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20 ways internal communications can fix an employee engagement issue

If you’ve spotted the signs of poor employee engagement or you’re already struggling under the financial burden of it, then it’s high time you took steps to fix the problem. It doesn’t have to be expensive or drastic. The secret lies in internal communications and here’s 20 ways to do it.

1. Give people a way of engaging with it

If you make company announcements one-sided, then how do you know if they’re being read, let alone appreciated? Set up a system whereby your communications can be easily digested and reacted to, either with ‘like’ buttons or comment boxes and then monitor the engagement each post receives. This will show you the type of content that works well (or doesn’t) and will help you improve it.

2. Attribute company announcements to someone; not some team

Far too often, companies send out important notices or business updates that are ignored because the staff don’t know who they’re coming from. Identify people within your business that have a high profile, are admired, or big team players, and ask them to write and share company communications. If we use twitter as an example, a member of a famous rock band can tweet “Hello” and gain thousands of responses and retweets. Someone unknown is unlikely to get any engagement at all. Therefore, identify some “influencers” within your business and make them your internal comms ambassadors.

3. Communicate to staff at a local level, on their terms

Just because they work for a huge national or international organisation doesn’t mean your staff are interested in every detail of the business.

[quote]Plan trips to every site to talk to people, ask questions and thank them for their good work. Keep a track of the input and take action on any red flags or warning signs of a problem. [/quote]

Consider what is important to them – local access, facilities, opportunities for development – and tailor your communication accordingly. Make your employees see that you understand what they want and need and they’ll feel valued.

4. Do senior team roadshows

On the same subject of making your employees feel valued, show them in person that you care about the job they’re doing. Plan trips to every site to talk to people, ask questions and thank them for their good work. This will help build respect which will help them work even harder for you.

5. Take stock of sentiment

Let staff share how they’re feeling about things with regular sentiment tests, feedback forms and chat functions. Keep a track of the input and take action on any red flags or warning signs of a problem.  Having the right internal communication software in place, like StaffCircle, will mean you always have access to analytics showing the company’s “health” and happiness.

6. Make remote communication simple

If you have a remote workforce – which almost every business does to some extent these days – then it’s up to you to ensure they have access to the tools to do their job properly. And that means more than just giving them a laptop and a phone.

“Keep a track of the input and take action on any red flags or warning signs of a problem. Share news or make learning fun by using gamification or video clips and you’ll see engagement increase significantly.”

It’s vital that every member of staff can access a company “intranet” and receive alerts from the business. StaffCircle is a branded workforce app which means all employees can gain all the information they need from their pocket.

7. Use tools staff are familiar with

It’s no good sending alerts or news to an app if it’s on a device people don’t use. Make sure your internal communications software is compatible with all mobile phones and tablet devices so every staff member has access when they need it.

8. Have fun with your communications

Few people have time to read lots of text but we’ve all got time for a game or video. Share news or make learning fun by using gamification or video clips and you’ll see engagement increase significantly.

9. Got a business problem? Ask everyone to help

Often the biggest cause of employee dissatisfaction is that they feel left out from the important plans of the business. Make your staff feel valued by involving them in fixing company issues. An example of this would be to start an initiative to reduce energy usage across the company. Ask everyone to come up with ideas, create a committee and praise all of those who take part in achieving results.

10. Get people together

Could it be that some of your staff live near to each and could car share? Is someone selling some furniture that another employee could benefit from? Is your company crying out for a 5-a-side football team? Set up a company wide networking room or “notice board” for people to share non-work related matters and you’ll build a tighter working community.

11. Be prompt

Make sure that company news gets to people as quickly as possible so that they can react accordingly. StaffCircle is one tool that sends alerts by text so staff receive information almost instantly.

12. Find a reliable service

If your system has glitches in it, breaks regularly, or is difficult to use, people will lose faith in it and stop using it. Sign up to a system that’s secure, reliable and very simple to update – the more people that can publish on it, the more successful it will be.

13. Consider language barriers

Your staff could be disengaged because they feel the senior team doesn’t talk to them in the right way, using superior language or terms that they don’t understand. Internal communications needs to translate any corporate messages into copy that every employee can follow. And, if you employ a lot of foreign language speaking staff, then you must translate all copy for them too.

14. Add humour and warmth

You may be a serious corporate brand externally but that doesn’t mean you should have a cold persona to staff too. To make them enjoy working for you by adding some personality to the communications you share internally, using humour where approporiate. Praise and positive language will also help to improve employee sentiment.

15. Ask your employees what they want from communication and then give it to them

Ask everyone in your company to list the most important things to them about work and communication. It’s unlikely everyone will give the same answers but you’ll get a clear idea of what to prioritise and what won’t be read. It’s no good guessing; find out what gaps in their knowledge staff have and then help them fill them.

16. Champion good work

If people feel their good work is going unnoticed, they’ll stop trying altogether so use internal comms to showcase the brilliant jobs people are doing. You can create an award system, get people to nominate colleagues and let people take pride in what they’re doing.

17. Make personal development and training more accessible

With the right internal communications playform, you can give everyone their own dashboard for personal development and training. That way, they know what they need to do to progress and what opportunities lie ahead of them.

18. Enable job- and skill-sharing

Even if you have a formal training programme in place, there may be other ways people can learn new things and inspire others. As part of the “notice board” mentioned earlier, post requests for job-sharing, job-swapping, and fun classes to get people learning more about the company around them. You could find you have some future leaders on your hands.

“Even if you have a formal training programme in place, there may be other ways people can learn new things and inspire others.”

19. Share the brand values

If your staff aren’t clear about the company mission or its values, it will be hard to work towards them!  Internal communications can take the role of sharing the brand with the business and guiding them on what the values mean and how to follow them. This can be difficult to do with a remote workforce but a branded app with a Company Brand section will really help.

20. Don’t take it personally; let internal comms address the problem

If staff are unhappy and want to leave, as a leader it can be hard not to take it personally. The good thing about having an internal comms team and system in place is that they can deal with the issue in a professional and approporiate way, take full feedback on the problems and then make recommendations to fix them.

For more information on improving your employee engagement, get in touch here.

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