There was a very interesting programme on Radio Four over the Christmas break about the different approaches to internal communications over the years. I was struck by the statistic from Stanford Business School that people who find what they do meaningful are three times more likely to stay with their employer, and are 40% more likely to be engaged by the work.
Having employees who are more engaged with their jobs not only keeps your recruitment costs down but it also has an impact on the quality of their work and their exposure to risk, which also have cost implications. Alongside that, people who are happy will work harder, follow rules more diligently and contribute to a positive atmosphere in the workplace.
If you want to start generating this sort of good feeling, your internal comms should be
It’s clear that staff feel better about working for a company that shows that it cares about the people it employs by celebrating their personal and collective company successes, as well as sensitively tackling the thornier issues. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to share information, but a strategic plan which looks at what is important for the business and your employees can guide you on when it is appropriate or necessary to update the staff. This strategic approach should reflect your overarching business objectives and should be considered an essential component of your ongoing communications plan.
Corporate communications have taken various guises throughout the years from newsletters, emails, meetings and social media groups. However one of the highlights of the programme was the unveiling of some of the musical approaches to employee engagement from companies including Coca-Cola, Oldsmobile and General Electric, such as this gem from Xerox called ‘Take it from here’ aimed at encouraging new employees to get on board with the opportunities being presented. Taking the approach that interaction made messages more memorable, they used catchy songs that would stick in the mind long after the first hearing and ensure that key sales information was retained. Perhaps show songs aren’t so in keeping with modern times, but the principles of getting engagement, delivering key messages and being memorable should still be cornerstones of internal communications if you want to keep your employees engaged.
Sharing information on the company’s recent activities can also be a strategic move in ensuring consistent communications. Internal comms quite often touches on crisis communications and ensuring that you adhere to the core goals of honest, timely and clear information delivered sensitively can be the key to keeping disgruntled employees from sharing their negative views on social media or other outlets. Forgetting this key audience at this time can provide the media with an opinion you wish you’d taken the opportunity to influence.
What steps can you take? You could take a simple approach to a newsletter, perhaps with editorship shared between ‘management’ and ‘workforce’ if there’s any perceived division. Share updates on new products, contract wins, staff news etc alongside essential updates on the market such as new legislation. Work this into your existing comms strategy, or give us the opportunity to show how we can help.