Thursday, 3 April 2014

Go forth and engage!

For years, I tried to teach employers how to engage their people through effective leadership practices. When I decided to change careers and get into Communications/ Public Relations, I thought I would have to let my passion for creating engaged work environments die. Fortunately, I wasn’t very far into my studies before I realized that as a communicator I could still support and influence organizational change.

 At the risk of sounding like I have no life, I have to say that it’s exciting for me to know that the role of a communicator in supporting employee engagement initiatives is extremely important. What’s more, when you work in an area of business that is not directly tied to something as measurable as sales, it is extremely important to be able to justify your existence to your employer. God knows, it is easy for both HR and PR people to seem superfluous in a sales driven environment.

The secret for Communications professionals (and HR people too) is to be able to link their efforts with the results of employee engagement surveys. Since employee engagement is directly tied to the bottom line, your supporting efforts must be part of that measurement.

According to Gallup Management Journal, disengaged employees cost American companies over $300 billion each year. This is largely due to things like poor customer service, turnover, absenteeism, manufacturing waste, lost sales opportunities, etc. Being able to reduce losses in any of those areas could make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line.

Here are a few ways communicators can contribute to employee engagement efforts and boost overall business results:

·         Work with Human Resources to promote mentorship and career development programs

·         Produce newsletter articles about how to give effective feedback to employees and bosses

·         Developing and promoting workplace social activities

·         Promoting and encouraging participation in company charity initiatives

·         Publicly recognizing employees for doing quality work

·         Keeping the mission, vision and values of the company top of mind for everyone

·         Developing employee feedback systems that management is committed to embracing

·         Rewarding employees for contributing toward process improvement

It is important to know that all employee engagement efforts require a communal commitment from management, human resources and communications. We cannot do it alone, but every bit of effort counts, so go forth and engage!

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