Turning around morale and employee engagement within a dispersed construction business

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1 Turning around morale and employee engagement within a dispersed construction business

2 Award Submission Contents Executive Summary 2 Situation Analysis 3 Goals and Objectives 4 Research 5 Target Publics 7 Communication Strategy 9 Implementation 10 Budget 12 Results 13 Evaluation 16 : Supporting Material Western Outlook Internal Magazine 2 WA Excellence Employee Awards 4 Annual Staff Business Update 6 Site Support Collateral 8 Induction and Orientation Material 10 Health & Safety Campaign Collateral 12 Internal Communications Evaluation 15 WA Annual Communications Audit 15 Your Say Research 17 Western Outlook Survey 19 Word on the Street Research 20 Appendix B: Confidential Material Budget Information Other confidential material

3 2 Executive Summary Before 2006, staff based in Leighton Contractors Western Region mainly relied on the media and the staff rumour mill for information about the company s direction and performance. With no existing internal communications strategy or public relations staff in place the problem grew during a period of negative publicity and business restructuring that significantly reduced the company s revenue base. In 2006 the newly appointed Communications Manager recognised that before rebuilding the company s public profile, work was needed on its internal profile. More than 50% of staff believed the company s internal communication was poor. Disengaged and dissatisfied, the dispersed workforce had low morale and little company loyalty. After researching staff needs, a robust internal communications strategy was developed and implemented. These methods were regularly evaluated through qualitative and quantitative research. The program has exceeded its overarching goal with 72.3% of staff in 2009 reporting internal communications as good or very good rankings. Now Leighton Contractors Western Region has gone from having no focus on communication to quadrupled investment in a proven and effective workplace communications strategy over the last four years, (spanning 2006 to 2010). The strategy showed that, by meeting the communication needs of employees, engagement rises and business performance improves.

4 3 Situation Analysis In 2006, Leighton Contractors Western Region had to tackle serious staff morale and internal communications issues with no existing internal communications strategy or public relations staff in place. External pressure compounded the issue with WA gearing up for an unprecedented economic boom. Staff retention was a business priority, making strategic internal communications vital to boost morale and improve workplace desirability. The newly appointed Communications Manager first assessed Leighton Contractors Western Region s employee s opinions on the company and internal communication issues. Research indicated only 34% of staff believed communications were satisfactory. 50% of staff said it was poor. Staff indicated a low understanding of the business direction, low morale and dissatisfaction with the company leadership. Given the major changes within the company, this was unacceptable. Tasked with improving the Western Region s internal profile before tackling its public profile, the communications goal was to dramatically turn around employee satisfaction and engage staff with a new business direction, spanning new industry sectors. Only a well executed internal communications program aligned to related strategic objectives was going to deliver the goal. The goal was ambitious, given the disenfranchised, diverse and dispersed workforce ranging from contract labourers to management professionals in autonomous projects across WA.

5 4 Goals and Objectives Goal: To achieve 70% of staff reporting internal communication as either good or very good % goal rate communications as good/very good % rate communications as good/very good 14% 70% Objectives: 1. Provide internal communication support for the company vision and business priorities as an employer of choice by establishing and refining communications channels and tools. 2. Shift staff communication from informal to formal channels. 3. Lift the General Manager s internal profile. 100% 4. Promote a sense of community and pride in Leighton Contractors Western Region to assist with employee engagement and retention. 5. Continuously realign internal communications delivery to the expressed needs of the workforce from ongoing staff survey data.

6 5 Research A significant investment in research commenced when the Communications Manager was appointed. A mix of seven process, impact and outcome evaluation tools was used to gauge the strategy s effectiveness: Tool Process Internal communication dissemination research Western Outlook survey Key client satisfaction survey Public Relations communications best practice forums Purpose Tracking the reach, appropriateness and quality of various communications tools with the target demographic. In-depth evaluation of the monthly newsletter to tailor the product and ensure this tool provided value for money. Ongoing feedback sought from key stakeholders on their satisfaction with services provided. Benchmark and share best practice within the national business. Impact Annual Western Region internal communications audit Word On The Street - focus groups conducted by independent consultants Annual benchmark evaluation of staff attitudes around internal communications. Qualitative feedback and quantitative data about what tactics were most effective and improvements needed. Provides comprehensive diagnostic information about communication needs across different target publics and locations, and rich information about issues to optimise targeted communication solutions. Outcome Your Say - national independent annual employee climate survey Provides comprehensive attitude and behavioural indicator data to track employee engagement and morale, and satisfaction with communications. Verified local survey results for comparison within other divisions and other companies.

7 6 Comprehensive evaluation assessed the internal communications strategy using process, impact and outcome measures Process evaluation assesses target audience reach, quality, content and format appropriateness and whether implementation of internal communications initiatives has occurred as planned. Impact evaluation measures attitudes, behaviour and skills change relating to internal communications objectives. A variety of quantitative and qualitative survey tools were used. Focus testing booklets amongst target demographic internally Word on the Street (Impact Employee Communications) Tracking intranet content area hits Peer review at Leighton WA and national communication forums Annual WA Communications Audit Your Say national employee survey (International Survey Research) Annual WA Communications Audit Key client satisfaction survey Number of newsletters distributed Western Outlook (newsletter) survey Key client satisfaction survey Outcome evaluation provides an assessment of the long term effects of the communication strategy, and whether the outset goal has effectively been achieved. Years of data are often needed to determine reliable evidence of sustainable effectiveness. Your Say and the annual communications audit provide outcome data.

8 7 Target Publics The Western Region s workforce ranges from contract labourers to management professionals working across projects from the Northern Territory to WA s South West. All employees were targeted by this internal communication strategy. This broad, and diverse, group was categorised into the following sub-groups: Executive General Manager, Executive Management Team, Project Managers and their administrative staff were critical in championing internal communication. Office based staff A diverse mix of professional and administrative personnel as well as project teams bidding tenders before winning work and moving to site. Blue collar workforce Tailored and innovative internal communications beyond s and Intranet was needed to reach those without access to . Employees families A secondary target audience with the potential to reinforce employee engagement. Site based staff The benchmarking survey identified a major project with a significant communications issue. Improving internal communication on this project was an immediate priority.

9 8 Target publics Tailored tactics and tools were used meet the unique needs of organisational groups. Internal Communications Strategy 1. General Manager 2. Executive 3. Office Based Staff 4. Blue Collar Workforce 6. All Employees 7. Employees Families

10 9 Communication Strategy Prior to 2006, Leighton Contractors Western Region did not have an internal communications strategy. In developing the strategy significant consideration was given to overcoming the challenges of a diverse and segregated workforce in a demanding and talent-tight industry. Objective Support the vision and business priorities Strategy Engagement workshops, events and surveys. Rationale Listen to staff to identify challenges and preferences and facilitate a greater buy in. Objective Shift communication from informal to formal channels Strategy Create focused, timely, relevant and consistent internal communications. Rationale Facilitate formal communications to encourage confident, clear and succinct communication of company news to avoid gossip being circulated. Objective Lift the General Manager s internal profile Strategy General Manager and Executive Team roadshow. Rationale Giving employees access to senior management demonstrates their views and questions are welcome and encouraged. Objective Promote a sense of community and company pride Strategy Celebrate ongoing company successes. Rationale Formally recognising staff at an individual, team and project level in front of colleagues ensures they feel valued. Objective Align staff information needs with matching delivery Strategy Tailored communications for different demographics. Rationale Material is stratified to meet different audiences in tone, content, format to deliver the message effectively.

11 10 Implementation The Communications Strategy for the Western Region is documented at the start of each financial year, adjusting to amendments in business direction. 1. The internal communication strategy stems from this and objectives are translated into tools and tactics, scheduled across the year, within a certain budget. 2. Key Performance Indicators are set and progress is monitored. 3. Evaluation data is analysed to identify what learning and strategy adjustments should be made. Method Tools and Tactics Page No. Support the vision and business priorities Engagement workshops, events and surveys Pre-event promotion for high turn out at Leadership forums and staff update workshops with senior management, including take home collateral, question time and post event socialising, all encapsulating the business priorities and vision. 4 6 Shift communication from informal to formal channels Publications Intranet Annual business updates, Safety Week roadshows Newsflash and toolbox talks Management focus on communication Established monthly Western Outlook staff magazine mailed to all employees, distributed to site common areas and available on the Intranet. Content includes major company news, career information, editorial from the General Manager, and regular updates from each sector manager. Intranet re-skinning and championing staff team content owners. Formal presentations to staff on business performance and project bid results, allowing dialogue with senior management. Providing breaking news quickly and accurately via html newsflash announcements. Communication training and advice service, as well as internal news and messages provided to Line Managers to improve communications within teams

12 11 Method Tools and Tactics Page No. Lift the General manager s internal profile GM memos and newsflashes Annual GM roadshows and visiting sites Safety Week roadshows ed alerts to office staff and hard copy alerts for site noticeboards on activities and issues about to be announced or received media coverage. Visits to work sites to meet staff in their work environment and outline the company s upcoming business strategy including time to tour sites, informally engaging with staff. Executive Management visits to all WA sites to promote safety Promote a sense of community and company pride WA Excellence Awards Staff awards program that widely recognises achievements at a personal, team and project level. 4 Events Site-specific communication Invitations for staff and families to sponsored events and corporate social opportunities. 12 TV based crawler text messages Safety and campaign visual communications Site newsletters Daily toolbox presentations SMS broadcast messaging Reach remote site staff through messaging on TV screens in common areas. Strong design and messaging in prominent locations to match workforce demographic. Assist projects with their own newletters, bulletins and newsflash materials. Develop talking points to be rolled out at prestart site meetings across the region, relating to important communications, safety, environmental and training issues. Alerting staff to a crisis or important messages via SMS to site teams Targeted site manuals and training materials Communications collateral including supervisor field manuals, tailored induction materials for new starters to remote work etc. Tailored, onsite training for communications and community relations issues. 8

13 12

14 13 Results The effectiveness of focused internal communications, which listens to staff needs, is evident in this strategy. Detailed results are outlined in and B. However topline results clearly demonstrate the strategy s success. Process evaluation reach, appropriateness, quality and satisfaction Process measures demonstrate tools and tactics are reaching the target demographics and they are high quality and appropriate. Impact evaluation Staff rating of internal communication: % rate communications as good/very good % rate communications as good/very good % goal rate communications as good/very good 14% 30% 70% % rate communications as good/very good 72.3% 100%

15 14 Data from the annual communications audit demonstrates the timing of the 58% rise in satisfaction with internal communications Good 50 % Satisfactory Very Good Poor Very Poor In line with objective two, formal communication channels become a more dominant source of information Formal Communications % Informal Communications (Formal vs Informal) Relating to Objective 2

16 15 Outcome evaluation - Internal communications enhancing all dimensions of the business The independent climate confirms the data above, demonstrating over 26% improvement in communications satisfaction within the Western Region. It also demonstrates the vital role communications has had in enhancing staff engagement (4% increase) and satisfaction with senior management (16% increase). Leighton Contractors Functional Areas of Improvement Communications Senior Management Organisational Change Customer Focus Training & Career Development Recognition & Reward Strategy & Direction Work/Life Balance & Workload Sustainability, Corporate & Social Responsibility Change % from 2006 to 2008 Working Relationships Safety Engagement Job Satisfaction Structure & Process Efficiency Immediate Manager/ Supervisor

17 16 Evaluation Several years after its humble beginnings, Leighton Contractors Western Region s internal communication has become one of the company s strengths. Several years after its humble beginnings, Leighton Contractors Western Region s internal communication has become one of the company s strengths. The program has been deemed a success based on: - Results from the research undertaken as part of the program indicate that the goal was met and exceeded, with 72.3% of staff giving these ratings in the 2009 survey, lifting from 14% in the 2006 survey. - Independent organisational surveys showing communications as the leader of improvement within the Western Region, and all other dimensions of this business improving in a statistically significant fashion. - Informal and formal positive feedback from management and staff, shows the internal communications program to be an industry leader. - Management s commitment to the program through a doubling of funding and quadrupling of staffing (since 2006 program start) to continue to expand the company s internal communications. Objective Establish and refine core internal communication channels Shift staff information receipt from informal to formal channels Lift the General Manager s (GM s) internal profile Evaluation Internal company news alerts, annual General Manager roadshows, WA Excellence Awards for staff, quarterly business updates, establishing a monthly staff magazine, a reformatted Intranet, information for site noticeboards and site communications such as TV based crawler messages have all been established and refined. I believe there is a good mix of information via s, memos and the Western Outlook. At present there is great general communication across all media. Research shows the number of staff who mainly receive their company news via word of mouth dropped from 25.5% in 2006 to 14.2% in Meanwhile, communications via formal channels increased to over 85% in The GM has committed increased time to internal communication via roadshows and quarterly updates, as well as contributing to publications. The latest research indicates the GM is so high profile that the focus is being moved to other management team members.

18 17 Objective Promote a sense of community and company pride Align staff information needs with matching delivery Evaluation Strategies have promoted individual and team rewards and recognition, pride in achievement and connects a dispersed workforce through promotion of the common company vision and values. Outcome evaluation data (Your Say) demonstrates an increase in job satisfaction and employee engagement. A wide mix of communication tools have been used to reach all sectors of the target public. The continuous adjustment of strategy, linked with ongoing evaluation makes the internal communication program powerful, quickly changing to target audience needs. Total Word Count: 2,160

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