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Paul Philips, head of internal communication at Time Inc. UK, presenting Heartbeat at an event in Southwark Paul Philips, head of internal communication at Time Inc. UK, presenting Heartbeat at an event in Southwark

TAKING A PULSE AT TIME INC. UK

Paul Philips, head of internal communication at Time Inc. UK, recently explained the organisation’s revolutionary new way of surveying and how it has helped them sharpen their communication during a period of big change. 

24th May 2017

Leading publisher Time Inc. UK has used Heartbeat – a new approach to measuring employee engagement – to tap into how people are feeling, identify their big issues and track how these are shifting over time.

Heartbeat, developed by leadership, culture and engagement specialists Quest, is different as it focuses on measuring emotion – how people feel and why.  This is based on wide-ranging research that shows that emotions and feelings have a huge impact on what we do and the outcomes we get.  It is also highly transparent – participants get to see the results as soon as they complete the survey – and easy to use. It’s web-based, so people simply use a url on their own phones or devices. It was launched in 2015 and is now used by a range of organisations in retail, publishing, construction, technology and education.

Addressing an audience of leading communication and change professionals at the Time Inc. UK offices in Southwark, Paul Philips, head of internal communication, explained: “We are going through a period of unprecedented change, involving location moves, the introduction of modern working, and new operating models. We knew that this meant keeping close contact with our people, not only to make sure they were informed, but also to have a way of getting questions, feedback and challenge.

“We chose Heartbeat, because it is simple, easy and enjoyable to use – people can complete surveys from their phones, tablets or PCs – and it shows everyone taking part the results straightaway. This makes it really open and reinforces that the leadership wants to be open and honest. There’s no long wait for results and things can be dealt with when they are fresh.”

There are still challenges, as there is “no hiding place”, but Paul adds that members of the executive team have been able to use Heartbeat findings to have meaningful conversations with their teams. It has been especially useful to engage big groups at town halls.

“Heartbeat focuses on people’s emotions,” says Paul. “‘How do you feel?’ is the first question in every survey. This gave us a real insight that other surveys lack, and one which helped us hone and focus our messages.

“It also showed us how far people understood our strategy and got their role in making it work. We learned from this that there was a clear need for more face-to-face communication and so developed a simple strategic narrative and equipped line managers to deliver and discuss it. We have also given our exec members more of a communication role and they have been running informal ‘big picture’ sessions across our sites.”

Heartbeat has helped Time Inc. UK shift the relationship between the business and its people. It has been used as a pulse survey to track employees’ experience through changes – and the results show a positive shift in levels of engagement. It’s also worked well to get instant views at key points in meetings, and for local managers to explore specific issues within their areas.

“Perhaps the biggest sign of its impact is that leaders now talk about ‘heartbeating it’ when they need to find out people’s thoughts,” concludes Paul. “It’s become a verb in itself.”

To find out more about Heartbeat, contact Lucie Colt at [email protected] or Hayley Cooke at [email protected]

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