By Hilary Collins, MD, award-winning B2B PR agency, Big Wave PR.
Over the past few years employee engagement has become the ‘buzz’ word on boardroom tables.
Organisations have started to think long and hard about how they can encourage their employees to be more productive, entrepreneurial and loyal. Of course, for companies that develop the right environment for employee engagement to thrive, they’re looking at vast improvements to their bottom line.
What is the holy grail of employee engagement?
Love them or hate them, the best place to start is with a staff survey. No-one can uncover the thoughts and minds of your staff without undertaking research. If you are an organisation with over 25 employees, it’s probably best to start with a survey to understand what’s going on in your organisation. Be clear from the outset what you want to achieve from the research. Don’t just jump on survey monkey and download a survey marked employee engagement, think about what issues are effecting your workforce, such as training or communication and consider how these could have changed staff morale.
Think about what your questions really mean. Many organisations invest in their company’s mission and strategic goals, they’ll also set-up an intranet and a staff newsletter. However, it’s shocking how many times employees feel left out and don’t know what’s going on in their organisation. Problems with communication can often be on the team manager level, where strategic decision making isn’t being passed down the ranks, making staff feel excluded and have ‘no idea what’s going on.’
Develop a communications strategy and plan to meet the needs of your firm. Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses tweak your communications to suit all. This may mean that some employees need an open-door policy with a team manager, whereas others are happy to receive updates on the intranet. What’s vital is that the information is clear and accessible to all.
It is also vital to ensure you act on the results. If employees see no change, it will create apathy and resentment in management. It will also make it far more difficult at a later stage to try and engage with staff as they’ll simply believe it’s a waste of time.
Internal communication is a vital component to securing top levels of employee engagement. Sadly, many companies feel that they’ve ticked the internal communication box by running a monthly newsletter, popping up a noticeboard and launching an intranet. However, if their employees are not engaging in the communications then the conversation between employer and employee becomes very one-sided!
Keep the conversation going with home workers
Internal communication is incredibly important, especially if a large number of your employees are working from home. It can be exciting and fresh to get up in the morning, forget the commute and switch on your laptop, but after the initial honeymoon period staff become ‘distant’ and it’s hard to have the same relationship with employees as when you see them everyday in the office. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are ideal for connectivity and sharing documents, but nothing can replace a one-to-one in person. A wise tip to remember for all homeworking employees is to offer flexibility, where possible offer three days from home and perhaps two days in the office as the ideal solution. A mix of working from home and in the office is the best way to keep everyone in the loop when it comes to workplace culture, latest happenings and developments.
To discover more, visit www.wearebigwavepr.co.uk.
About the author
Hilary Collins is the founder and MD of the award-winning B2B and lifestyle PR agency, Big Wave PR (www.wearebigwavepr.co.uk). She set-up the agency over ten years ago after the birth of her daughter following a high flying career in top 150 PR consultancies. Entrepreneurial by nature Hilary has led Big Wave PR to win a wide variety of accounts from Carlsberg to Papa John’s Pizza and Royal British Legion to Visit Essex. Hilary is passionate about supporting other women achieve their business goals and has spoken at a wide range of events to inspire the next generation of businesswomen. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
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