7th Sep 2007
There are a number of U.S. workers dissatisfied with their employers.
According to Gallup research, there are three types of employees: engaged, not-engaged, and actively disengaged:
- Engaged employees “work with passion and feel a connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”
- Employees who are not-engaged “are essentially ‘checked out’ putting time—but not energy or passion—into their work.”
- Disengaged workers “act out their unhappiness,” and “undermine what their engaged workers accomplish.”
A U.S. Employee Engagement Survey indicated that 69% of workers are either not-engaged or actively disengaged on the job. Further, that $370 billion/year is lost due to lower productivity. Can we do anything to increase the engagement level of the workforce? Sure. Certainly benefits, environment, etc. play a large role in engagement levels, but instituting an internal communications program has proven a valuable way to encourage employees to become stakeholders. Progressive companies view internal communications equal in importance to external communications. External marketing can reach its full potential only when employees fully “buy in” to a company’s vision, messages, goals, and values. Internal communications plans start with a clear statement of the company’s ethics, standards, and principles. It’s also important to conduct a ”communication audit” that analyzes how organizational communication occurs and answers some important questions:
- Are employees receiving accurate information?
- Are employees receiving regular information?
- Are messages consistent across the company?
- Do employees understand the goals/results of communications?
Once the audit is complete, a plan can be implemented that communicates employees’ worth and demonstrates that they are critical to the company’s objectives. In fact, there are countless ways to reinforce employee engagement from a communications perspective. Here are a few examples:
- Contests with compelling prizes (free gift, etc.)
- Celebrate of achievements (attended by senior executives)
- Awards/certificates recognizing employee commitment
- Internal mentor programs to link junior and upper-level employees
- Community relations events sponsored by the company
Feedback is equally important. Leaders should solicit employee feedback and suggestions about the company’s direction. Employees who feel that their ideas and suggestions are heard will be more engaged in their job. An organization with high levels of employee engagement enjoys reduced attrition and increased advocacy for its products and services. Implementing a well thought-out internal communications program will help companies leverage benefits for maximum advantage. Employee engagement can be the catalyst that leads a company to increased levels of productivity, creativity, and bottom-line results.