71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to their company's success. However, 85% of employees worldwide don’t feel engaged at work. We explain in this blog post how you can drive employee engagement through effective internal communications.
Employee engagement has been a bit of a buzzword in the business world for a while now and for good reasons. Engaged employees are more dedicated, and the results of this are impressive: engaged employees are up to 17% higher productive and businesses with high employee engagement rates are up to 22% more profitable.
So, how do you improve employee engagement? It starts with your internal communication strategy: how can you expect your employees to feel engaged if they can’t find the information they need or can't keep up with the company news?
Let’s take a look at how improving internal communications can boost employee engagement and take your organization to the next level.
What Employee Engagement Means Today
A lot of people think that employee engagement is the same as employee motivation or employee satisfaction. That’s not the case, though. These are all subtly different things, and understanding the differences is critical to getting the most from your team.
So, what do we mean by “employee engagement"? In a nutshell, it’s a measure of how passionate employees are about their jobs, and how committed they are to the company or organization they work for.
By definition, your most engaged employees are the ones more likely to go the extra mile for the company, giving their best effort and considering the best interests of the group in addition to themselves. They’re more productive, less likely to miss work, they share the company’s values, and they are more interested in finding solutions to problems.
But why is employee engagement so important to any business? The answer is simple: employee engagement is key to making your business a success. Studies have shown that employee engagement and effective internal communications are among the most important factors in a company achieving its goals successfully.
Open Communication Helps Employees to Feel Valued
Good internal communications start with managers. Fostering an open, two-way line of communication between employees and their supervisors helps the employees feel like a valued part of a team.
Reaching this level of openness in internal communications requires some work, but it’s definitely worth it. Here’s what to shoot for:
- Employees should feel comfortable going to management with problems.
- Employees should feel confident that the manager is being forthcoming with information.
- Managers should feel confident that employees will bring questions and concerns to them, and share professional content with their colleagues, whether this content is related to the company or the industry.
When these conditions are met, employees are more likely to feel valued at work. How valued? Well, 37% of employees say that recognition for their work is the best way a company can support them.
On the other hand, when communication with management is poor, employees tend to feel anxious, distracted and disconnected. They’re less likely to share key insights with their colleagues, and may withdraw from their work and team. The toxic relationship becomes the focus, rather than the projects and tasks at hand. The work environment becomes negative, and this may lead to disengagement.
Effective Internal Communications Increase Efficiency
Having to jump through hoops to complete projects is frustrating, but in many businesses, that’s par for the course. Organizations that don’t communicate effectively create unnecessary work for themselves — trivial tasks like getting a contact name from someone in another department become day-long productivity destroyers.
When employees feel like the processes in their organization are working against them rather than with them, they’re more likely to withdraw from the organization and turn to a mindset where they clock in, get their work done, and clock out — that’s probably the opposite of what you want for your company.
However, when employees feel like their workplace encourages active, company-wide communication to generate new ideas and get things done, they feel aligned with that workplace and its values. This alignment is also known as culture fit — when employees share or adapt to the core values of your company.
The Virtuous Cycle of Internal Communications and Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are more likely to speak up in meetings, approach peers to discuss new ideas, and share key insights. They’re more likely to communicate directly with supervisors about ideas or check in on their own performance.
These increased communication opportunities further boost engagement by making employees feel like part of a healthy, collaborative, and positive environment. Think about it: by sharing with your employees the information they need, for example content related to the industry or their expertise, you encourage them to grow and develop new skills in a proactive way.
Also, when employees are encouraged to keep up with the company news and share industry-related content with their colleagues, they feel connected to the company’s vision and mission. It’s a virtuous cycle of better internal communications leading to higher engagement levels, which leads to better internal communications, which leads to better engagement, and so on.
Improving internal communications should be a top priority for business owners, executives, and team leaders in every industry. And while it may seem like a very distant goal for your organization, it is critical to your business success. Even the lowest employee engagement numbers can be turned around — and like any relationship, it all starts with communication.
Are you interested in learning more about internal communications and employee engagement? Download our free eBook “How to Boost Employee Engagement with Communication Tools” for additional tips!