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Season 2 Episode 10: Emma Tucker

By October 6, 2020 No Comments

Episode 10: The Best And Worst Time For Internal Communications

With Emma Tucker

Episode Summary:

Emma Tucker, Head of Internal Communications at Temenos, makes it a hat-trick of appearances on Remote Control, as she discusses how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted her role.

In this episode we chat about;

  • What internal communication initiative was scrapped during COVID-19
  • How the tone of both internal and external communications have changed at Temenos
  • The plans for 2021

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Episode Transcript

Jack Ford:

Hi Emma. Thanks for joining us again on Remote Control. You’re officially the first guest to hit a hat trick of appearances. You’re almost like a cohost of the show.

Emma Tucker:

Thanks Jack. I feel very honored to have been on the show three times. When I was thinking about it, I realized it was a year ago that we did the very first one, and it feels like a lifetime ago, not a year ago. But I know we talked a lot about remote working, and I was going to ask you whether you feel partly responsible for what has happened in the last six months, because you predicted the trend.

Jack Ford:

I know. It’s a bit too spooky prescient of me, wasn’t it? To be talking about remote working at the end of 2019. I didn’t quite factor in that everyone would be working remotely in 2020. So, although it timed nicely with the podcast, I cannot claim any credit. And that’s my official line.

Emma Tucker:

You don’t want to claim the credit. No.

Jack Ford:

No. Not quite. No. I mean, you mentioned the first time we spoke was almost 12 months ago to the day, I think. And then when we last spoke it was pretty much six months, I think last week actually. And that was just a few days after lockdown in the UK had started. And that just seems like a lifetime ago, let alone the first time we spoke 12 months ago.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah I know. I think six months ago we were pretty much in full crisis mode. But all said we were kind of optimistic that things might come back to some form of normality over the summer. And I think we glimpsed that, but that’s not the way it’s going at the moment, which is pretty difficult actually, both in the UK and globally, I think.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. You’re right, though, about the crisis mode. That was really at the start here in the UK of the big restrictions being put on businesses and on people’s lives, really. And like you say, I guess some of that was eased, and some of it, certainly some of the most recent restrictions in different parts of the UK does make it feel like it’s going to be a difficult period. And when we first started, we didn’t really have an idea of how long it would be. People were saying 12 weeks would be really hard, and that’s obviously flown over and long gone, and the last time UK-wide restrictions were put in place was mentioned about six months. It just seems like a tricky situation to be in, but perhaps less of a crisis, scrambling to get everything sorted, and perhaps more time to be more methodical and planned out about things now perhaps.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. I don’t think you can… We can’t, I think, stay in crisis mode on an ongoing basis. It’s just not something that you sustain, I don’t think. But how we make it feel normal when it’s anything but, it’s not easy, definitely. And it’s different for different people as well.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. That’s actually one of my questions, was to find out how things had changed for employees at Temenos this year really.

Emma Tucker:

Well, I think… I was thinking about this and in some ways I would say that everything’s changed, but then everything’s the same as well. So, when we spoke in March I had mentioned that 98% of our employees were able to work from home within a matter of days. And I think as a global tech company, remote working has always been part of what we’ve done. We’ve always worked with banks and with colleagues in lots of different locations. So working remotely didn’t come as such a shock. We were able to move quite fast and be quite agile about it. We had tools like Teams and Skype and Zoom already in place. We already ran virtual meetings. So that stuff wasn’t as difficult. Although, I will caveat that by saying for our teams in India, which is about 50% of our workforce, that wasn’t entirely true. They were predominantly office-based.

Emma Tucker:

So I think the shift for them has been bigger. But it’s definitely not been easy for anyone. I think the pressure’s been immense. Everything that we do as Temenos is all about making banking better, and the crisis has really accelerated the need for banks to transform digitally. So we’ve felt that pressure as well, which I think is true for a lot of tech companies. But I guess the motivating element of that is that where customers are looking for our solutions to help and to serve their customers better with true digital banking solutions, or to help governments roll out the financial rescue packages, our software is helping banks to do that. So it’s really rewarding to be involved in work that’s actively supporting people who are suffering through this time. But obviously the other side of that is that the workloads are increasing, people don’t have that divide between home and office that they used to have, and it’s a struggle. It’s not easy. And then you’ve got the normal anxiety of this, so health concerns as well. I think it’s an incredibly difficult time for people.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. That’s quite a cocktail of influences on working and… Well, I was going to say social life but outside of work life I suppose is really, in terms of wanting to do the work and having that positive change for other industries to make a positive change in countries and to people’s lives whilst trying to avoid burnout, I suppose, and knowing when it is time to switch off and put emails away, put the computer down and just get into a different space of wherever you are. If you’re able to get outside, that’s been one of the things I’ve been trying to do is get outside more often, because it’s very easy to realize that you’ve spent all day inside.

Jack Ford:

And that’s not usual for most people. And that’s just getting that change in place, it’s a bit of a mindset whereas previously you have to go outside to commute to work, and you don’t have to do that now. And just almost putting that change, that break in place, is tricky because you can see that other people are working hard, you can also see that other people are perhaps being put on furlough or losing their jobs altogether, and it’s a combination of, “Well I don’t want to be seen to be shirking by taking a break and going outside because lots of people are in different situations, but…” Yeah it’s looking after yourself and hopefully seeing that your work benefits from that as well as by trying to avoid that burnout.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah and I think you have to do it for yourself. I think with even the best managers in the world, they may say to you, “Go and make sure you take your break.” But it’s still you having to go away and take that break, and you have to do it for yourself. But I think it does make you more productive, and it keeps you sane, if you like. So it is massively important to do it. But yeah, I think you have to be quite intentional about it.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. That’s a good word. Intentional. And getting it nice and planned out. So how about for you. We talked about employees and Temenos as a whole. Leading the internal comms for a global company, the past six months must’ve been, well the one word I can think of is challenging, but I don’t really suppose that sums it up quite well enough.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah it’s been… Well, definitely challenging. It’s a mixed bag really. I think it’s been the best and the worst time to work in internal communications. I think the best because people have realized the value in it. We’ve communicated. We’ve communicated better, I think, in the tone and the style that we’ve used. I think we’ve done a much better job at collecting the stories of the work that our people are doing to support the banking industry. So that’s been really rewarding to be part of, but it’s tough because it is unrelenting and I think people are craving communication because they’re looking for answers. But there is no certainty around this, so it also therefore makes communicating really challenging because you can’t really provide the answers that people want.

Emma Tucker:

And also it’s difficult because whilst this is happening globally, it isn’t a consistent experience whether it’s in different countries, or just on a personal level. My experience of this will be very different to somebody who lives alone or someone who’s been furloughed or someone who’s got an underlying health condition. So even though it’s been busy and stressful, I count myself lucky that I’ve been able to work. Yes it’s been tough. My daughter was at home for parts of it, but she’s now back at school so things are feeling a bit more normal. But it’s a mixed bag is how I would describe it Jack.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. I can understand that. You mention there about the response that you’re having to deal with is local to the UK, and in some aspects within the UK it’s local to regions as well. How have you found managing comms for a workforce that is global, where there’s been different restrictions at different times, perhaps different cultural approaches? That’s the same in the UK, there’s different cultural approaches to the restrictions and whether people are for or against the restrictions that are put in place. How have you found that exacerbated expanded across a global workforce? How has managing comms been with that in mind?

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. I mean it’s definitely confusing, right? I think the messages change at a local level all the time. So trying to provide a level of consistency and a global approach to is hasn’t been easy. And I think we’ve done it in two ways. We’ve relied heavily on the business continuity and the HR teams, who are more on the ground. So they’ve done a great job of capturing what it looks and feels like at a local level, and to provide the data on what’s happening on the ground. And then broadly, we’ve done what every company’s probably done in that we’ve said, “You’ve got to follow government advice. You don’t travel unless you have to.” We’ve put in hygiene practices into the offices for when they are able to open. And we’ve been using a traffic light system, really, to give that global view so that all employees can see what locations are open and what aren’t.

Emma Tucker:

So we’ve said things like green means that everything’s open and running as it did prior to COVID. Amber means that the offices are open, but teams are working in twos so you’re either in Team A or Team B so that we can aid social distancing. And then red is where people are working from home. So at the moment, I think 90% of our offices are either in amber or red. It did look a bit brighter in August, but it’s gone backwards again. But yeah, it isn’t easy to say we’ve had to… I think our approach has been one of flexibility because I think you can’t take any other approach. And just trusting people to do the right thing, as well.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Flexibility makes a lot of sense, especially when the guidance coming out, like you said, changes so frequently. It’s hard to have a set system in place and as long as those channels, people know where to get the information from, from a business point of view, from a Temenos point of view. And it seems like that’s as foresighted and as planned as you can be, I guess.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. I mean I think there are things that I would’ve liked to have maybe done differently, or would do differently still, but we don’t have a great internet site. So that limits our ability to really create a tailored communication for people in their different regions. So we’ve had to keep things quite global and quite broad.

Jack Ford:

Touching on the activities, you mentioned there are some things that you’d maybe like to have another go at, you could do better. But what things have you found that have worked really well at Temenos?

Emma Tucker:

So, if I think about things that have changed over the last six months, I think the tone of our communication is much more humble, more people-centric, more human, which sounds silly but it’s true. I think it’s a difference to how we communicated before. We’re a growth company, so we historically found it really easy to excite people about the future, because we’re growing, the future looks bright and strong. And I think that is still true for us in the long-term. It’s certainly true. But the message doesn’t quite work at the moment, so it needs to be a bit more nuanced. So we can still say, “Yes we’ve got a bright future.” But the experience that people are having at the moment doesn’t feel that bright. So what we’ve done is where we’ve previously talked about… When we, say for instance, taking a bank live on our software, we’ve talked about the cost and efficiency gains that the bank has seen.

Emma Tucker:

But now we’re talking much more about the people and the people that have been involved in implementing that software. So one example that we’ve used is one of our consultants from India who was working on a project with PayPal, and he stayed in the US, he chose to stay in the US from February right through to the summer to get the project with PayPal done. And we didn’t ask him to do that, but that was his commitment to the job. And so we’ve used that, we’ve communicated that, more than we’ve communicated the bank going live on the software. That has been a real shift, and I think that has been a welcome change for people. I think it shows a maturity into how we’re talking to our people as well. We’ve also been quite intentional about keeping the business as usual communications going.

Emma Tucker:

So I think we’ve continued to communicate on appointments, on any accolades that we’ve got from the industry. We’ve pivoted all our client events to be virtual, as everybody has done. And we’ve continued to showcase those internally. But I think everything has taken on more of a human tone, and I think that that’s something that we will keep, because I think we’ve all realized that that’s a much more inspiring way to communicate. It sounds really obvious, but I think you get used to communicating in a certain way, and I think that’s been a welcome change for people.

Jack Ford:

That sounds really fascinating and while you say it sounds obvious, it’s potentially only after the fact that it might be obvious. And when things are going really well, like you mentioned growing and launching new software and apps and bringing onboard clients very quickly, then to find the person-led stories maybe hasn’t had that need or might not have had that resonance. But now that everyone’s going through something on a personal level, then it does make a lot of sense. So that’s really interesting to hear that that change has happened and looks set to stay. That’s really interesting.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah definitely. And it’s influencing not just the internal communications but also some of our marketing initiatives too. So a lot of our customer stories are now going to be more about the people at the banks as well. So I think there’s definitely some positives that will come out, and I think that’s true for lots of people. It’s not been all bad, the things that we’ve taken from the crisis. I think there’s definitely some positives to draw from it as well.

Jack Ford:

That’s good. You mentioned virtual events. How have they been received? And how have you found working with those? Because they are quite different and everyone who’s been running an event has had to change to virtual events in some form, whether it’s online learning webinars or videos with Zoom or different platforms. Yeah, how have you found managing those?

Emma Tucker:

Yeah, I think they’re good and bad, again, because they’re great in that they’re really accessible for people. It doesn’t matter where they are in the world or what time it is. Everybody can access the same information. Maybe not necessarily live, but you can certainly get it on demand. And I think that’s quite a leveler for people, and I think that is really welcome. But you probably don’t have the same… I think we’ve always ran big events at Temenos. And they’re not only an opportunity to connect with the customers and the partners and other people that we interact with, but also a chance for employees to come together. And I think a lot of our employees traveled a lot before COVID as well, and I think that’s been quite difficult, then, for people to completely stop that whole way of life and get used to just being restricted at home, if you like.

Emma Tucker:

So I think the virtual events don’t give you that ability to connect with people. You can connect with the content much easier, I think, but I don’t think you connect with the people in the same way. And I think that’s the challenge, and that’s unique to Temenos but I think that how we foster that human connection in these times is… I don’t know the answer to it yet. It’s really difficult.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. I mean we run virtual events for lots of people at streamGo, and one of the challenges we often come across is the human connection, the engagement, the networking. And I’m not going to sit here and talk about the different features, but I think some of it is not to with technology, actually. I think it’s to do with the setting. So you talked about people, employees, traveling quite a lot and while people have been celebrating not traveling for work, actually for a lot of people that’s a great chance to meet different people. You take yourself out of your normal day-to-day setting and you can be a bit more open and free when you’re talking to people and you put yourself in a different mindset.

Jack Ford:

I know from when I’ve been to events you’re in a different mindset about networking and about going up and speaking to people that you don’t know, but you know that they’re there for a shared reason. And potentially virtual events don’t have that impact because… Or people aren’t taking into account that the setting for someone hasn’t changed. In all likelihood they’ve been on emails, on instant messenger chat doing their work, and then just opened a new browser. They’re still in the same seat in the same room. Spotify might be playing in the background. Whatever might still be happening whilst they’re at the event, and that just doesn’t happen at physical events, so I think that some thought needs to go into the setting or how you can prep people for the setting, whether it’s almost bringing back those cringey icebreaker sessions at the start of your event and just energizing people that way for that engagement.

Jack Ford:

I’m not sure of the answer at all, but I think some of it will be down to technology and what’s available, but other parts of it will be down to how you prepare attendees or employees for an event and set the expectations about what to get from it, and… Yeah. There’s maybe something around that.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah I think you’re right, and I think it’s how do you bring that whole experience virtually. It’s not easy to do it. I think we did an event last week, or a couple of weeks ago now, and we had a session the night before for some VIP guests, and they were basically sent a cooking pack, or recipe ingredients, various things, and they joined this virtual cook-off. And it was really cool. It was really cool. And I think that kind of thing is probably what we need to do more of. So you create these events that you’re doing simultaneously just in your own kitchen rather than in the catering location. But yeah, I think that kind of thing is probably where thins will start to move.

Jack Ford:

I love the idea of that. I mean I’d be terrible at that, but yeah that sounds like a really great way to get people engage.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah I didn’t get to join it but it sounded pretty fun.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Okay. So that’s actually interesting and a great example of something a bit different that worked to engage people. And you mentioned previously about some things that maybe you’d like to have another go at, try again. Is there anything like that then that’s needed to be finessed to get to work? Or is there anything that you’ve tried and thought, “You know what? That’s not working. Let’s just put that down and scrap that.” Seems like there’s a lot of time for trying things quickly and just want to see how that’s worked for you.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. I mean we wanted to do something around connecting the CEO and the leadership team with people because previously, before COVID, we’d run some really successful face-to-face meetings. He had essentially gone some town halls and informal networking with employees when he was visiting certain locations. So he’d been to Singapore and India, the US, Poland in the previous year. Employees really liked it because it gave them a chance to just chat to him about something they were working on or just more broadly and hear his perspective on things. We really haven’t been able to recreate that in the same way at a virtual level because it’s those little conversations that happen on the side that people walk away from and say, “Oh that was good. He recognized my face.” Or, “He knew that I was working on this project.” Or whatever it might be.

Emma Tucker:

And I think we haven’t been able to find a way to replicate that in a meaningful way. We were setting up virtual coffee sessions at one point, but we said “Unless you’ve got maybe five people in the room joining virtually, no one’s going to talk. If you start putting 50 people in a virtual room, people won’t talk. So how do we do this?” And then we said, “Well we’ve got 7000 employees around the world. There’s absolutely no way that we can do this.” And so we scrapped that idea and we haven’t, in all honestly, come up with something that replicates it or replaces it in any way. So it’s really tricky. It’s really tricky.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Interesting you talked about the value of those being in those informal parts of the meeting, being recognized or just a little comment about a project that’s being worked on. That’s not necessarily the focus of the whole conversation, but certainly that would make someone feel proud that the CEO has recognized them or knows what they’re working on. That’s great recognition and validation. And yeah, I can totally see how that would be difficult on a virtual call, even just… And you mentioned, if you get 50 people on a virtual call, no one’s going to talk. But imagine they did. That would be potentially even worse talking over each other. So it, like you say, would need to be smaller groups and for a company so big it would be a full-time job just doing that and managing that. So that seems like a tricky one.

Jack Ford:

I know, my wife, her company has set up a coffee roulette where they get paired up with just one person, and they’ve got to find, I think it’s either 30 minutes or an hour in a week to have a chat. And it’s people from within the company, but they might not have worked with before, and it’s just potentially a bit of time to put the work tools down and maybe introduce yourself or reconnect with someone you had been working with on a bit more of a personal level and find out how they’re doing. I thought that was-

Emma Tucker:

That’s nice. Yeah I like that.

Jack Ford:

Yeah that’s nice. And that’s not particularly a manager getting designated that they’ll maybe only speak to junior staff. It’s all levels, and I believe it’s opt-in, but it seems to have been good and she’s talked about some of the conversations that she’s had and found out people’s lockdown arrangements and if they’re at the kitchen table, or if they’ve got their own little office and stuff like that. And it seems to help make those person-to-person connections and maybe just forget about the working for a little bit. And it makes when they do work together a little bit easier and a little bit more like it would be in a face-to-face environment where you do have those social cues and little bit of personal information that you can bond over and almost grease the wheels of a work project when you do have that personal connection.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. It’s massively important, and I think we’ve all missed it, haven’t we, in the last six months. I think that work is about doing your job, but it is so much about the people that you work with and how you work with them. And I keep thinking about people that have joined the company recently, and we take for granted the pre-existing relationships that we had already built up. And it is so much more difficult for new people to form that bond with their colleagues because they’re not seeing them everyday and they don’t just have those little informal chats. “Oh did you watch that on telly last night?” Or, “Did you do this?” Yeah. You have to be really, as I said before, intentional about it. And when you’re busy and you’re stretched already, they’re the things that go. So I think there’s definitely some things that we could and should be doing at a corporate level for the organization to foster those informal connections, certainly for the rest of this year and next year as well.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Really good point about people joining. At streamGo we’ve grown massively in this time. Delivering virtual events, probably to be expected. Yeah. Our headcount has really gone up as we’ve scaled up to meet new clients and more demand from existing client. But yeah, I’m sitting here and I can think of a number of people that I’ve spoken to briefly on chats in maybe a team meeting, but there’s lots of people there that, in reality, for me I know the name, the job title and what they’re working on, but I don’t know their personality. Whereas the people that were at streamGo beforehand and we’re sharing an office, totally know the personalities. There’s a huge Disney fan, Andrew if you’re listening that’s you.

Jack Ford:

There’s all sorts of different types of people and it’s just those little things that you know about people does really make an impact and it’s wanting to get those situations back into the mindset and finding out that information that’s beyond the work that you do, I think is very important. Actually I think I’ll make a note to go away and find out a bit of information about some of the people that have started since lockdown and make a real effort. It does make a lot of sense.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah it does. And I think one of the things that we’re going to try and do… Because it’s difficult to mandate something like that at a global level within the organization, because it needs to feel natural and authentic. I think if we start telling people, “You’ve got to do this.” It doesn’t feel right. But what we want to do is start using managers more and training them on different things that they could suggest to their teams, even if they don’t get involved and it’s just that their team members do it. But part of it is that coaching them around how to position this so that it doesn’t sound like an order. “Go and have a virtual coffee with someone.” Because that just gets people’s backs up.

Emma Tucker:

But it is difficult to roll sorts of ideas out at a global level in big organizations. I think the organizations whose cultures and things will come throughout this successfully will be, often I think, the smaller companies that have been able to retain that connection at some point. Or the big ones that have said, “You know what? How you do this is up to you, because we can’t tell you how to do it.” If that makes sense. But these are the guiding principals. Which is the approach we will take with it.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. And like you say, it relies probably most importantly on the culture, if that culture’s been there before about building relationships, it will find its way through this new challenge. If it’s not been there before it’s going to be quite hard to pick it up in a remote… Or I imagine it would be quite hard to introduce that culture at this time when it’s potentially harder than ever to make those personal connections. So yeah, if the culture’s there then it has every chance of breaking through the current challenges, I’d say.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. Yup.

Jack Ford:

So this might be a tricky question, talking about planning. Now, I’d be pretty surprised if anyone had planned for 2020, and got it nailed down. I’m just wondering if there’s anything that you’ve managed to take away from the challenging situation, the new normal or the current normal, whatever we want to label it as, for 2021 plans or the end of this year. Is that even on your radar at the moment?

Emma Tucker:

Yeah we have started talking about it. Certainly we’ve started putting some plans in place for the end of this year, and we’ve started talking about 2021 objectives. So for the last few months of this year, I think what we want to do is recognize the fact that it’s been a tough year for everybody. We know there’s been a dip in morale because people aren’t enjoying that level of face-to-face contact that they had before. And whilst we can’t bring people together physically, we are going to try and bring people together more virtually, and we’re going to try and excite them again about the future and why Temenos is such a great place to work.

Emma Tucker:

I think we are doing some great things already with the banking industry, but also our organization is moving to be cloud and SAS-first, so software as a service, which is a really big shift from where we’ve come from. So we’ve historically been a product company. So we’ve built great product and we’ve sold that product, and we’ve… I mean not quite as crude as this sounds but we’ve handed it over to banks and said, “Off you go.” Where now we’ve got to provide an ongoing level of service and support and continual upgrade to that software, which comes as a comprehensive package for banks. And I think that’s quite a cultural shift for the organization, and it requires a change in behavior for people working on the product, for people working in sales. And what we want to do is setting that vision for the future, and also using our managers better to help articulate what that means for people on the ground. Now, a lot of that work is still in progress.

Emma Tucker:

So I think probably reality will be that for the rest of this year it will be about creating that vision, and then next year will be more about putting some kind of concrete connections in place for people to say, “This is what I do and this is how it connects to our move to being a SAS-first company.” But that’s quite exciting, and I’m particularly excited about creating some talk hits for managers, because we’ve not really done that properly before. And we also wanted a better job of using managers to feedback. So, sharing this information with their teams, but also feeding back what their teams are telling them about it. So that’s quite an exciting one.

Emma Tucker:

And then the other thing that we’re looking at is what the future of work at Temenos really looks like post-COVID. So taking the lessons that we’ve learned from this where people are working remotely, we’re looking at how do we use our offices? Do we need offices in 64 countries around the world? And what do those offices look and feel like now? Because they’re probably going to be much more about working collaboratively than they are about just sitting at your PC and working.So I think what we want to create out of that is a really consistent and enjoyable employee experience. And I think that’s, for me, one of the reasons why I do internal communications and what I love about what I do. So that is a really exciting project. But it’s a big one. It’s not something that we can solve overnight. But it’s exciting that we’re thinking about all of these things and we’re starting to put some work into action around it as well.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Great to have some big, exciting projects that, even if they’re just taking their first initial baby steps to get the plans in place or to get the cogs working and get the thoughts in motion, that’s often some of the inspiring time getting the thoughts and all the different possibilities out there on the table. Really interesting that you were talking about managers. It’s something that we touched on when we first spoke last year, and has come up in a lot of the podcast recordings since then on Remote Control, the fact that when we’re talking about such big companies who… And I guess historically it was mainly big companies who had remote workers because they were remote across the world, and that’s changed now.

Jack Ford:

But having those managers perform more of an engaged, more of an involved internal comms coaching process is really interesting, and it does seem that that’s getting spoken about and getting focused on a lot more from research out there to some Twitter polls I’ve seen from other people in internal comms. Just seems like there is a bit more of a recognition perhaps and plans in place now to really identify line managers as maybe the key channel for internal comms. I thought it was really interesting that you mentioned it too.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. I think within internal communications and probably within HR functions as well, I think we’ve probably recognized that the role that a line manager plays in the employees’ experience or how they think and feel about work is huge. It’s probably the most important thing. But we haven’t really done a really good job of using them both to share the great stuff that’s going on in the company and support their employees and coach them on communication. And I think that we definitely need to do that because a line manager might be somebody’s only contact with the organization at the moment. It shouldn’t necessarily be that way but that could well be the case for some people. So if that line manager isn’t good or is struggling to know what information to share with their team, then that can be a real issue. So I think it’s going to become even more important. I think the crisis is just highlighted as a potential weakness for a lot of organizations.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Definitely. So this is not the most serious question, but it is one that people will be scribbling down the answer to. The first time we spoke, which was like we said about 12 months ago, you were watching the BBC drama The Capture. And I almost gave you a spoiler because I’d just finished it. So I’m just wondering, what’s got you through lockdown and would you recommend anything?

Emma Tucker:

Well I was thinking about this, and I was thinking, “Oh I think I probably watched much lighter things because things have been so difficult at work.” And then I was thinking about what I’ve been watching and I was like, “None of the things I’ve watched are light in any sense.” So I’ve watched the Handmaid’s Tale, which is far from light. And I’m really disappointed that the next season has been disrupted by COVID because I really enjoyed that one. And actually at the moment I’m watching True Detective. Have you seen that?

Jack Ford:

Yeah. I’ve seen those when they were on Sky at the time.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah. With Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. They’re in the first one. And it’s brilliant. The acting is so good. So we’ve just started the second season of that. But yeah, I’m enjoying that. But pretty gritty and dark.

Jack Ford:

Yeah it’s not quite the respite from a troubling work.

Emma Tucker:

No. So not sure what that says, really.

Jack Ford:

Yeah, well I was speaking to Jennifer Sproul from the Institute of Internal Comms last week, and she was just going for every murder mystery going. She was saying the escape was the fact that it was nothing like her job, which sounded like a plausible excuse I suppose.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah well maybe that’s what it is. Maybe we watch these things because this is worse than working in internal communications. So maybe that’s what it is.

Jack Ford:

Yeah. Well when Netflix releases a drama series about internal comms during COVID-19, perhaps we can tune in then and see how realistic it was.

Emma Tucker:

Yeah maybe.

Jack Ford:

Okay well I really appreciate you coming on again to Remote Control. Emma it’s been fascinating talking to you and hearing some of the experiences that you’ve had and the experiences from Temenos. So yeah, really thanks for joining.

Emma Tucker:

Thanks Jack. No, it’s been a pleasure as always. And it’s always a nice opportunity to step back and reflect on things. So, thank you for having me.

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Adam Gillin

Author Adam Gillin

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