Creative Engagement Grounded In Reality

opr Employee Experience receives 2018 IABC Gold Quill two years running

April 18, 2018 by yatshum

opr Employee Experience’s work with BHP on connecting their 65,000 plus employees to its strategy has been awarded an International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill. The award program recognises business communications excellence globally, and is acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards programs in the industry. The award program was competitive this year, with almost 700 entries submitted. opr Employee Experience and BHP received a Merit Award for internal communications. The work involved extensive stakeholder research and analysis to identify how to address a decline in employees’ confidence in the company direction and support future change efforts. The IABC Gold Quill evaluators’ feedback said the research-based analysis of what makes the employees "tick" is outstanding. “This is a very comprehensive, thoughtful solution across an extensive network of audiences and stakeholders. The strategy is clearly well-informed by focus group feedback.” For opr Employee Experience, what made this a memorable project was the partnership approach with BHP Corporate Communications. Working as one team, we developed a strategy where we involved employees in an ongoing conversation about how they fit within the direction. This consultative approach has become a blueprint for other major company projects including BHP’s inclusion and diversity goal, a cultural change program and determining how we communicate with employees on a critical tax issue. The awards will be presented at the Excellence Gala, held on Tuesday 5 June, as part of IABC’s World Conference in Montreal. For more information on the Gold Quill Awards, including the full list of winners, visit

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Why living on Mars is not out of this world

March 12, 2017 by megan-caulfield

As a school kid, I remember a visit to the then named Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and falling in love with the rover searching for life on Mars. Trapped behind the glass I would follow its movements across the recreated red Martian terrain looking for any signs and wonder what if? But it’s no longer a question about potential life. The reality is we – humans – will live on Mars. Now before you think I have fallen into some sort of binge-star trek-haze, you should check out Elon Musk. This man who heads up SpaceX has a big vision for us to be a spacefaring civilisation with more than a million people living on Mars. For most of us, this would seem a stretch. However, what Simon Sinek pointed out in his recent Start with Why Leadership Forum in Sydney was that visionaries like Musk talk in the present. He’s created a narrative that enables people to imagine themselves there. It’s not if, it’s when. So according to Musk, the first of us up there will need to be good at digging beneath the surface and dredging up buried ice. That is what will supply us with precious water to make the cryo-methane propellant that will power the whole enterprise (ok – he had me up until the cryo-methane part!). The point – as Sinek so eloquently pointed out – is that leaders need to help their people visualise where they’re heading, painting a vivid picture of what it looks and feels like. They need to start with the WHY – the purpose or cause – and importantly devote time and energy to reinforcing this so that people believe and trust you. And building this trust relies on empathy, making people feel you care about them as human beings. It relies on consistently practising and demonstrating it. “It’s not the big stuff, it’s the accumulation of little acts,” as Sinek said. “It’s about popping your head in the door and saying well done rather than ticking the box with an email. Or keeping the lift door open when you hear those racing footsteps rather than letting it slide as you text on your phone.” For Sinek, it’s up to leaders to set the right conditions so that people feel safe and valued, and that’s when trust will thrive. This relies on putting others’ interests ahead of your own, and being vulnerable, getting comfortable with the fact that you may not have all the answers. But if you know your WHY, and always come back to it, then you’ll have people follow you to the moon and back.  

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opr Employee Experience appoints Fiona Forbes as new Director

February 9, 2016 by admin

Sydney, February 10th, 2016: Fiona Forbes has joined opr Employee Experience, Australia’s leading employee engagement and change communication agency, in the position of Director. Forbes is a highly experienced senior communications leader, with more than 20 years’ experience in public, private, corporate and not-for-profit organisations in a variety of industry sectors including finance, tourism, health, education and insurance. Ogilvy PR’s Group Managing Director – Corporate, Susan Redden Makatoa, said Fiona was a welcome addition to the growing opr Employee Experience team. “We’re seeing an increasing demand for complex change projects come in to opr Employee Experience, so another senior appointment was what we needed,” she said. “Fiona has a proven track record, specialist skills and capabilities designing and implementing communications and marketing strategies to assist organisations undergoing major reform, transformation and cultural change.” Forbes joins Ogilvy from TAFE NSW where she was the Communications and Change Director, responsible for the design and implementation of communication strategies to inform and engage all audiences on the NSW TAFE reform. Prior to this, she worked in senior roles at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, BUPA Australia, Origin Energy and Tourism Australia and was Principal at Momentum Global Communications. Forbes said of the appointment: “I’m delighted to join Susan and the team at a very exciting time for the business.   Having worked across both corporate and government sectors in organisations undergoing transformational change and reform, I have a deep understanding of what works at a critical time in any business.  I am looking forward to sharing my expertise with Impact’s team and its clients.” opr Employee Experience, works with Australia’s leading companies and government organisations to engage and motivate employees, communicate effectively through change and help leaders develop their communication skills. opr Employee Experience is part of Ogilvy PR Australia, a joint venture between WPP and STW Group, Australia’s leading marketing and communications service group. For more information, please contact: Sandra Renowden on +61 403 823 218

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Susan Redden Makatoa elevated to fellow of the PRIA

October 26, 2015 by lana

Ogilvy PR Australia’s Group Managing Director - Corporate, Susan Redden Makatoa, has been elevated as a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). The National Board recently accepted the recommendation of the College of Fellows that she be given this honour. Elevation to Fellowship is one of the highest honours awarded by the PRIA. A Fellow of PRIA is person who has: • at least 10 years full-time professional public relations experience • had senior status in public relations practice or public relations education on a full-time basis for at least 5 years • who, having been a Full Member, has in the opinion of PRIA’s Board of Directors made an outstanding contribution to the public relations profession through excellence in achievements and adherence to the highest professional standards The assessment criteria includes: • Excellence in achievements and adherence to the highest professional standards • Service to PRIA • Pro-bono service to community organisations Nominations for Fellowship are closely scrutinised at a State, College, and then National level. Susan received her certificate at the Annual dinner of the College of Fellows in conjunction with the PRIA National Conference in Hobart last night. “As a big believer in the talent and diversity in the public relations industry in Australia, becoming a Fellow is a massive honour. I’ll be making it my priority to keep working with my peers and the emerging stars I’m seeing around me so that communications professionals are contributing at every level. “It’s inspiring to see the big, bold campaigns coming from my colleagues at Ogilvy PR and PRIA members using new technologies and clever ideas. I’m excited to be there when people are breaking new ground,” Susan said. Susan Fellow

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Don’t get stuck in your chair

September 4, 2014 by ike-levick

Keeping people glued attentively to their seats was not a hard ask for The Hon Helen Coonan at last week’s Executive Women Australia Masterclass session. But for the former Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, women need to avoid languishing in what she terms the “sticky chair”.

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