5 min read
No matter what industry you’re in, how many employees you have or where your company is located, all organisations have one thing in common: The need to connect with their people.
Keeping employee communications at the centre of everything you do ensures that employees will feel a deeper connection to your purpose, mission and values.
By practicing open and honest communication, you’ll start to build trust and transparency with your workforce – bringing your workforce closer together, creating an avenue for a two-way conversation and even improving the customer experience.
Let’s walk through three examples to give you ideas for improving employee communications at your organisation.
1. Ensuring compliance and best practices company-wide
Here’s a scenario: A leading car manufacturer had forecast that they would have to close their manufacturing plant however it was not something that needed to be done immediately, rather in 3.5 years.
Hundreds of loyal employees had built careers at the company but with an unavoidable site closure, the CEO was faced with a communication challenge: How much should be shared with the teams?
Keep it quiet, business as usual and drop the bomb a short time before the closure, or be open with employees and manage the inevitable closure with whatever backlash, disappointment or low morale would result over the next few years.
They chose to ensure that all employees were aware of all of the decisions management we making that would affect them.
They knew the timeline of the closure, the processes and when it came to the last car rolling off the factory line, the employees were proud to say that it was the best work they had ever done. The standard of their work and the teams’ morale never waived and the employees felt respected despite the prospect of unemployment.
Below are the steps that the organisation took:
The HR team outlined the goals for its engagement strategy, recognising they needed to put employee communications at the core to improve compliance and institute best practice.
The team broadcast weekly blogs through its employee engagement platform to communicate with all employees and keep everyone in the loop with consistent messages.
To encourage continued best practices and boost morale, employees shared recognition messages which were then displayed for all employees to see on the platform.
2. Improving the employee and patient experience
Improving employee engagement through effective communications and recognition improves both the customer and employee experience for companies in various industries. For an aging services provider, the engagement journey began with updating the company values and uniting all of the organisation’s locations under one branded experience.
The President and CEO worked with the team to refine the company’s existing values with specific and measurable behaviors to help employees understand and be accountable for performing the experience.
After defining its new company values, the organisation implemented a strategic recognition platform as a tool for capturing, sharing, discussing and learning from successes and best practices across the organisation – with an emphasis on managers recognising front-line team members.
Along with recognition, the organisation kicked off semi-annual employee surveys to measure the performance of values-based behaviours and engagement and gain invaluable feedback to help fuel open and honest communication initiatives throughout the organisation to continue improving the employee and patient experience.
3. Uniting under a new brand after a merger or acquisition
Mergers and acquisitions are both an exciting and scary time for organisations. In order to help ease employees’ concerns or to help them feel more connected, it’s key to break down silos and improve engagement.
Most people in their careers will experience a merger or acquisition. Oftentimes, as soon as it is mentioned employees naturally start to get very nervous and uncertain. Even if their jobs are assured, their assumption is that their workplace may feel uncomfortable or even hostile in the coming months.
Some of my best tips for using an employee engagement platform during a merger or acquisition are to:
- Ensure all communication is branded, straightforward and inclusive.
- Phase the new company logo into employee communications and company culture.
- Make sure all employees understand and connect with the new company values.
- Focus on making sure employees don’t feel overwhelmed, but still feel like part of the bigger picture with tailored onboarding.
- Personalise communications to specific teams or individuals with relevant information and updates.
- Gather feedback from various teams or individuals and analyse the data.
- Give a tour of the office and introduce employees to everything they’ll be gaining in the transition via a video call.
To unite a disparate workforce, gather feedback and analyse the data to help fuel your next communications initiatives. By creating a place for honest feedback, however unpopular, you allow leadership to address these issues and attitudes head on, rather than allowing them to gather ground swell and becoming toxic to other employees.
Using the platform to iterate the benefits they are provided by the organisation is one way to ensure that employees are reminded that they are valued and that the needs of the employees are still very much a paramount concern of the company.
It can be used to celebrate the milestones that people have enjoyed during their time with the company, whether they are staying or leaving, because while the workforce as a whole will be affected by change, recognising individuals demonstrates that the company has not lost sight of their employees.
But probably the most important purpose for a communication platform during a merger or acquisition is to ensure that there is a single source of truth.
One place to get the "real story" and ensure that employees are never in doubt about what the plans are for the company and their future.
It’s about what will resonate the most with your workforce, and using technology to help you navigate the new relationship between employee and employer can give you the means to get your messages heard.
It is amazing how each company can be handed the same deck of cards but how each company will deal those cards out. The combination of engagement strategy, how the team will plan their comms and the platform that they present it on, can have such vast difference on employees.
The most important thing to remember is to always look to adapt. Your workforce will always change and so should your communications strategy.