspaper. We love news.  Almost as much as we love the weather (in the UK). So when, back in the late 80s, the nation embraced desktop publishing, we […]Read more

Diversity & Inclusion: our magazine on the NHS conference…

At the end of September, we were lucky enough to attend the NHS Employers conference on Diversity & Inclusion.  Some great speakers, workshops, food and even poetry.  Most of all, some great insights that are relevant to all organisations.  Click on the image to view our interactive magazine.  As ever, please let us have any […]Read more

Recognition: reflections over breakfast…

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Autumn has arrived with a bang.  Or, more aptly, a flood.  In fact, when we arrived for our breakfast at The Wolseley, it was ‘cats and dogs’.  Luckily, we found refuge, coffee and scrambled eggs in the private dining room. For our latest in the 106 Breakfast Series, we focused on Recognition.  Bill Robertson, a […]Read more

Super Sensory Storytelling – creating the best experience for colleague events

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The Youth Engagement Opportunity: is it time to think differently?

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Today there are more than 900,000 people classed as NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training).  There is still 14% unemployment amongst 16-24 year-olds, against an overall figure of just over 5%.  Of course, the government has promised 3 million apprenticeships, and there are a few employers trying to help through specific work programmes, work […]Read more

Banking on People: why the banks need to engage talent more than ever…

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Recently I got a lesson in the banking industry, and ultimately how banks make money.  In many ways, it comes down to taking your money and then doing something with it; as well as offering you extra products.  In a period of long-term, low interest rates, the ability to generate more income by moving up interest rates […]Read more

Recognition: is gamification the answer?

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The recent CIPD report on the neuroscience of reward makes for some interesting reading, if only to reinforce some of our perceived notions about reward: e.g. we tend to overvalue our own contribution and undervalue what is given to us, especially deferred or additional benefits.  There are also some interesting notions about incentives (especially bonuses) […]Read more

Law firms: does culture eat strategy for breakfast?

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For law firms, does Peter Drucker’s quote really ring true?  Or is it simply that strategy still trumps culture in the eyes of lawyers and counsel? It seems to depend on whom you listen to.  A panel of experts at Legal Week’s Global Independent Law Firms Forum debate recently discussed some of these issues. On the […]Read more

106 seconds with… Margaret Casely-Hayford, Chair, Action Aid UK

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Margaret Casely-Hayford was a lawyer for some 30 years: twenty years with City law firm Dentons, where she was made a Partner and then nine years as Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary for the John Lewis Partnership from which she retired in 2014. She decided in 2014 to transition into a boardroom portfolio […]Read more

106 seconds with… Asif Sadiq, Head of Equality and Inclusion, City of London Police

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Asif joined the City of London Police in 2005 as a Special Constable and after a year, went on to join as a full-time Police Officer. He is now based at Wood Street Police Station in the City of London and is the Head of the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Unit.  Over the last ten years, […]Read more

The Productivity Puzzle: let’s stop being busy!

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Productivity in the UK seems to have stalled.  Our growth today is essentially down to more hours being worked.  However, that is unsustainable over the long term, and it also doesn’t help to grow the standard of living in the UK. So how can we make our workplaces more productive? Recently I went to a […]Read more

Leadership Communications: do it with purpose.

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The Edelman Trust barometer famously shows a fundamental erosion in the trust in business leaders. “Trust levels” for CEOs stand at just 43%. So if a lot of people don’t believe what is being spouted by CEOs, what’s to be done? Rebuilding trust doesn’t of course just depend on words.   Edelman sees it as five […]Read more

Great stories have all the answers…

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A great company narrative answers so many different things… What am I doing here? What’s the meaning of my work? Where’s the organisation going? Will I have a job in five years? Am I likely to get that bonus? How will I be able to develop my skills? Does the organisation care about me? Does it […]Read more

106 seconds with Katherine Bradshaw, Institute of Business Ethics

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What’s the role of the IBE? The Institute of Business Ethics was established in 1986 by business to promote high standards of business practice based on ethical values. We do this by raising awareness of business ethics issues through our research and sharing good practice through our network of corporate subscribers and the wider public. […]Read more

Please don’t scare those bankers!

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Banking continues to be hit by one scandal after another.  Mis-selling PPI, fixing Libor, helping wealthy clients avoid taxes – the big banks continue to get slapped with fines; and no doubt, this is not the end of it. Regulators are rightly getting tough with banks, and banks are taking note.  So much so that a recent […]Read more

Diversity & Inclusion: what’s your story?

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On Thursday 25th June, we’ll be hosting a Roundtable discussion at Talent Leaders Connect, hosted by The JobPost. Our focus is to help employers think about their D&I story, and what it means to everyone in the business. A great story, well told, has the power to engage and empower your people, attract great, new […]Read more

Facebook, the value of culture, and how tech companies engage talent…

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Recently, I had the chance to visit Facebook. Unfortunately it was in London rather than California. But the experience made me think profoundly about culture but also invited me to question how tech companies can really differentiate themselves. Let’s start with the ‘profound effect’. No, this was not some sort of epiphany, but it was […]Read more

Health & Wellbeing: reflections over breakfast…

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On Tuesday 16th June, we held our second 106 Breakfast Event, once again in the private dining room at the Wolseley. Amazing to think that the Wolseley was once a car showroom for, yes you guessed it, Wolseley Cars. Anyway, back to our breakfast. We got together some senior people in HR, as well as […]Read more

Diverse Voices: why diversity should be at the centre of your employee engagement strategy…

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In many, if not most organisations, Employee Engagement and Diversity & Inclusion are two separate streams of work – and that’s if they exist at all. But perhaps it’s time for them to join forces. After all, great engagement depends on understanding our employees and helping them to be the best they can be at […]Read more

Childcare is only half of the solution

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Recently I found myself researching a local employer in SE London. 36 vacancies listed: not a single one part-time. I spoke to the lead recruiter to double-check this was the case. He told me he hadn’t checked with the line managers but it was ‘safe to assume’ they would all be looking for full-timers. Hmmmmm. Really? […]Read more

Tech grown-ups v start-ups – and how to connect with new tech talent…

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In 1991, Oracle was virtually a startup in the UK with 700 people. The average age was 26. Nearly 25 years on and Oracle now has some 26,000 people across the EMEA region, and the average age of the workforce is 46. Is this what happens to start-ups when they become grown-ups? How does it […]Read more

Empower your graduates to tell their stories

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A storytelling programme is a powerful way to engage graduates (aka Millennials), build a strong internal community, share and collaborate, and create a community that is visible, inspiring, engaged, and connected to all parts of the business and leadership.  It also builds strong advocates for your organisation, all armed with a wealth of great stories. […]Read more

106 seconds with… Rich Baker, Head of Internal Communications, Carlsberg UK

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Rich Baker MBA is Head of Internal Communications at Carlsberg UK. He’s passionate about enabling conversations that drive engagement and has over 20 years’ experience in large, complex organisations. Rich, a proven intrapreneur, has led the development of award-winning employee publications, smartphone applications and the world’s first instant donation-matching website. He was also an early […]Read more

Innovation programmes: what does success look like?

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Last Friday morning saw us on Fleet Street for a breakfast seminar with Wazoku. If the business you work for is keen on innovation – and it’s one of the most common values we see in our work – then do follow Wazoku. They’re the creators of Ideas Spotlight, a software platform allowing colleagues to […]Read more

Telling stories with State Street…

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“This was a great session which helped to generate new ideas and concepts for the diversity network I chair.” We all know  about ‘the elevator pitch’. When we started working with State Street, our ultimate aim was to help colleagues feel able to share their stories with senior Leaders – not necessarily in a lift, […]Read more

106 seconds with… Mike Hopkins, Director of Marketing and Tourism, States of Guernsey

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Mike Hopkins has over 25 years’ experience in marketing and sales and has held senior positions in big brand organisations including Sony, ICI, Yell and BT. Mike moved to Guernsey in 2008 to join the board of Vets4Pets, a young, fast growing veterinary business, and during his time with the company helped to successfully establish the […]Read more

The Democratic Workplace: what can business leaders learn from the election?

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We’ve seen Cameron and Milliband get the Paxo treatment.  We’ve had the Leaders Debate between the Not-So-Magnificent Seven.  Insults and handbags are being thrown between the leaders on a daily basis.  What’s to make of this leadership behaviour?  And what are the best ways for leaders to communicate their vision and build a following? Some […]Read more

The power of CSR to empower employees and build reputation.

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Leadership and Culture: reflections over breakfast

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On Tuesday 17th March, we held the first 106 Breakfast event in the private dinning room of the Wolseley.  Our theme was ‘Leadership and Culture’, and we were joined by senior HR and business professionals from banking, accounting, healthcare, education and law, as well as Mihaela Berciu, a Leadership Breakthrough Specialist. Our starter for 10 […]Read more

Democracy in action: what does the future of work look like?

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Recently, I watched a BBC documentary series on life ‘Inside the [House of] Commons’.  It was a fascinating peek into the workplace of our democratic union. And boy was it depressing. It turns out that our politicians work every day in what has to be one of the least democratic working environments I’ve ever seen. […]Read more

The Democratic Workplace: what is it with leaders and debates?

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Despite his Flashman like appearances at the Despatch Box, David Cameron seems shy of the live TV debate.  Perhaps he’s fearful of the Clegg-mania that erupted on the eve of the last general election.  Or maybe he just doesn’t want to look out of touch… Which is why so many leaders either avoid putting themselves […]Read more

What next for innovation?

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This week I went to a breakfast seminar hosted by Wazoku. If Wazoku is new to you, check out 106 Seconds with its founder Simon Hill. Steve Kaye, Head of Innovation for Anglian Water, spoke about how his role has changed in the last 15 years. Then, ‘innovation’ was the preserve of his team, a […]Read more

The engagement opportunity for insurance firms

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106 seconds with… Funke Abimbola, Managing Counsel for Roche UK, diversity champion, speaker and proud mother

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Funke read law at Newcastle University and worked as a corporate lawyer both in the City and within regional law firms before joining Roche in 2012. She is a recognised legal expert and award-winning solicitor and regularly speaks at conferences both in the UK and overseas. As a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors, she mentors […]Read more

Linacre Institute: helping to open up access to elite universities

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As far as the liberal press goes, I’m probably part of the privilege problem in today’s society.  I went to a small private school (although my brother went to the local comp).  Then I got a place at Oxford University to study English. I count myself lucky, very lucky.  The experience at Oxford was amazing: […]Read more

106 seconds with… Simon Hill, CEO and founder of Wazoku

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Simon Hill is the CEO and founder of Wazoku, a leading high-growth B2B software company that powers collaborative innovation within medium and large companies globally. In 2014 Simon won the Guardian SME Business Leader of the Year award and was recognised by Crowdsourcing Week as one of the top 15 most influential people in the […]Read more

Graduate Recruitment in Law: Fast Cars, Stories, Access, Apprenticeships and Social Media…

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The Russell Hotel, 11th February 2015.   All the essentials in place for a good day.  Wifi.  Tick.  Black coffee.  Tick.  Comfy chair.  Tick.  Some great speakers.  Tick.  Decent lunch.  Tick. So what happened?  Here’s a quick run-down.  I’m sure I haven’t done justice to many of the speakers (so if you were one of […]Read more

106 seconds with… Paul Deemer, Head of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights at NHS Employers

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Paul is an award-winning and highly respected D&I leader.  Today he works on behalf of NHS Trusts to influence government policy on equalities legislation and healthcare workforce policy. He also advises NHS employers on implementing good HR practices, and equality and diversity into their workplaces. Here he talks to us about the challenges involved in […]Read more

Teaching tech in schools: what’s the answer?

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My sister and my oldest friend are both primary school teachers.  (Fantastic primary school teachers, in fact.) Three of my school friends now teach in primary schools. Two of my daughters are at primary school and over the past four years, they’ve been taught by six teachers, mostly excellently. By association then, I know lots […]Read more

The Democratic Workplace: giving people a voice

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Employee voice is defined by Engage for Success as one of the four ‘enablers’ for employee engagement. And in many ways, it’s the most important aspect to creating a truly democratic workplace – because it puts employees at the heart of the solution. To hear the employee voice requires mechanisms which go beyond an annual […]Read more

BIM, beards and flat-pack toilets – the future of engineering?

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Today (21/01/15), I went to the Institute of Civil Engineers for a conference. There were lots of men (with beards) and very few women.  And most people were ‘of a certain age’.  Sadly representative of the industry. The conference was entitled – Infrastructure: Engineering the future today.  An irony, perhaps, considering the age of most […]Read more

The power of storytelling – part IV

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We just love storytelling.  So much so that we will be hosting a Storytelling Masterclass on 28th April.  The agenda is being put together right now.  But feel free to put it into your diary.  If you contact us, we’ll let you know the full details as soon as we do.Read more

Art at work: what’s the point?

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Last week we visited the fabulous offices of a global insurance firm. Full of light, with huge picture windows showcasing views across London, a gourmet restaurant (subsidised, of course) – and some jaw-dropping works of art. I spotted a Damien Hirst and a Mat Collishaw, amongst others. Each installation had an accompanying introduction but we […]Read more

The Democratic Workplace: coalitions, culture and collaboration.

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Five years of coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.  The first of its kind in recent history.  And if the pollsters are correct, we are likely to see another uneasy political partnership (between whom, we don’t know) in the next parliament. Coalitions are in many ways part and parcel of the workplace.  While […]Read more

The Democratic Workplace: giving power to your people to transform from within

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Welcome to 2015. This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the cornerstone on which modern democracy is built. And somewhat less prosaically, it’s also the year which will see Cameron and his Bullingdon chums battling it out for political supremacy in the House of Commons. The OED defines ‘democracy’ […]Read more

Engineering skills gap: is the answer better engagement?

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  In the UK, we are told that engineering talent will become increasingly scarce.  Yet there’s still graduate engineering unemployment.  We are told that there aren’t enough female engineers.  Yet, according to the IET, 45% of firms don’t have a diversity strategy.  We can see an ageing engineering population.  Yet how many companies are looking […]Read more

Some highlights from #commsconf 2014

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December 2nd 2014, Museum of London Docklands, #commsconf Featuring a collection of communications and HR professionals from across industry and the UK. Our very own Beth Magee went along to hear from an impressive list of  speakers, and to do a spot of networking.  Here are a few of the highlights. Thanks to all the […]Read more

The power of storytelling to attract and engage diverse talent – part III

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On 20th November 2014, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Talent Leaders Connect event in Glasgow, hosted by (those lovely people at) The JobPost.  A great turnout, and some fantastic speakers. My topic: the power of storytelling to attract and engage diverse talent. Here’s a quick video synopsis of the key points: So […]Read more

106 seconds with… Jason Rowlands, Global HRD at Sonnedix.

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Jason has built an HR career working for some well-known businesses including BAE Systems, Barclays, Bank of America and most recently, RBS. But he’s been lured away from the world of established corporates into Sonnedix, a founder-led, fast-growing business producing low carbon energy. Here we ask Jason how he has found that transition, and explore […]Read more

Six Christmas ads – and not a penguin in sight.

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Busy afternoon here at 106 Comms sub-HQ (aka my kitchen table). With just 41 days to go until Christmas, it’s time to decide upon the Official Supermarket Christmas Supplier to the Magee Family 2014. But where to begin? Surely one chain’s eggnog is as good as the next? And doesn’t every supermarket offer a quail-in-a-pigeon-in-a-duck-in-a-chicken-in-a-turkey […]Read more

Size doesn’t matter: successful communities are built on participation, not numbers.

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Take a guess at the number of registered Twitter accounts in existence. 500 million? 750 million? A billion? In fact, the real answer is impossible to know – because Twitter won’t tell us. What they will say, in their ‘Third Quarter 2014 Operational Highlights’, is that they have 284 million active monthly users. Most industry […]Read more

The Sainsburys 50p farce, and why it’s time for internal comms to come outside.

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The recent Sainsbury 50p farce highlights a key factor about internal communications today.  How much of it can or should be internal? Although this incident could be put down to poor communication (irony) and amplified by an eagle-eyed consumer, it could equally have been shared by a disgruntled employee.  Very little internal communication can ever […]Read more

The importance of culture in law

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In a changing legal marketplace, where there is undoubted pressure on revenues, there is an opportunity for law firms to improve their service to clients, further build reputation and increase revenues through: Better engagement – It is estimated that it takes at least 40 weeks for a law graduate to reach optimal productivity (Oxford Economics 2014). […]Read more

106 seconds with… Charlie Keeling, Global HRD of Clyde & Co.

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Charlie Keeling is well established as a senior level leader in the professional services world. He’s climbed a long ladder from his first job as a 16-year-old Commercial Apprentice at Creda. Three years later, he was a qualified accountant; and at 26 years old, he became the FD for Russell Hobbs. He became a Partner […]Read more

Opening doors to RBS: lasting conversations to change perceptions.

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“What’s impressed me most is that the installation allows us to have quality, in-depth conversations with potential candidates. I like the fact that those conversations are carrying on beyond the campus events – the community we’ve created on Google+ means that we can continue to engage with candidates, even before they start the formal recruitment […]Read more

Cultivating change: the importance of culture in a growing business.

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Last week I was lucky enough to spend two days holed up in the Brecon Beacons with the amazing bunch of people who are Jamie’s Farm. This growing charity provides ‘transformative’ experiences to inner city children at risk of exclusion from school with residential stays on their working farm. Their unique offering of family, farming […]Read more

The secret to an authentic employer brand

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Health and Wellbeing: how can employers help fight the flab?

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Recently the Chief Executive of the National Health Service, Simon Stevens, talked about the ticking time-bomb that is obesity: “If as a nation we keep piling on the pounds around the waistline, we’ll be piling on the pounds in terms of future taxes needed just to keep the NHS afloat.” In his proposals to tackle […]Read more

The power of stories to attract and retain diverse talent, part II

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On 24th September 2014, I’m delighted to be speaking at the Talent Leaders Connect Conference, hosted by JobPost.  My talk will focus on how organisations can use storytelling to attract and retain diverse talent. Here’s my story of how to do this effectively: Create a narrative of diversity.  Steer clear of the usual corporate platitudes […]Read more

Why the best employers let the stories speak for themselves.

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Take a look at some of the world’s leading employers and what’s immediately striking is the power of the stories that surround them. Stories of Google bikes, canteens and that 20%; of Coca-Cola’s marketing innovations; of Unilever’s strong performance culture and free ice creams; of Mars’s five principles; of McDonalds’ academy and commitment to learning; […]Read more

Bring In Your Parents Day: good idea or every kid’s nightmare?

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Last year, LinkedIn launched Bring In Your Parents (BIYP) Day.  They not only encouraged their own employees to bring in their parents; but also encouraged organisations around the world to follow suit.  Although only a pilot, over 15,000 individuals in offices right around the world took part. Here’s what it felt like last year. This […]Read more

Do women lack ambition? Err no; but some leaders lack empathy…

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Yesterday I watched a panel discussion on a report published recently by KPMG. The report is called ‘Cracking the Code’ and it considers ten widely held assumptions about women and their careers in depth, before exposing each as a myth. On the panel were Susan Vinnicombe, Professor of Women and Leadership at Cranfield University; Andrew […]Read more

The secret to recognising the work of frontline colleagues? Wear your PANTS on the outside.

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This is not some homage to Superman – or indeed to Steve Bell’s portrayal of John Major. PANTS is our way of saying ‘People Are Now The Story’ – and while we’ve spoken before about using storytelling to engage colleagues and build reputation from the inside out, here’s a different perspective, inspired by a conversation […]Read more

The Big Yak and the future of internal communications…

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The Big Yak is an unconference. Not an unusual format today, perhaps; but an event like this only serves to remind us of how helping people to connect and collaborate can lead to a great learning experience, a chance to develop ideas and an excuse to pop down to All Bar One. It also shows […]Read more

Sharing our view on content marketing in IC context

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Recently, David Ward asked in the IoIC LinkedIn Group ‘Which UK comms agency best understands how to apply content marketing to the IC context?’  A good, tough question – and this is what we wrote in response. This is an interesting question – in part because how could or should content marketing be used in […]Read more

The power of stories to harness diversity

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We are delighted to be speaking at ‘Harnessing the Power of Diversity’ conference, hosted by Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of London. Here is a short insight into the content of our workshop. Everyone has a story to tell, and today more than every there is an opportunity to tell and […]Read more

April: mostly sunny with occasional pants.

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Summer’s on its way. Holidays are booked (Turkey and North Devon, since you ask); city breaks to Paris and Liverpool have been enjoyed. Oooh-la-la, you scally. And in between the important stuff of life (holidays, holidays, holidays), we’ve been getting on with work too. We were lucky enough to run a ‘masterclass’ (hah!) at the […]Read more

Day 2 at the PR Summit – Internal Comms Focus Day

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Day 1 at the PR Summit

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The secret to building reputation from the inside out? PANTS.

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Before you start to snigger or wait for some bawdy and un-PC punchline, there is a (slightly) serious point to this. At our Masterclass at the PR Summit in April 2014, we will be discussing how internal and external communicators can combine to engage colleagues, build pride, drive advocacy and enhance reputation. Aside from showcasing […]Read more

Last one out please turn off the lights: is it time to get serious about employee engagement?

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According to LinkedIn Talent Solutions, 85% of us would consider a new opportunity if it came along .  With the average retention rates in the UK approx. 11%, it would seem scare-mongering to suggest that all 85% of us are going to up sticks and move jobs in the near future.  However, it does prove that […]Read more

Employees are your best advocates…

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March comes in like a lion…

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… here’s what we’ve been up to this month: Where we’ve been… Mostly London – Bank, Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf (many, many times), Cannon Street, Euston, Mansion House, Moorgate, London Bridge, Southwark and Spitalfields – plus our usual caffeine hits in Bromley Market Square Starbucks; and a trip out to a country manor house on the […]Read more

The Digital Employee

Employees now have access to a wide range of information, technology and channels. This is changing the way employees behave, such as building insights from various external sources, engaging with customers on social networks, learning ‘socially’ and using their own devices at work.  It’s also changing the relationship with organisations: increasingly employees expect information and […]Read more

The power of story-telling in helping to engage colleagues, candidates and clients.

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At the RAD Awards 2014, Accenture and 106 picked up the award for Best Employee Engagement.  What a night! But now that the headache is kicking in, why are story-telling programmes so good for business? Here’s our view. Stories.  We can’t get enough of them.  In books.  Through films.  On Facebook.  In fact, stories are […]Read more

21st century law firm: inheriting a new world

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Last week, Eversheds published a report into ‘what young lawyers want from their careers and their employers, and how they see the profession ten years from now’.  There were some headline statements about: New ways of working –  A third (35%) feel that the sector does not use technology well enough. Career path – 60% felt that […]Read more

Where to begin? Launching an employee advocate programme

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Assuming there’s no organised programme in place to begin with, start small. 1) Set your goals – what do you want your programme to achieve? Are you supporting a specific recruitment marketing campaign? If so, then you may be able to create fairly concrete KPIs around application metrics. Or is this more about raising the […]Read more

Mike’s story and the power of collaboration

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Mike worked in the tax office. He had always worked in tax. If someone wanted to know something about tax, they went to him. If someone wanted to know about anything else, they went to someone other than Mike. Because Mike knew about tax.  Other people knew about other stuff. Then an email arrived, inviting […]Read more

Banking culture: is dull the new good?

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At the British Bankers’ Association’s annual meeting, Bill Michael, EMEA head of financial services at KPMG told the conference: “Banking will become dull, and dull will be the new good.  Bankers will no longer be the rock stars of the commercial world and banking will become staid and adrenaline-free. “As global banks reconfigure and become […]Read more

Alison’s story and the power of understanding your workforce.

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Alison joined a new firm as an analyst. She would come into work every day at the same time. She would sit down, re-arrange her desk slightly and start work. 12.45 would be time for lunch. 5.30 would be time to go home. Soon she was identified as a star performer. So she was invited […]Read more

Collaboration and innovation: what pharma, law, banking, retail and professional services share…

A PWC survey of CEOs shows the importance of innovation to organisations: 80 percent believe that their innovations will lead to new revenue opportunities, will drive efficiencies, and will create competitive advantage.  Surprisingly, perhaps, the chemicals industry is putting the most focus on innovation.  But what does innovation mean for different industries, and how can it […]Read more

The gender debate: a lonely place for men.

This year, I went to a talk on Women on Boards. Great turnout, excellent speakers, even Theresa May ghosted in, with her Adams family shock of grey hair. I was one of four men in an audience of 50. Nothing exceptional about that, you might think ???...Read more

Inclusion: now the most exclusive word in town.

The Oxford Dictionary's definition of inclusion is: Inclusion noun 1 [mass noun] the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure: they have been selected for inclusion in the scheme [count noun] a person or thing ...Read more

“We need to talk about Kelvin” – Growing our engineering talent

There is much made of the lack of engineers in the UK - and the impact that this will have on the UK economy in the future. Here are some facts produced by the fine folk at the National Graduate Apprenticeship Programme (I haven't checked them...)...Read more

Social learning: is it just a question of leaving employees to their own devices?

It seems that employers and employees aren???t happy. Employers continue to moan about the lack of people with the right skills out there; while employees say that they just aren???t being developed. How can we turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous cir...Read more

Investment banking: what’s the deal?

Investment banking has long been the ???go to??? employer for a very specific cohort of students and graduates. It???s the marmite of the employment world ??? you either love the idea of working in the City or you can???t stand the thought of selling out to...Read more

Inclusion gets Royal approval – but will it change anything?

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For many years, the engineering profession has been talking about diversity – or, more to the point, the lack of it. Despite a whole series of initiatives and plenty of goodwill, what has actually changed? The profession has long highlighted the lack of women in the profession – yet only 9 per cent of professional […]Read more

106 seconds with Lene Riis, Communication Director, Abbvie

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AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. AbbVie employs more than 29,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 175 countries. Lene Riis has a broad experience and interest in marketing and communication as a means to support an organization’s strategic business objectives. Special interest lies […]Read more