Creating a Culture of Engagement

May 8, 2017

An A to Z approach for leaders and effective employee communication

Keeping employees engaged and invested in the mission and goals of the organization is an important priority for almost every leader.

This can be accomplished by creating a culture of engagement - one where employees are well-informed and given opportunities to provide input on a regular basis. Utilizing a wide range of employee communications tools and strategies can go a long ways to toward the creation of an engaging culture. However, it can also be a daunting task that many leaders, unfortunately, either shy away from, or just ignore entirely.

Given this, it is important to understand there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to developing and delivering effective employee communications. And, while a Google search might reveal a number of "Top Ten" lists and "How To" articles on this subject, we thought an "A to Z" approach would offer a creative way to cover this important topic, as well as provide you with some helpful suggestions.  Enjoy!

A look at employee communications . . . Creating a culture of engagement

A - Awareness of employee likes and dislikes, "hot button" issues and industry trends are all important things to be considered when developing your employee communications plan.

B - Brand equity and messaging should be incorporated into all of your efforts, as this reinforces the company's overall brand message with your employees.

C - Content is critical. Don't waste the time of your employees with content that isn't relevant to them and/or the company.

D - Develop champions of your efforts, utilize them and keep them in-the-loop.

E - External communication problems can result in internal communication issues and vice versa. The two are closely related, so proactively addressing one can result in improvement of the other.

F - Focus, focus, focus. Don't get sidetracked when it comes to employee communications. Stay focused on the mission, values, goals and objectives of your organization, and keep your employees updated on how things are going.

G - Get help if necessary. Employee communications shouldn't be an afterthought, so make sure the appropriate resources are dedicated to the effort.

H - Highlight success stories and best practices as much as possible. People like to read about good news! 

I - Innovation is key, so you must be willing to try new things in order to deliver your messages.

J - Jargon and "corporate speak" can be confusing and intellectually draining, so utilize a vocabulary and tone that is easy to digest and remember.

K - Keep it simple and genuine. See "J" above for the answer why.

L - Listening is an important skill - one that can help you craft your messages and improve future communications.

M - Motivation and morale are important elements of a positive culture of engagement.

N - No one person (or group) should be overlooked, so remember that all audiences are important when developing your messages.

O - Operate (and communicate) with high emotional intelligence. You can do this by staying in-tune with your surroundings, and being sensitive to the wants, needs and well-being of your employees.

P - Positivity is important, as employees want to feel good about the place where they work. They will care if you care and demonstrate this through your communications.

Q - Quality over quantity is a good rule. For example, delivering a small number of quality communication pieces is far better than churning out a large number of poorly written ones.

R - Respect is earned and can be obtained through successful employee communication efforts that are honest and consistent.

S - Solicit feedback from employees using a survey, and be sure to share the results.

T - Trust is an important part of any employee engagement effort, so building and exhibiting it should be a priority.

U - Understanding your many audiences is critical, as is developing the appropriate strategies and tools to effectively reach them.

V - Visual communications are important. Utilize images and videos to help deliver your content and messages.

W - What's in it for employees? You need to be able to answer this and, in-turn, let them know.

X - X-factor . . . Incorporate something new, special or unique into the employee communications mix. For instance, using videos (or some other technology platform) might be a different way to reach your audience and garner some interest.

Y - You don't need to do it alone. Highlight (and elevate) other people in the company. Let them share their expertise and help deliver messages to employees.

Z - Zeal. Good employee communications requires energy and enthusiasm. If you approach it half-heartedly, you will get half-hearted responses and buy-in from your employees, so give it the time, energy and resources it deserves.

Mark Yontz, Communications Advisor