There is only one question that you need ask yourself to find out whether your employee communication strategies are going to engage employees, rather than simply inform. That question is: Can you establish whether the tools and methods you are using to communicate with employees are engagement strategies or information tools?
When I talk about employee engagement I mean that the business issue means something to employees personally - employees understand the reason why for certain decisions. Now going back to the question, engagement strategies are designed so there is some involvement of the employee. Information tools mean that you are telling employees something, it is information sharing not an opportunity to become involved.
This is important because your ultimate aim in employee communication has to be to create the "Aha Moment." The Aha Moment is based on information that challenges the employee's belief about an aspect of the business. The information that suddenly helps employees say, "Now it makes sense," "Now I understand," "Now I can do something about it."
To help you design employee communication strategies that engage employees you need to undertake some research and the best type for this activity is focus group research.
Focus group research allows you to ask employees about your business and their thoughts on competitors, identify the largest gap between what customers think and what staff think customers think, and to identify what would create a paradigm shift in employee's thinking. It also helps you identify how you will measure the impact of the change in employees thinking and to determine how significant it is to achieving the business objectives.
Once you have your focus group outcomes, you can then begin designing employee communication strategies that engage employees. You should have a clear understanding about what employees know and what the facts are, and the gap between customer and staff research. Most importantly you can then identify a business issue that you feel sure your strategies can impact on and work together with that area of the business to implement an employee communication strategy that can be measured by business outcomes.
About the Author
About the author: Marcia Xenitelis is a recognized authority on the subject on employee communication and has spoken at conferences around the world. Her site www.employeecommunicationtips.com provides a wealth of informative articles and resources.