TransparentC http://www.transparentc.ca Connecting internal communication to profitability Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:14:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Thrive in our Static Work Environment http://www.transparentc.ca/static-culture-promises-dynamic-work-environment/ http://www.transparentc.ca/static-culture-promises-dynamic-work-environment/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 14:37:20 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3783 If you take a generic job posting, there is often a very generic description of Read more

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If you take a generic job posting, there is often a very generic description of the company. It might say something like, “our company provides exciting opportunities for growth”, or “we’re an employer of choice”, or “we provide a dynamic work environment!”

When most of us read stuff like that, our defense mechanisms, built up from coping with thousands of advertising messages a day, kick in. We tend to just ignore it.

The claims we make in a job posting, on our website, or even after someone’s applied need to be reinforced and supported. If you say you have a dynamic work environment, but your website and company blog are out of date, you are detracting from that promise you just made to a potential employee.

Take it a bit further; what other touch points are static rather than dynamic? Your employer brand (if you have one of those), the interviewing experience, or onboarding documents?

You can do a lot to convey a dynamic experience and deliver on it. Recruitment microsites are cool little ecosystems that HR teams can control and keep recent with interesting updates. A Pinterest board can do an incredible job of showing off all the fun you have at tradeshows or company events. Instagram-type videos and photos can give little snippets of how great your company culture really is.

As consumers, we tend to ignore the claims of advertising and buy the products that are consistent with the promises made. Attracting talented people and selling them a career at your company is no different. Is the recruitment experience supporting or detracting from your claims?

jasonbek

Jason knows nothing about building synergies, picking low-hanging-fruit, or paradigm shifts. What he does know is how to successfully market and promote new initiatives internally to employees. From Jason’s point of view, winning employees’ attention and sponsorship is the only way to keep organizations progressing. Jason is sort of nerdy. He’s into vintage automobiles, technology, social media, and snazzy shoes. What intrigues him most is how online technology is transforming the way we work and play.

Latest tweets by Jason



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Get Out of the Fog: An Argument for Clear, Concise Communication http://www.transparentc.ca/get-out-of-the-fog/ http://www.transparentc.ca/get-out-of-the-fog/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:15:09 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3770 Have you ever heard of FOG? FOG stands for Fact-Deficient Obfuscating Generalities, or what is Read more

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Have you ever heard of FOG? FOG stands for Fact-Deficient Obfuscating Generalities, or what is referred to as “Corporate Speak”. I had to laugh when I came across this the other day because the acronym is very fitting; language like that only serves to confuse and complicate, rather than get the message across.

Examples of FOG I’ve encountered include “a powerful culture of innovation” or “leveraging our competitive advantages to create significant value for our shareholders”. Don’t forget “building momentum for sustained profitability and growth”. I’m confident anyone who has worked in a corporate environment can come up with a few more of his or her own examples pretty easily.

In some of our work, such as benefits or safety communication, being clear and concise is extremely important. If your messages aren’t being communicated well, this can mean frustrated employees, inefficiencies or even accidents.

One of our values is authentic language. This means that we try not to use FOG in any of our work, and we challenge our clients to do the same! Not only will you be more easily understood, but it’s also more profitable. Research shows that CEOs who employ clear, concrete language are leaders in their fields.

The next time you need to get your message across, re-evaluate the language you’re using – you’ll be happy you did.


karina

Karina is passionate about developing creative strategies to help companies engage with their employees and develop their internal communication structures. From strategic planning to project management, what she loves most is making a positive difference in our clients’ companies and ultimately making them an awesome place to work. In her spare time Karina enjoys travel, the gym and anything internet-related. She is currently learning Spanish and is always up for a great, strong cup of coffee.



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HR Discussion Series http://www.transparentc.ca/hr-discussion-series/ http://www.transparentc.ca/hr-discussion-series/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 21:05:01 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3766 We’re teaming up with Optimax to do a quarterly webinar and discussion series and our Read more

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We’re teaming up with Optimax to do a quarterly webinar and discussion series and our first starting in April. The webinar is based on a current hot topic that HR professionals are facing today. The format should take no more than 90 minutes and we’re hoping that some innovative ideas can be generated from the discussion. Let us know if this is something you want to be involved in or sponsor. We’ll put you on the waiting list – we only have 10 spots for participants!

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Tracking Triple-Bottom-Line with Technology http://www.transparentc.ca/tracking-triple-bottom-line-technology/ http://www.transparentc.ca/tracking-triple-bottom-line-technology/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:45:15 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3759 Whenever I meet Kirk Nielsen, I have to hold on tight because I know my Read more

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Whenever I meet Kirk Nielsen, I have to hold on tight because I know my brains are going to be sprayed all over the wall. Gross. He’s not a trained assassin, but he is an IT/HR ninja. Every time we talk, he blows my mind. He always seems to be one step ahead of conventional thinking.

Specifically, I look to Kirk whenever I want to learn what the next big thing is going to be. His passion can be summed up in one question: can we hack our daily work-lives to extract more meaning and more happiness?

The other day as we were having coffee, Kirk rifled through his phone, showing me his “sandbox”. His iPhone is riddled with apps that the average person (or employer) isn’t looking at and or even thinking about. He’s using himself as a guinea pig, and he’s looking to see if these apps are adding value and improving his life.

He shows me “Reporter”, a mini-survey-like iPhone app that prompts him to type various responses to specific questions like “what did you learn today”, “are you happy”, and “where did you spend most of your day?” Another app analyzes his locations, his tasks, and who he is spending time with, and most of this can be integrated with his FitBit.

These apps and wearable technology are all gathering intelligence for the user. The data can be analyzed and actioned for an even better tomorrow. They offer opportunity.

Kirk is trying to answer the question, “can this hyper-connectedness make us actually happier in our work lives and be implemented in a large organization?” He seems to think so.

TransparentC has been obsessed with this idea of the triple-bottom-line, especially in this last year. This is the idea that we need to base a particular organization’s success not only on its profitability, but also its impact on people and the planet.

Mark Anelski’s book, Economics of Happiness, provides some real-life examples of how a triple-bottom-line framework has a clear line of sight to people’s happiness. Companies that focus on all three make for a happier society. We’re actually experiencing this focus in our client work. The Mosaic Centre, the first triple-bottom-line commercial project in the world, is being built right here in Edmonton.

What gets measured, gets actioned. We’re used to the idea of tracking profitability (traditional balance sheets, etc.), and we’re starting to apply dashboards to our environmental sustainability efforts. But what about measuring our impact on people?

Kirk mentioned two major hurdles to making sense of the people part of that triple-bottom-line framework. First, the input of data needs to be quick and seamless (think of physically opening the FourSquare app on your iPhone and checking in vs. your phone auto-detecting your location and checking you in.). We’re close on that⎯the app Kirk showed me takes seconds to summarize his day. It needs to be effortless. Second, we’re not tooled up to action that data. If you have the hard data that employees are not happy with the culture at your company, can you actually move fast enough to make changes? Collecting the data without the ability to respond is pointless. This is the biggest hurdle. It’s not the technology.

There is so much more to this than what I’ve captured here. The goal is to get you to think about three things. First, when are you going to apply a triple-bottom-line framework to measure the success of your organization? Second, what tools are you going to use to measure the impact on the other two “p’s”⎯people and planet? Thanks to people like Kirk, soon it’s going to be easier than ever to make the linkages between work and happiness. Third, will you be able to take action if those data don’t fall the way you expect them to?

To connect with Kirk, see LinkedIn.

jasonbek

Jason knows nothing about building synergies, picking low-hanging-fruit, or paradigm shifts. What he does know is how to successfully market and promote new initiatives internally to employees. From Jason’s point of view, winning employees’ attention and sponsorship is the only way to keep organizations progressing. Jason is sort of nerdy. He’s into vintage automobiles, technology, social media, and snazzy shoes. What intrigues him most is how online technology is transforming the way we work and play.

Latest tweets by Jason



Photo Credit: firepile via Compfight cc

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Communicate Constantly and Have Clean Goggles http://www.transparentc.ca/communicate-constantly/ http://www.transparentc.ca/communicate-constantly/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 03:45:07 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3745 A client once asked me to name the one thing that they could do to Read more

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A client once asked me to name the one thing that they could do to improve communication with their team. My answer: focus on saying the same thing over and over. Seriously. You need to repeat yourself. A lot. More than you think.

Imagine I work for you and you present me with your vision for our team. You describe a future that gets me excited, ready to do my part.

The problem is that “stuff” comes up. “Stuff” like client challenges, supplier issues, task lists, requests, meetings, etc. Everyday, they pile up. I’m working hard, but then I start to forget some of what you said a few weeks ago; whatever it was that was so compelling. The more time that passes, the less I remember.

It’s like a beautiful day on the ski hill. You get to the top of that mountain and see the entire mountainside. Its cascading slopes, a wonderful prospect of what you can achieve – perspective. As you make your way down that first run, your goggles get a bit foggy, snow gets in your face, and you sweat. It makes the next run harder to see, especially if you jump right back on the chair lift. Of course, you need to clean off those goggles or you’re going to hit a tree or fly off the wrong side of the hill.

Every time you repeat your message, it’s like cleaning those goggles before the next run. When you say it again, you remind me and take me back to the top of the mountain. Now, I’m looking at that next run with clarity; I can see where I’m going to go and focus on how to get there.

jasonbek

Jason knows nothing about building synergies, picking low-hanging-fruit, or paradigm shifts. What he does know is how to successfully market and promote new initiatives internally to employees. From Jason’s point of view, winning employees’ attention and sponsorship is the only way to keep organizations progressing. Jason is sort of nerdy. He’s into vintage automobiles, technology, social media, and snazzy shoes. What intrigues him most is how online technology is transforming the way we work and play.

Latest tweets by Jason



Photo Credit: Urbaneye Belgrade via Compfight cc

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Employer Brands Should Focus on Opportunity in 2014 http://www.transparentc.ca/employer-brands-focus-opportunity-2014/ http://www.transparentc.ca/employer-brands-focus-opportunity-2014/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 18:13:53 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3736 Alberta is doing great and it is going to do even better in 2014. This Read more

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Alberta is doing great and it is going to do even better in 2014. This is despite the recent news that we lost 11,700 jobs in December. Certain industries were hit more than others, but the news should cause all of us that are hiring to reflect.

Don’t get in a panic; the experts are saying it’s a blip and doesn’t translate into a long-term trend. In fact, Canada is poised for growth. Like our fair country, you may be looking to grow your organization in the next year as well, and talent is a critical part of your growth plan. So what does this mean for you?

First of all, it’s a great time to revisit whether you are putting the right people in place to be successful. Talented people are looking for work, but don’t be mistaken— they’re being very choosy on their next move.

A friend of mine who was recently looking for work found it quickly, but she told me that if she needed to, she’d spend the next year to find the right opportunity. This is typical for the talented people looking for work. They know that the right opportunity comes with patience. Alberta has been a job seekers’ market for some time and that will continue.

Your employer brand is going to be your most valuable weapon in a market that is discriminating like this. It needs to stand out and connect with the talent you’re looking for. This market is not going to be motivated by the typical things we tend to say on job postings.

Unfortunately, most mid-sized organizations (maybe yours) lacks that employer brand, or at least haven’t articulated it, so they’re already behind the game. If you only use salary and benefits as an attraction tool, it’s like boxing with one arm tied behind your back.

Make no mistake; although you have a market that is seemingly “jobless”, the people you want working for your company are looking for opportunity, not a job. How is your brand communicating opportunity?*

*Hint: opportunity is not the job itself.

Photo Credit: vasilennka via Compfight cc

jasonbek

Jason knows nothing about building synergies, picking low-hanging-fruit, or paradigm shifts. What he does know is how to successfully market and promote new initiatives internally to employees. From Jason’s point of view, winning employees’ attention and sponsorship is the only way to keep organizations progressing. Jason is sort of nerdy. He’s into vintage automobiles, technology, social media, and snazzy shoes. What intrigues him most is how online technology is transforming the way we work and play.

Latest tweets by Jason



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An Important Lesson About Communication: Don’t Be the Overweight Personal Trainer http://www.transparentc.ca/important-lesson-communication-dont-overweight-personal-trainer/ http://www.transparentc.ca/important-lesson-communication-dont-overweight-personal-trainer/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 21:37:21 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3725 One of my greatest fears in business? Being an overweight personal trainer. Would you trust Read more

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One of my greatest fears in business? Being an overweight personal trainer. Would you trust an overweight trainer to provide you with nutritional advice or motivate you if you were trying to get in shape? Probably not.

We are always telling our clients that a clear, succinct message can unify and align their companies internally. That means that we (as in TransparentC) need to deliver clear, effective messages ourselves.

I once shared our 20-second “elevator pitch” with a group of other entrepreneurs. I stood up, said my piece, and sat back down, feeling quite proud. Guess what? Most of my peers were confused. I was stunned. “I’m the messaging guy,” I said to myself. “How did I not nail that?”

Later that day, I received help from another brilliant business owner. She helped me to break down my message and then put it back together. She was not a trainer or a salesperson; she was an accountant. Here was this person, with a seemingly opposite set of skills, helping me with what was supposed to be my area of expertise. I was humbled by the whole experience, largely because I could never reciprocate. I know next to nothing about accounting.

The point is that we often think what we are saying to our customers or our employees makes total sense. We take for granted that what we think is important is also going through the minds of our customers or our employees. The lesson for me was to get another perspective as well as some help if I have had an idea in my mind for too long.

I guess some personal trainers could use some personal training. Go figure.

Photo Credit: I like via Compfight cc

jasonbek

Jason knows nothing about building synergies, picking low-hanging-fruit, or paradigm shifts. What he does know is how to successfully market and promote new initiatives internally to employees. From Jason’s point of view, winning employees’ attention and sponsorship is the only way to keep organizations progressing. Jason is sort of nerdy. He’s into vintage automobiles, technology, social media, and snazzy shoes. What intrigues him most is how online technology is transforming the way we work and play.

Latest tweets by Jason



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Using Infographics to Improve Communication http://www.transparentc.ca/infographics-to-improve-communication/ http://www.transparentc.ca/infographics-to-improve-communication/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 20:35:44 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3714 If you’re like most people, you’ve probably seen quite a few infographics online in the Read more

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If you’re like most people, you’ve probably seen quite a few infographics online in the past few years. They’ve become a popular way to share information about almost any topic imaginable. So what’s the strategy behind this trend?

There are number of reasons why they’ve risen in popularity over the past few years. Being bombarded with so much information on a daily basis means people generally have shorter attention spans – so we’re more drawn to a captivating image rather than large amounts of text. Infographics allow technical or content-heavy information to be communicated in a clear and straightforward way, meaning your audience gets the message. Plus, a good infographic can easily be shared with a large network, creating great exposure for the creator and showcasing their knowledge on a given topic.

This leads into an exciting opportunity: we’re offering you the chance to have a custom-designed infographic of your very own. Since we made our infographic on Workplace Health & Safety Communication in Alberta back in October, we received a lot of interest from companies both inside and outside the safety industry.

Over the next month, if you can send us your company’s year-end safety stats, we’ll create an infographic using your logo and branded to your company colours. This provides you with a fun tool that you can use to communicate information within your company, share with your partners and customers, or even use as a recruitment tool.

Interested? Fill out our form and we’ll get back to you with any additional information we need.


karina
Karina is passionate about developing creative strategies to help companies engage with their employees and develop their internal communication structures. From strategic planning to project management, what she loves most is making a positive difference in our clients’ companies and ultimately making them an awesome place to work. In her spare time Karina enjoys travel, the gym and anything internet-related. She is currently learning Spanish and is always up for a great, strong cup of coffee.



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An Object in Motion… http://www.transparentc.ca/object-motion/ http://www.transparentc.ca/object-motion/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 21:42:12 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3654 One of our values here at TransparentC is “don’t stop moving.” It’s based on the Read more

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One of our values here at TransparentC is “don’t stop moving.” It’s based on the concept of inertia: an object in motion will stay in motion. We’ve found this same concept applies to our work.

Whenever there’s a goal to achieve, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is to overcome the initial resistance to start moving in the right direction. Once you’re past this point, it’s so much easier to just keep going. So how do we make sure we’re always in a state of motion? We’ve figured out a couple things that propel us in the right direction.

Break it down. Setting smaller goals can help make a project seem much more manageable. Not only is it easier to complete a few of the smaller tasks, but it also gives you a new energy to knock things off your list — you might even keep working right into the next few tasks.

Set yourself up. I sometimes go to the gym in the mornings before work. I say sometimes because on the days I skip my workout, it’s usually because I’m not prepared when the alarm clock goes off. I’ve found that if I set out my gym bag, my clothes and running shoes the night before, I’m 1000% more likely to go to the gym. This same concept applies to our tasks. We’ve been able to streamline a lot of our work in the past few months, and most of this is because we’ve established processes so that we’re “ready to go” when it’s time to launch. If you’ve already got all the background work done ahead of time, actually doing the task is that much more manageable.

Do something. Do anything! Part of the inertia concept is that if you have nothing to do (does that ever happen?) you should find something to do. Not a make-work project, but there’s always something you can be doing to add value. If we’re waiting to hear back about client work, we can always get started on one of those internal projects we talked about before. We can add something to the website or start developing a new video. By always focusing on the next thing, we’re able to maintain that inertia and consequently keep ourselves (and our ideas) in motion!

 


karina

 
Karina is passionate about developing creative strategies to help companies engage with their employees and develop their internal communication structures. From strategic planning to project management, what she loves most is making a positive difference in our clients’ companies and ultimately making them an awesome place to work. In her spare time Karina enjoys travel, the gym and anything internet-related. She is currently learning Spanish and is always up for a great, strong cup of coffee.



Latest tweets by Karina:


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Telling the Story of Your Safety Culture http://www.transparentc.ca/your-safety-culture/ http://www.transparentc.ca/your-safety-culture/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 21:09:07 +0000 http://www.transparentc.ca/?p=3636 The subject of culture is a complicated one with various opinions on its definition and Read more

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The subject of culture is a complicated one with various opinions on its definition and development. At TransparentC, it’s our role to help companies express their culture for the purpose of engaging their current employees or attracting new employees.

Lately, we’ve been hearing organizations talk about their “safety culture”. Is expressing a safety culture any different than expressing an all-encompassing corporate culture?

Let’s explore!

When we first dug into this idea, we looked to Verne Harnish author of Mastering the Rockerfeller Habits. Verne says that “vision” is the key to building a cohesive culture. He suggests following the Jim Collins approach to developing vision.

Values are a part of vision, and safety is often a value. As per the Jim Collins approach, values exist as part of the company’s DNA (as opposed to being inspirational, like a BHAG or a vivid description).

Values are a touchy subject. For most, values are just posted on the wall and forgotten—rarely lived out. Employees, or leadership for that matter, rarely own values. Safety, a value or not, can’t live on the wall, so what do we do with this?

Verne Harnish talks about the power of storytelling and how telling stories feeds the culture you want. If safety is truly a value, that means there are concrete examples of people living out safety in your company today. To emphasize safety culture then, it is important to capture and tell the stories of people living it.

What does that storytelling look like?

Well, it looks like documenting safety successes on the intranet. It looks like the resident field safety champ(s) filming a video providing their perspective (or instruction) on specific safety protocol. It looks like public recognition at a toolbox meeting. That’s just scratching the surface; it all comes down to making a vivid and clear message that in your organization EVERYONE participates.

So ask yourself: Are you just saying you have a safety culture, or are you telling the story of your safety culture? Telling the story is what feeds a growing safety culture. Just saying it doesn’t count, and it doesn’t work.

References:
One Powerful Culture by Verne Harnish
What is a BHAG?

jasonbek

Jason knows nothing about building synergies, picking low-hanging-fruit, or paradigm shifts. What he does know is how to successfully market and promote new initiatives internally to employees. From Jason’s point of view, winning employees’ attention and sponsorship is the only way to keep organizations progressing. Jason is sort of nerdy. He’s into vintage automobiles, technology, social media, and snazzy shoes. What intrigues him most is how online technology is transforming the way we work and play.

Latest tweets by Jason



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