CAMPAIGNS: Post Office puts its workers first - Internal Communications

Annual reports play a vital role in informing an organisation’s stakeholders about its financial performance and future direction. However a document written primarily for external audiences can often have little relevance for employees.

Annual reports play a vital role in informing an organisation’s

stakeholders about its financial performance and future direction.

However a document written primarily for external audiences can often

have little relevance for employees.



Following last year’s postal strike and uncertainties about

privatisation, the Post Office’s internal communications division

decided to commission an annual report designed and written specifically

for staff.



Objectives



To support the Post Office’s strategy of encouraging its businesses to

work together more closely. To improve understanding of the organisation

as a whole. To provide straight answers to straight questions.



Tactics



Research conducted for a separate project had revealed employees’ desire

to be kept informed about the wider issues surrounding the Post Office

including investment and privatisation. It also showed that what staff

appreciate most about the Post Office are values such as accessibility

and understanding.



Creative agency Redhouse Lane was briefed to develop a questioning

approach which embraced these values, while promoting the idea of

business divisions working together more closely.



The agency’s strategy was simple - to ask questions employees would ask

in the way they would ask them, and to provide clear, direct

answers.



The result was a document featuring questions such as ’A thumping profit

again, why don’t we get to see a share in it?’ The report also included

an example of Royal Mail, Parcelforce and Post Office Counters working

together to deliver a sophisticated appointments management system to

Rotherham General Hospital.



The key challenges for the team were in managing the logistics of

production to tight deadlines. The staff annual report contained

excerpts and scans from the main report making it important for both to

be released in the same week.



Redhouse explains: ’The accounts and main report weren’t finalised until

the last minute which meant there was a big rush to get the employee

report finished on time.’



Results



During the first week in July the staff annual report was sent to

210,000 employees. Nina Cooper, head of communications policy at the

Post Office, says that initial reactions suggest the new approach is

popular. According to Nick Hodges, divisional analyst for Royal Mail

International, the report was ’very easy to read - one of the best

things to have come out of internal communications.’



Verdict



In terms of content the report gives feedback and recognition, which are

two key staff motivators. It also helps people understand the

organisation which they work for which builds loyalty and commitment.

But the true test of its success will be the results of Cooper’s

qualitative ’how was it for your? research.



Client: The Post Office

PR team: In-house and Redhouse Lane

Timescale: Mid-May - 1 July 1997

Budget: pounds 38,000 (excluding in-house costs)



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