There were a couple of interesting comments to my last post – ‘let us do a campaign to energize our staff’. Anindita points to keeping the audience front and center of the campaign while Collin believes that a campaign can’t solve this issue although tweaking the approach might work. Thank you for taking time to share your perspectives! Always enriches the discussion immensely.
Back to this specific case.
Shweta can do a lot more to get Vinay to think deeply about this subject.
Engagement means different things for different people. To begin, if the basics aren’t in place no matter how much hoopla you do with communication, your staff will call your bluff. Ensure your organization’s infrastructure is in place, the key policies and benefits match, if not exceed expectations that what others offer. Make your employees feel secure at the workplace.
Engaging employees isn’t about running campaigns. Nor is it a ‘communication’ issue that needs to be addressed. Employees need to be ‘listened’ to first.
Shweta can gather information and identify trends that may have led to a drop in ‘engagement’. She can conduct focus groups and bring insights to the table on levers that can be impacted. You can also look up insights about building pride among staff that I blogged on- ‘what does pride mean to you at the workplace?’.
She can also research what engagement means and the elements that go into building a great workplace. Employees will find time to read and respond to communication if it is compelling and they are involved in the process. It seems that Tone Ltd hasn’t made the effort.
Vinay’s approach needs to also be reviewed. His role as business leader is to inspire and engage and he needs to lead by example. He obviously can’t engage everyone on his own and has to enlist his management team to do likewise.
Shweta can also evaluate if the employees are from different generations and probe further if they need information served to them in newer formats. Or if there are roadblocks that prevent staff from accessing information while in office or outside.
Based on all this data gathering Shweta needs to recommend an approach which will work for the organization and a campaign needn’t be one of them.
Here are some ideas that Shweta can use:
- If there is already good work taking place across the organization and she can have leaders reinforce those messages.
- She can prepare a strategic messages framework and have all leaders buy-in.
- In her plan she can propose that all leaders invest time and effort to educate and raise awareness about the cool work and client feedback they get.
- There can also be excellent press coverage which can be highlighted among staff.
- She can keep an eye out for best practices in teams which improve engagement and have leaders reframe messages in their communication
Engagement isn’t something you can switch off and on. Leaders need to walk the talk and demonstrate true intent. Employees watch behavior and build their perception based on what they observe. It needs to begin with each leader and the internal communicator can take a lead by demonstrating that ‘campaigning’ isn’t the only solution.
What else can Shweta do? Share your thoughts.