Tips for Employee Engagement: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

By Francis Goss, Chief Commercial Officer, Communications Consultancy AHC & A Member of the Advisory Board of Engage for Success

Francis Goss, Chief Commercial Officer, Communications Consultancy AHC & A Member of the Advisory Board of Engage for Success

Employee Engagement is now recognised as a key driver of organisational success. The “Nailing the Evidence” Report published by the UK’s Employee Engagement Taskforce presents compelling evidence for the benefits of an engaged workforce, from increased innovation and productivity to reduced absenteeism and disputes in the workplace. There are multiple definitions of employee engagement, and many models on how to achieve an engaged workforce.

The four enablers of employee engagement as referenced in the Macleod Review of 1) Strategic narrative, 2) Engaging Managers, 3) Employee Voice and 4) many organisations use organisational Integrity as foundations for their employee engagement strategy.

As with any effective strategy, its also crucial to have an implementation plan with practical solutions to deliver measurable results.

HR leaders are increasingly recognising creative and engaging communications as the glue that holds their employee engagement strategy together.

Organisations can offer their staff generous employee benefits, wellbeing, pension contributions, training and career opportunities, but if their communication is poor, engagement levels will be low.

Those organisations that achieve high levels of employee engagement have one thing in common – they communicate relentlessly with their people.

Technology innovations are delivering increasingly sophisticated approaches to employee communication. Vodafone and Lloyds Banking Group offer personalised animated pension statements to their employees; simple thirty-second videos with live employee data that is far more engaging than traditional paper statements. Global engineering company IMI is using QR codes to deliver personalised financial modelling tools to their employees that they can access via their smart phones, reducing the data input requirements, which is a common barrier to engagement.

Regardless of the communication medium; face-to-face, email, app or augmented reality, here are five tips for effective employee communication:

1. Tell a story – we are hard-wired to engage with stories, and they connect with our emotions like no other medium can. Storytelling helps put your employees into the narrative and creates emotional hooks that engage and connect. A recent financial wellbeing initiative at a leading UK building society included real-life stories of employees talking about their finances and delivered measurable results.

2. Build a picture – put an image or infographic with your message, and it is worth a thousand words. It takes less time and cognitive effort to process images, so don’t expect your people to read through pages of text. Images and infographics get attention and simplify complexity.

3. Hyper-personalise – we are far more likely to give our attention when we believe that a message is just for us. Use the data you have to deliver hyper-personalised communications that are targeted, timely and relevant.

4. Make it mobile – QR codes, augmented reality, websites, apps, social and video can all be delivered via mobile. While mobile won’t work for all employees it’s vital to ensure that your communication strategy embraces mobile as the preferred communication medium for many.

5. Measure – set clear communication goals and measure the effectiveness of your communications. Whether it’s open rates, click-throughs or actions taken as a result of communication, measurement enables you to understand what works for your audience and enables continuous improvement.

So, wherever you are on your employee engagement journey, effective communication is the glue that helps your engagement initiatives to stick and deliver positive results for the benefit of your people and your organisation.

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