Employee engagement

Portland’s HR director Gillian Robinson, director Siobhan Newmarch and Innovation Bubble business psychologist, Katharina Wittgens, spoke at the latest Gorkana webinar about the importance of employee engagement, and how it benefits PR agencies and their clients. 

Portland webinar 1

If the people working in your business are truly engaged they will “go above and beyond for your boss or company”, Siobhan Newmarch, Portland director, told Gorkana‘s webinar on Maintaining Employee Engagement yesterday.

If you are successful at employee engagement this will benefit the bottom line of a business, she added.

Portland, following a launch earlier this year, helps clients measure employee engagement in their own businesses with HERO, an interactive tool which helps companies get an “honest picture of their employees’ wellbeing and productivity,” according to Katharina Wittgens, a business psychologist with Innovation Bubble.

In addition, Portland puts employee engagement high on its agenda with its own staff, explained Gillian Robinson, the agency’s HR director.

She explained how the agency uses forums to both receive feedback from its employees, and to communicate change made as a result of those comments. It is important that engagement is not a one-sided conversation, Robinson added. “Engagement is not just a job for HR,” she said. “Its values have to be shown by the company’s leaders.”

Here are three more insights from Newmarch, Wittgens and Robinson, which were shared in the engagement webinar, hosted by Philip Smith, head of news and content at Gorkana:

Internal and external comms are connected and key to engagement
As the recruitment of top talent becomes more competitive and the internal audience becomes better informed, there’s an even greater demand for authenticity and transparency in internal comms.

In addition, the traditional lines separating internal and external communications have become blurred. Word of mouth communication is highly valued, and online channels encourage the sharing of information both inside and outside of the business.

Businesses need to be clear on their own values
Robinson said that, “Employees are measured against Portland’s brand values”, ensuring that they are properly implemented across the business. They also shared their use of ‘cultural ambassadors’ to act as strong advocates of the engagement agenda.

It’s important to implement effective measurement
Wittgens explained that, since only 5% of behaviour is conscious, the HERO tool examines the unconscious views of participants, encouraging a more honest response than that achieved by a traditional survey. Engagement plans and strategies initiated by the research are therefore more informed.

The HERO tool, which was developed by Innovation Bubble and Portland, uses pictures instead of text questions to encourage more guttural, instant and emotional responses to uncover problem areas within an organisation’s company culture. You can access a test version of the tool here.

The next Gorkana webinar will discuss ‘Best practice in PR measurement’ and features senior comms practitioners from LEWIS and Gorkana. To listen in, register here.