106 Communications

6th Sense

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

July 2014 | Employee Engagement, Employer Brand, Storytelling

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 with an HR leader at one of the UK’s largest employers.

Engaging and recognising people on the frontline – in shops, hospitals, factories, rigs, vans, cars, construction sites, even at home – isn’t easy.  Of course, line managers play a massively important part.  Recognition schemes can be very effective.  And, as we’ve seen in some of the recent workshops we’ve run, a simple ‘thank you’ can have the most extraordinary impact.

But sometimes there’s nothing quite as important as when your friends and family come to really appreciate what you do.

How proud would you feel if your organisation started to tell the world how important you were to them?  Take Nationwide’s recent advertising celebrating its 15,000 people.  Cheesy headline, but wouldn’t you feel a little chuffed if your son saw your name on the page?

Often employees are rolled out when an organisation’s back is against the wall…

When Anglo American went on the defensive against a possible take-over from Xstrata, it focused on a message of ‘Real Mining. Real People. Real Difference.’  A sentiment that has stuck beyond its initial purpose.

Equally, BP used employees in responding to the Gulf crisis saying that the company is “making this right.”

Or employees can help to re-launch a brand.  When First Great Western re-opened the West Coast Line, it focused on colleague stories to highlight the work against the elements.

But wouldn’t it be great if more organisations simply recognised their staff publicly and reminded their friends and families of the important work they do on a daily basis?  Wouldn’t that make you feel more proud than receiving a few corporate ‘WOW’ points?

I’m not going to leave you with a resounding M-People track, but simply the Hovis ad that celebrates the boy who delivers the bread every morning.  The job may have disappeared, but hopefully the sentiment hasn’t.


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