The latest from my laboratory

If you have been reading my recent blog posts, you know that I am passionate about new ways to work. In my role as Chief People Officer at Sitrion, I have the chance to put my hands on what we build and see how it actually works with an HR professional at the controls. Last week I began to tell you the story of the long awaited farewell to my inbox. Part Two of “the Death of My Inbox” will be coming soon.


In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about this week’s adventure. I used the internal communications capabilities in Sitrion 4.5 to roll out our new travel guidelines. Without giving it much thought, I just went in and started to play. I was well on my way to my own little case study on how this offering makes it so easy to effectively communicate with employees in your organization.


Some of you have told me that you want real-honest-to-goodness-step-by-step details of what I am doing, how long it takes, and the results. OK, here we go:

  1. Step One: write a quick intro piece on what I am announcing and why. (Time: five minutes)
  2. Step Two: Find a cool picture of a weary traveler. (Time: five minutes on a photo website)
  3. Step Three: Upload the photo to my “carousel.” (Time: 3 seconds)
  4. Step Four: Upload the Travel Guidelines to the shared document library where all emplyoyee policies live. (Time: 2 seconds)
  5. Step Five: Hit the hyperlink control to link my photo to my intro and my document. (Time: Three minutes to do it and test it)
  6. Step Six: Set the people I want to target with this message and the time I want it to go out. (Time: 15 seconds)
  7. Step Seven: Publish. (Time: one second tops!)

Actual screenshot of the image and my post on our company Intranet.

In less than fifteen minutes a communication is up on our home page reaching all of our employees. And only minutes later, the first comments started coming in and a robust conversation with questions and suggestions has begun. 


Within the first hour, there was so much good insight and feedback that I went back and made several adjustments to the guidelines. Version Two was published within hours.


So what were the key takeaways for me?
  • I have a system that is very easy to learn and use.
  • I can use it myself. I don’t need my IT team to do it for me or to sit beside me while I try to make it work.
  • It allows me to customize for my audience so that I am not creating lots of noise and irrelevant communication to the email inboxes of people who aren’t impacted. I can target geographies, departments, communities and/or individuals.
  • I can set up future publication times. In other words, I can set it up to publish at the start of the day in Sydney without skipping dinner in New York.
  • It’s fast and convenient and I can use it anytime, anywhere.


Finally, the dialogue that happens instantaneously in the social environment is the icing on the cake. Think about how long it would take me to gather feedback via emails and phone calls if I wasn’t living in this amazing new world of work.


I was able to create the message, target it to the appropriate audience (in this case all employees) publish it, receive feedback, respond to the feedback and act – all in the course of one day. Oh and by the way, I did other things in that same day. This important communication and the dialogue that followed were critical- yet not all consuming.


Well it all sounds terrific right? Very nice and very cool, but so what? What’s the worst case? My policy would have taken a few days to get out? Big deal.


But then I took a step back for just a moment. I thought back to my not too distant past, when we were trying to account for our employees in Chile after a massive earthquake. If only I had this capability on that day. We could have made our people all over the world more at ease about the welfare of their colleagues. The same is true for the day I was on a videoconference with my partner in Tokyo. It was a fairly typical day until I watched from New York as she held on to her desk as the earthquake rocked everything in sight. During Superstorm Sandy, I was at the Jersey Shore, far from my desk in New York and my colleagues in the Corporate Communications department. If I had this capability on my iPad like I do today, I could have been communicating live from the center of the storm for as long as my cell service held up.


In the end, what I appreciate most is that this capability not only provides me with the opportunity to communicate with employees more effectively every day, it allows me to communicate effectively on the really special days – when timely access to information is most important.


I hope this glimpse into my latest experiment with new ways of working is helpful to you. I remain fiercely committed to educating our HR community and our colleagues in communications and innovation. So every now and then, I will report the news of my latest experiments, what I am learning, and especially these “aha” moments. Thank you for taking the time to tune in and read this. I look forward to your continued feedback.


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Nancy Gill, Chief People Officer

Nancy came to Sitrion after leading the HR function for the Investment Bank at JPMorgan Chase, supporting over 28,000 employees globally. She brings eight years of experience from the National Football League where she was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources, responsible for establishing and leading the League's strategic HR functions. Nancy's passionate about empowering leaders to achieve greater levels of success. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from Kean University and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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