A significant part of my career was spent in the field of Internal Communications. At times, I felt more like a complaints officer or part-time counsellor for employees. My office seemed like it had a revolving door…listening to employees; the wins, the challenges, both professional and personal. I became the unbiased gateway between staff and HR/ Management. I was also like the thermometer – I knew the temperature of the organization on any given day.
Internal Comms is a constant balancing act between company cheerleader AND problem-solver. Promoting the vision and company values while finding solutions to improve company culture are intrinsically connected to the bottom line.
“Life happens whether we’re at work or it’s the weekend – so as an employer or manager, you can either choose to ignore it, or embrace it.”
I discovered early on that often it was the personal problems that someone was going through that was underpinning the professional issues. Blurring of these lines happens whether we as managers like it or not. Life happens whether we’re at work or it’s the weekend – so as an employer or manager, you can either choose to ignore it, or embrace it.
In my Internal Comms role, it became apparent that as a company we had to go beyond offering yoga classes at lunch, a pizza lunch or even 20-minute professional neck massages. Instead, we needed to develop ways that promoted how we cared for them beyond regular work hours.
So, we got to work. In conjunction with the Human Resource team, we developed a program that would offer value to employees beyond ‘work-related’ issues. We started slowly. It began with a workshop for potential first-time home buyers. We invited a mortgage lender, a real estate agent, and a lawyer. Admittedly I was skeptical at what the response rate was going to be, but needless to say I was blown away by how many people attended. The workshop became an annual event and was followed up by events (guided by outside experts) on everything from retirement solutions to debt management strategies to even a few relationship-based events.
Here’s the result. This company reached levels of engagement in the 80% range; measured through employee surveys. Was there still turnover? Of course. But what there was more of was company loyalty, employee satisfaction and profit.
What it Takes
Excellent employee engagement results are not possible without commitment from the executive level and HR. It has to be valued and endorsed in order to effect change. One of our strategies came in the form of frequent Town Hall meetings – and actually we held them on Friday afternoons so people could kick back and unwind with each other. Town halls allowed management to talk about what was driving the business forward, new initiatives, etc. It also gave them an opportunity to listen to what was concerning staff.
It takes consistency, perseverance and multi-prong solutions that are measurable. If you’re struggling to get the results you want and looking for some help, take it from a team that understands what you’re facing.
Use this checklist to get an honest look at what the temperature is at your organization. If it’s not where you’d like it to be, let’s chat.