Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Employee Engagement Might be the Most Effective Communication Measureable

By David Hebert, Chief of Internal and Audiovisual Communications at the U.S. Geological Survey, FCN Co-Chair

Employee engagement leads to higher profit, greater safety, less mistakes, and other benefits in the workplace. How do you know if your employees are engaged? You measure, of course. Here are some tips.

Where is this relationship going?

Knowing where things stand in your employee community becomes very powerful when you can apply that knowledge to business-driven goals. Consider:

·         Strategic business need you want engagement to address.
·         Things that matter to employees.
·         Goals that bring business and employee needs together.
·         Cost-effective tactics that resonate with your organizational culture, and correlate every tactic to a measurement.

So what do you measure? Let’s run through some common and useful questions.

I want to get to know you

Consider the sorts of things you would ask your employees if you could sit down with each of them:

·         What do they need or want to do their jobs?
·         What things would they change about the organization?
·         How do they feel about the organization’s financial health?
·         Do they trust senior leadership?
·         Who keeps stealing food from the office fridge?

Ask yourself: what do you want to accomplish, and what will you need to ask to know whether you did?

So how did you guys meet?

There are a number of ways to get answers to your questions:

·         Web-based polls are a good way to see how people feel about a particular issue.
·         Web and social tool usage stats can tell you what terms people searched for on your intranet or how many of them read the director’s blog posts.
·         Blog comments and emails can tell you what topics interest people and reveal issues you might not be aware of.
·         Idea sharing and voting tools, like UserVoice or IdeaScale, afford you the collective wisdom of your employees and tell you what’s on their minds.
·         Employee events like town hall meetings can include before-and-after polls, and if you video stream to remote locations, you can measure viewership.
·         Finally, the rumor mill continues to be the champion of information exchange (accuracy notwithstanding). Set up a rumor message board with anonymous posting and arrange for subject matter experts to confirm or deny with accurate info.

Let’s take things slow

Don’t dump overwhelming, raw feedback on your senior leaders without any analysis or context. Take these steps when reporting input:

·         Look for common threads among qualitative and quantitative data and help your leaders follow those threads, not every squeaky wheel and piece of information.
·         Find regular time with executives to go over a simple report that includes what you’re seeing and hearing, what the sources are, and your suggestions for action.
·        Help leaders take personal responsibility for their relationships with employees and provide accurate information. For employees, establish comment policies, and respond to rudeness in a professional but direct way.

Putting together an engagement measurement plan takes thoughtfulness and hard work. However, no measurement effort for a single audience may have a bigger positive effect on your organization.

This post is adapted from a more detailed article published in the PR News Measurement Guidebook, Vol. 7 (link opens a paywall-free Google Doc).

You can follow David on Twitter and find his page on LinkedIn. This discussion is brought to you by the Federal Communicators Network. FCN members are government employees managing U.S. government communications.

1 comment:

  1. Employee engagement can be developed with three way communication methods like engagement, celebration and communication. Personally, I feel the organization must provide forums for employees to exchange their ideas and should provide necessary tools to prove themselves and also to improve their productivity. In our organization, we are using a tool called Replicon's rostering software - http://www.replicon.com/olp/rostering-software.aspx . It is a cloud-based app to track and in order to improve work flow and team communication.

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