Three Communication Tips to Improve Employee Engagement
Take a look around your offices and remote locations. Do you see a workforce that is actively engaged and enthusiastic about their jobs? If you can’t answer with a resounding “Yes!”, your company may be suffering from the same communication ills that many organizations across the globe are looking to cure.
Alarmingly, the number of disengaged employees has been trending upward in recent years. In its most recent data, Gallup found that a staggering 68 percent of today’s workforce is disengaged in their work and workplace. In other words – they are unenthused and uninvolved, essentially there for a paycheck but little more.
So how do you transform an employee on the sidelines into an active, contributing member of your team? Start with communication. Here are three places to start.
Take a Page from Marketing
When your marketing team wants to build customer relationships, where does it start? By framing a consistent, compelling, and continual message that speaks to their needs, and to your company’s solutions. It uses a mix of marketing channels – digital, social, personal, and more – to reach customers where they are most likely to connect.
In much the same way, employee relationships are strengthened when employers prioritize regular, relevant communication using a range of channels. Back in 2010, Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, flipped the “customer first” narrative we were all taught in business school in his book Employees First, Customers Second. His premise is that to put customers first, a company must first create a culture of trust and shared values that puts employees first.
As with customer marketing strategies, companies will increase employee engagement by deploying a regular communication cadence that is authentic, trustworthy, and encourages two-way dialog with their employees.
“When marketers want to build and maintain relationships with customers, they focus on clear, frequent, and useful communication,” notes HR Dive. “For employees, communication is always useful, and during times of uncertainty, it is even more so.”
Seek and Value Feedback
Create a culture in which honest, candid feedback is regularly sought, sincerely valued, and heard. CapRelo’s CEO, Barry Morris understands this well and actively fosters such a culture by regularly having coffee with employees to learn what’s on their minds and to stay connected with their thoughts and feelings. HR leaders have no shortage of tools to solicit feedback – online surveys, one-on-one input as part of 360-reviews, employee focus groups, anonymous suggestion “boxes,” town hall-style meetings and employee task forces, to name a few.
But remember that asking for feedback without committing to address employee issues is fraught with potential failure. “If you just do a survey and nothing more, employee engagement will likely decrease and turnover will increase,” says Gallup Principal Louis Efron. “If employees can see how giving feedback to organizational leaders results in positive changes to their workplace and lives, everyone will win.”
Meet Employees Where They Are
Meeting employees where they are means both physically and personally. Our physical work settings are no longer the homogeneous offices from which the entire organization once transacted business. When they were, a one-size-fit-all communication strategy could be more effective. Employees collectively could hear company updates and ask questions in face-to-face meetings. Work teams could huddle together to brainstorm and collaborate. Individuals would more easily built connections, and a shared culture grew more naturally as a result.
Today’s business environments encompass employees dispersed across a multitude of work settings, with some working remotely full-time, some splitting time in multiple locations, and others opting to return solely to headquarters or regional offices. No longer can HR count on the traditional in-office communication flow to reach all employees.
For a company such as CapRelo with employees working around the world, proper technology with video capabilities has been a game-changer for communicating with employees and building engaged cultures.
It is important to understand what drives and motivates employees. Once you know that, you can create a culture that’s engaging and inspiring to your unique workforce.
A disengaged workforce can be a daunting obstacle in growing your global organizational success. Want to strengthen your organization’s employee communication strategy and create greater employee engagement? Dive deeper into creative communication best practices.