By David Ruiz, Operations Manager, USA
Many companies pour money into internal communications initiatives with the end goal of better employee engagement. While this is a noble cause, why do so many continue to miss the mark? Recent studies have revealed that between 25 and 35% of employees rate their company’s internal communications as poor. From our experience this number should be much higher.
While working with a recent client we polled employees using a management culture questionnaire. Our aim was to take the pulse of the business and understand some of the current challenges it was facing. As expected, a whopping 52% of employees rated internal comms as poor, including managers and directors.
When we reviewed the results with a senior business executive, he was dismayed, saying, ‘We’ve invested heavily in communications over the past several years. Why do our employees continue to feel it’s poor?’
He was correct – they had invested to improve communications. They had hired an internal communications specialist and developed and implemented a communications strategy, including:
- breakfast with the CEO
- an employee social media site
- a revamp of the company newsletter
- email blasts with relevant information
- and monthly town hall meetings.
So, with all these improvements aimed at increasing communication and employee engagement, why did so many still feel that communication was lacking? After hundreds of engagements and thousands of employee interviews we’ve discovered the answer, and it may surprise you.
Simply put, employees at all levels, want to understand the goals and direction of their company, how they are contributing and what progress is being made. While many companies do a good job of communicating company direction and performance, most miss the crucial step of linking individual contributions to overall company success.
Employees want frequent communication about what’s expected of them but, most importantly, the contribution their work is making. To do this, management must first have a very good understanding of it themselves.
Leaving this important step to front line managers or waiting for regular employee reviews leads to less than stellar results. It must be a systemic process, with communication flowing continually top down, bottom up.
How often? Ideally daily, or at least weekly. The more closed loop communication employees have with management concerning how their performance adds to company value, the better.
Everyone wants to play for a winning team. However, more importantly, people want to know how they contribute to the team’s continued success. How many times have you heard a sports executive or star player comment that the crowd’s cheers motivated the team, elevating their performance? They understand that to engage fans, they must make them feel like their support makes a real difference to the team’s success.
So, how can you ensure your company communicates adequately to ensure your employees remain engaged in the game?
Developing and mapping a comprehensive management control system, linking corporate strategy, goals and initiatives to daily execution will help to bring about the clarity that so many communication strategies miss. To have these meaningful conversations takes a series of connected values, goals, KPIs, skills assessments, meetings and progress reporting.
Then, for example, a maintenance technician will finally be able to understand how their work contributes to the company’s goal of increasing shareholder value.
Being able to tell an employee that their effort towards achieving zero quality defects has encouraged two new customers to sign up is great. Being able to show them that this is progress towards increasing the company’s market share is invaluable and will ensure world class employee engagement. If you would like help making this happen in your company, or are just curious to find out more, please get in touch.