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Be Careful Not to "Do Engagement to Your Employees"

Martyn Barnett | Internal Communications | 2017-10-16

As a proud member of the London Region Thought and Action Group for Engage for Success  (E4S), I met with other group representatives for a catchup at our  London RMG office the other day to exchange some thoughts and ideas on  employee engagement.

One topic that came up was the  growing concern of employees that "engagement was going to be done to  them.” To them. Imagine! This sparked some interesting discussion and a  little bit of debate.

Of course, internal communications,  HR and engagement professionals don't DO engagement TO people. But then  is engagement really the right word? Would employee insights or  employee experience be a better approach?

Regardless of the word used, we were unanimous in our view that engagement is an inclusive, cultural and transformational approach to achieving benefits for both employer AND employee.  We also agreed that while systems, strategies or initiatives are put  into place to encourage engagement, nothing can compensate for poor  management, weak leadership or lack of communication. And nothing should  ever replace the personal touch of a pat on the back.

So, it’s important when creating engagement strategies and initiatives to consider the rather crucial element of adoption. Adoption is the key to making sure that engagement is not done TO people, but done WITH people

When selecting a powerful internal communications platform to encourage engagement, make sure the strategy will be adopted by the employees. If the platform becomes engrained within the culture, an increase in employee engagement will be inevitable.

Here are some must have’s when selecting the right internal communications platform for your company:

  • Three words ... Mobile, mobile, mobile.
    You  must incorporate mobile so that your content, key performance metrics,  news, information and video delivery is adopted and consumed by  everyone, everywhere. Whatever CMS you use to communicate internally,  make sure it incorporates mobile.
  • Employee-generated content.
    You  must incorporate the facility for employees to contribute to content.  To recognize each other. To share an opinion (moderated, of course). To  provide feedback. To get involved.
  • Easy.
    It  must be easy. Drag-and-drop content, browser-based management, low cost  of ownership via SaaS. Easy to use, and easy to scale. Easy.
  • Blended.
    Top down, cascaded corporate messages or key performance visuals won't work on their own. Blend the content between information you want  employees to consume with content they want to consume ... travel,  traffic, weather, sports, news, entertainment, social media... all these  techniques make the internal communication platform their platform, not your platform. Adoption.
  • Feedback.
    Use  your internal communications platform to gather information. Forget the  half-yearly survey that asks fifty questions — which results in  employee apathy about the process itself since they don’t see immediate  results. Instead ask fewer and more frequent questions via your digital  platform and then publish the results in a "You said ... We did"  approach onto your internal communications newsfeed.
  • Segmentation.
    Segmentation  is really important for adoption because it makes sure all content is  in context and relevant. Personalized delivery of messages, key  performance visuals and feedback is the key to the personalized approach  of engagement. Your employees are all different. Different departments,  ages, regions, job types. Different people. Your internal communication  strategy must allow for the delivery of relevant, segmented,  personalized content.
  • Video.
    Video is a very  effective way to communicate key messages, strategies, vision, values  or changes in direction within a company. Town Hall meetings, or  webcasting solutions are expensive and distracting, so incorporate video  into your internal communications. Being clever with data and analytics  behind the video is how you drive adoption. Knowing who watched the  video, how long before they watched it, and how long they watched it for  is key to knowing if your video is effective.

As a recap,  the main takeaway from the meeting was adoption. There are many  different internal communication platforms out there but finding the  right one for your company that encompasses the important features above  and that is easily adoptable by your employees is key. Remember,  engagement is not done to people, but rather with people.


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