7 expert tips to boost employee engagement with internal comms
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7 mins read
Wed, May 17, '23
This week’s expert insight is written in consultation with Jesse Bourgeault-Trickey, Global Deployment Manager at Happeo, and former Digital Communications Manager at ATB Financial and Digital Communications Lead at Shaw Communications.
The employee engagement challenge
The Great Resignation, quiet quitting.. It's fair to say that many organizations are experiencing the importance of prioritizing employee engagement. In fact, according to a recent study from Gallup, only 32% of full- and part-time employees working for organizations are engaged, while 18% are actively disengaged.
Such low engagement numbers have serious consequences for organizations. The Great Resignation has seen millions of people quiet quitting—where employees intentionally disengage from their work or workplace — resulting in reduced productivity and job performance.
So why is this happening? One reason could be the changing nature of work. In the post-COVID world, hybrid work looks like it’s here to stay. But hybrid work makes it challenging for companies to maintain a sense of connection and community among employees, resulting in decreased engagement levels.
Additionally, lack of clear communication, inadequate recognition and rewards, limited opportunities for growth and development, and a lack of work-life balance have each contributed to declining employee engagement.
What is employee engagement?
First, let’s define exactly what we mean when we talk about employee engagement.
Employee engagement refers to the level of enthusiasm and dedication employees have towards their work and their organization. It's a measure of how emotionally invested and committed employees are to their jobs, coworkers, and the company's mission and values.
Employee engagement is critical because it's a key driver of job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with their employers, perform better, and contribute positively to the organization's culture.
Why is employee engagement critical to a business’ success?
Keeping employees happy and motivated in the workplace has a number of different benefits, besides just keeping them in the company for the long term:
- High employee engagement increases profitability by 21% because engaged employees tend to be more motivated and committed to their work, which can lead to higher levels of productivity.
- Engaged workplaces have up to 41% lower absenteeism because when employees have a sense of purpose and connection to their work, it can make them less likely to call in sick or miss work due to other reasons.
- Employee disengagement is costly: the average cost-per-hire for companies is $4,129, so being able to control turnover and improve onboarding would see a great return on investment.
Improved internal communications to keep employees happy and motivated
While not a catch-all solution to all engagement challenges, effective internal communication can contribute to employee engagement by creating a sense of belonging and keeping employees informed about company goals and changes.
When looking at the positive impact of effective internal communications on employee engagement, it’s helpful to think about the roots of a tree. Just as roots provide essential nourishment and support for a tree to grow, effective internal communication is critical for employees to feel engaged and connected to their organization.
Like a healthy root system, effective internal communication channels help to establish a strong foundation of trust and transparency between employees and their employer. This creates an environment in which employees feel valued, heard, and informed, which can lead to greater job satisfaction and a sense of ownership over their work.
On the other hand, just as a tree with weak or damaged roots may struggle to thrive, or even survive, an organization with poor internal communication practices may find that its employees feel disconnected and unmotivated. Without effective communication channels, employees may feel overlooked, confused, or uninformed, leading to feelings of frustration and disengagement.
7 ways you can leverage internal communications to boost employee engagement
Employee engagement strategies are clearly good for business. That’s why organizations that prioritize internal communications as a strategic tool can foster a positive work culture, improve employee satisfaction, and boost overall productivity.
Here are seven expert tips on how to use internal communications to create a more engaged and motivated workforce.
1. Use a social intranet platform
While an internal newsletter might be an easy way to share important, company-wide information to your employees, it’s usually not the most engaging. And a lot of the times internal emails get lost in employees’ inboxes, are harder to track, and generate awkward reply-all mishaps.
Whether your employees work at the office or remotely, having an intranet or internal communications platform is the perfect way to keep everyone connected to the company.
Intranet platforms, like Happeo, provide a centralized platform that facilitates communication and collaboration among employees. These platforms can provide a space for employees to get the latest news that matter to them, share ideas, collaborate on projects, and connect with each other.
2. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings
One-on-one meetings are considered one of the most effective forms of internal communications because they provide personalized attention, customized feedback, active listening, and relationship building.
Ensure that your managers schedule monthly one-on-one meetings with their team members - especially remote employees - to align on goals, key tasks, check on progress and see if there are any obstacles. If you can, schedule weekly 15-minute meetings with each employee to keep them feeling connected to the team.
These meetings give managers the opportunity to receive valuable feedback while understanding the needs and concerns of their employees. There are a variety of topics that can be covered during one-on-one meetings, including:
- What are your goals and priorities this week? Any blockers?
- How satisfied are you with company communications?
- What can we do to make your job more efficient?
- How do you feel about your work-life balance right now?
If your team predominantly works remotely, you can host meetings virtually on an intranet platform like Happeo. Most intranet tools feature elements such as discussions and enable you to share surveys where managers can ask questions and record meeting points.
3. Make town hall meetings part of your company culture
Town hall meetings, also known as all-hands meetings or employee forums, are gatherings where all employees come together to discuss various topics related to your company’s strategy, policies, and goals.
Town hall meetings can boost employee engagement by involving employees in the decision-making process and making them feel valued and heard. When employees are given the opportunity to voice their opinions, ask questions, and contribute to discussions, it can help them feel more connected to the company and its goals.
If your workforce is spread around the world, you could host and distribute the town hall recordings via an intranet platform. You can also make use of channels or discussion pages to ask and capture questions before and after the sessions.
4. Implement an employee reward program
Employee recognition programs acknowledge and reward employees for their contributions and achievements. Rewards could include career coaching and professional development opportunities, or financial benefits such as bonuses and gift cards.
Recognition among colleagues can have a long-term impact on employee engagement and job satisfaction. Leaders of engaged teams go out of their way to notice and acknowledge when an employee makes a positive contribution. Public recognition shared through an intranet site or presented during a company-wide meeting is a great way to celebrate and give employees a sense of pride in their work.
5. Promote employee wellbeing initiatives
Does your organization have an employee wellbeing program? If so, you should make sure to promote any initiatives that your employees can sign up to—whether that’s a yoga class, online meditation sessions or gym memberships.
Additionally, if your company invests in mental health support, make sure that you communicate the resources available to employees, such as extra paid time off, company-wide mental health days, and mental health training.
Using Pages in an intranet platform to display resources and a channel where users can be notified of updates and participate in Q&As are an effective way to promote employee wellbeing initiatives.
Showing that your organization is invested in the wellbeing of your employees is one of the best ways to show your employees that you care and increase engagement.
6. Have a communication plan in place for any major change initiatives
Whether your organization is launching a new company-wide initiative, tool or practice; being acquired; merging with another company or restructuring, it’s essential to provide regular updates, address concerns, and ensure transparency to help ease employees' anxiety and uncertainty.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for how to communicate change. But a well-planned change communication strategy can help engage employees and make the transition process a success.
By providing consistent and relevant messaging, preempting needs, and offering resources, employees can better understand the purpose and goals of the change. Getting leaders involved and setting clear expectations and accountabilities can inspire employees to become more invested in the initiative. And finally, celebrating progress and achievements along the way can maintain employee momentum and motivation.
7. Create employee feedback channels
According to Jim Harter, Chief Scientist of Workplace and Wellbeing at Gallup,
“organizations have more success with engagement and improve business performance when they treat employees as stakeholders of their own future and the company's future.”
One way to do this is by creating dedicated channels or platforms for employees to provide feedback, suggestions, or concerns, such as online suggestion boxes and feedback forms. The trick is having leaders set the scope of the conversation so that they can crowdsource ideas in a structured way to help them make informed decisions.
You can also strategically involve employees in decision-making processes that affect their work and the organization. This can give employees a sense of ownership and empower them to contribute to the success of the organization.
Surveys, brainstorm sessions, and focus groups can be great for generating ideas from employees. But they can damage engagement when ideas are not heard or considered. That’s why you might want to think about launching some more hands-on initiatives to really get some valuable feedback, such as employee task forces and pilot programs.
Intranet platforms like Happeo make it easy to set up an employee task force channel to tackle a specific challenge in your organization and give members the chance to make recommendations, and inform decisions. Pilot programs, on the other hand, are perfect for testing new ideas or initiatives, such as implementing a new internal tool, before rolling them out company-wide.