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  • Pablo Fuentes 9:00 am on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Four keys for managing corporate culture 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Martin, an employee like any other, inspected the promotional gift (merchandising) HR had left on his desk indifferently. This time it was a T-shirt blazed with “Our Vision and Our Goals”. A few weeks ago, it was a stress ball pimped with “Our values”. Martin didn’t know who he would give this one to.

    Corporate culture, thought Martin. Two words in furor in companies these days which are frequently forgotten in a browser tab or on posters no one sees. Yet there are companies that know how to manage corporate culture, that are successful and competitive.

    So what are the keys that make Corporate Culture in capitals stand out from a mere internal marketing campaign (endomarketing)? Martin checked out the relatoscorporativos.com blog and found the response, four keys for managing corporate culture:

    1. A clear, measurable vision: defining with clarity who we are, what we do and how we will be competitive and profitable in a sustainable way. This vision is based on a mission with specific strategies and goals, which are, of course, communicated with clarity both within and outside the company.

    2. A solid leadership: Sumantra Ghoshal’s quote stays with me: “You can’t manage third generation strategies with second generation organizations and first generation managers.” It is so important to have bosses that listen, delegate, demand, recognize and that help their teams grow. I’m lucky to know leaders like that, like my current boss, nothing like the corporate tyrant opportunists.

    3. A competitive and committed team: People who make the vision theirs and that act towards achieving the objectives. Here I should mention Gary Hamel and his concept of Management 2.0. He maintains that successful companies opt for a new style of control, with natural hierarchies based on trust and leadership. Organizations where employees have more independence and access to information, thus encouraging their creativity.

    4. Going from discourse to the facts: It is crucial to consolidate the corporate culture as we progress, communicating the milestones internally and externally and celebrating them as appropriate. A campaign of the facts, of achievements is an excellent way to value our corporate culture, generating credibility and affinity within and outside the company.

    Martin, good luck.

    Pablo Fuentes is internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America. On his blog relatoscorporativos.com, you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

     

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 9:00 am on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The Foosball theory: Three key points to internal communication and teamwork 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Introduction: Through a communication colleague, I heard about this article by Pachi Lanzas, expert in internal communication with extensive experience in charge of this function in companies such as Banco Santander Central Hispano, Acciona or Vodafone Spain, among others. Pachi wrote this post thinking about Relatos Corporativos, which fills me with pride.

    Teamwork. A cinch, right? We all work in teams. We have all received hundreds of courses, we all put it down as one of our skills in our resumes… No one would dare to say that they don’t teamwork Could you imagine the look on the recruiter’s face if you told him in the interview that you don’t know how to work in a team?

    Yes, we do it. We all share the same objectives, the same strategies, the same values. The guys at Internal Communication have done their jobs and we’ve learnt it all by heart. But what exactly does us working in teams mean? I think—which may be wrong, of course—in most cases it meets the foosball theory.

    I’m sure you’ve played foosball once or twice, right? Or at least, you’ve seen it played. In foosball, each row has its own zone. When the ball arrives, you spin that row. They all have the same goal: win the game. All “collaborate”: they pass the ball, defend, etc. But do they work as a team? No.

    To work in a team, you need to walk “in the shoes” of the other members of the organization. You need to “leave your comfort zone” and mix. Discover what they do and how you can collaborate better and create what we call “synergies”.

    And what does Internal Communication have to do with all that? How can it support the game “between the rows”? I propose three key ideas:

    1. Social networks. There are a great many experiences that have worked. Nowadays, the most obvious thing to do is to use social networks (See Five keys for approaching an internal communication 2.0 model) to improve internal communication flow.
    2. Design inter-area interaction plans. But is that it? Not even close. Knowing how to pass the ball between rows doesn’t mean that they know each other or “mix”. For that reason, you need to design interaction plans between different areas of the organization.
    3. Analysis and action plan. That’s what we consultants are for. I’m not going to explain what I would do in each organization, basically because I don’t believe there are any magic formulas valid for all. In each case, you need to make a careful, serious analysis of the situation and take your action plan from there.

    Foosball is a fun game. If you give a group of kids a Playstation or a foosball, 85% will choose foosball (I’ve tested that theory out). But in an organization, it’s not a game and it’s not as fun.

    Pablo Fuentes is internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America. On his blog relatoscorporativos.com, you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

     

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 9:45 am on April 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Four key points for a collaborative intranet 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    “What a role the intranet has had to play”, thought Beatrice to herself, Director of Communications at a publishing house specialized in children’s literature. Its launch created a point of information reference for employees and enabled them to share values as well as consolidate the team spirit. But in less than five years the intranet had lost its glamour, it was clumsy and slow, unable to follow the company’s rhythm. Entry into new markets and more aggressive business goals required a more dynamic and efficient work culture. What’s more, many employees of the company already used other forms of communication 2.0, even with customers. The situation required evolving the intranet. But how to focus it?

    1. Contents focused on people.

    From an intranet 1.0 based on static contents, you need to move forward towards an intranet 2.0 fed by participative contents on the people and team’s experiences. Let employees retell business milestones, who are the true leading characters in the action. This way, we are not only informing, but also building recognition and motivating the action. One tip: less text, more video.

    2. Focused on collaboration and participation.

    Together with the company’s official information, which always must be present, the intranet must offer a space for collaboration and participation (employee profile, chat, forums, blogs, collaborative documents, brainstorming, Wiki, among other tools) that encourages exchange of best practices, working more efficiently, consolidating a feeling of being and identifying knowledge in the organization. Once again, Beti’s video is already a classic example.

    3. Integrated in the daily work.

    The intranet is positioned as the starting point for the employee for all contents, services and applications of the company. In other words, the framework in which employees find information of interest, HR applications (payroll, training plan, etc.) as well as their contacts through chats, forums with specific topics or their favorite entries in the Wiki, among many other possibilities.

    4. Global-local.

    This is one of the main challenges in managing internal communication in multinational companies and it will be star topic for another tale. Now, let’s just say that Beatrice’s new intranet must be supported by a multi-country, multi-language platform, with global (managed by the company’s Corporate section), local (managed by each country) and personal (managed by each employee) content modules. A single intranet that is global, local and personal, all at the same time.

    Beatrice closed the window of the relatoscorporativos.com blog with the ideas clearer in her mind. However, she knew it wouldn’t be easy. It’s more than just a new intranet, it’s a new way of working, and managing that change will be essential for achieving success.

    Pablo Fuentes is internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America. On his blog relatoscorporativos.com, you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

     

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 11:07 am on March 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Five key points for encouraging participation in internal media 2.0 

    Estimated reading time + video: 13 minutes

    A pale golden line started to shimmer on the grey backdrop of La Plata River. While she watched dawn break over Buenos Aires, Sandra lent back in her chair and rested her head against her hands.

    Three months had gone by since she presented the internal communication 2.0 model to the managing board and she was quite satisfied, but not entirely. The number of visits to the internal media had grown beyond her expectations, and the last barometer of workplace morale showed that employees positively valued the new tools 2.0:

    The tools make it more efficient to share information and best pratices and to build a team atmosphere”, they concluded. Then, what was worrying Sandra?

    She sat back up straight and started to flick through the indicators again, concern written all over her face: the level of employee participation was low. Looking back at the figures, she had seen that they had completed everything they had set out to do in the plan (see Five key points for approaching an internal communication 2.0 model), but despite all that, few employees had actually commented on news, participated in forums or published an article on the Wiki.

    How could she encourage conversation in the internal channels?

    Immersed in the figures, Sandra jumped when Mauricio walked into the office without warning. “Che, have you seen what Yamil Salinas said in the corporate stories?” Scowling at him for startling her, she put down the spreadsheets, “Hold on a sec, what are you saying?” Mauricio smiled, “I think the guy has the answers we need.”

    Sandra went to the blog and sure enough, she couldn’t stop smiling while she listened to the video post in Spanish…

     

     
    If your Spanish is a little rusty, here’s what made Sandra smile:

    1. Don’t try to force conversations
      We don’t like having to talk about topics that someone makes us to talk about. If you start by wanting people to discuss the company’s financial plan, people simply aren’t going to do it. You don’t talk about those topics around the watercooler.
      You should initially generate as much volume as possible on the things we talk about every day, although they may not be issues that the organization wants to talk about. This stimulates dialog and encourages participation.
    2. Reduce the limits of participation
      Allow people to participate in a more subtle way, without having to be more explicit. The “Like” button is an example of participation that is ideal when you’ve nothing else to say, but you want to participate anyway.
    3. Conversations are maps
      You need to analyze what conversations are exchanged, identify who are the communication nodes in the company, what dynamic is generated in discussions, what time of the year people talk more about certain topics, what topics arise spontaneously outside the company’s communication program, what topics affect the workplace morale, etc. to be able to take the appropriate actions.
    4. Stop just measuring traffic
      What matters is how much discussion, how many conversations have been started on a topic or intervation. You need to have appropriate indicators for measuring these conversations, such as the number of “likes”, how many times that content has been shared, etc.
    5. Manage the transition in other channels
      We have all received the traditional newsletter, which allows little interaction other than forwarding. For example, you need to incorporate questions in those existing, traditionally one-way channels in order to encourage discussion arising from the messages sent by the organization.

    Author’s note: Yamil Salinas is Head of Social Media Communication at the Telefónica Group in Argentina. It is a pleasure to be able to count with the support of a great friend and excellent colleague.

     

    Pablo Fuentes is Internal Communication Manager at Telefónica Latin America. On his blog relatoscorporativos.com, you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

     

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 9:00 am on February 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Five key points for managing internal communication 2.0 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Editor’s note: We’ve invited Pablo Fuentes, internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America, once again to share with us his tips on managing internal communication in companies on #ZyncroBlog From his experience emerge ideas like the ones he has prepared for us today: Thanks, Pablo, for joining us once again on #ZyncroBlog!! Remember, on his Spanish-language blog relatoscorporativos.com (Spanish), you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

    Sandra finished her presentation before the Management Board feeling like she had won the battle. However, a few seconds that felt like an eternity went by before the Chairman confirmed her victory, “Well done, go ahead.” Worn out, she sat back down with a sigh of satisfaction. They had given her internal communication 2.0 project the green light.

    It hadn’t been easy. One director seemed to be worried about employees participating. “Any employee can participate and give their opinion?” “How do you control what they say there?” Another had doubted the truthfulness of the contents published. “Who says that the information is correct?” and a third had questioned the usefulness of the tools, “They’re all very nice those blogs and forums, but what do they bring to the business?”
    For days, Sandra had prepared gallons of coffee, replying to all the possible and impossible questions. What’s more, she had been told about a blog, Relatos Corporativos, where she had found the key points for managing her new internal communication model:

    • 1. The model 2.0 is an evolution, not a revolution. The Intranet will continue to be the door to the employee’s services and contents. (The Intranet itself will evolve towards a more participative environment.)

    New tools 2.0 will promote and help synergies with existing internal communication channels!!

    • 2. Official company information will always exist. Sandra made it clear to the board that the official corporate information wouldn’t disappear; quite the opposite, it would become the main pillar of internal communication. One of her major challenges from now on would be ensure coherence between official and unofficial information generated in participation spaces.
    • 3. Contents aligned with the business. New tools 2.0, a wiki, a networks of blogs, a forum and even an internal social network need to be focused on the needs of the business. For that reason, it is important to define a contents policy beforehand that covers the objectives of the strategic plan and leverages the plan, be it about innovation, customer focus, service development, efficiency in processes or reinforcing the employees’ commitment.
    • 4. Policy of participation. The first step in managing participation is identifying the user. Here Sandra found an unusual ally, the head of security, “The employee is registered with their username and password? Ah! Then it’s like sending an email.” That more or less sums it up. What’s more, the internal communication team will supervise postings and moderate contents, watching for coherence and encouraging and focusing conversations towards strategic matters.

    Participation generates value, helps identify talent in the organization and democratizes knowledge

    • 5. Incentivizing participation. As I said, participation generates value, helps identify talent in the organization and democratizes knowledge. But Sandra knew that achieving that participation is the major challenge in any internal communication team. It’s done in two ways: by providing value to the internal customer so that they see its usefulness; and by building a true digital culture through HR, with specific training plans and actions for promotion and involvement (see story Five key points for focusing an internal communication model 2.0 – in Spanish). For the rest, for the debate about participation and quality of the contents, Sandra found a new ally, the director of the office in Argentina, “Che, when I sing alone in the shower, I sound awful, but when I go to the stadium and we all sing together, it’s melody.”

    The success of Sandra’s plan will depend on the positive impact it has on the business and above all, on its ability to show it in the specific indicators.

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 10:25 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Five keys for approaching an internal communication 2.0 model 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Editor’s note: This article was first published in Spanish on the Relatos Corporativos blog on November 29, 2011. Its author, Pablo Fuentes, internal communication manager for Telefónica Latin America, has been kind enough to allow us to publish it on the ZyncroBlog.

    We highly recommend our readers to check out his blog, relatoscorporativos.com (in Spanish), as you’ll find some of the best strategies and ideas on implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as other trends and behaviors that take place in companies regarding communication, reputation, culture, leadership…

    Fabiana bit her lower lip after reading her boss’s mail. She looked up from her computer and stared fixedly at the sea of skyscrapers in São Paulo. In barely five years, the then-small consultancy firm had scaled up to the top of the sector, doubling its turnover and employing more than six thousand people in ten states. She and her team were faced with a new challenge. She had analyzed other companies and knew that an internal communication 2.0 model could help them. She knew that she had to propose it to Management, but how? Someone had mentioned a blog, relatoscorporativos.com. She set her coffee down and checked it out:

    1. Determine the profile 2.0 of your employees. As a first step, carry out a survey among your employees to measure their level of knowledge and use of technology 2.0 tools, ranging from Wikipedia to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, among others. It will help you to define the strategy to take and identify advanced users in the different areas that you could get involved in the project as content facilitators and generators.
    2. Identify specific business and team needs and determine how technology 2.0 tools can bring value. To do this, get support from your network of colleagues. In Fabiana’s company, the sales department is spread across the country and people in the team constantly interact, sharing information. Probably a blog and/or microblogging environment (there are many tools that give great results in this area) and a Wiki for a shared knowlege base would make the job easier and more efficient for them.
    3. Involve key areas, like HR, IT systems, processes and the legal department in the project. When implementing the model 2.0, many questions arise on different fronts that require a clear response, be it about the platform itself or contents ownership, for example. For this reason, it is important to create a multi-department team that accompanies the project throughout the whole process. By the way, implement the tools gradually as it helps to detect the pros and the cons.
    4. Encourage a digital culture. It’s a good thing that superiors are the first ones to set the example in using technology 2.0 tools, whether external or internal; take advantage of those trendsetters and share concrete examples on how participating generates value for everyone. What’s more, coordinate initiatives with HR to include sessions on how to use communication media and in what context in the company training plan.
    5. Design a creative campaign that, within the corporate framework, includes different innovative actions. This is the case of a video drama that Telefónica carried out to promote its internal Wiki in Latin America. Employees participated in the initiative, illustrating with a touch of humor the everyday situations in which the Wiki could help their daily work. The more informal and creative you are (while still addressing company needs), the better you can pull those key strings in a internal communication 2.0 model and encourage participation.

    In the original post, you will also find a really funny video from Telefónica in Spanish, designed to encourage its employees to participate in the Wiki. Check it out!


     
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