Friday, 3rd October 2014
The Link, produced by Pressgang for security giant G4S, has been crowned the UK’s best employee newspaper – the third time in five years.
This unrivalled run of success at the annual awards held by the Institute of Internal Communication – the industry’s guardians of quality in employee engagement – has been achieved in the most challenging of circumstances.
G4S is a massive, diverse and widespread collection of annexed companies. Its 40,000 people provide services from running the gauntlet of armed robbers in delivering cash to banks, securing the world’s tennis elite during Wimbledon and operating prisons and police station custody suites.
The company even runs facilities management services at schools and hospitals and provides the star ratings that govern which hotel or guest house you stay at.
“It’s a challenge to reflect this activity in each 20-page paper,” says Pressgang editorial boss Steve Turner. “But it’s also the storytelling opportunity that makes The Link such a compelling read.”
G4S has suffered poor media coverage in recent years, and that criticism is dealt with in an honest fashion in the paper, but it is also a newsworthy company in all the right senses.
“It’s a standing joke in the office,” Steve continues, “that unless there are five lifesaving hero stories in an issue then we’ve fallen short of our usual newsgathering standards.
“G4S employees are those people you read about in the nationals every day who happen to be in the right place at the right time and who never pass by on the other side.”
Finding, writing and publishing their stories has given the employees of a sometimes embattled company the ammunition to hit back at its detractors and encourage a sense of pride.
But this only works if the company publication is credible and in the right format for the audience.
The Institute’s judges agreed, saying: “Too many other entries in these awards aspire to be a tabloid but fall short of the mark. The Link remains the real deal.
“It’s traditional, unfussy and easy to read and clearly strikes a chord with its large target audience.”
Steve adds: “If this was the World Cup our hat trick of wins would mean we get to keep the trophy forever.
“As it is, three out of the four finalists in the running for the 2014 newspaper award were produced by Pressgang, so competition for the title is fierce in the office.
“For another year our Link editor Alan Ratcliffe has bragging rights over his colleagues . . . although it also means he is honour-bound to be first to the bar!”