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Employee engagement is a buzz word for businesses in the 21st century. Having a workforce that is motivated and engaged can do wonders for the success of your organisation. As shown by the clear links between high levels of employee engagement and everything from business profitability, customer service levels, and productivity in the workplace, to lower absence and sickness levels, and employee turnover.
It’s beneficial to understand what employee engagement is, in order to identify the level of engagement your employees currently have. Simply speaking, it’s a mix of three elements: attitude, behaviour and outcomes. All of which can be strongly influenced by communications. This form of communication is known as internal communications, one of the many unsung heroes of public relations.
Attitude covers the aspect of the emotional connection employees have with their employer. This is then reflected in their behaviour, both within their work environment but also externally too, through voicing their opinions and recommendations about your organisation to others. And outcomes, are the results employee engagement affects, both for your organisation and your employees.
Technically-speaking, internal communication is an organisation’s managed system for communication. So it’s no surprise that many businesses will approach this form of communication as predominantly a one-way, information-giving exercise from senior leadership. However, a co-ordinated multi-directional approach to communicating with employees can have a huge impact on building a company culture that encourages and supports its staff. Having a dialogic element to your internal communication, giving your employees a voice that is heard, will empower employees and give them a sense of worth and belonging.
Viewing your organisation as it’s own community, made up of a variety of individuals that have their own goals and motivations, is a great start to building an environment that encourages employee engagement. By aligning your internal communication efforts with your business objectives, your workforce will be more motivated, not to mention equipped, to support the organisation to reach its goals.
Giving your employees a sense of control, and a chance to develop the business, and on a personal level, creates a strong company culture that’s built on the vision and values of the business, and to a certain extent, its employees’ too.
Psychologist Frederick Herzberg, split factors that affect the motivation of employees in the workplace into two themes: hygiene and motivator factors. Hygiene factors include elements of employment such as appropriate pay, fair treatment and safety; these only matter to employees if they’re not being met. Whilst motivator factors are extrinsic and covers the intangible benefits of working for an organisation, including the effects of the workplace culture, corporate values, promotional opportunities on an employee.
Two-way communication is paramount to creating the type of environment that breeds engagement and motivation. So, to truly understand your employees and company culture, you need to gather information and evidence about the internal demographics of your organisation, the attitudes and knowledge of your employees and identify how successful your existing approach communicating to your workforce is.
A sound, research-led, strategic approach to your organisation’s internal communication puts your business on solid ground for creating a company culture that encourages and motivates its staff. Using different communication channels and activities to build a strong community of empowered employees that feel integral to the organisation they work for – sounds like a pretty productive place to work, if you ask me.
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