If your company is going through a transformation, effective communication is your trump card.
And it’s not just about informing your employees. Involving them in the process and addressing their concerns is paramount. That’s why many organizations replace hierarchical, top-down communication with conversational approaches.
Curious to find out how companies communicate during times of change, we turned to one of our customers, Irwin Mitchell – a pioneering law firm focused on digital transformation.
Their Internal Communications Manager, Iain Hodgson, gave us valuable insights into how Slido helped them to start a conversation with their employees. Here’s the story.
Breaking down barriers by giving a voice to employees
Irwin Mitchell is a full-service law firm with over 2,800 employees based in offices across the UK. To stay ahead of the curve, they are changing how they deliver legal services and support their employees at work.
The internal comms team plays a key role in this process. It helps colleagues to understand the strategy while keeping the managers well informed.
With change happening across the business, it was important for the managers to know how their team members respond and ensure that employee voices are heard.
“As part of this transformation, we’re always striving to have an effective blend of cascade and conversation. So instead of our senior leaders giving a message that trickles down the organization, our recent annual plan roadshows were about engaging in conversation right across Irwin Mitchell.”
But in order to get there, they needed to tackle two things.
“First, we wanted to ensure we had a way for colleagues to quickly share opinions and allow leaders to respond in real time,” explained Iain.
“Second, we wanted to ensure that those who weren’t comfortable standing up to ask questions still had a way to express themselves, no matter who they were. And Slido helped us to achieve this.”
Creating a two-way conversation during roadshow events
To share the firm’s ambitious plans with their employees, Irwin Mitchell organized a series of internal roadshows, with Executive Board members visiting all the offices.
Each event kicked off with an Executive Board member setting out the new strategy to the employees. Local leaders (the business’s Regional Managing Partners) then explained what it meant for the people in the room.
To facilitate a conversation about the plans, they used Slido Q&A and live polls.
“Using Slido gave our people the opportunity to ask questions and get clarification. It also helped us see how our developing strategy resonated with the local teams.”
3 ways Slido helped Irwin Mitchell to communicate the changes
During the roadshow, Slido helped Irwin Mitchell achieve three main things:
Let people ask the leaders questions in a live Q&A
Throughout each roadshow session, they held a live Q&A where employees posed their questions directly to the executives about the changes in the company.
“Slido empowers people who aren’t necessarily comfortable to stand up and ask a question to get their voice heard,” noted Iain. “It also allows us to respond right there and then. This makes the conversation feel more energized and interactive.”
As with any transformation program, the leaders often don’t have all the answers. But the leaders at Irwin Mitchell didn’t shy away from any type of questions.
“We didn’t moderate the questions so nothing was hidden behind a filter, unlike more traditional events where comms teams would pre-vet questions. If we didn’t have an answer, we were honest about that.”
Related: Tips for IC Managers: How to Prepare Executives for a Leadership Q&A
Gather instant feedback that creates live conversation
As part of the roadshow, the executive team also presented work to develop the Irwin Mitchell brand. They used quick live polls to see how people responded to the ideas.
“Slido allowed us to get instant feedback from our employees across the country and discuss their reactions. This was especially powerful for the executive team as it also meant they could explore the ‘why’ behind our people’s reactions.”
For transparency, the Board displayed the results live on presentation screens.
“With live polls, you can’t hide behind a curtain and only display the good stuff,” explained Iain. “People can quickly see what everyone else in the room is feeling. And that engenders trust.”
Understand the topics employees care about
At the end of each event, the team reviewed the collected data in the analytics. “Slido is great because we don’t need to write down people’s questions. It’s all in the system, ready to be extracted.”
As Iain added, it wasn’t just about capturing data. “Slido made the whole process more efficient, as we could compare what questions were being asked across the country – and the response of our people to our brand development.”
This allowed them to identify the hot topics in each region. “These insights helped us develop content and prepare more detailed relevant information as the roadshows progressed – learning and developing content on the go,” explained Iain.
Slido also made it easier to ensure no question was forgotten. “If we didn’t have an answer, we downloaded the questions and asked the right people in the business to follow up afterward.”
The result: Building trust through transparent communication
By using Slido, Irwin Mitchell was able to communicate about the changes and answer their employees’ questions transparently.
“Slido has helped us give colleagues the opportunity to share their views and respond in real-time. It supports us in building trust and gives us vital insights that will help us to continuously improve.”