Honeywell Aerospace has several fantastic ways to reach its 40,000 employees around the world. Among its many tools, the company has a TV news style employee broadcast and a communication toolkit for managers. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Rebecca Clout, Director of Employee Communications for Honeywell Aerospace, about the company’s efforts to reach and engage employees. The following is Part 1 of my interview with her.
Q: What channels are you using to reach your employees? A: We have a number of channels we use. We have town halls, or all-employee meetings, through a web streaming feature. We’ve had a lot of positive engagement since we moved to web streaming because employees can see their leader or presenter on video versus just hearing the audio of that meeting. And of course, email also is a big piece for mass communication. But probably the two areas that have been most interesting for us are video and supporting our managers as communicators.
We have had a huge amount of evolution in our focus on video over the last couple of years built on employee Voice of the Customer (VOC) and also recognizing the trends of how people are receiving information in their everyday lives through Twitter, social media, YouTube and other engaging social tools.. Video has become the primary medium for us.
We also have put a number of tactics in place to provide our management and managers with toolkits and simple reference materials that are easy to use to support their discussions with employees.. These tools help managers engage with employees all around the world through dialogue and discussion and it is particularly impactful with employees who may not have regular access to computers, or who may not be able to watch videos or participate in large town hall meetings. These tools are about two-way communication allowing managers to talk about the business priorities and initiatives, but also encourage discussions where team members can share their inputs directly to those managers.
Q: How are you using video? A: Video is such a great medium. I agree with a lot of the points made by Amy Heisler (Using Video to Reach & Engage Employees at First Solar) in your previous blog post. We were doing a lot of newsletters and tracking readership but we really started to see an uptick when we would distribute videos – the number of views of videos was higher versus the number of clicks on written articles on the intranet. So we started to dive a little bit more into this. We did a lot of VOC with employees around how they like to receive information. We also followed the trends of what was going on out in the real world and how employees in their regular lives were seeking and receiving information. What we heard was that employees want short, engaging, interesting images and headlines, and the ability to see leaders and peers.. In many cases, video has given us a chance to highlight employees across the company to drive further connections and engagement..
The biggest thing that came from our research is a five-minute weekly TV news style broadcast we launched a couple of years ago called “Aero in Action.” We were lucky enough to have an investment from our leadership who recognized the success of this medium. We actually built a TV broadcast studio here in our headquarters. The studio has all of the top equipment you’d see in a TV newsroom. Every week, we record a new show. We have an anchor desk and several sets and we bring in all sorts of new, engaging tools and technologies. It’s short, it’s fun, and it’s engaging video. In five minutes you can check what’s going on around Aerospace. It’s the chance to feature all types of content including new business wins, updates on key business initiatives and our people
We treat it like a newsroom. If we have breaking news, if we win a big win or a big contract, we can carve out our “Aero in Action” branding and create a breaking news sort of story so we can be quick, responsive, timely and get content out to employees that is aligned with any external announcements that we might be making.
“Aero in Action” also gives us a chance to highlight our diverse work force from around the globe. We have a section called “Person of the Week” where we recognize the good work or good efforts that employees are doing in their daily work or out in the community. Aero in Action has really taken off and I guess a huge amount of the positive response comes from employees who want to be able to just quickly catch up on what’s going on around Aerospace.
Q: Do you have TV anchors? A: We do. We have brought some employees onto the team who have broadcast experience in TV news and are serving as anchors and producers in addition to their other duties supporting other parts of the business. Others on the team have taken it upon themselves to do training and learn how to run equipment and run cameras. So team members, other than those who came in with that broadcast experience, have built up their video editing and shooting skills. They have done a spectacular job of that.
Q: How do you pull in footage from around the world? A: We wanted to make sure that we have an opportunity to capture as much of our extremely diverse workforce around the world doing different things, in different locations and different countries. We have deployed video cameras out to the majority of our facilities and we have worked with a partner at the site who is trained on using the cameras.
We also have “field reporters” who are capturing footage and sending it to us as interesting activities happen at local sites all around the world. We’ve armed employees whenever we’re looking for content for various things with instructions on how they can utilize their mobile phone or their laptop to film videos of themselves. One of the features we do is a section called “You Ask, We Answer.” We have employees submit questions to our leadership by filming directly into their cell phones or their laptops. It’s a great way to highlight the global nature of our diverse workforce and feature what is top of mind with employees throughout the company.
Q: What has the feedback been on the video? A: I’m so proud of the work that the team has done with video. It is extremely cool and very refreshing. People have given such positive feedback. They say, “I can take five minutes to get up to speed today on what’s going on” and the employee contributions to our video content have been fantastic.. We do these campaigns called “Your Turn” where we reach out to employees and pose a question. One of the questions we did recently was “Why did you join Aerospace?” and we had hundreds of passionate stories about, “My grandpa took me to the airport and we would watch planes take-off and land” and these really wonderful and inspiring stories that help reinforce the interesting experiences and backgrounds that our employees have and really promote the pride of employees working at Aerospace.
Q: Are you capturing metrics through the internet? A: We analyze metrics every month just to see where we’re at in terms of home page usage and “Aero in Action” views and things like that. Open rates, clicks and survey feedback are our primary measures generally and we use Google Analytics for our intranet measurement. When we look at where we started from to where we are right now, it’s a 100% increase in terms of participation. We’re continuing to look for ways that we can continue to drive even more success. We do trend analysis and we definitely see spikes on certain topics or certain people that we feature on the show.
The other big thing we note is when we push out “Aero in Action” is what is the image you see when it lands in your inbox. We definitely see heavy opens around particular topics or particular images that we might put out there. For instance, we had a bit of fun when we had an employee who got called up on stage at a Paul McCartney concert and he proposed to his girlfriend while on stage. We featured this photo in the email we sent out and definitely had a lot of employees who wanted to find out more.
>> In Part 2 of this interview, Rebecca talks about Honeywell’s manager toolkit and face-to face communication.
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ABOUT REBECCA CLOUT
Rebecca Clout, Director of Employee Communications at Honeywell Aerospace, joined the company in 2011. She develops internal communications strategies and tactics to drive Aerospace business messaging to global Aerospace employees. Rebecca also drives the development of new, innovative communications channels including online and digital tools, two-way feedback mechanisms and integration with site communications to reach non-online employees. Rebecca is also responsible for leading issues management and crisis communications activities and co-leads the Aerospace Women’s Council. Rebecca has extensive experience in all aspects of communications including public relations, media & analyst relations, marketing communications, event coordination and internal communications. Before joining Honeywell, Rebecca spent 13 years with General Motors.