Top Tips to Use Communication for Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the number one contributing factor of business success. Much has been said about efficient means boosting employee engagement and especially in the context of the digital era. Because human interactions have changed and will keep changing, it is essential to adapt to this rapidly advancing trend without dehumanizing the people.
In fact, many businesses are struggling to keep up. Both the managers who are having a difficult time adjusting to the start-up mindset of the future and the employees used only to the distracting email communication are staggering.
With so many tools and apps, who is to blame them?
The biggest of issues seems to be the choice of apps and tools. The schema of providing employees (and managers) with proper training sessions is not novel. Rather, the main question is which tools to choose and not overwhelm the workforce?
Obviously, it is highly inefficient to just lump new tools as they become more popular. Proper apps should be chosen from the day one, and only those that will be used. Some of the tools a business needs will be discussed below, as well as efficient means for boosting employee engagement via these tools.
For starters, let’s take a look at what employee engagement actually means.
What Do We Mean By “Employee Engagement?”
For many people, the answer to this question seems obvious. However, there is more than meets the eye to employee engagement, especially in the light of the factors mentioned above. Digitalization and AI are changing the ways we interact, for better or for worse.
It is safe to say that the main goal of boosting employee engagement in the communication field should be focused in improving interactions. This is primarily done by not overlooking (or, more often, forgetting) the human factor.
To simplify the complex factors that make engagement possible in the first place, think about employees’ motivation. Even though it’s undeniable that people are different and sometimes incompatible when placed in the same team, it is also true that all employees — no matter their personalities – look for two things in a workplace: a stress-free environment and a good salary.
It is also important to note that there is a unique personality type that has of late come to be defined as “talents.” These people look at things from a different angle and truly think outside of the box. They are motivated by an environment that isn’t rigid and is open to new ideas and approaches.
Unlike other employee types, talents are known for looking for inspirational workplaces that will allow them to bloom without trying to fit them into established practices. For them, salary isn’t the chief factor when looking for a job.
That is to say, when brainstorming employee engagement ideas, you should take different personalities into consideration. Allowing some employees to do things their own way while asking others to follow routines is obviously not a winning strategy.
That being said, a unilateral approach revolving around employee satisfaction should be your starting point.
A study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and Rob Cross, Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College shows that purpose is the key factor of collaboration and, by extension, engagement.
Says Kevin Martin, i4cp Chief Research Officer:
“The lack of incentives and rewards is the most common and powerful barrier to effective collaboration. Yet, most talent management systems are designed to reward individual achievement, not team accomplishments. Finding ways to recognize and reward individuals, leaders, and teams who engage in productive collaborative behaviors can pay off in a big way.”
In other words, all employees expect a reward for their efforts. When people are unsatisfied with their jobs, their motivation and engagement are certain to suffer. At that point, it will be too late to employ communication to boost engagement. To prevent this from happening, you should listen to your employees and adapt practices and strategies so that everyone will be content and the job will get done.
Boosting Employee Satisfaction
As mentioned above, a stress-free environment and a satisfactory salary must be achieved at some level. In addition, clear progress ideas may further inspire employees to perform better. However, don’t fall into the classic trap here and fuel competitiveness in an unhealthy way.
For a truly enjoyable workplace, everyone should contribute to the company’s success, meaning that everyone should be given the chance to present their ideas. Again, this is rather similar to the startup model, as people working with startups know all too well that success rides on everyone’s participation, given that the risks are enormous.
If you can, try to include workshops, casual meetings, and pleasant team-building activities where ideas will take shape and get enriched by joint employee output.
There is a proven way to learn what employees are expecting from the company and what kinds of activities they would like to participate in, namely — anonymous feedback.
How to Apply Anonymous Feedback
Of late, anonymous feedback has become a reliable method to determine which actions a company should take to boost employee engagement. Anonymity ensures honesty as employees won’t face mobbing even when they have complaints.
However, in order for feedback to be efficient, you should know which targeted questions to include for best results. The finest of questions allow employees to provide their personal opinions about the matters regarding their job and also to offer ideas on how to make business practices better for them.
Good anonymous feedback should include at least the following questions:
- Have you received recognition for your engagement in last month’s project?
- Have you received employee recognition for your engagement in last month’s project?
- What would be your idea for a fun group activity for the upcoming company gathering?
- Which projects are most satisfying for you?
- Describe what you did during last month to make something better.
Next on, you should encourage creativity and critical thinking by prompting for ideas on target issues. The greatest engagement boost for an employee is to see that their voice is being heard and that their ideas are being implemented.
That is to say, you should not just include idea questions at random. You should brainstorm your feedback questions so that the answers can boost creativity and engagement.
To boost engagement even better, you can pick the best ideas and have teams discuss them jointly.
Why Communication Is So Important
No matter how much times may have changed, efficient communication still remains the core of engagement. In fact, communication is the core of pretty much everything as is nicely demonstrated by narrow-minded ideas directly inspired by artificial and shallow imitations of online communications popular these days.
That’s why you should emphasize interpersonal communication. Benefits of the digital era aside, digitalization has made us mechanical beings rather than human beings to such an extent that it seems many of us need to re-learn face-to-face communication without conflict.
Don’t ask Google for answers — encourage idea brainstorming backed up by team building and brainstorming sessions that include everyone’s input.
Effective Types of Communication
As far as digital communication is concerned, it should be used to boost the benefits of technology but also embrace the human factor. Commonly, business communication is performed via three channels:
Email has been around the longest and, as a result, is the number one tool all employees feel comfortable using. However, emails cannot replace other communication functions (meetings, for example) and are not the best solution for project management and collaboration.
Because of that, email programs have become ever so more efficient and easy to use, since the main headache of our age seems to be the elusive goal of the so-called “zero inbox.” It is essential that you choose the best email service and ensure that its features cover all aspects you need, as well as that it is easy to use at a glance.
This is especially important if you’ll be increasing your email marketing efforts, and getting more familiar with creating lists, etc.
Messengers have replaced some of the original functions of email. It is essential that they be used for the target purpose as to eliminate distractions. Messengers can contribute to constructive communication and efficient time management as they eliminate the need to gather people physically in one space.
#3. Project management apps
Project management apps are the latest generation of innovative apps that simplify the complex management process. There are various brands available, and they can appear intimidating at first, but in the long run, they contribute greatly to efficient time management and make contributions considerably easier by allowing all contributors to participate in the process directly, with all changes being immediately visible to all participants.
In the End
Employee engagement heavily relies on communication. A healthy balance of online and face-to-face communication needs to be maintained so that the employees are satisfied. In addition to satisfaction, interpersonal communication and idea brainstorming should be encouraged.
Even if there are no universal guidelines, the mechanisms that drive engagement remain constant, nevertheless. Make an effort to know your employees, listen to their feedback, and implement the best of their ideas. After all, employees who share the company’s vision are the ones who are certain to stay with the company in the long run and see every company success as their own.
About the Author!
Angela Ash is an expert content writer, editor and marketer, and she works with Flow SEO, founded by well-known SEO specialist, Viola Eva. She writes on a multitude of topics, but places special importance on content marketing, SEO, productivity, employee engagement, remote teams and business applications.