How’s business? If your employees aren’t engaged and aligned with your brand message, then it could be a lot better. Internal engagement is critical to your company’s success. It affects productivity, growth and, especially, the customer experience. Unfortunately for most organizations without a solid internal communications strategy, employee engagement looks pretty bleak these days.
According to a Gallup 2015 State of the American Workforce Report, only 32% of Americans claim that they’re engaged at work while 50.8% report that they’re not. Worse yet – 17.2% even reported that they were actively disengaged!
Sorry, but it gets worse. For every two engaged employees, there is typically one actively disengaged team member that is trying to slow them down. Et tu, Brute?! This disengagement costs the U.S. $450-550 billion a year. Yikes.
So what do you do about it? Exceptional engagement starts with a well communicated plan that cascades from leadership to frontline employees.
We’ll help you develop an internal communications strategy that puts you on the right side of employee productivity and ignites your culture. After all, Gallup also reported that companies who engage their employees outperform those with unengaged people by 200%.
The 5 Important Steps to Create Your Internal Communications Strategy:
1. Understand your Audience
First and foremost, you need to gather insights from your team – and don’t just connect with your managers who represent a slice of your business. You need to involve everyone, especially frontline employees who directly impact the customer experience. Everyone should have a voice.
What does this do? Their perspective should inform your strategy and communication tactics. You’re not only trying to identify the best way they receive information but also when it’s best received and who best to deliver it.
As you gather this data, you’re ready to take your findings to the next level.
2. Create a Communications Campaign
Now that you have greater insight into your audience, it’s time to design a communications campaign that includes multiple tactics, mediums, or channels on a regular/predictable schedule.
Think of your internal shareholders as your customers – they usually need at least 9 different touchpoints before they start engaging with the message and showing results.
Because it’s as easy to lose their attention as it is to gain it, employee communications must stand out among the noise. Use different mediums to do so. Emails may get you in the door, but short videos, live huddles and team meetings, creative signage, etc. will help get the point across and will also convey that you’re committed to sharing the message.
3. Establish an Engagement Council
An Engagement Council is a very important factor in your internal engagement. This should be composed of current and emerging leaders who can offer deeper insights and will serve as a sounding board and advisory group.
Think of these folks as your internal brand advocates/ambassadors. The Engagement Council can vet information and socialize the early tactics with “boots on the ground” messaging. Your employees will be much more receptive when they’re given a heads-up by their leaders (i.e. “This is what you’ll be seeing”).
By securing representatives from throughout the entire company, you’ll harness different perspectives and challenge them to introduce the new ways/perspectives in unique, engaging ways.
4. Connect your People
This is what it’s all about. Your mission is to bring your people together in a meaningful way.
This could be a company-wide meeting, retreat, or special event. And it’s amplified by allocating an appropriate budget for pre- and post-meeting engagement tactics.
Similar to your internal communication strategy, there must be a strategy and plan for the meeting itself rather than just something that’s thrown together at the last minute. Also, by having an ongoing engagement strategy in place, it will extend the 1- or 2-day event into a multi-year engagement and beyond.
As you plan your event, be sure to address how you will keep their attention. This is usually done best through storytelling – even throughout the meeting itself. Share the story and it will reveal the journey they’re supposed to be on.
5. Ask for Continuous Feedback
Even when you think it’s over – it’s never over. Employee engagement is a living, breathing thing – you have to stop to check its pulse often. And you had better be prepared to iterate and adjust course as needed.
ABP. Always Be Polling. After your big event or after you launch a new communication tool, don’t forget to send out a post-experience survey. You’ll want to know how it went and how you can improve. Once your team shares that feedback, do something about it. Give it a line of sight. “We heard you and that’s why we’re implementing A, B, & C.” This will undoubtedly inform future communications for your team.
Another great indirect benefit of this feedback loop is that it will help you identify future leaders for your Engagement Council.
Connect Your People. Grow Your Business.
As your employees understand their role and see how their work impacts the overall business, they’ll develop your desired behaviors and become brand ambassadors that drive real growth. As an owner, a manager or a team leader, you’re accountable to produce the internal leadership that generates this engagement and reignites the initiatives that drive performance.
For more help in designing creative, on-going engagement and communication strategies for your team, contact CPG – we’re a nationally recognized experiential engagement, creative and event production agency, specializing in the production of large-scale meetings, special events, internal engagement, video and digital media.