BEE DOO BEE DOO BEE DOO!!!!! What is it that you understand? Well….. It says fire fire fire! In minion language. But did you understand that? A vast majority wouldn’t have, and the fire was not put out. What was the whole point then? Communication is useless if the person on the other side does not understand what you are trying to say. So if you are talking caterpillar while your employees are already butterflies, there’s no point. That is why you need this blog, to ace your internal communication strategy and win the employee engagement game.
David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, talks about two Greek orators in his book ‘On Advertising’. There were two Greek orators Aeschines and Demosthenes. When Aeschines spoke, everyone remarked how well he spoke but when Demosthenes spoke, people said: “let’s march against Philp”. That’s how persuasive his communication was. Internal communication, similarly, should be persuasive, thought stirring and energizing. That’s when you will get an engaged workforce who are bent on learning, trying new things and ready to take challenges.
“Eﬀective internal communication is a powerful force that not only helps organizations to be more successful but also helps enrich employees’ lives in meaningful ways.”
Before going ahead and listing down what to do and what not to it is crucial to understand both the terms at play here:
Employee Engagement and Internal Communication. Employee engagement is the extent to which an employee feels passionate about his/her job. The kind of effort they put in, the level of commitment they have, etc come under employee engagement.
Now here are the top five things to keep in mind to ace your internal communication and win the employee engagement game.
1.Understand your employees
We started off the blog by saying that there is no point to communication if the receiver does not understand the message. In order for the receiver that is your employees to understand the message, you must understand them and curate the message accordingly. Let me explain: imagine your employees are fire and you keep feeding them water while what you should be doing is feeding them with some oil or kerosene or at least a little bit of dried leaves and twigs. You are killing them instead of nurturing their growth and that’s the last thing that you want as an employer.
2. Choose the Right Tools
This is where most of the organizations get it wrong. Cutting edge technology and smart applications does not ensure success. What is important is for you to be smart and select the tool that is apt for you.
Regardless to say, communication has now become multidirectional and has moved far away from linear. A linear model of communication is a sign of strict hierarchy and military form of management that employees are not very fond of. Let us look at some of the internal communication tools that can be used to ensure that your employee engagement game is on point.
They are self-explanatory. Newsletters can be printed or electronic and encompasses the news, current happenings, ideas, events and likewise pertaining to the organization. There are different types of newsletters. Some are exclusively for the employees and stakeholders and some are common. Inhouse newsletters are used for internal communication purposes. It has a great motivation factor attached to it. Newsletters would also feature the achievements of employees and some organizations also make it a point to feature the achievements of family members of employees. For instance, if an employee’s child becomes the top scorer or something similar to those lines.
ii. Mobile Apps
It is difficult to pronounce communication without apps these days. They act as an online tool to streamline internal communication and collaborate with the employees. Mobile apps facilitate internal communication to employees through their smartphones which they have all through the day. So mobile apps enable communication even when your employees are not at their desk or at some other location.
They are also referred to as corporate social networks and it is a strong tool that is used to facilitate internal communication in organizations. The main advantage of the intranet is that it is a closed community and the security will be higher.
There are many other tools that are employed for internal communication like:
- Social media and more! No matter how many tools you have, you will fail in acing employee engagement if you miss out on the fundamentals of communication.
3. Cut out the Noise
Now, nobody wants a sea of chaos and confusion. Make sure that the communication is crisp and that any noise is removed. In terms of communication, noise refers to any barrier that obstructs the message, the essence of the message or meaning of the message. Let me take your attention to Schramm’s model of communication because hey, how would you ace employee engagement without acing internal communication? And how would you ace your internal communication without understanding the crux of communication?
According to Schramm, the sender and receiver both take roles as the encoder and the decoder. There is an interference, that is the noise which is a barrier to the message being sent. It can be anything ranging from a bad internet connection to language differences. Ensure to choose a language everyone is comfortable in and do not move to regional languages even if the vast majority speaks it. The sender and the receiver interchange roles as the receiver gets the message and provides feedback, he/she becomes the sender. Which brings us to our next point: feedback
4. Make way for Feedback
Communication will never be effective if it is linear. You need to know what the other person, that is, the receiver, understood and what they made about the message. Every individual perceives messages differently. What if you were talking about a ‘flower’ and they heard ‘lover’. It is an honest mistake but one that would make huge repercussions. To avoid the misunderstanding and to ensure that both the parties are on the same page, feedback is crucial. As the saying goes, you can exceed expectations only when you know what the expectations are. This applies to both the employers and the employees. The employers have to understand the expectations of the employees and vice versa.
"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." - Anatole France
This quote brings us to the next and most important point, the message! There is no point in trying to assert a wrong thing. Do not try to pull off a hoax or try to
5. Mess in the Message
It is important to ensure that the messages are relevant and important. The point being, if there are a lot of random messages being sent out, the employees will find it mundane and monotonous and might end up missing important messages. Another crucial aspect to keep in mind is the way the content is curated. Make sure to create the content in a creative way so that the employees feel like reading it.
Open communication will make the employees feel valued and worthy which will have a direct impact on the employee engagement rates. Disengaged employees cost companies $450-500 billion each year. Now, nobody wants that to happen!
Employee engagement is no doubt profitable to every organization and we have spoken time and again about the shift from employee engagement to employee experience. It is crucial to embrace this shift and get your internal communication strategy in place. A positive company culture has proved to boost employee engagement. It must be a genuine and holistic approach. Employee engagement takes time and effort, you need to carefully place the strategy and be honest about it.
‘Your people are either your worst critics or your best word of mouth’- Caroline Collins
So, make sure that you achieve a great word of mouth publicity by treating your employees right and creating an open communication culture. With a strong internal communication in place, leaders will have a clearer understanding about what their employees need and want and thus can create a truly brilliant employee experience.