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5 Ways to Improve Internal Communications and Employee Engagement

Effective internal communications can boost a company’s revenue and enhance employee engagement by bringing personnel real time information about their company’s goals and strategies. While an important part of a company’s infrastructure, internal communications can sometimes be pushed to the wayside, leaving HR departments to pick up the slack and keep employees engaged.

Employers of choice are often companies that consistently promote and improve their internal communications. In addition, companies that maintain a well-planned communication strategy have a 47% higher return for shareholders, less employee turnover, and better-engaged employees, according to Inc.com.

Can a company survive without improving their in-house communications? Of course. But, companies that do not implement a sound communications strategy lose about $37 billion each year, often because of poor employee communication says the Holmes Report.

So, how can you improve your company’s communications? Here are five key elements to engaging internal employee communications.

#1 Keep goals and objectives visible

Publish team and company goals, and keep them posted for all employees to see. The idea is to reach out to employees through set goals while maintaining an open mind. Employees tend to work better when employer goals are transparent and easy to understand. By maintaining clear and visible goals, it’s easier for employees to reach those goals, improving workplace performance and productivity.

It’s important to excite employees by providing value. By helping them to understand that their contribution improves your company, it gives them a better sense of responsibility. This enables them to push themselves while working and understanding that their jobs work together in tandem with other company processes. Avoid disrupting an employee’s workflow with frequent meetings and pestering emails.

#2 Reduce emails and meetings

It’s not reasonable to expect to eliminate all meeting and emails. It’s sometimes necessary to have meetings, especially when departments and teams need to realign their priorities and goals. Email is probably the easiest way to reach employees en masse, especially with important information and company updates. However, as emails become more and more popular, using email for every single memo can mean a drop-off in engagement as inboxes become crowded. And scheduling frequent meetings—more than once or twice a month—can bog down employees and slow performance and productivity.

Instead of using multiple emails and meetings to keep employees in the know, try something a bit more engaging and easier to use. The use of in-house company social media networks such as Yammer, Slack, Salesforce Chatter, and others can improve overall internal communications and make it easier for you to communicate with employees and provide a platform for employees to communicate with each other.

Send out project updates via your social media business network, and encourage questions or comments to get the conversation moving. Team meetings can be reduced to team updates, informing teams of new strategies, introducing new team members, and providing answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Using online communication tools instead of meetings reduces time wasted in scheduling and attending meetings, and improve overall employee processes without slowing down work performance.

#3 Grant access to management

Who do your employees turn to when they have questions? In most organizations, managers field a majority of questions and are the source of important information for teams. Provide managers the resources they need to disseminate information and participate in team discussions. Instead of waiting for weekly, or monthly meetings to ask and answer relevant questions, managers can engage in ongoing conversations with team members.

In addition, because your managers are the first people your employees reach out to, they need access to the resources and information required to help them support individual employees and teams. Online tools provide the flexibility and instant messaging functionality that makes company-wide, team, and peer conversations easier and more efficient than a barrage of emails and constant time-consuming meetings.

Moreover, managers should be leading by example by creating a culture of transparency within their teams. Managers who avoid regular contact with employees and lead through absent management could potentially damage the employer brand and decelerate efforts toward a positive workplace culture. Maintaining regular contact and offering feedback is essential to having transparent and good leaders and positive employee experiences.

#4 Lead by example

The key to effective communication is transparency. If managers and members of leadership assign specific duties to others that they are not doing willing to perform themselves, employees will question the importance of the tasks. The same is true for the level of communication. If your organization claims to have a culture of transparency and trust, those values must be communicated consistently as part of an internal communication program.

Here are three ways to generate a culture of transparency and trust in your organization.

Be honest

Honesty is more than telling the truth. Be sure your communications match your actions, because your actions often speak louder than your words. When you’re demonstrating honest behavior in your company, employees see this and want to follow a leader who can be honest about their decisions and choices. Reflect that honesty in your communications by sharing the good news as well as the challenges. You may be surprised at the solutions employees will offer if they know the difficulties to overcome.

Be courageous

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Strategies fail, key people leave to join another company, and downsizing is often a threat, especially when revenue goals aren’t met. But, it’s important not to be afraid of the changes that come with business. In fact, being strong during such times can show employees that you’re not afraid to take the problems head on and work through them. As much as possible, make your employees part of the solution. Keep communications as positive as possible, but don’t be afraid to share the bad news.

Be responsible

When things do go wrong in your company, and after attempts to fix the problem ultimately fail, it’s important to be sincere about the issue and acknowledge that you have failed. Leaders who try to place the blame or ignore the fact that they made a mistake only shuns employees and promotes distrust. Understand that failure is OK and that admitting it lets your employees know you’re human.

The overall point is to be genuine in your communications. Employees tend to follow sincere individuals and stick with organizations where they feel their contributions can make a difference.

#5 Listen and take surveys

Improve overall internal communications with a simple implementation each month or quarter by using surveys. Surveys promote employee engagement and enhance employees’ desire to have their concerns or feedback heard.

Surveys don’t have to be complicated. Asking employees for their input concerning new processes, management behavior, and overall company involvement is key to finding flaws in your communication strategy. Take in all survey feedback and prioritize areas that need immediate resolution and reconstruction to iron out issues.

Improving internal communications within a company is easier said than done. It’s impossible to be completely transparent, and working through management styles and behavior takes time and patience.

No one list of tips can provide all the necessary information of restructuring and implementing an internal communications strategy. However, it’s important to take each tip slowly, and go through them thoroughly to improve communication areas that may be lacking in your strategy.

The post 5 Ways to Improve Internal Communications and Employee Engagement appeared first on RiseSmart.

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About Mildred Blankson

I am a Human Resource Professional with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. I have several years of experience in Human Resources and i hope this blog will be a great resource in helping you find the perfect job or candidate that you seek.

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How to Leverage Company Benefits to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

One-third of organizations have increased their overall benefit offerings in 2016, according to a research report compiled by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). As recruiting and retaining top talent continue to become increasingly difficult for employers, robust benefit packages play a key role. When salaries and perks (think: free lunch) are nearly equal from company to company, employees are likely to opt for the company that offers the best benefits and greatest opportunities.

Medical and financial benefits aside, employees are looking for lifestyle and career benefits. SHRM reported that the top reason employers increased benefits in 2016 was to remain competitive in the marketplace—and the three biggest focus areas for change were in the health (22%), wellness (24%), and professional and career development (16%) categories. Robust benefit packages that include career development, health and wellness, and flexible working options provide a platform for employers to stand out. Nearly one-third of employees look for external positions because they desire “overall better benefits,” second only to higher compensation.

The type of benefits you offer speaks volumes on how you treat and support employees, which always manifests by way of your external employer brand. It’s not enough to say “we have great benefits,” because “great benefits” are now table stakes. Companies have mastered the art of talking about perks, from catered lunches to team building activities. Failure to talk about the real support and development opportunities you offer to employees might translate to missed opportunities. So how can hiring managers and recruiters promote employee benefits to help with recruiting and retention?

#1: Kick “industry standard” out of your vocabulary

When recruiters and hiring managers list their company’s benefits and summarize with the catch-all phrase, we offer “industry standard” benefits, it’s not enough. When all else—compensation, vacation days, and perks—are even, offering a standard benefits package won’t help your company standout enough to secure commitment from a top employee. Even though it might be tempting to default to a quick response, it pays to provide more detail about the benefits your company offers, in length, during the interview process.

And even more importantly than providing a laundry list of benefits (but kudos to you for that list!), explain how these benefits fit in with core company values. For example, if you offer flexible work arrangements and flexible hours, explain that these arrangements support your company’s value of work-life balance. If you provide a gym membership or showers at work, talk about how it enhances company culture or creates opportunities for employees to get the exercise they desire in a convenient way.. When recruits begin to see how your benefits support their shared values and interests, they’ll see the benefits you offer are much greater than “industry standard.”

Employers hoping to keep a competitive edge are offering more than the “industry standard” at every stage of the employee journey, including at severance – according to a recent study by RiseSmart. If you’re on the cutting edge of severance offerings, use those benefits to differentiate your company form the competition.

#2: Talk about goals in the recruiting and interview process

Before an employee is even hired, find out what they’re looking for in their employer and what their short and long term goals are. Ask questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and “How are you hoping your employer will support you along your career journey?” Employees, many of whom are seeking opportunities for career development and continuing education, need to know you plan to invest in their individual career goals.

A Career Builder survey found that 45% of employees, regardless of generation, plan to stay with their employer for less than two years. During their tenure, they expect to benefit and grow with each new role and and at each new company. It’s important to convey to prospective employees that you invest in each individual employee, regardless for how long they plan to stay in the role for which they are being hired.

#3: Amplify the employee voice

Remind employees early on that they have a voice to share about company culture and employee benefits. Glassdoor, for example, recommends employers invite new hires to reflect on their first few months at the company. Whether this leads to internal feedback or a public review, it can assist efforts aimed at creating a positive employer brand.

L’Oréal recently launched a #LifeatLoreal hashtag to encourage employees to share photos of their experiences at work. The campaign all stemmed from the idea that people would trust their peers on social media when it came to L'Oréal being a great place to work. Employees posted a wide variety of pictures, including snapshots of various benefits and perks in action—such as flex days and catered lunches. Encourage employees to share the experiences they enjoy the most on the social channel of their choice.

#4: Keep employees engaged with benefits

On average, salary is only about 70% of an employee’s total compensation. When employees don’t take advantage of the benefits offered by the company, it’s equivalent to leaving 30% of the total compensation package on the table. Employers who keep employees engaged with benefits are more likely to see benefits manifest as part of the employer brand. An employee is highly unlikely to leave a Glassdoor review that mentions a positive benefit if she has never actually utilized the benefit.

Try hosting monthly or quarterly Q&A sessions to discuss available benefits. When you roll out a particularly hefty benefit, such as a new 401K offering, or an update to parental leave policy, give employees ample opportunity to ask questions. You could also share success stories from employees who have taken advantage of a particularly niche benefit, such as an hour of free lawyer services, to showcase how the benefit is used and encourage other employees to check it out.

#5: Benefits are the forgotten negotiation tool

If you are a hiring manager or recruiter engaging with a candidate, think beyond salary, or equity. Everything is negotiable, from vacation days to health insurance choices. Savvy employees, especially as the war for talent continues to heat up, will use benefits as negotiation tools—but don’t shy away from doing the same thing on the employer side. It’s often easier to offer more benefits than to secure additional salary for an employee.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your full complement of benefits, including your severance benefits. Prospective employees may feel more comfortable about joining a company that will take care of them, in the event of a downsizing or restructuring event. You may want to consider offering perks like outplacement and career transition services to employees who leave voluntarily as well as those who are involuntary subjects of a layoff. Knowing that you are invested in their career, even after they leave, will help you create a workforce of dedicated, engaged, and satisfied employees.

The world is small and everyone is connected. When you invest in employees, it leads to a positive employer brand. In the new Employee Relationship Economy, former employees will someday become vendors, customers, brand evangelists, recruiting references, or even boomerang employees. In a world where the employee/employer relationship is no longer finite, it’s important to convey your full support for employees’ career endeavors at every stage of their career journeys -- beginning early in the recruiting and interview process.

In every recruiting conversation, highlight your dedication to each employee’s career. When you frame up your organization’s benefits in context of how they fit in with the employee’s journey, it’s easy for the candidate to see how your company would support his journey. Communication about employee benefits can go a long way in the recruiting process—and will have a direct impact on your employer brand. If you offer much more than “industry standard,” you should be screaming it from the rooftops. Your current and prospective employees deserve to understand just how committed you are to their personal and professional journey.

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