‘What would your super power be?’

Post by Grant Springford

Monday 29 October 2018

What would your super power be?

I’ll have a stab in the dark and guess that’s a line you won’t often find on your department’s intranet. At Department for Transport (DfT), though, it’s a question we ask our people every week.

Our ‘Be Yourself’ campaign is all about celebrating difference, and I’m proud to work in a department that really takes diversity and inclusion seriously. One of the things I love most about my job is that I get to share stories and news about different cultures and walks of life.

Well, that’s where DfT’s new channel – ‘Who am I?’ – comes in.

What about the individuals that form different communities? How much do you know about the person sitting opposite you? What do you have in common with your Executive Committee? Just who is that person at the tea-point who always says ‘hello’?

‘I’m fortunate to work in an Internal Communications team that isn’t afraid to try new things…’

I’m fortunate to work in an Internal Communications team that isn’t afraid to try new things. So, we decided to have a little fun while getting across a serious message – DfT values diversity to such an extent that we’re devoting a chunk of our intranet’s landing page to highlight the things that make each of us individual.

 

How does ‘Who am I?’ work?

Well, anyone who works at DfT has the opportunity to answer a set of questions ranging from their greatest achievement to their favourite book. They get to explain why they’re proud of their role as a civil servant, while revealing who would play them in the movie of their life and bravely sharing their most embarrassing moment.

The response has been phenomenal. The number of views each new ‘Who am I’ receives rockets above our blogs (which is testament to the success of this new channel when you take into account our blogs get very respectable hits too!). Almost half the department reads each ‘Who am I?’.

 

People are fascinated by people. They naturally engage with each other when they reveal interesting facts or find they share a common interest.

That’s when conversation happens – and thanks to our intranet’s commenting function, ‘Who am I’ has got people talking about everything from maritime statistics to David Bowie’s role in ‘Labyrinth’.

‘Who am I’ has got people talking about everything from maritime statistics to David Bowie’s role in ‘Labyrinth’.

The most rewarding thing for me is when I spot a comment from a member of staff who works with the person in the spotlight and they post: ‘I never knew that about you.’

While they’re reading about their colleagues’ favourite movies, people across DfT are also learning about different roles. They’re finding out about the Department’s wide-ranging work and having fun doing while they’re at it.

‘Who am I’ isn’t just sharing interesting facts or a ‘a day in the life of’, we can use it strategically too. Recently, we published a ‘Who am I’ on one of our colleagues who looks after the People Survey at DfT, so we can also raise the profile of important opportunities for colleagues to have their say to a large audience.

 

Lessons learned?

If you’re serious about engagement (and I know all great internal communicators are), be creative and take some risks. You don’t need a huge budget – introducing ‘Who am I?’ didn’t cost a penny.

The most important thing, though? Involve your people. Make them the focus of what you’re trying to achieve. Hardly rocket science, eh?

And for those wondering about my choice of super power – the answer is telekinesis. Doing the ironing would be so much more enjoyable.


About the author

Grant Springford is Content and Campaigns Manager, Internal Communications, at Department for Transport (DfT).

If you’d like to know more about ‘Who Am I’ or Internal Communications at DfT, you can email him at grant.springford@dft.gov.uk.