If you want to retain top talent, you need to keep your employees satisfied and engaged with their work. And one of the best ways to improve employee engagement within your organization: improving your internal communication strategy.
But how, exactly, can improved internal communication drive employee engagement? And what are some ways you can adjust your internal communication strategy to improve employee engagement—and keep your top people in the process?
We asked two internal communication experts—workplace communication strategist Nancy Burger and communications professional Aerik Radley, who directs internal communication for Firley, Moran, Freer & Eassa CPA, P.C., an accounting firm with a hybrid workforce—for their insights into how to use internal communication to improve employee engagement. Here’s what they had to say:
How are internal communication and employee engagement related?
First things first. Before we jump into how to use internal communication (IC) to improve employee engagement, let’s quickly cover how, exactly, the two are linked.
“Employee engagement is defined as the relationship between an organization and its employees,” says Burger. “This encompasses employees’ sense of wellbeing, company culture, and the level of passion they feel for their jobs. All of this is directly impacted by the way businesses communicate.”
“An effective IC strategy fosters open dialogue between leadership, management and staff and creates safe spaces for sharing ideas, challenges, collaboration and innovation,” continues Burger. “It allows employees to feel seen, heard, and respected, and is vital not only to elevate morale, but also to foster growth”—all of which leads to higher employee engagement.
Also read: The top 4 advantages of internal communication for businesses
While a solid internal communication strategy can lead to improved employee engagement, the opposite is also true; without the right internal communication, engagement—and retention—can suffer.
“A weak IC strategy can lead to confusion and misunderstanding among staff regarding goals and the expectations of management and leadership,” says Burger. “In turn, this leads to employees feeling detached and lacking a sense of belonging, which perpetuates burnout and can result in the loss of talent.”
Clearly, internal communication plays a critical role in employee engagement. But from an organizational standpoint, how can you leverage your internal communication strategy to drive higher levels of engagement across your team—and your organization as a whole?
Connect internal communication to your mission and values
Purpose plays a major role in employee engagement; in order for employees to feel engaged with their work, they need to feel like their work matters.
“Leaders must be able to demonstrate the connection between the work employees are doing and the broader vision of the company,” says Burger. “More than ever, individual contributors want to feel connected to something more than simply making their company profitable or an industry leader. They want to feel a part of a greater purpose and vision.”
And what plays a major role in making your employees feel a part of a great purpose and vision? Internal communication.
If you want your employees to be more engaged with their work, use internal communication to help create a deeper sense of mission and purpose for your team. Create a deck that outlines your company’s values and mission statement and distribute it to all new hires as part of your onboarding process. Send out quarterly reports to your team to review how their individual and collective work has contributed to your company’s success. Use your company’s communication platform to highlight employees who go above and beyond in bringing your company’s mission to life—and encourage them to call out their colleagues that are doing the same.
The point is, connecting your internal communication to your company’s mission and values can help your employees feel more connected to and invested in their work—which will help in improving employee engagement across the board.
Also read: 3 good reasons to launch an internal communication project in 2022
Train your team
Most internal communication strategies include communication tools. And while those tools can facilitate a higher level of engagement, in order for communication software to move the needle on employee engagement, you have to invest the time and energy into ensuring your team knows how to use them.
Also read: How to choose your internal communication tool
“Effective internal communication tools can be great—as long as employees are given the training and time to learn them,” says Radley. “Businesses need to commit to teaching their employees to use these channels in the ways they have outlined.”
If you have internal communication tools in place—or are planning on implementing any new ones—invest in proper training and onboarding for your team. When your team understands how to navigate your communication tech stack (and how to use each technology to better do their jobs), not only will they be more engaged with their work, but they’ll be more productive and efficient as well—making it win-win for everyone involved.
“When employees know what to expect and how to use these channels to collaborate effectively, the business will benefit greatly,” says Radley. “Increased adoption rates and usage will make the investment well worth it [and] efficiency in problem solving and collaboration will help aid productivity.”
Also read: The 4 major challenges of internal communication
Ask for feedback
If you want to know how, from an internal communication standpoint, to improve employee engagement across your team? Just ask them.
“Give your team a chance to share their feedback, whether frustrations or successes,” says Radley.
Your team can give you invaluable insights about which elements of your internal communication works for them, which don’t, and how you can improve to make them feel more engaged with and connected to their work.
And if you want their feedback to drive measurable improvements to employee engagement within your organization, as a leader? You need to not only ask for feedback—but take steps to actually implement it.
“Employees are looking for leadership that walks the talk—a connection between what their managers and leaders say and what they do,” says Burger. “Asking for feedback is one step in that process, but employees are looking for leadership and management to follow-up by asking probing, open-ended questions (actively listening)—and then putting that information into action.”
Use these tips—and the right tools—to improve employee engagement
Improving employee engagement is key to keeping top talent with your organization and driving employee engagement. But in order to improve it, you also need the right tools—like Talkspirit, which offers a host of features that allow for better internal communication within your organization, like streamlined chat, video conferencing, a newsfeed and webinars.
With these tips and tools, you have everything you need to leverage internal communication to drive employee engagement across your team—and improve retention in the process.
Are you looking for more tools to help you improve employee engagement? Check out our list of the 14 best software for internal communication:
Author: Deanna deBara