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People First: The “Right” Communication is Key to Employee Engagement

 

A manager tells a baby boomer employee, “I need you to work on this new project. I’m confident you can figure out what needs to be done,” and walks off. The manager doesn’t give the employee any of the tools needed to do the job properly nor does he explain why the project is important. In another department, a manager sends a millennial employee multiple texts that say, “I’ve been meaning to discuss your future with the company,” and the conversation never takes place.

The first employee feels taken for granted and hopes the work can be completed to the management’s liking. She wants, and needs, goals and feedback as work progresses, but at her stage of life she is not interested in career advancement. The millennial believes the manager is uncomfortable giving feedback and uninterested in the employee’s career plans. He is now looking for a new job.

The Right Way is the Preferred Way

Much emphasis is placed on developing effective (aka the “right”) communication in the workplace, but do your leaders understand the implications of ineffective communication? A decade ago, the workforce primarily consisted of two generations. Today there are usually three or four, and millennials in particular are driving changes in workplace communication. However, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that each generation has a preferred communication style. Many managers continue to rely on one communication style, acceptable 10-20 years ago, and find themselves questioning high employee turnover rates.

The ability of organizational leaders to communicate with employees in the style they prefer, and in a way that meets their expectations, is key to developing engaged employees. For example, millennials like social media, texts, video and other digital-based communications. They appreciate honest and regular feedback, productive training, collaboration and leaders who respond to their input in some manner.

Stepping Out from Behind the Metric Wall

The “right” conversation isn’t always held face to face, but all interactions across communication channels need to have positive qualities. The right conversations cross generations because they’re “tools” that add to the employee’s understanding of the company mission, the employee’s role in achieving that mission and the value he or she delivers. Engaging leadership conversations embrace employee training and development, insights and ideas, and personal goals. They promote a workforce ‘community,’ and are transparent and sincere.

Gallup conducts numerous surveys on employee engagement, and for good reasons. Employee engagement percentages remain stubbornly low, approximately 33 percent. Measuring engagement levels is not enough. In the technology age, overwhelmed leaders often rely on metrics as a wall to hide behind rather than directly engaging employees. Engagement survey results and other metrics cannot replace regular communication, feedback or training. The numbers may indicate progress or a lack of progress, but a good employee engagement program includes ongoing conversations between your leaders and employees, and managers need the appropriate learning to conduct productive, regular conversations.

Right Engagement Leads to Right Answers

A writer in the Harvard Business Review suggests that employee complaints concerning poor communication in the workplace are often symptomatic of a larger, deeper problem. In the article’s example, complaining employees were actually communicating in the workplace, but the real problem was uncertainty about their job responsibilities. Human Resources wasn’t making job responsibilities clear. Leaders trained in effective communication would have examined and uncovered the real issues by engaging employees. This applies to union-proofing your business, too. Employees will inevitably turn to other sources if managers don’t understand and correct larger organizational problems.

The right communication is a linkage between employers and employees, and that can be in person and via video, websites and interactive eLearning that help companies orient, train, inform, educate and connect with employees. In fact, Gallup found that employees who were most engaged had some form of communication with their managers every day. Leaders who use a mix of phone, in-person and digital communication are the most successful in engaging employees of all generations.

Tweaking Your Employer Brand for Better Recruiting

Why are so many skilled professionals clamoring to land a job with companies like Facebook and Google? While yes, these companies appear stable and lucrative, there is something much bigger fueling interest: their employer brands. The perks, the opportunities, the flexibility and the social environment – these are the factors job seekers want to hear about. So if your company isn’t attracting quite the right candidates or if your retention rates are lower than you’d prefer, consider tweaking your employer brand.

Where Are You Taking Them?

No false advertising here. Just start providing an honest look at your company’s work environment. That’s why it’s key to focus on the Employee Engagement Journey and help prospective employees understand what it means to become a vital part of your team.

While each job and each person is on a unique path, clearly defining what your employer brand promises can go a long way toward establishing trust. You might publish pictures from an office party or a sneak peek at employees collaborating on a new product. Just make sure the kind of content you publish aligns with how your company presents its brand identity and values.

Consider recruiting current employees to participate in communicating your employer brand. While you can talk about how wonderful the company is all day long, seeing social media posts or reading blogs from employees themselves often creates a stronger image of work culture.

An Employer of Choice

There are a few key factors that will propel your brand from anonymity to popularity. As these factors are reiterated and established over time, candidates will come to trust your brand.

Being an “employer of choice” requires that you think of “compensation” as more than just wages paid. For a company with a strong employer brand and reputation, compensation includes the full range of benefits an employees enjoy. Broaden that scope to include things that move team members along in their journey with the company, including skill-building workshops, work-from-home opportunities and bonding and networking internally with co-workers. Be sure to present the full range of compensation (your employer brand) to candidates, as few will be fully aware.

Another thing to remember is to keep your compensation package open and adaptable. As you communicate more with employees, you may find that certain benefits need to be tweaked, added, or removed to be sure the brand is supporting their journey.

Communicate Your Employer Brand

One of the most powerful forces that will make you an employer of choice is word of mouth. Your current employees are the best spokespersons for your brand – both during and after their time with you. Thus it is critical to continuously check in on employee engagement. Keep the lines of communication open so when a change needs to happen, employees have no problem talking to you about it.

Consider creating a “pre-hire orientation” message that will communicate all that is expected of employees. This way, your recruiting efforts have a better chance of resonating with the right candidates. If an applicant sees something they don’t like in the pre-hire orientation process, they (and you) know your company isn’t a fit for them.

Build a network of trust both within and outside of your company, and your brand reputation will shine through everything else. As Lindsay Nahmiache, co-founder of Jive PR eloquently phrased it in Forbes, “Building a network is a gradual process that takes months and sometimes years to pay off . It consists of continually providing support and value in two-way relationships.”

11 Examples of How Great Social Media Sets Employers Apart

Forging meaningful connections via social media is a goal of most people. It’s not just individuals though; about 50 percent of large companies and 75 percent of small businesses use social media.

Here are a few examples of how companies excel in using social media:

  1. Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation (BSN): This is a community of Best Buy employees who share knowledge, best practices and ideas, regardless of their positions and even ages. Best Buy has successfully integrated this internal network with its employees’ lives and have used it to empower employees and engage them meaningfully.
  2. Zappos: Two-thirds of employees of this online shoe and clothing shop have a social media presence, where they are encouraged to freely connect online with customers. Besides that, the company fosters a culture that helps employees thrive and be happy. You can be sure that no employee of such a company would consider union organizing.
  3. Indium Corporation of America: This solder manufacturer has ten blogs and 15 bloggers. The company has been able to cultivate relationships that enhance not just customer satisfaction and brand loyalty but also employee satisfaction.
  4. Latham & Watkins LLP: The private social network of this large law firm is useful from recruitment to retirement as it contains relevant official and personal content.
  5. Starbucks: Although this popular coffeehouse chain has a social media team, it encourages its employees to share updates about the brand on their own social media accounts. Besides, it has an online community, MyStarbucksIdea, where customers and employees can suggest ideas to improve the Starbucks experience and see it happen. Such employers suck the wind out of the union-organizing sail!
  6. Giantnerd: This company sells equipment for outdoor activities like hiking, biking and snowboarding. They created a social network within their website. You can join it with just one click upon which you will receive a five-percent discount. If you click the Like button on the site or join its Facebook community, you get exclusive deals. Since adding the Like button, Giantnerd’s average order has increased by 50 percent.
  7. San Chez Bistro: This tapas bistro and restaurant uses social media to be in sync with its customers. You can use Twitter to reserve a seat, which is known as “tweet-ahead seating.” Once you tweet, the online hostess tweets back to confirm. They also use their Foursquare page to offer incentives to patrons.
  8. Hootsuite: This popular social media dashboard regularly posts its employees’ photos on Instagram. It tags the employee in the description. Acknowledging and applauding employees improve employee morale and can be a positive union-avoidance method.
  9. Marsh Inc.: When this global risk management and insurance broker wanted to teach finance to a group of employees, it approached its finance experts, who created a 27-part blog series that included both written content and videos taken using phones.
  10. Deloitte: The multinational professional services firm has an internal social network, D Street. Each employee gets a personal landing page at D Street, complete with a photo gallery, an “about me” section and a blog. D Street also has online communities where employees can interact with each other. You can be sure they don’t discuss union card signing there!
  11. Southwest Airlines: This major US airline gets its staff to share stories on its blog, Nuts About Southwest, and post things about the firm on social media. Its social media actions were much appreciated in July 2016, when a technical outage brought the company website and email system down and Southwest’s social media team worked nonstop to respond to frantic queries.

Companies use social media largely to increase brand awareness or as marketing and sales tools. However, it can also be an excellent way to engage your workers meaningfully.

Conducting an HR Audit

Creating a More Engaged Workforce With Improved Policies

Creating a highly engaged workforce has become a vital aspect of business success. Statistically, employee engagement has been poor in the last few years. According to recent data from Gallup, nearly 70 percent of the American workforce is disengaged; around the world it’s worse, with only 15 percent of workers engaged. When employee engagement is low, it can harbor dissatisfaction in employees, making them susceptible to reduced productivity, turnover and an increased presence of labor unions. Therefore, all organizations must have a system for checking that their labor and employment practices are conducive to a highly engaged workforce.

Our comprehensive guide to conducting an HR Audit can help you form a plan of action for making sure that your company is on the right track. Here are five incredibly easy (and practical) first steps you can take to develop workforce policies that promote improved employee engagement:

1. Review all Recruitment and Hiring Processes

The journey to greater employee engagement can be a difficult one, but it is easier to manage with a clear roadmap. This often starts before an individual actually begins work — in the pre-hire stage of their experience. When a company’s brand reputation emphasizes a positive culture where employees feel valued, it sets things up for long-term success.

What you can do now: The applicant tracking system and way candidates are treated throughout the interview, hiring and on boarding process makes a huge difference. Use the audit guide to help you to identify any areas that need to be corrected.

2. Improve your Compensation and Perks

All human resource teams must ensure that employees are receiving the best possible compensation and benefits in order to remain competitive. The 2017 PayScale Compensation Best Practices Report indicated that 32 percent of top performing companies have changed their compensation strategies as a result of employee engagement feedback. More employers are actively listening to what their employees are asking for and taking steps to ensure they get what they need.

What you can do now: Take the time to conduct a brief survey of your employees to find out if your compensation program needs improvement.

HR Audit Guide

3. Ensure Secure and Accessible Information

In today’s business world, everything from customer data to employee information is stored in a digital format. This often includes the use of scheduling, payroll, performance and benefit platforms. Ongoing monitoring is needed to ensure that data is accurate and up-to-date and that people are paid correctly.

What you can do now: Your organization should verify that all information systems are secure from information breaches, and accessible and easy-to-use for employees. A third-party auditing firm can often pinpoint potential issues.

4. Improve the Work Environment

Working conditions make a big difference in how employees view their employer. There are too many toxic conditions invading otherwise good companies. The aspects that human resources can control include: having clearly written policies to deal with things like employee grievances, anti-bullying, drug use, union card signing, and more.

What you can do now: Review employee handbooks and update labor law posters in employee break areas. For some objective feedback, ask employees during exit interviews what the company can do better.

5. Boost Employee Performance Management

When employees are recognized for their efforts at work, they tend to stay more engaged in their careers. Having a professional development program to guide employees through the various stages of career growth is one step in the right direction.

What you can do now: Review job types with management and create structured learning paths for each department.

By following this checklist , any human resource team can help to elevate employee engagement, productivity, knowledge and morale.

Looking For More? Download our FREE Guide to conducting a Labor & Employment Audit to help you make your workplace more positive & productive!

new hire orientation video

How to Motivate New Employees With Video Onboarding (6 Great Tips)

Does effective onboarding increase employee motivation? SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) has gathered information indicating that it does. Their findings? That the result of effective onboarding is that both employee AND employer reap long-term benefits.

According to SHRM, effective onboarding will increase job satisfaction, organizational commitment and performance levels. In addition, it can reduce turnover and new employee stress levels. When you research onboarding, you’ll find that video is one of the most effective approaches available today.

Why Video Onboarding?

Traditional onboarding often consists of classroom-style lectures accompanied by documentation the new hire must study. Providing video is more memorable and far more effective than a lecture. It’s a way to build trust of company executives and ensure that the message to new employees is consistent. In addition, top-notch onboarding that includes video can reduce in-house training costs, and even reduce turnover in the first 90 days of employment.

Must Read: Inspire Your New Hires! How To Create A Stellar Orientation Video

Tips for Creating a Dynamic New Employee Onboarding Process

1. Create an Online Portal for Access to Your Onboarding Videos

You can build a library of onboarding videos and update them as required. When the employee has access to the library, they can revisit information that they need to reinforce.

Another advantage is that you don’t need to overwhelm new hires by providing all the information they need at one time. It’s easy to set up a drip email campaign that spaces out delivery of links to the videos in sequential order, based on the employee’s start date.

2. Create Shorter Orientation Videos to Address One Topic at a Time

Separate the information you want to convey into manageable pieces. For example, one video could be a welcome video from the CEO; another might come from department heads and so forth.

Employee Onboarding

3. Plan Orientation Video Content Carefully

Get employee input for ideas on the topics to cover. Ask existing employees of differing seniority in what ways they got lost when they were new hires. Also, ask them what they know now that they wish they’d known when they first joined the company.

4. Create an Orientation Video Series to Introduce the New Hire to the Organization

Here are some topics you may want to include in a multi-day orientation program:

  • CEO welcome
  • Department heads talking about the role of their department in the overall organization and the department’s mission and objectives
  • Where the company’s prospects and customers come from
  • A comprehensive view of the company’s products and services
  • Information on the company’s competitors
  • Marketing approach and the company’s competitive advantages

5. Create Operational Videos to Ease the New Employee Into Day-to-Day Operations

The types of videos can cover issues that may seem mundane but are important to new hires. Examples include how to use necessary equipment, IT policies, how to get support if something goes wrong, and a wide variety of other day-to-day challenges.

Operational videos are also useful for reference – they’re the sort of content that the new hire may return to later, when they encounter that particular challenge.

6. Create Videos Focused on “Inside Insight”

Of course, your onboarding videos should reflect your company culture. Expand on that idea with fun videos that illustrate what it’s like to work at the company. Take a video of one employee, or edit the input from a variety of employees into one video. Your team members can share on a variety of topics, such as what they do, their biggest challenge, their greatest satisfaction, the resources they find most useful, the help they can offer to new employees, and what they like about their job or the company. If you have employees whose career paths have included a series of promotions, arrange for them to provide a testimonial on career opportunities for long-term employees.

If you’re responsible for onboarding new employees, video is a tool you won’t want to ignore. Don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t have a video library right now. Since you’ll be creating specific videos to address specific topics, you can easily build a library over time. The most important thing is just getting started!

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