How communicators can bolster employee engagement

It’s a vicious cycle: Workers are put off by stagnant newsletters and clunky intranets, so they tune out to the messages that might get them back on track. Break that spiral with these tips.

How satisfied are you with the communication—internal and external—at your organization?

Most chief communication officers think they are effective at supporting communication across each area of the business. It’s likely that even their bosses are satisfied, but if they don’t activate one key demographic, then they aren’t on track for success.

It is time to prioritize employee engagement.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of executives say they do a “very good” job at communicating—but only 21 percent of employees agree with that assessment. That makes sense, given that 60 percent of communicators don’t measure their efforts to engage employees, illustrating the widening bigger gap between leadership and the rest of the staff.

Here’s how to close this gap and begin investing in a proper engagement program that will bring a new level of productivity to your workforce:

Challenges in employee communication

Overall, 51 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged, owing to a lack of communication. It isn’t because you aren’t trying, but your approach must be updated for 2016 and beyond.

Your employees don’t read the company newsletter or find the intranet useful to access, which means most of your messaging goes unseen, wasting the time of the team that produces it. Only 13 percent of employees reported using their intranet daily; 31 percent never use it because it’s too cumbersome.

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You’re using the wrong channels and bad processes to reach your employees. This foments rumors about internal workings, confusion regarding the brand, and distrust of upper-level decisions.

Overhaul the way you communicate with employees, and watch engagement blossom.

How to set up an engagement program

Start by treating employees the way you treat prospects and customers—with care.

As Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” Consider the impression left by both your message’s content and its delivery mechanism.

Think of the message as a product intended for your employees.

You show someone you care about their opinion by looking at them in the eyes. Equate that to digital communication.

Use a mobile app designed for news consumption to scale communication by personalizing the content you send to different segments of your workforce.

Measuring the ROI of engagement

Most communicators are not measuring their engagement efforts. That’s a mistake.

Here’s why engagement matters: Measuring the successful rollout of a program breeds better communication, which fosters engagement and thus increases staff productivity.

The McKinsey Global Institute found that productivity improves by 20 percent to 25 percent when a company engages employees successfully.

Your more united and agile workforce will generate greater revenue, and your organization will increase market share, attract and retain talent, and build rapport with consumers.

Brian Honigman is the CEO of Honigman Media, a content marketing consultancy. He’s a regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur and others. A version of this article first appeared on SocialChorus.

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