Special Report

The top 10 secret weapons

We can learn from other companies’ good practices


1 Ask Me Anything (AMAs)Riot Games: Gathering open feedback is vital to the culture at Riot Games, developer and publisher of the online game League of Legends. AMA meetings aren’t just for senior leaders to talk about sensitive topics, they’re also for hearing what employees (Rioters) have to say and answer questions in real time. Rioters can ask questions at the meeting, or anonymously before or afterwards. Feedback is a two-way street with AMAs: a vote after each answer, by holding up green thumbs-up or red thumbs-down cards, indicate if an answer was satisfactory.

2 Dream Jobs Cisco: The internet software and solutions provider fosters innovation and encourages employees to devise their dream job, suggesting a role they think would benefit Cisco and support their career aspirations. Cisco leaders like the new ideas it brings them. One employee who got her dream job said: “It’s exactly what it says on the tin: a chance to propose your dream job and live it every day.” The concept started in Cisco UK/ Ireland and is now being applied further afield.

3 All HandsAlkermes: Meetings at pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor Alkermes reinforce the vision of the company and provide meaningful communication to employees about key site initiatives. This year it reviewed the format, to increase employee engagement and give more employees a chance to present work. General manager Kevin Brady now delivers a 15-minute business update and safety performance brief and the rest of the meeting allows staff to visit three or four presentation booths where different teams explain projects, initiatives and patient benefits.

4 As One Barbecue DHL Express: As part of the logistics business’s 2015 strategy, management introduced As One, with all parts of the business working together for a common goal. To reinforce As One, the company ran social events over the year, including a barbecue catered by senior management, to promote the concept practically.

5 Baking Bad Newsweaver: A corporate value of the internal communications support and provider is ‘Be the Example’, and it supports charities close to the hearts of its employees. A popular fundraiser for Cork Penny Dinners was Baking Bad, a baking competition. With weekly baking categories and a winner after four weeks, everything made by Newsweaver’s talented bakers was sold to support the charity.

6 Fast Start EMC: Computer data storage company EMC updated its Fast Start initiative as a virtual onboarding programme for all new hires. The Fast Start site includes tools and training, with two modules: the history and culture of the business; and team structure, an overview of service offerings, and links to resources and contacts. As 86 per cent of new hires decide within six months whether to stay with an employer, EMC’s Fast Start aims to create a positive early experience.

7 Making The LeapBritvic: For its all-employee conference, branded soft drinks supplier Britvic developed Making the Leap, based on the idea that each person needs to bring their best self to work each day, to make the leap and achieve their 2020 goals. Employees created the content, within a brief, and Britvic was pleased with the creativity and standard of the work. Some of the most engaging content was from the warehouse operative and customer management teams. The ideas included building pyramids of products, bringing a 40-foot articulated truck into the conference room, and creating videos in Temple Bar (while dressed as leprechauns).

8 Good-Bad-Ugly sessionsGuidewire Software: Groups of 10 employees are invited each year to write what has gone well or badly, and what can be improved at the company, which supplies software to the insurance sector. Everyone is encouraged to be open and honest and the results are discussed fully. The process is repeated for all employees and when the feedback is analysed, tangible and attainable action is decided on and publicised, with an attempt to act on as much as possible through the year.

9 Driver of the Year – JTI: JTI Ireland is committed to promoting safe driving and seven JTI drivers arrived at Mondello Park to compete for Driver of the Year 2015, as part of a day to reward safe driving by employees, as well as have a fun learning experience with a competitive edge. Scored activities included skid car, ball-in-the-dish, brake reaction test and on-track driving assessment. The day was a chance to thank staff in the sales and marketing division of the tobacco products company for safe driving – for their personal safety, and also to limit the cost of avoidable minor car damage.

10 Meet The World Hostelworld: Inspired by the Meet the World brand campaign, colleagues across the Hostelworld Group, the international hostel online booker, got the chance to travel and hostel together in one of seven European cities, including Barcelona, Copenhagen and Berlin. More than 80 per cent of employees went on a trip. It was an opportunity to engage with customers and hostel partners abroad, to allow greater understanding of the spirit of hostelling from a customer perspective.