Happy holidays from all of us at Symbal!

Ho ho ho! Merry X-mas and a Happy New Year from Symbal!

This year’s X-mas gift is a contribution to Save the Children, and the people of Aleppo. Read more about it here!

This year’s X-mas greeting is a 360° film. Have a look around and watch out for the joggler 15 seconds in to the movie. Don’t try this at home 😉

Drop in with an idea, go home with a film!

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As new forms and forums for digital film keep appearing, so do communication opportunities. In our new studio space Symbal Studios, making the most of them is easy. We offer everything you need for turning film into an efficient everyday communication tool for your company, whatever the shape and size of your project.

Have a look at www.symbalstudios.com to learn more.

HR must lead the way in the digital workplace

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Yesterday, the Smarter Change Network met in Malmö. The event was hosted by Malin Grundström at Elfa International while Stina Berggren, Regional Business Director at Atea, provided inspirational insights. The network is made up of leaders with a focus on HR and competence development.

The event was all about the impact of the digital workplace. New technology has brought a wave of change in how we work both on our own and with co-workers. Microsoft’s new Office 365 suite is about to usher in even more new opportunities. But it’s unfortunate that the digital workplace is usually driven more by technological breakthroughs than employee needs and behaviour. It’s time for the HR department to step up. We have to get our heads around how technology is driving new behaviour that competes with current company culture and work habits.

The network agreed that the impact of the digital workplace is business critical and that successfully implementing new technology comes down to one thing: leadership.

Your leaders will determine how smoothly people transition to new work habits. Cultural barriers and ingrained behaviour must be identified and taken seriously. Many in the network shared stories of implementing new software that never reached its potential. Learning from these missteps is critical – we’re in the midst of a workplace upheaval on a scale we haven’t seen since the computer revolution of the early 90’s.

The network came up with a few key ways to ensure success in the digital workplace:

Make time to understand your leaders.
Find out what drives them, what they fear about new ways of working, how they feel about increased transparency and knowledge sharing, their attitude towards digital tools, etc.

Get your leaders to loosen the reins.
The need for control is often a barrier to development. Help your leaders see the value of putting more decisions in the hands of employees. A leader no longer has to be the one with all the answers in a more openly collaborative workplace. Let them be the first to try out new tools. Describe good examples in business terms. The ones who dive right in are the leaders you want to put at the forefront.

Leaders must spearhead a shift in how we hire.
The most important qualities when looking for new employees today are talent and a willingness to change. The only thing we know for sure is that things are changing fast and show no signs of slowing down. An impressive CV doesn’t reveal how adaptable and driven to learn a person is. And those are qualities you’re going to need to unlock the potential of the digital workplace.

Symbal appoints new CEO

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On January 1st, Martin Hoff will take over as CEO of Symbal Communication. Peter Gustafson, who has been CEO since Symbal was founded in 2003, will stay on in a new role.

Martin’s appointment is part of Symbal’s next phase. Today, we have grown to 21 employees with offices in Malmö and Gothenburg. We have a broad base of suppliers in both Sweden and abroad. To take this journey further, it is time for a new CEO who will focus on top class delivery to customers while improving our organization and leadership.

Martin Hoff excelled in his career as a manager at Sony Ericsson. He went on to become CEO of consulting firm Chase XL, a position he has held for the past five years. Martin has extensive experience in managing and consulting both change management and market intelligence.

Peter Gustafson will serve as Symbal’s executive chairman and focus on strategic business development. Peter will also continue to be an advisor and consultant in our favorite area – change communication.

“Our guiding star has always been ‘change for the better’,” Peter says. “This reason for being guides us not only in our work with our customers, but in the development of our company. After 12 years at the helm as an entrepreneur, consultant and CEO, it’s the right time for the company to take the next step. I’m happy to let the next generation of leader take the wheel and see what happens.”

The heart and soul of Symbal will remain intact but Martin will inject new ideas and his own vision of the future.

“I want Symbal to strengthen its position as the leader in our niche in Sweden,” says Martin Hoff. “It’s a position I want to see us take in other countries in the future. To remain relevant to customers, Symbal has to grow. Our employees are our most important resource and giving them the chance to develop is vital for our future success. We also have to make sure our offer evolves in step with the changing needs of our customers. I see these areas as my main focus in the coming years.”

The Rendahl Model™ – an introduction

Knowing what matters to people deep down is the key to inspiring successful change. Watch professor Jan Erik Rendahl explain briefly about the scientific theory on existential core values, and how these affect us in our approach to change. With this theory as the base Symbal provides both target group analyzes for change communication and advice on how to build productive change teams.

(More films are available at Vimeo and Youtube)

Change Communication from a customers perspective with Ulrika Rask Lindholm, Group Communications Manager at Höganäs

Ulrika_Rask-Lindholm, Höganäs

What’s the best thing about working at Höganäs?
That we’re both a small and a large company. We’re present all over the world with global customers, we have production facilities and sales offices in fourteen countries, and yet we do it all with only 1,800 employees. That makes it easy to know who everyone is and connect with someone and have meaningful exchanges. It also makes it easier to influence what Höganäs does and how we do it.

What are the biggest challenges as communications manager at a global organization?
We’re a slim organization so out in the regions we have few resources for running areas like HR, finance and communication. When my central team wants to spread new ways of working or setup project groups around communication we do so through people who have communication as an extra assignment, on top of their main role, and often don’t have a communication background. Since it isn’t their main focus, they have to step in and out of the role, which can be hard.

Why do you think storytelling is such a great tool when working with film and content?
I’ve worked with editorial communication for a long time, so for me it’s clear that stories convey clear, easy-to-understand messages. Storytelling is a core part of our editorial communication and a great way to help people understand complex topics and events. We also use storytelling when we let individual employees step forward and tell their story as the experts in their field, and thus exemplify a vision or a strategy.

Why have you chosen to work with Symbal for such a long time?
We started collaborating with Symbal in 2009 when they helped us with a vision and values conference held in Shanghai, China. I knew we needed a partner who could help us with change communication, which is how I first found Symbal. The conference was a success and the cooperation worked very well so it was natural for me to continue to choose Symbal for assignments in various contexts.

What is the most enjoyable part of working with Symbal?
I really appreciate that we have a lot of fun when we work together and that we laugh a lot. We travel together and sometimes we have projects that stretch out and then get prolonged even further. Symbal has a lot of patience for our internal processes and what we at Höganäs are going through.

What do you think is most important in a customer relationship?
To me, the most important aspect of a customer-supplier relationship is good chemistry, that you get along and have fun together. It’s as simple as that. The next aspect is to have a mutual understanding and exchange. An openness that works both ways. I as a customer can be open with my needs and expectations and Symbal in turn can be open towards me, what they need from us as company. Then we can develop together and form a solid mutual understanding of where we’re going.

(A shorter story about Ulrika are available at Vimeo and Youtube)

Meet our new regional manager

Symbal has customers in Gothenburg since a few years back and an office in the center of town, Stora Badhusgatan. Now we have Anna Bromander on site, which not only refers to herself as a hillbilly and a big Lord of the Rings fan – she is also our new regional manager in Gothenburg. This is her story!

Anna

Hi Anna! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a hillbilly living in Gothenburg with my husband and two children. After six years at the university, maxing out my student loans on media and communication, journalism and digital media (among other things) I started out in television but soon changed over to the booming IT industry and more specifically e-learning script writing. Producing engaging and educational experiences have been my passion ever since.

Why Symbal?
I have worked with competence development for many years and I think that Symbal takes an exciting comprehensive approach to what is required to implement a successful change, both regarding communication and training. For me, it means a wider perspective of the customer journey and it feels like a natural extension of my previous work.

What does change mean to you?
Change can be scary for some and thrilling for others. Regardless, it is an inevitable part of life. At the same time, change must not be an end in itself. Overall, we need to get better at also noticing what actually works well today, and manage and develop it.

I myself am probably somewhere in between risk personality and security addict. I can be attracted by both.


ANNAS FOUR ANSWERS

  • What’s your favourite movie? I am a movie buff and often get this question. It is always difficult to answer. But if I have to, I choose the films that come as close to perfection as possible – The lord of the rings.
  • Who do you greatly admire? I admire ordinary people who quietly do selfless deeds to help others.
  • What are addicted to? I have come to the conclusion that I do not have the predisposition for addiction but there are two things I simply can not have at home – julmust and nutella.
  • What’s your greatest wish? For my children to have their health and enjoy their lifes.

Latest meet-up of the Symbal HR Network

Over the past 15 years, Andreas Breiler of Idélaboratoriet has been teaching, inspiring and writing handbooks on idea development.

Last week, we were happy to have him join us for the latest meet-up of the Symbal HR Network. The network used the meet-up to identify the factors that impact an organisation’s ability to be innovative, such as its atmosphere, innovation culture, idea generation processes, how creative competence is managed, the physical environment and incentive programs. Fred Eriksson, who works with Expert Change & Organisation Development at Eon, hosted the event.

The network, which is run by Symbal, has met 2-3 times a year since 2012. The network is made up of specialists and managers within HR and Competence Development who are passionate about organisational development.

This year the network has seen strong growth. It now boasts members from 20 organisations, most of which are multinational.

Want to learn more about the network?
Contact Peter Gustafson at pg@symbal.com or 0708 45 62 62

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Change Trap 7#

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The planning is done and it’s time to roll out your change initiative. But there’s a problem: your middle managers don’t have the knowledge to answer all the questions they’re going to get and they haven’t taken those first key steps of a change process – going from resistance to engagement.

This happens when middle managers aren’t considered an important target in your change communication. If you’re a manager, it’s simply assumed you’ll jump right on board, you’re loyal to the company and you’ll do whatever it takes to make the company’s strategic initiative happen.

This assumption slams shut a huge opportunity.

Give your middle managers time to take it all in. Help them explore what’s going to be different and let them think through the consequences – before they start getting all the questions. When it comes to driving change, a middle manager that acts like a change leader is your most convincing communication channel.