Six weeks into lockdown and the 300 team is getting a little stiff from working long hours supporting our clients. So we joined our friend and professional yoga teacher Alex Benasuli for his restorative online yoga classes.
We got so much out of the sessions that we asked Alex if we could share his classes with all our clients. He has a lovely community meeting on Tuesdays at 8am – 9am and Fridays 3pm – 4pm BST and we’d be delighted to see you there.
The classes are suitable for all levels and you’ll leave with a refreshed mind and a spring in your step.
How to register
Friend Alex on Facebook: Alex J. Benasuli or on Instagram @lonalex69 and then just send him a direct message mentioning 300 and he’ll add you to the class.
About Alex Alex came to yoga as a result of a physical injury but stayed for the mind, body and soul exploration. Ever since, his practice and teaching have been about getting present though body and breath awareness as a way to decrease suffering and increase joy.
Alex teaches a strong, flowing yet forgiving practice, grounded in earth energy but with the passion of fire and the lightness of air. For Alex, the practices of yoga, physical and other, are about reestablishing connection to self, community, and the universe and, by doing so, creating the space for gratitude, humility and love to thrive. His teachers in the US, Europe and India have inspired him to be of service.
Dealing with journalists can be daunting. This free guide pulls together some key advice for working with journalists from press to online and broadcast. Created by 300 and PR expert and BBC presenter Martyn James.
We believe the successful companies of the future will be those that can bring people closer, make teamwork faster and make culture stronger – wherever their workers are located.
Even before the Covid-19 crisis, remote working, flexible working and bringing long-forgotten front line staff into company communications were all fast-growing trends.
So, Regan Collins, tech expert and CEO of Azuronaut, joined us to discuss the key remote working tools in our latest webinar. His company is both a Microsoft Gold Partner, a Workplace from Facebook partner and long time Slack user.
We looked at the core criteria you need to run a company remotely, both in a time of crisis and in the future. From building community and engagement remotely, all the way through to practical criteria like video conferencing and document collaboration.
Our review criteria:
We took a look at how Microsoft Teams, Workplace and Slack compare against:
Overall communication + top down communications
Video calls, internal and external
Project management and collaboration
Community & engaging staff
Learning and training
Ease of implementation and integration
Our key learnings from Regan
Do a full assessment of your current tools and working processes
A tool can only take you so far, the way you implement makes a difference
Think about employee experience, not just features
Stop to examine what sort of organisation you want to create
Broaden your criteria to take account of organisation purpose
Don’t be afraid to review your licensing costs – it’s not as complex as you think
Microsoft and Workplace working together can provide you with the best in class
300 helps companies choose and use their remote working platforms. Our technical partner Azuronaut empowers you with the technology to connect your systems and people together. co Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Media expert Martyn James joined 300 for a Q&A style webinar on managing company communications on Tuesday 31 March.
Martyn James is a media relations specialist, broadcast media expert and regular TV and radio commentator, including Rip Off Britain, You & Yours and BBC Breakfast. Here’s a summary of what we learnt from Martyn.
Don’t focus on deflection Martyn talked us through his unique, ethics-focused approach to media relations and communications. In simple terms, it means focusing on actually answering the difficult questions posed by your staff and journalists rather than ‘spinning’ an answer.
Avoid bridging technique This is the ‘dark art’ of the Tony Blair era! It involves turning the question around to: “what people really want to know is.” Martyn said this technique just does not work and disengages the audience. If we think about our frustration when we hear politicians do this on Question Time we know it’s a turn-off.
Articulate what you do well and your danger areas Instead, Martyn recommends spending time thinking about what your organisation does well and not so well. Look at the areas where you might be in danger and address those questions head-on. This will actually engage your audience rather than talking down to them.
“Remember you will be tarnished with the crimes of your overall industry too so make sure you articulate your difference.”
Martyn James, media expert and broadcaster
Honesty – tell people what you can not tell them! Key to communications is honesty with your audience. If you can’t share sensitive information tell people why. If you don’t have visibility, tell people rather than bluster. People can handle the truth far better than you expect.
Real Life Example: Caroline Watkin, 300 co-founder, shared an example of Richard Francis, CFO at Netcentric, who managed many buyouts including when Day Software was bought by Adobe. When he was at Myriad, they faced a difficult financial situation and he told the staff he wasn’t sure if they’d have jobs in three months’ time, but could promise an amazing experience that would be great for their CV. They loved this approach, and everyone stayed.
Do the right thing and do the next right thing… How you say things makes a big difference. But focusing on doing the right thing makes more long term business sense and means we can communicate with authenticity. Many CEOs argue against it because they think it costs more. Even when times are tough taking the long view wins out.
“The stories of doing the right thing become company folklore and build customer loyalty.”
Caroline Watkin, 300 Co-founder
Say one thing and say it well Simplicity is key. In a crisis, the normal comms principles still apply. Every email, every post, every video, every team message; decide the key point and build your message around that. Put the key messages upfront. Make it easy for people. What’s the one thing you’d like people to remember?
Get your key point across in less than two sentences You should be able to explain what your firm does in one sentence/breath in order to get your message across to journalists and in fact, any key audience.
Understand the journalist’s role and point of view The average salary of £27k. Junior reporters often start out at £12k. They work under immense pressure to meet deadlines. They are processors of knowledge rather than retainers of knowledge and have an agenda for their publication or broadcast that’s different to yours. Understand them to avoid frustration.
Empathise What is your audience going through? What are your staff going through? What would you want to know if you were them?
Be adaptable Things are changing repeatedly so keep on your toes and be ready to change your approach, don’t stick rigidly with a line if it’s becoming clear the story has moved on.
Connecting with all your employees can be tricky in any business but in the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) industry it can be nigh on impossible. With staff at client sites, service centres and increasing numbers of desk-less & mobile workers, getting the simplest of messages to staff is so hard that it often remains a source of frustration for years.
That was certainly true of our experience at one of the world’s leading RPO providers. Until we came across Workplace by Facebook: a communications and collaboration tool built for the future of work.
Ok, so here’s my twelve reasons why you should put Workplace on your shortlist:
Reason 1 – it’s mobile-first
Every client site is locked down in a different way, so finding a platform that works at multiple, often geographically dispersed locations is impossible. Workplace’s mobile-first design and delivery means you needn’t be held back by client firewalls.
As long as staff have a smartphone they can access all communications, documents and even the org chart, bringing your onsite workers into company culture for the first time. Crucially, the mobile experience is seamless.
Reason 2 – staff don’t need an email address
In our experience, many RPO staff use their client’s email, so connecting them to any new tool is a hard slog. Workplace setup can be done without email as a unique identifier and is simple to deploy.
Workplace is typically adopted by 80%+ of users within 30 days and the launch experience is straightforward. So you need less of IT’s time.
Reason 3 – find all of your people all of the time
No more: “where’s Linda today” and no more detective work to search for Linda’s latest landline or email. You can simply see when she’s online and easily message, voice dial or even video her direct.
Workplace lets you keep pace with change, regardless of client desk moves or how many times you switch staff between sites.
And the built-in organisation chart allows you to see what staff do, where they are in the hierarchy and who reports to who.
“Safety Check is a great feature that allows you to check that all your staff are safe in the event of an emergency, regardless of location.”
Reason 4 – create and build community
It’s easy to feel a little lonely and disconnected if you’re in a service centre in a remote location, far from headquarters. Workplace allows your staff to feel part of a much bigger, dynamic organisation. Staff can connect to a number of communities: the whole business, everyone at their client site or service centre and / or their team. Or slice and dice to aid the collaboration you need e.g. connect all service centres around the world.
“Reach all your staff, create community, build affinity with your brand, better serve clients.”
Reason 5 – collaborate, share, save time
With such a spread-out workforce, often geographically diverse, it’s all too easy for staff to reinvent the wheel. Workplace by Facebook provides a forum to ask for help, enabling everyone to share knowledge and best practice. Many answers to frequently asked questions and processes can be automated too e.g. HR policy questions or client onboarding.
Reason 6 – virtual leadership
Workplace enables senior leaders to create engaging communications; from simple posts to Live Video broadcast, extending visibility and reach to the whole business – making sure important messages are heard. For example, your CEO can update everyone on the way back from strategic client visits.
Reason 7 – share documents
Don’t be frustrated by staff who can’t access your intranet (if you’ve ever tried to give staff access to your intranet from a client site we sympathise!) use Workplace to easily give everyone access to the latest pitches and proposals.
Reason 8 – streamline staff onboarding
Manage staff on-boarding and connect people to your culture from offer to acceptance. Create forward-thinking HR strategies to support staff through their career, automating processes for better experiences. And with more of your clients using Workplace, you’ll need to be the expert in using Workplace for your clients’ recruitment processes.
Reason 9 – bring all of your apps together
Workplace gives countless possibilities for off the shelf and custom integrations, allowing you to bring all your apps and services together in one place – e.g. logging help desk calls, integrating leave request systems and CRM tools. Like Salesforce and Hubspot.
“With 30,000+ organisations already on Workplace, increasing numbers of your forward thinking clients are using the platform too.”
Reason 10 – improve client service levels and experience
By facilitating collaboration across the business you can better serve clients. Engaged employees who work together have the information they need to go the extra mile for clients.
And by creating a “multi-company group” between you and each of your clients you can streamline communication, aid collaboration and create a different dynamic to your client relationships. Your client doesn’t need to be on Workplace by Facebook to collaborate in this type of group.
Reason 11 – connect wherever you are in 46 languages
With voice, video and chat your staff can easily keep in touch whether they’re in the office or travelling. And auto-translate ensures communications reach everyone – that’s more languages than Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Reason 12 – build employee affinity with your brand – not just your clients’
Keeping your brand’s mission front and centre is hard when your on-site staff are immersed in your client’s culture. The ability to easily create engaging posts, articles and video brings your brand to life and really does foster a sense of belonging.
Find out more about my personal experience rolling out Workplace for recruitment process outsourcing companies and how Workplace can transform your business – contact me at email@example.com or call me on 07946 524 304 for a chat.
“We won Best Workplace Launch in 2018 for our rollout of Workplace at the Robert Walters Group, of which Resource Solutions, one of the world’s leading RPOs, is a part.”
Email is killing internal communications – let’s fight back
I hate email. And I bet you do too. But too many of us are still its slave. Today, let us take back control. Let’s put people and productivity back into the heart of work.
Let us liberate the inbox-enslaved.
Let us step away from the “reply all” the “dear all” and the passive-aggressive “CC”. Which, by the way, stands for Carbon Copy. Come on, Carbon Copy! It’s time to move on!
In many organisations, email has completely replaced what we think of as real work. But we know that valuable work like collaborating with colleagues, project management and communicating as leaders are poorly served by email.
Yet we persist in managing workflow and communications by a network of inbox-driven individuals who can only keep work going by putting all their energy into continually checking, sending and replying in an attempt to maintain control and push things towards completion.
Yet, it’s not even efficient at pushing things towards completion. Email threads lead to more email threads, which lead to inefficient meetings. It could be two weeks before you have a decision or a way forward on something very simple.
And everything is jumbled together. With equal weighting given to an important CEO announcement and a maintenance request to stop leaving biscuits out for the mice.
That’s not all. One of the biggest evils of email in my book is that it’s secret by nature. Unless you’re bought into the loop you don’t know what conversations are taking place. In these closed cultures, you get silos of information and comfort in secrecy.
Isn’t it more satisfying to be part of the conversation?
To work in an open culture where it’s more inclusive and you can have a say? So email is bad for building positive work culture, it encourages people to hold onto knowledge as a source of power and it’s bad for getting stuff done because the right people don’t know what’s happening.
We’ve probably all worked with people who like to be the knowledge filter. They drip-feed snippets of ‘insider information’ to make you feel special. Then you realise they are telling other people the same ‘secret’ information or telling everyone different information… playing people and teams off against each other. It’s like working in a quick-sand culture. You have no idea what’s really going on.
50% of the workforce will be Millennials in 2020, according to PWC, and they want to feel empowered to make a difference, but really, isn’t that what we all want? The future of work will be open and collaborative and the tools we use need to naturally support that sort of culture. And that’s a culture that’s better for our souls and our mental health.
Secret by default
The very clever Marshal McLuhan once said the medium is the message. So the medium itself sets the tone, it’s not our fault email brings out the worst in people and businesses. Even the most well-intentioned can’t escape that email is secret by default and slow at helping us make decisions. And we are bound by its super formal conventions.
Another big weakness is it’s text-based. There’s a visual element to pretty much every channel we use in our personal lives nowadays. And it’s hard to be nuanced, even if you spend two hours crafting what you think is the perfect response, Linda from HR is still offended by the ‘tone’ you used.
Say I receive an email from a team member, it contains a long proposal but I can’t answer it straight away and anyway I can see it’s not in line with the direction we’re going. I can ignore it, acknowledge it ‘quickly’ or respond fully to the proposal. If I ignore it until I’m ready Fred won’t be recognised for his efforts for quite some time (recognition delayed is recognition denied) and if I reply it’s going to take me away from the project I’m working on…I decide to reply…
The rules of email: this is what I have to say:
Hi Fred (no “hi” or “dear” and people get offended)
Thank you for your email (got to have an acknowledgement in an email!)
Love the idea and what you’ve put into it, let’s discuss it when I’m in the office. (now I’ve had to lie because I’m doing this quickly, no time for nuance.)
Kind regards, Caroline (got to have a nice formal sign off)
Fred knows by this response that I don’t really like what he’s said. But it’s also taken me at least five minutes to write that email. It’s taken my focus from the project I should be working on, so that’s really a 15-minute gap before I get back to the deep concentration I need to finish my task.
What if I had a social tool that I could ‘simply’ like Fred’s post on his proposal, so he feels acknowledged. He gets a tiny dopamine hit from that and feels good. Another colleague sees it, recognises relevance for a project they are working on it and leaves a comment. Now Fred is very happy. I spent one second on my like, get back to my project in five mins and move on. I add a hashtag #task on Fred’s post so I remember to talk about it in our catch up, that goes straight into my task management tool with a precis of the conversation.
What if such a tool existed. Oh, but it does. Now don’t be disappointed that I’ve drawn you in with a compelling argument (so modest Watkin!) and now I damp your squib with a sales plug.
Come on, I’m not like that, you‘ve read this far, we’re friends now. If you know me, you know I’ve got integrity coming out my ears. Ok, so there was this one time I said I could waterski to impress a boy but hey who hasn’t stretched their integrityness (yeah it’s a word) in the pursuit of love.
I digress, the tool is Workplace by Facebook and I love it. I implemented it for Robert Walters Group and I saw the impact it had on culture, communications and decision making. Of course, other social collaboration tools are available.
Collaborating is key to productivity
By collaborating in groups we all see what’s going on, we can send more nuanced internal communications more quickly, and we can see who is online and jump on a quick call or video call to get a quick decision. What takes two weeks in an email/meetings culture takes us two hours in a collaborative open one.
Communications drive a business
Great communication is a real competitive advantage. 69% of CEOs surveyed by Deloitte think open communications will help them achieve their vision. Yet only 14% are satisfied with current communications.
We’re at a tipping point. Compelling internal communications can’t be built around email any longer and neither can great work environments.
Choose people. Choose productivity. Choose life.*
Let’s chat more about changing your company into a community: call me, Caroline, on + 44 (0) 7946 524 304 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*90s film reference to Train Spotting there for all the Generation Xers.
When making technology choices that influence communications and the way people work together, we advise companies to consider the sort of organisation they want to be and the future they’re planning for.
Many businesses assume that the future of work will be rooted in technology. And it’s true that technology – from cloud-based software to AI, 5G and the Internet of Things will play an important role.
But when we think about the future of work, we’re doing it through the lens of people. More important than technology will be our ability to unlock human potential by putting the needs and expectations of our people at the heart of all we do.
Generation Y demands work tools as sharp as the tech in their personal life but more importantly, they have a completely different expectation of work itself. They expect to be able to connect and communicate seamlessly without seeking permission, they expect to have a voice and be heard. A new ‘authorised generation’ has grown up with Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger. They’ve also grown up with mobile and come to PCs later. We believe the tech choices organisations make have to begin with their needs and expectations.*
Don’t focus on features
Rather than focusing on features, it’s important to consider what you want out of your solution. For example, a Poodle and a Pit Bull offer the same features but they offer quite different dog-owning experiences.
Questions to consider:
Is really putting people at the heart of process key to your business?
How important is collaboration? Do your people need to work together better?
How important is creating an open organisation where people can have a say?
Do you want to work in a transparent way?
Is your business responding to transformation and change quickly enough?
Are you preparing for greater innovation?
Does the future of work matter to the business?
Do you think it makes sense for people to communicate and collaborate in one hub?
Do you want a seamless solution that empowers people to make a difference?
Do you want to create an engaged workforce who are truly connected to your culture?
Are you preparing for the future of IT where all your apps talk to each other?
If the questions above are resonating with you, or you’ve not thought about how the future of work might affect your business, you should consider Workplace in your selection process.
In our experience, many companies choose tech on a tick box functionality exercise without thinking about where the business is headed. We believe in selecting platforms that match your mission.
Comparing Workplace v Microsoft Teams
One puts people at the heart of business v technology at the centre
Workplace is built around connecting and empowering people to make faster and better decisions, with the needs of future workers in mind. Microsoft Teams was created in response to Slack, Slack was designed by developers for developers to write, deploy, and debug code. Use the right tools for the outcome you want.
A hub for all communications, collaboration and community v multiple tools
Workplace not only enables collaboration, but it is a centralised communication platform that allows you to integrate applications and BOTs to automate work processes seamlessly. It’s a platform to unify your organisation and create a more open community and culture. Whilst Microsoft Teams/Yammer offers a newsfeed and chat, it’s a completely different experience.
“Today and in the future, experience is everything.
The employee experience is going to become a real point of competitive advantage
Familiar v low awareness of Teams among ordinary business users
Facebook is one of the most used apps globally, with over 3B users and 1.15B daily users, making Workplace adoption more seamless. Microsoft has traditionally sold its software (O365) to IT professionals and while Teams is a part of the O365 offering, usage and awareness of the solution by traditional business users has been very low.
Optimised by the business v optimised by IT
Workplace needs a very light touch from IT to set up, whereas Teams, Yammer and Sharepoint can only be configured and updated by IT. Microsoft offers a tech solution for a traditional way of working. Workplace empowers the business to create what it needs, from groups to innovating business process. You don’t have to wait for IT, making businesses more agile. The Microsoft suite is designed for IT professionals, Workplace is designed for everyone. Putting power in your people’s hands is key in the organisation of the future.
Mobile first v PC first
Workplace is designed for mobile-first, it’s a seamless experience, important when we consider that future workers will be increasingly mobile and using phones more than desks. The experience makes a huge difference to engagement and while a mobile app ticks a box, its the experience that counts.
No training required v training to get started
Workplace’s familiarity means no training is required, and if you aren’t a Facebook user, the platform is intuitive and simple to use. Workplace is typically adopted by 80%+ of users within 30 days. In our experience of using Sharepoint intranets as marketers, we couldn’t make the changes we needed to without IT help and every marketer worldwide used WeTransfer to share documents, internally and externally because the experience was so frustrating.
71 percent of Gen Y and Z say they face challenges using their company’s collaboration tools.
Ease of automation v walled garden
Integration of Bots for Automation of repetitive tasks is a key benefit of using Workplace. Unlike Teams/Yammer and Slack, the only limiting factor in automation is your imagination. If you can think of a business process that needs improving, there’ll be a best in class product available or you can easily create one. Bots in groups are great for sharing information among teams in different countries or time zones. Bots in chat can facilitate real-time interaction among groups or for specific individuals. For instance, a chatbot can be used to send important reminders or notifications to someone based on an upcoming event like an interview, meeting or task.
In the workplace of the future it’s important that all tools work together, enabling flexibility rather than locking people into a walled garden.
Built for business transformation v tools built to fulfil one function
Workplace enables enterprise change management by putting power in the hands of the business. Ease of integration leads to improved business processes which are quick and efficient to implement. From HR and people processes like onboarding to IT and finance. All the way to advanced integrations like CRMs and other critical business tools. It puts the future of the business in the hands of the business.
Open by default v siloed
Open by default is a key principle for the future of business. Not only does being open help break down organisational silos and boundaries, providing quicker access to needed information, it also better connects people to their company’s mission and to their co-workers.
To find out more about Workplace, please get in touch with me at email@example.com or give me a call on + 44 (0) 7946 524 304
*Thank you to Simon Cross at Workplace for the second two paras of this article. Expressed so beautifully I couldn’t say it better. Read his full article on the future of work here. (published by the v friendly PR people at Brunswick who are keen Workplace users.)
When Molly Bedingfield, creator of the Global Angels Foundation, first went to the Itinyi Valley, the women were walking ten to fifteen kilometres a day to fetch water for their families.
Moved by Molly's passion for transforming disadvantaged communities, we went with her to document her story and the lives of the women in the valley.
We created a book and photography exhibition following Global Angels’ story of hope as they work tirelessly to transform this forgotten community in Tsavo, Kenya.
The book captures the journey of helping the people in the Itinyi Valley not just survive but thrive. Written by 300 co-founder, Caroline Watkin, through Molly’s eyes the book lays out the beauty and struggle of Itinyi Valley, its people and the wildlife they live beside.
Telling the peoples' story
Stunning photography is captured by specialist portraiture photographer Afshin Feiz. Designed and typeset by Phil Jenkins, creating the book and exhibition was both a rite of passage and huge personal undertaking for us all and we couldn’t be more proud of the results.
About the project
To showcase Global Angels' unique mission and work in the Itinyi Valley.
Engage potential corporate sponsors and other supporters to drive fundraising.
Explain Africa's complex challenges in a personal, engaging way. Bring to life the solutions so sponsors understand how they can get involved and the difference they can make. Global Angels use the book in meetings to talk people through their story.
What we did
Travelled to Kenya on three occasions to work with the charity on the ground
Wrote the story, told through the eyes of the founder, Molly Beddingfield
Photographed the people of the valley
Designed and typeset the book
Secured sponsorship enabling us to produce the book free of charge
Sourced a unique exhibition space in the heart of Covent Garden
Curated the exhibition and organised a launch event
A passion, pro bono project where we donated all our time and expertise
A beautiful book that has resonated with potential sponsors, current sponsors and individual supporters facilitating Global Angels growth as a foundation. A photography exhibition that grew awareness of the foundation.
Receive a copy
This 86 page, A4, hard-backed book contains an inspirational story and stunning photography. Hopefully, you will buy a copy! To purchase a copy for £30 please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
100% of the cost will go directly to Global Angels to help the community in the Itinyi Valley, Tsavo, Kenya.
The Global Angels Foundation is an international charity transforming disadvantaged communities around the world. Our goal is to develop, fund and replicate highly innovative and sustainable solutions across the globe.
Caroline & Phil’s social media strategy for the Robert Walters Group earned us the accolade as a Top 3 Most Socially Engaged Recruiter on LinkedIn for three years running.
The accolade is awarded to recruitment companies who have built strong social engagement strategies and is based on interactions with LinkedIn’s 500 million members. More specifically, the ranking takes into account social reach, employee engagement, talent brand and content marketing power compared to competitor recruitment firms with over 500 employees.
We went from a standing start, with little social engagement and used a smart content-focused strategy to grow both reach and engagement. With a small budget, this achievement reflected our ability to integrate social media into a business, harnessing the power of LinkedIn. It also demonstrates our strength in sharing high quality, useful content which staff and followers engaged with and shared with their networks.
The list is based on extensive analysis of the interactions between over 60,000 staffing firms, 627,000 consultants, and LinkedIn’s 500 million members.
Measuring the most socially engaged
The key to performing well in the Most Socially Engaged Ranking is consistency across these metrics:
Content marketing: measures content efforts through members’ engagement
Social recruiting: measures how employees engage
Reach and engagement: overall presence on LinkedIn
About the Robert Walters Group
Established in 1985, Robert Walters plc is a world-leading specialist professional recruitment consultancy and recruitment outsourcing business with 4300 staff in 31 countries worldwide.