Have You Audited Your Organization’s Employee Engagement Communication?

Keen to take stock on your organization’s employee engagement communication? Here are some pointers to get you started in the right direction.

Understand your organization’s current state: According to Intebrand’s 2010 report – ‘Unlocking the Power of Employees to Drive Success’ states that four in 10 strongly agree with the statement “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand(s) different from our competitors.” And only about half of all employees know what’s expected of them at work. Before you plunge headlong into your engagement discovery know how your organization fares. Pore over studies, if any, conducted on employee behavior and trends. Probe leaders on how they view employee engagement and their responsibilities. Ask for the company’s own definition of employee engagement and messages that articulate it. How well employees understand the brand leads to better engagement.

Ownership and influence: Very often employee engagement may be under the purview of the human resources team and it helps to know the amount of traction that is already underway. As an internal communicator you definitely have a stake in the game. However, know what influence you can pull and which levers will make a difference. For sure, communication does directly impact engagement and therefore your role in elevating how committed employees are is invaluable.

Get a bird’s eye view: Nothing stops you from evaluating the communication effort that goes in to engage staff. If not done already you can list out the stream of communication that goes out to your employees. This can include content on the intranet, newsletters and other channels you use to reach out to stakeholders. Map it to your employee life cycle and compare if messages are consistently played to stakeholders. A 2009 UK government report –‘ Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance Through Employee Engagement’ shares that engaged employees are well informed by their organizations because informationis widely shared early and often. Their views are often sought and followed up and they are involved in developing solutions early in the process. Interestingly, their engaged peaks when explanations are given if ideas or views are not adopted.

Review visual metaphors: You can get a good sense of how engagement is pitched to employees by looking for visual clues in internal communications. What imagery is used to ‘sell’ the company during the hiring process? How does it change when the employee comes in during the induction program? Do the images evolve and demonstrate the organization’s commitment to engagement? In one organization I noticed how a benefits brochure indicated ‘better opportunities’ but it showed visuals of ‘better compensation’! Such misalignment can confuse employees and lead to mistrust.

Gauge passion to engage:  Very often, even though there is overwhelming evidence that engagement needs to be a priority it is possible that organizations have many other pressing issues that hamper progress on this important theme. Discuss what leaders expect to see of engagement in the future. It may even be an expectation to rank among the best places to work studies in the country or region, for example. Make sure you gauge if there is interest and leadership buy-in to make engagement a priority. Also probe how well equipped are managers in engaging their teams.  Managers have a role to play in modeling behavior, create structures that allow openness, discuss behaviors that align with values, recognize employees who demonstrate these behaviors and hold employees accountable. The 2012 Leapfrog Employee Communication in Employee Engagement Survey highlights that the top three factors that would make the greatest beneficial difference were a  co-ordinated effort that cuts across the organization, an effective line management support and direct buy-in from the leadership team.

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Book Your Seat Now! Attend Internal Communications 301 Workshop at Bangalore on July 20, 2013 to learn, network and gain insights on employee engagement, internal social media and more. Leaders and practitioners from top communication teams and organizations have confirmed their participation. Register now. Send an e-mail to intraskope@yahoo.com