Water management business Graf UK has sites across the UK – in Oxfordshire, Scotland and Ireland – which creates a challenge when trying to build an effective, united communications strategy.
Nevertheless, communication is still an integral part of the organisation’s corporate culture, explains director Matthew Ralph. “We hold regular meet-ups with people from all areas of the business at least once a quarter, and weekly meetings for our senior-level team and area managers at our headquarters,” he says.
Graf UK brought in an external consultancy to help with its communications strategy, and aims to foster a transparent culture in which employees are able to talk freely and openly. “Our middle-managers are the go-betweens from the strategy team to senior management,” says Ralph.
The organisation promotes the use of phone calls and FaceTime where possible to stay in contact with employees, but also uses WhatsApp messages to communicate with staff.
Having three different locations means that ensuring employees from across the organisation regularly meet face-to-face is a priority. Graf UK aims to make these meet-ups a social highlight for employees, for example by holding barbecues and organising rounders games.
“We put the dates for our meetings in the diary at the beginning of the year and we try to make them as social as possible, so it’s not all work and no play. This gives a chance for any new members of the teams to get to know the others as well,” says Ralph.
Graf UK has also tried to create a transparent culture where people feel able to ‘own’ their mistakes. “Responsibility is key, as is the culture of ‘we’re in this together’ and it forms a major part of our communication strategy as well,” Ralph explains.