Communication has always ranked as one of the top five drivers of employee engagement. That said, today it has ascended to an even more crucial employee need because of the rapid changes occurring in the workplace as well as the doubling of employees now working from home across the United States. According to Gallup, over 60% of employees are now working from home, up from just over 30% a few months ago.
What are forward-thinking organizations doing to ensure employees stay connected with leadership and with each other? Here are then things that should be part of your employee communication plan:
- Town Hall Meetings: on a weekly or monthly basis, conduct town hall meetings on a web platform like Zoom. Be sure employees can connect with their mobile devices and automatically mute them upon entry. Have a short agenda to give a business update and recognize employees for outstanding contributions, leaving plenty of time for questions using the platform’s chat feature.
- Senior Leadership Chat Box: allow employees and senior leadership to engage on an internal chat box. An ongoing dialogue demonstrates bottom-up engagement and gives senior leadership the opportunity to shape the narrative that is forming within the organization.
- Peer-to-Peer Recognition: allow employees the opportunity to give shout-outs to each other. This fosters appreciation, boosts morale and reinforces the culture most organizations are trying to build.
- Quick Links: ensure employees have all of their resources at their finger-tips. Is it easy and intuitive to find human resources information, important work documents and an employee directory? Make sure these resources are accessible from a mobile device, centrally organized and just a click away.
- Virtual Coffee Talk / Happy Hour: one thing employees miss most are the informal social connections they had on the ground. Organize an online coffee talk or happy hour – no agenda, just book the time and talk about what’s streaming on Netflix, who got a new puppy and everyone’s favorite iced coffee drink or craft brew.
- Contests: a couple of our clients have organized facemask contests, whereby employees took selfies of themselves and posted to the employee communication portal. Another runs a weekly trivia contest. Think of fun ways to engage your employees.
- Post Company Metrics: update company metrics on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis. Post the metrics to a communication portal with a short commentary. Whether you are making widgets, in construction, a law office or a bank, employees want to know how the organization is doing.
- Supervisor – Employee Check-Ins: Gallup tells us 70% of an employee’s engagement is directly related to their relationship with their supervisor. Have a system in place whereby supervisors are checking in with employees weekly or monthly. Using an online system to prompt meetings, track results and maintain documentation is a good way to create accountability and productive supervisor/employee check-ins.
- Make It Mobile: meeting employees where they are is important. Approximately 80% of workers in the US do NOT work behind a desk, according to LinkedIn. So ensuring employee communication tools are easily accessible from a mobile device makes communication accessible for all employees.
- Recognize Employee Milestones: an online communication portal can be set up to automatically recognize employee milestones, such as birthdays and service anniversaries. This type of public recognition spreads goodwill and allows fellow employees to send personal messages to employees on their special day.
So often, I hear HR professionals and company leaders say they do not have the time for a robust and modern communication system. Nobody is “designated” as the point person and they are busy on other tasks. First, a modern system is “low touch” for administrators with so many features automated.
Second, we know employee communication raises productivity and reduces turnover. If leaders and HR professionals are busy working on improving the bottom line, hiring the next employee and resolving employee conflict, here is something they can do to be proactive – with a very small investment of resources, companies can utilize technology to make a big impact.
Finally, we produced a 30-minute webinar two months ago if you would like to learn more. We encourage you to utilize the systems you have to make communication more effective in your organization. You may also consider a low-cost, modern communication portal and we invite you learn more by signing up for a 20-minute demo, or email me directly at email@example.com.