There’s no question that “employee engagement” is one of the buzziest phrases in business today. And internal communication and HR teams have become responsible for earning their employees’ engagement.
Are your internal communication efforts making an impact? Maybe—or maybe not.
Even if your team has all the resources and budget necessary to get the job done, you may be among the many companies that are still falling short. Let’s take a closer look at four reasons your internal communications are failing to engage your employees.
You aren’t measuring
What’s measured is managed, and many companies simply aren’t measuring their internal communication efforts.
A variety of challenges prevent them from doing so.
- They lack the tools or technical infrastructure to measure.
- They lack the manpower or time to measure.
- They don’t know what or how to measure using the tools they have.
Measurement is crucial in ensuring your internal communications are making an impact, and if they aren’t, measurement enables objective improvements so they do.
You aren’t measuring the right things
Many tools are available to measure top-level metrics such as intranet page views or email opens—but those numbers alone don’t tell you much beyond the fact that the recipient looked at the page or opened the email.
Did they read your message? Did they understand it? Did they complete the intended action?
More valuable and actionable measurement drills down into the details. An important metric, for example, is the ratio of time on page to the amount of content. Beyond clicks, it’s valuable to measure the ratio of clicks to the number of users who completed the requested action.
To determine if your communications are being understood, consider polling and short surveys to measure employees’ comprehension. Even simple multiple-choice questions yield a qualitative snapshot of whether your content effectively communicated the message to your intended audience.
You’re not targeting
External communication teams wouldn’t dream of sending the same marketing message to every contact in their database. Why should internal communication be any different?
Sending all internal messaging to all employees most of the time is one of the cardinal sins of internal communication—doing so creates a “boy who cried wolf” scenario that trains your employees to filter or ignore most of your messages, because they’re irrelevant.
In most corporate environments, distribution groups such as an “all employees” list, or specific departmental or regional lists are available to communicators. But accurate targeting often requires further segmentation, and sometimes that targeting information only exists inside the HR system. Communicators should work with their IT teams to get the tools which enable more accurate targeting, so recipients only receive the information most relevant to them.
Another consideration is qualifying the “from:” address—recipients use the from as their initial filtering mechanism. Here again, communicators can work with their IT or Exchange team to get additional from addresses or shared mailboxes which will provide better context for the recipients, and is another way to train employees to pay attention to need-to-know information.
Are your internal communications targeted to the right audience?
You’re not using the right channel
It’s important to choose the right medium for your message.
Your prioritization of channels may not align with your employees’ utilization. Messages often have to be repeated to be understood, so it’s important to create an internal communication ecosystem that works together to provide a consistent message across all the different media employees engage with.
While digital communication is the top channel, many employees are never behind a computer. Signage in common areas like lunch and break rooms is a good way to both deliver and reinforce key messages.
Today’s top communicators focus their digital communication on managers, arming them with adequate content to pass on—verbally, in print or digitally.
Room for improvement
Internal communication can be an incredible tool for building employee engagement—if it’s done right—and many studies have shown that high employee engagement correlates directly with increased company performance.
Here’s just a sampling of research on the topic:
- In 2012, Gallup conducted a meta-analysis of its Q12 survey and found a connection between employee engagement and nine performance outcomes, including profitability, productivity, absenteeism and quality.
- Employee engagement expert and New York Times bestselling author Kevin Kruse has published a “master list” of more than 25 studies around these correlations.
But despite the abundance of compelling data those studies have yielded, a Towers Watson Global Workforce Study found in 2014 that just four in 10 employees are highly engaged. There’s room for improvement here.
Get on the road to greater employee engagement by taking PoliteMail’s 2016 Internal Communications Measurement Survey. Your responses will offer a snapshot of where our industry stands—and in the whitepaper we’ll send survey participants once it’s completed, you’ll learn:
- Internal communication professionals’ challenges in measuring their efforts.
- Why measurement is important to your peers in internal communication.
- The challenge employees face in using company communication.
- The most popular communication channels and measurement tools.
- And more!
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