Corporate communications departments play an extremely important role for company's success. Therefore, HR, internal communications and other people strategies are continuously evolving.
Today, we are far from the days of traditional annual surveys, and more companies are starting to embrace the idea of continuous corporate communications and employee listening strategy.
Similar to building a culture of feedback, continuous employee communication means communicating more often across the employee lifecycle and encouraging employees to speak up.
🎬Join our upcoming webinar "The great Comms Debate 2" where Jennifer Sproul, Advita Patel and Brad Whitworth will debate everything IC!
Why Employees’ Voice Matter in Corporate Communications
According to research, only a quarter of employees feel like they can freely express themselves at work. One quarter report that they often choose not to speak up at work, even though they have something they would like to say.
Just over 22% report high levels of expressing their voice to create and implement new ideas.
This needs to change, and here is why.
Employee success and productivity
Employees who feel like they can speak up are much more successful at their jobs.
Here is a real life example.
Consider what happened at the General Motors assembly plant in Fremont, California. When Toyota first took over the GM facility, it was highly unproductive. Instead of replacing staff, Toyota decided to, with an improved corporate communications strategy, embed a new set of values with existing employees.
Offering greater autonomy and share of voice led to the implementation of 80% suggestions employees made. As a result, the plant went from the industry’s worst to being a shining star example.
Employee engagement and innovation
The ‘organisational voice’ perspective focuses on the positive benefits that employees’ voice can bring to the organisation. Some of the main benefits for employers include more employee engagement which often results in more innovation and creativity.
Encouraging employees to express their thoughts allows organisations to benefit from their employees’ ideas.
UK Working Lives survey showed that giving employees a voice at work is one of the most significant ways for individuals to influence their employment and ensure a good quality of working life.
Moreover, there is a strong positive link between participation at work and both employee well-being and motivation.
Employee satisfaction with involvement in decision-making significantly and positively influences overall job satisfaction.
As job satisfaction is an important prerequisite for employee motivation and engagement, employees’ voice is extremely important for the overall employee enablement and success.
The value of employee advocacy and ambassadorship is significant in many different business areas such as marketing, sales and talent acquisition.
One of the main reasons why companies struggle to build ambassadorship programs is because their employees are unsure and insecure about speaking up and sharing internal content externally.
Therefore, if you want to turn your employees into brand ambassadors, you will have to encourage employees to share their voice and make it easy for them to do so with the right technology.
Incorporate Employees’ Voice in Your Corporate Communications Strategy
Employee voice is the amount of voluntary effort an employee is willing to put into communicating suggestions, opinions, concerns, and ideas that can be used to make improvements within organization.
Therefore, employees’ voice is crucial for improving corporate communications, business productivity, employee collaboration, and more.
Employee listening is a part of every successful corporate communications strategy in which employees are actively engaged and participate in daily conversations.
However, employers need to make adjustments to their corporate communications strategy in a way that will make the employees want to speak up, engage and participate in two-way conversations.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve that.
Give employees a way to communicate easily
If employees don’t have an easy way to express their ideas and thoughts, they probably won’t do so at all.
Expecting employees to speak up through emails or outdated intranets is not realistic.
New and modern employee communication solutions, however, provide an easy way to connect employees, enable them to share their voice easily and encourage two-way conversations.
Forget about one-way communication
Communicating one-way does no good to your organization. What is the point of delivering information if you can’t get your employees’ feedback on it?
Continuous two-way relationships and conversations are something that today’s employees expect from their workplaces. Encouraging such culture empowers employees to feel like they can express themselves and that their voice matters.
Understand the importance of leadership
The quality of leadership communication is extremely important for individual voice. Managers and leaders are the ones who need to understand the benefits and take actions related to employee listening.
Therefore, organizations should provide training for all managers to build understanding of how their attitudes, behaviors and leadership styles can influence employees’ confidence to engage.
Ethical leadership and leadership that inspires trust are very important in enabling employee voice.
Deliver content employees will want to consume
One of the most important parts of every successful corporate communication strategy is to personalize content based on employees’ preferences, jobs and interests.
Expecting from employees to share their voice or engage with content that is not relevant to them is not realistic.
Therefore, corporate communication professionals and managers should consider implementing employee communication solutions that enable them to create personalized news feeds with content that employees will want to engage with.
Here is how we do that at Smarp:
Build a culture of positive feedback
Building a culture of feedback helps companies transform their workplace to become more engaging, transparent and performance oriented.
Moreover, 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.
In addition, continuous employee feedback helps employees share their voice and thoughts.
Show employees that they are safe to speak up
People professionals should think about how employees at an early career stage can be encouraged to voice their thoughts.
More importantly, managers, corporate communications and HR professionals together need to ensure that employees continue to feel supported to express what’s on their minds.
Enable employees to easily share knowledge
Detert & Burris suggest employee voice can increase collective learning in teams and organisations. When employees feel safe and encouraged to express concerns and contribute honestly, teams can optimize decision-making processes.
In addition, higher levels of collective learning and knowledge sharing also help improve operational readiness to tackle challenges and optimize change management efforts, which is key for keeping organisations agile to changing market conditions.
Show appreciation for employees’ ideas and actions
Corporate communications professionals should develop an organizational environment which rewards idea-sharing and open discussions.
For employees to feel like their voice is heard, it is important that they not only put something in but also get something in return. Even when end results are not exactly what an employee had hoped for, employees feel much more valued when their ideas are taken into consideration.
Empower and give autonomy
Employees are much more likely to share their voice and make decisions when they really feel like they are empowered and encouraged to do so.
Corporate communications professionals can play a big role in helping employees understand that they have freedom and autonomy to speak up, express their thoughts, share their ideas and make important decisions.
However, this needs to be a strategic part of your cultural transformation and IC strategy.
Take actions after you get feedback
Don’t expect your employees to share their voice if you are not planning to act on it. This open and trusted communication within your organization can work only if employees feel like their voice is heard.
Seeing that employees’ suggestions or concerns will be acted on and not judged by others in the organisation, helps individuals to feel safe about speaking out.
Keep employees informed
Driving the culture of open communication can not happen in organizations in which employees don’t feel informed.
Still, many employees feel like there are missing on important company news.
In order to join conversations and share their voice, internal communications departments and leaders have to do a much better job delivering the right information to the right employees at the right time.
However, in a world in which we use multiple internal communication channels, this can be extremely hard to achieve.
Smarp, our employee communication solution, helps companies centralize their internal information flow so that all important information is accessible from a single place.
Measure employee engagement
One sure sign of effective employee voice and corporate communication is the frequency at which employees are participating in discussions around key decisions and changes.
Therefore, measuring employee engagement can help companies understand the effectiveness of their internal communication efforts. Based on numbers, they can then further optimize their communication strategy.
However, measuring the effectiveness of internal comms is impossible with the right technology.
With Smarp, it is easy to analyze how engaged your employees are with the internal content.
Encourage innovation and creativity
Companies that manage to build a culture of innovation and flexibility also enjoy much stronger employee voice and engagement.
Therefore, employers need to develop an open and supportive organisational environment, where individuals feel empowered and motivated to take risks and innovate.
This could include communicating a clear message that innovation is important and valued, and offering rewards and recognition for employees who engage in the innovation projects.
Encourage employee generated content
Many employers think that their employees don’t have ambitions to produce content. This is not true, at least not for employees who are happy with their jobs.
To improve your corporate communication strategy and encourage employee engagement, you should enable your employees to easily create and share their content within and outside your organization.
How Technology Improves Corporate Communications
Many communications professionals, as well as employees, are becoming overwhelmed with all the different internal communications tools that they use.
Moreover, not many communicators feel like they use their current communication channels in the right way.
Even though internal communication technology is here to facilitate and improve communication across the organization, the high variety of solutions available is causing confusions among both employers and employees.
Corporate communications can experiment with different digital channels to identify which ones best reach, engage and influence various internal and external stakeholders.
Many communications leaders are already experimenting with technologies, but their main goal now is to integrate a variety of technologies into a central employee communication platform— not just to improve communication, but to enable employee-to-employee networking, collaboration and share of voice.
Bring Your Corporate Communications Strategy to the Next Level
Smarp is an employee communication solution that enables employees, IC departments and leaders to become great communicators.
Our technology enables you to reach the right employees at the right time through their favorite communication channels.
Here is how we do that:
- Relevant messages shared with your employees.
- Internal communication strategy adapted to your employees' needs.
- Our Content Booster makes it easy for your employees to create their own content!
- Our Advocacy Amplifier makes it easy for your employees to share insights with their personal networks so they position themselves as industry experts.
- Strong Analytics that make it easy for users to measure employee engagement with your internal content.
Schedule a free Smarp demo today to find out how it can help you improve your corporate communication strategy.