Waikato Members Get the Schaake Down on Internal Communications

2 Apr

Alice Kennedy, PRINZ 2015 Student Ambassasdor – Univesity of Waikato

On the 24th of March some lucky University of Waikato Communication Students got the inside scoop on Amanda Schaake’s internal communication strategy that won her the 2014 PRINZ award for Internal Communications. Here are the top five tips from the presentation:

Amanda Schaake

  • Harness the power of positive psychology: Framing everything in a positive light helps to create a happy workplace environment. Instead of focussing on everything that is wrong with your company, bring to light what it does well and how you can get more of the good stuff. Positive focus=positive energy=happy workplace=productive employees.
  • Create specific and in-depth objectives: There were two overall objectives Amanda used in her strategy. These were then broken down into sub-objectives; what they wanted the employees to think, feel, and do in relation to each of the company’s major goals. Determining what you what your employees to think, feel, and do helps you in defining not only your objectives, but also what it is going to look like when you have achieved them.
  • Get people involved: Talking at people and not reinforcing active participation is not going to get you anywhere. Get people up and moving and discussing. Once you have your employees actively involved they stop becoming witnesses of a companies vision but an intrinsic part of it; once they are a part of something they are invested in it and committed to its success.
  • Create leadership potential: Amanda’s strategy involved getting employees at the lower end of the ladder to assume leadership positions. Not only does this make them feel more valued and important as employees, but also ensures that projects are encountered with fresh energy and alternative perspectives.
  • Embrace negative feedback: Never shy away from negative feedback. Amanda described her feedback as being polarised: people absolutely loved her strategy, or absolutely hated it. She also said that even if people hated it that was good because at least they were feeling something. Strong emotive responses mean that you have engaged and active participants. Now you know they are engaged in your cause and you have the feedback to switch negative responses to positive ones; the hard work is done.

We walked away from this PRINZ event with a great amount of knowledge under our belts. Opportunities to learn from the best cannot be missed; we will see you at the next PRINZ event.

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