AiThority Interview with Georgina Gray, Internal Communications Officer at Air France KLM
Hi Georgina, please tell us about your current role and how you arrived at Air France KLM.
Having joined the business in 2006, I have been fortunate to have experienced working in multiple departments. I started working for the world-renowned AF KLM Group on the frontline on the phone, then coached and managed teams in the multilingual Customer Contact department, and recently worked with the Social Media team. This has given me a great understanding of different parts of the business and how to interact with multicultural stakeholders and nationalities from all over the world.
As the Internal Communications Manager for the Air France KLM European Sales & Service Centre for the past 4 years, a sole function in the wider HR team, it is my role to keep colleagues in this bustling call centre informed, engaged and inspired. We have a hybrid workforce model that dates to pre-COVID times which allows 200 colleagues to either be office or home-based.
I have a passion for people, and I am strong advocate for Internal Communication being a strategic business enabler. Bringing these two passions together using innovative channels and creative and measurable communication enables colleagues to feel better connected to business objectives. This helps to provide a sense of purpose and pride which helps to increase employee and brand advocacy as well as contributing to a positive employee experience.
Tell us how internal communications models have changed during the pandemic? What are the key standards that you follow internally now?
Internal communications departments across the world have had to step up and serve a critical function to keep employees up-to-date and in-the-know, I think this has demonstrated the importance of internal communications during the pandemic.
Providing support for colleagues and delivering transparent communication is our number one priority. We are talking with our teams, collating feedback and answering questions across a range of channels. It’s an uncertain time for everyone and it has been for a year now so it’s also important to us that we provide a space for our colleagues to interact with each other, share ideas and just connect socially.
Our standards have stayed the same and we ensure we keep consistent with these. Our main goal is to provide a first-class digital experience for our colleagues, inspire and engage and support colleagues to create brand advocates who are proud to be part of a high-performing organisation.
Could you tell us more about your partnership with Thrive and how you have transformed your employee engagement using Thrive?
The European Sales and Service Centre (ESSC) started the partnership with Thrive in 2017, the partnership is a strong one and continues to grow. We started our work with Thrive as we needed a cost-effective platform to keep our people engaged and connected. We could see that remote working could potentially leave our colleagues disconnected, especially now with the current COVID-19 conditions and we wanted to break down department silos. We also wanted to future-proof our communication channel and thought an app-based solution would be the best choice.
When we were looking for a partner, we wanted to work with a company that would be able to assist with every step of the process from inception to delivery. Not only with advice on the technical side with training but also how to get the best out of the app through sharing ideas on what type of content has worked with other clients. A company that would also provide an aftersales service and that would be available at any time should issues arise. The Thrive team were on hand to provide initial training for our Content Editors and they also created a launch video that helped us to promote the app internally. They continue to support us today in the same way.
The ‘My Wem’ app which is available on our team’s desktop and mobile phones has created a ‘virtual campfire’ for all our employees to stay connected. It has shaped our company culture, increased morale, and employee recognition. The app has aligned to our company values, it has simplified communication and increased the voice of the employee which is a key component of a successful communication strategy.
Since its launch, the ESSC has seen 120% increase in its employee’s engagement in the app. We have also seen an increase in productivity, reducing time spent with a more streamlined approach to HR procedures and information and knowledge sharing.
Tell us more about your remote workplace technology stack and how do you see them replacing traditional Employee communication tools like emails and messengers?
ESSC had successfully rolled out remote working for all colleagues in 2017 and we needed a way to future-proof communication, by providing a platform that would appeal to our ever-changing, dynamic workforce.
We wanted to implement a strategy and platform that would inspire, inform and engage colleagues and easy for colleagues to navigate. To create and enhance the experience of EVERY employee, no matter their role or location. The My Wem app (named by us internally) was implemented to streamline communication, create a one-stop shop for sharing information and to effectively decrease the use of email exchanges.
We needed a cost-effective platform to keep our people engaged and connected. We could see that remote working could potentially leave our colleagues disconnected, especially now with the current Covid conditions and we wanted to break down department silos. We also wanted to futureproof our communication channel and thought an app-based solution would be the best choice to reach and share important information with our colleagues at any time.
In addition to our mobile app we have seen a huge increase in the use of MS Teams. This channel has been fundamental in allowing teams to create collaborative workspaces and to have meaningful conversations and social connections in the absence of the physical office environment. Regular virtual meetings have enabled colleagues to stay up do date with day to day operational and business developments.
We also have digital signage software that provides us with an alternative to email to reach colleagues with digital screensavers, surveys and screen pop-up notifications.
What is the future roadmap for a product-centric platform like Thrive? Where do you see yourself as a user of Thrive? What other tools are you using or keenly following?
The team at Thrive are great at asking for feedback and suggestions when it comes to their feature updates and their roadmap. As a user of Thrive I see myself and our team growing and progressing as the platform progresses. When new features arrive, we make use of them and they are always designed to help us make more of the app and content we are sharing.
The layout and simplicity of the app is very appealing and new features are always easy to use and deploy.
Personally, I love the ‘Cheers to your Peers’ recognition functionality, it provides a quick and easy way for us to share success and thank colleagues for their efforts and as the recognition is linked to our company values it helps to bring them to life.
Any advice for every employee engagement / internal communications manager
My advice would be to really listen to your colleagues, get their feedback on the information they want to know as well as the information they need to know. The role of an employee engagement or Internal comms manager is a very important one, it bridges the gap between the leaders of the organisation and colleagues. Aligning company values to company communication is important also as well as increasing the voice of the employee which in my eye is key to a successful communication strategy.
Thank you, Georgina! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Georgina Gray is a Internal Communications Officer at Air France KLM
Air France KLM is a major global air transport player. Its main businesses are passenger transportation, cargo transportation and aeronautical maintenance. Together, Air France and KLM carry more than 77 million passengers per year*pre COVID. They operate 548 aircraft, enabling them to fly to 318 destinations in 118 countries. Members of the joint Air France KLM frequent flyer programme Flying Blue earn Miles and claim rewards on SkyTeam routes. Air France KLM makes every effort to answer questions and accommodate customer requests, all of which is assisted by the European Sales & Service Centre.