11 episodes

Inspired by our annual trend report, World Changers explores the events, themes and behaviours impacting our world of work. In the series we take a monthly dive into a topic from the report, discuss our predictions and talk with industry experts to get their take.

If you're an internal comms or HR pro, or have an interest in how the world of work is changing, do join us.

World Changers: Exploring the future of work scarlettabbott

    • Business
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Inspired by our annual trend report, World Changers explores the events, themes and behaviours impacting our world of work. In the series we take a monthly dive into a topic from the report, discuss our predictions and talk with industry experts to get their take.

If you're an internal comms or HR pro, or have an interest in how the world of work is changing, do join us.

    A question of trust

    A question of trust

    For too long, the perception of ‘getting the job done’ was tied to visibility. If an employee was in their seat, then they must be doing their job, right? We can debate the rights and wrongs of presenteeism, what we can’t deny is that it’s rife in business. Or it was, pre-pandemic.

    Now, the challenge facing employers is a different one. Alarmingly it resulted in a sales boom of monitoring software. Now, as we find ourselves considering hybrid working models, how will the relationship between employee and employees shift? How do we maintain trust for those working remotely, particularly as some colleagues return to the traditional line of sight? Can trust ever be truly equitable? And what part does internal comms play in helping build that sense of colleague confidence?

    Senior writer Patrick Halkett chose this theme as his World Changer for our 2021 report.

    Later in this episode, host Elle Bradley-Cox chats with Rob Briggs, director of Graystone Communications, to explore his contribution to the IABC Global Handbook, looking at the different components of organisational trust. Before that, Elle and Patrick sit down to talk trust. 


    00:00 Intro to the episode.

    01:29 Roundtable with Elle and Patrick

    01:33 Interesting that you chose to cover Trust again for World Changers. Are you a particularly paranoid person?
    03:18 You mentioned the rise of monitoring software. Do you think this is a sea change or just an initial knee-jerk reaction?
    04:28 In the report you talk about managers role in building trust. What is your view?
    07:29 Do you think we're at risk of bias in a hybrid workplace between people who are physically present, and those who aren't?
    9:20 What can we do to help foster greater trust in the workplace?
    11:59 Technology - a force for good or bad, when it comes to trust?
    14:00 What role does IC play in terms of organisational trust?

    18:38 Interview with Rob Briggs, director, Graystone Communications

    19:09 What did you discover about trust in your research for the chapter in the IABC Global Handbook?
    25:13 Has the pandemic had a positive or negative impact on organisational trust?
    31:13 Have you ever met a leader who didn't think organisational trust and truth was important?
    37:23 If trust has been eroded in a workplace, can it be built back?
    39:34 Is it possible to measure trust?
    42:28 What can IC teams do to foster truth in their organisations?
    48:20 Who do you nominate as your 2021 World Changer?

    • 51 min
    Self and safety

    Self and safety

    18 months of Covid-19 related anxiety, a looming threat of climate devastation, political fractions, and the rumblings of war. Never have we all felt so vulnerable at the same time. It’s an existential crisis on a global scale – and a fascinating anthropological study. So, what does a chronic feeling of vulnerability do to us?

    Recognising our response to risk, and helping people address it, can give us the tools to banish the burnout that comes with chronic and sustained stress. How can we do that in the face of so many threats and challenges? Who has the responsibility of taking on that task? And where do you even start?

    Cultural anthropologist Dr Alex Gapud chose this theme as his World Changer for our 2021 report. He joins lead behavioural scientist Lindsay Kohler and our host Elle Bradley-Cox to talk self and safety. 

    Later in this episode, Elle chats with Janet Lessells, senior internal communications manager at SGN to get her views on creating an environment where employees feel safe to speak up.


    00:00 Intro to the episode.

    01:25 Roundtable with Elle, Alex and Lindsay

    01:27 What impact does prolonged stress have on our wellbeing?
    11:45 What does a lack of boundaries do to our psychological safety?
    15:35 Do you have examples of where psychological safety has been compromised in a workplace?
    18:50 What about examples of where it's done well?
    26:07 Whose "job" is psychological safety?
    27:25 How can we encourage psychological safety in a hybrid workplace?

    31:30 Interview with Janet Lessells, Internal Communications Manager, SGN

    32:01 What does psychological safety mean to you?
    35:06 Why is it particularly important at SGN
    36:18 Can you share an example of where people have needed to speak up recently at SGN?
    37:33 Do you think people will lose the ability to be as open as they have been as we move to hybrid working?
    39:30 What will best make people feel safe to speak up at work?
    42:24 Who do you nominate as your 2021 World Changer?

    • 44 min
    Smells like team spirit

    Smells like team spirit

    Zoom fatigue, long days spent alone in spare rooms, the absence of the watercooler. The face-to-face famine that lockdown gave us definitely impacted our wellbeing. But what about our cultures?

    Without those spontaneous moments of connection, our lives become more regimented and, for some, the cultural cornerstones found in the office felt very far away. Many reported a feeling of disconnection after the novelty of virtual quizzes wore off.

    While the world may now be opening back up, the shift towards a hybrid future leaves us in cultural hinterland. How can we as internal communicators, help to bridge the divide to maintain cohesion?

    Senior consultant Lisa Hawksworth chose this theme as her World Changer for our 2021 report. Host Elle Bradley-Cox joins Lisa, and head of client experience Russ Norton for a very cultured conversation. And later in this episode, Elle chats with director of communications Sen Sami to find out how she’s channelling her passion for culture at aerospace and defence company Raytheon.

    01:25 Roundtable with Elle, Lisa and Russ

    01:25 What have you observed about workplace culture since the pandemic?
    03:38 Are there cultures that sank or swam during Covid?
    04:53 Can you replicate cultural markers without a physical workplace?
    09:36 How can change the perception of culture as a 'fluffy nice to have?'
    17:15 Will culture be influenced by a changing jobs market and talent pool?

    21:21 Interview with Sen Sami, director of communications, Raytheon UK

    21:49 You have a new initiative called 'High Performance Culture' - tell us about that
    25:38 Did the pandemic change the course of direction for that project?
    27:16 How did you keep culture front of mind amid all the change and challenges?
    28:40 What drives Raytheon UK employees?
    30:29 What has the pandemic taught you about trusted and non trusted sources?
    31:01 Who would you nominate as your 2021 World Changer?

    • 34 min
    Bad education

    Bad education

    We don’t need no education. Or do we?

    The current education system has long been based on a narrow and linear learning structure, assessed by arbitrary markers. At school we work towards grades that, on paper, indicate a level of competence. But when we move from learning to earning, we’re often ill prepared to meet our employers’ expectations. It can be quite the culture shock.

    And what about those learners who march to the beat of their own drum? Busy teachers don’t always have the resources to offer the learning styles they need to thrive, so they don’t.

    After a year of major disruption to our education systems, and with the world of work facing skills shortages and succession challenges, what can we do to bridge the gaps?

    Host Elle Bradley-Cox is joined by the author of this World Changer, Alastair Atkinson, and marketing manager Kate Went, as well as special guest Sarah Magee, Professional Development Manager at the IoIC, as they go back to school.

    Want to skip to a specific section? Here's what we talked about:

    00:00 Intro to the episode.

    01:27 Roundtable with Elle, Alastair and Kate

    01.32 Al, why did you choose this theme?

    03:35 How important is talent attract right now and how does it link to brand?

    07.19 What impact has Covid had on the education system?

    13.38 What about work experience. Is it worth it?

    16.38 What about diversity when it comes to talent attraction?

    20.04 What can we be doing to bridge the gap between learning and earning?

    23.20 Interview with Sarah Magee, professional development manager, IoIC

    23.51 Have your views on the education system changed since you wrote for our report?

    26.43 How can we as IC prosfessionals help create meaningful change in the system?

    30.00 Are we seeing the IC talent pipeline changing now?

    33.02 What are the biggest skills gaps in our industry right now?

    34.06 Who do you nominate as your 2021 World Changer?

    • 39 min
    Vive La Revolution

    Vive La Revolution

    Hierarchy is a staple of corporate life. Careers have been built on it, power is wielded through it, and those at the top of the ladder aren’t going to cede their place easily. But now we’ve glimpsed into the CEO’s bedroom, and seen frontline colleagues transform into superheroes, how will that revolutionise stereotypical workplace structures?

    The pandemic may have accelerated the operational transformation of many businesses, but can we genuinely say the same about internal hierarchies? While we may have been presented with an opportunity to reinvent, the appetite to do so has been lukewarm in many boardrooms.

    So, is it time to shake up the status quo? What are the opportunities for businesses willing to break with tradition? What are the risks for those who aren’t?

    Senior consultant Daniel Lambie chose this theme as his World Changer for our 2021 report. Host Elle Bradley-Cox chats with Daniel and scarlettabbott co-founder Rachel Thornton to get their views on whether hierarchy still has a place in our new world of work. And, later in the episode, guest Kate Shaw, senior internal comms manager at Nationwide shares her thoughts on what the future of work means for organisational hierarchies.

    Want to skip to a specific section? Here's what we talked about:
    00:00 Intro to the episode.

    01:30 Roundtable with Elle, Daniel and Rachel, exploring the rise of employee activism.

    00:50 Now we're transitioning to a hybrid world of work, will all those possibilities vanish? And what's the effect it will have?
    04:28 Let's talk about the place for hierarchy in a post-pandemic workplace.  Do you feel like that will have to change in some organisations?
    09:58 Who's doing this well at the moment when it comes to evolving the hierarchy?
    11:16 Framing is really important. People can be turned off by words like  "policy" and "process". What are the ways people are making this sound  sexy to employees?
    12:16 How do how do good leaders balance the risk that comes with being more agile?
    19:18 What should organisations and good leaders be thinking about right now?
    21:48 Remote working brought a kind of 'digital democratisation' for quieter  voices. Will we lose that as the start to return to previous ways of  working?
    25:21 It's a big leadership mindset to flip from command and control to enabling. What will that take from leaders?
    28:04 Do you think businesses are ready at this point to truly embrace change?

    30:00 A conversation with Kate Shaw, Nationwide, about the organisation's future of work plans and the impact on it's structure.

    33:50 Nationwide  has been so progressive with your future of work vision. How has it  landed with various levels of leadership and management?
    35:56 You mentioned, 'if one person's virtual, then everybody should be virtual' - how does this look going forward?
    38:40 How do you think the future of work vision will affect your hierarchy at Nationwide?
    40:44 Did Nationwide have aspirations to flatten the hierarchy pre-pandemic?
    42:54 What are you doing to equip your leaders for success?
    46:31 It might be too soon to tell, but how is colleague perception and expectation of leaders to follow through?
    52:46 Who would you nominate as your 2021 World Changer?

    • 55 min
    The great awakening

    The great awakening

    Diving in to another topic from our 2021 World Changers report, Elle Bradley-Cox explores the rise of activism.

    Switched  on, tuned in, politically aware. Woke. Every generation has its own  expression for activism. Whatever you call it, 2020 was one of those  landmark turbulent years when it took an angry and bloody leap forward.  Being locked down made us wake up.

    A year on from the death of George Floyd, and in the wake of Sarah  Everard’s murder, political scandals, social unrest and a burgeoning  climate crisis where black, minority and indigenous communities are  disproportionately affected, how much has really changed? We may be  louder at vocalising the injustices we see in the world, but it doesn’t  stop them happening.

    And as the slow pace of change and reform causes our frustrations to  mount, we often look to our employers, hoping to see them throw their  considerable power and weight behind the causes we care about. Too  often, they’re found wanting.

    Elle Bradley-Cox joins head of client experience and D&I champion Russ Norton and senior writer and sustainability maven Jacey Lamerton to answer the question, can we really ban this politics from the factory floor? And should we keep the status quo as we pretend to embrace all  views? Or no views at all? Whatever we decide, internal communicators  are in the seat of power.

    Guest interview
    Sally Bucknell, Director, Diversity & Inclusiveness at EY

    • 45 min

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