Have you ever wondered how your company could benefit if all of your employees were engaged and enthusiastic about their work? A study by Dale Carnegie finds that companies with engaged employees “outperform those without by up to 202 percent.”
One highly effective way to engage employees is to establish an internal communications plan. Towers Watson reveals that “companies with highly effective communication practices enjoy 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders compared with the firms that are least effective at communicating.” Now we’re talking.
As a business owner, much of your hard-pressed time is devoted to researching, evaluating, and manipulating how customers perceive your company. You may know what your customers think, but do you know how your employees view the company? Focusing inward on your business can be a bit uncomfortable at first. But even the world’s biggest companies have to continually work out the kinks in their internal communications plans.
And the payoff can be tremendous. Employee engagement directly affects productivity. If team members don’t truly understand how their contributions fit into the big picture, they may feel disconnected and disengaged.
Employee disengagement takes its toll. The National Business Research Institute explains that a whopping $370 billion is lost annually due to disengaged employees. A poor (or nonexistent) communications plan can even lead to a high turnover rate — a scary thought considering that businesses lose $11 billion a year due to employee turnover, according to Dale Carnegie.
Improving internal communications doesn’t have to be costly or a huge time sink. Here are a few ways to easily enhance the internal communication channels you already have in place and help engage your team:
- Newsletters. Your team members have a lot on their plates. Reading the company newsletter should be a well-deserved break, not another chore. The weekly or monthly document should highlight outstanding employee achievements and demonstrate how much the company values workers’ dedication. Think of it as your chance to brag about how unique and dedicated your team is. This is a very simple step toward creating a team of brand advocates.
- Intranet. Many companies underutilize this channel and miss a great communication opportunity. Because the information on the intranet is live, its purpose varies slightly from the newsletter. A company intranet creates (and should encourage) two-way communication. Engage your team members with poll questions. Include the results in your next marketing campaign. Share designs, videos, and other rich media. Most importantly, create a space where team members can freely express their ideas, which will heighten employee engagement.
- Face-to-Face. The biggest impressions are often made through direct interaction. Instead of walking straight to your desk in the morning, take a few minutes to interact with your team. Find out what issues they’re dealing with and give them personalized feedback. During meetings, be clear in your instructions, demonstrate your expectations, and foster a sense of empowerment.
The Bottom Line
Encourage feedback and remember that your company’s mission, goals, and personality stem from the core. Start with simple steps and your team will not only become brand experts, they will also become brand advocates who make profitable contributions.