Want to Drive Employee Engagement? Give Employees a Voice
Last updated on September 27, 2022 at 05:18 pm
As a leader of an internal communications team, I spent a good part of my early career trying to lock down and limit the amount of communication going to employees. This wasn’t because I didn’t believe in transparency or want employees to be in the know. But rather because I wanted them to be able to focus on the important communication and take action. But once all communication flowed through my team, I learned that we had to empower others to create great content. To drive employee engagement, we needed employees to tell some of their stories. And we had to give employees the ability to share feedback with us to ensure we created content that mattered.
3 Ways to Tap Into the Employee Voice
To empower your employees to share their stories, they need to feel like they are part of the communication process. So, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Seek out employees to share the “why” and the “what’s in it for me” and keep the tactical comms in-house. You have likely mastered a format for tactical communication that gives employees clear and simple direction, so keep that up. But to get employees to care about why they should take action, sharing an employee’s experience is key. And these messages will drive employee engagement.
- Find the writers! Talk to employees in other creative departments (e.g. marketing and training) and invite them to write content for your intranet, newsletter, or app. They will create content that aligns with your organizational values while giving it a new voice and perspective.
- Use video and podcasting as a means of getting and sharing content. For some employees, especially younger generations, it will be easier for them to record a video or call in for a podcast than it will be to write something. And you should embrace this. Keep interviews short and pointed so you can turn content around quickly, keeping it relevant. Plus this will cut down on the editing time!
How to Drive Employee Engagement
So, how does tapping into the employee voice drive engagement? There are actually many reasons.
77% of employees agree they want to work at a company where they feel connected to the purpose and the people (Blueboard). Employees crave connection. But if they never get to see and hear from their peers, they miss the opportunity to connect. This is especially true of frontline workers who work different shifts and aren’t given as many channels for communication.
90% of frontline workers feel that having a valued voice in their organization is important (SafetyCulture). I don’t know what the other 10% are thinking, but I think all of us want to be valued and feel like our voice matters. The data doesn’t lie here. Internal comms teams are in the unique position to elevate more voices across their organization.
67% of frontline workers say they are never, rarely, or only sometimes listen to on topics that matter most to them (SafetyCulture). The sad truth is that not all employees feel like they do have a voice right now. We need to give our frontline workers a say in how we run our businesses. They are the ones working hard in the field, interacting with our customers, and keeping the lights on. These employees have a great perspective on things we could change and do better. Listening to them will not only help them feel cared for but will help your company operate more effectively.
Why it Matters
I know it’s hard to let go of the control you’ve worked hard to gain, but it’s worth it. And your employees will appreciate hearing from the people who are walking in their shoes. A good internal comms team knows that employees want to hear from other employees and local leaders to enhance and make relevant communication coming from the c-suite and corporate teams. A great internal communications team sets the cadence and flow of communication and empowers others to create meaningful content that reflects the culture of the organization.
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