Russell Goldsmith, was first joined by Tomáš Novotný, Head of Internal Comms at ŠKODA Auto. Tomas presented on how the company has had to overcome challenges in talking to employees who, given they work mainly in factories, predominantly aren’t desk based and so are not easy to reach through intranets and online channels. Therefore traditional print media is still important for Škoda, and they continue to produce a weekly magazine, Skoda Mobil, and monthly newspaper, as well as still using pin-boards around the manufacturing plants.
Tomas explained that his team carefully analyses all activity to help continually improve what they do and one a further challenge, given how strong their trade union is, was to gain the respect and trust from employees. They therefore simplified the language used in the magazine and newspaper, which has resulted in people reading more articles, plus the team added more graphics and pictures, and now share more stories about the employees themselves, reducing the amount of articles about senior and top management.
It’s not just about print though, as Tomas said they started working with video about two years ago to show employees how the company is using innovation. They produce videos, on average three minutes in length, to tell stories about how the company is working with interesting and sophisticated machines or instruments, but crucially, involve the employees who are actually using them.
One Millionth Car Give Away
Tomas shared an internal comms campaign that he was particularly proud of. He made the point that Škoda always plan to reach a broader audience if possible, beyond just internal, so long as there is nothing confidential being shared, as they want to promote their employees as Brand Ambassadors and present them in a way that they are proud of the brand.
The internal comms case study was from a couple of years ago when, for the first time, Skoda produced and sold one million cars in a year.
Firstly, the company took photos of employees from all over the world, and delivered a message with an image made up of over 1350 faces, that said that only through their contribution could they have delivered such results. They then created a microsite where colleagues could send messages to each other on how they’d helped them through the year. Each day, unbeknown to their employees, Škoda chose two of what they considered the best of those internal thank you messages, and delivered a cake to the person who was being thanked, with the printed message from the colleague doing the thanking!
With regards to the actual millionth car, they decided to use it for a CSR activity and so asked employees to vote for which NGO they would give it to, the winner being a children’s charity.