“Am I told what’s going on? Do I feel involved?” You want the employees in your organization to be able to answer those two questions with a resounding “YES!”
Communication is a key driver of employee engagement for the overwhelming majority of companies. Even workplaces often ranked as a “Best Place to Work” will tell you that they continually see an opportunity for improvement when it comes to keeping their employees “in the know.”
Tackling this goal requires that you consider all levels of employees, from executive to management to the new coworker.
In the know: Executives in companies that score high in employee engagement agree that their organization should have a transparent and explicit work culture. Their priority is to be strategic, anticipatory, proactive, and people-focused.
In the dark: Companies struggling with employee engagement have executives who believe in giving employees only enough information to do their jobs.
Strategy: It begins here. Companies that need to turn the ship around often bring all leaders under one roof for a re-education and restart on business philosophy and organization culture.
In the know: Managers at engaged workplaces feel equipped and empowered to communicate company initiatives to their employees. They understand that they play a critical role in driving the effort of keeping employees involved and informed.
In the dark: Managers have never been encouraged to develop meaningful relationships with their employees and fellow managers. They may even believe that keeping employees at a distance make them more powerful and effective leaders.
Strategy: Have frequent manager meetings, conferences and communication where information is unveiled first to the company’s supervisors. Conclude every manager meeting/communication with tools to help them pass the information to their employees. This not only encourages managers to be more transparent, but it lays the foundation for managers to build stronger relationships with their employees.
In the know: When a company’s employees are in the know, you will notice a constant free flow of ideas up and down and across the organization. That’s because employees feel listened to and respected, and realize that the leaders of the organization are willing to relinquish control for the benefit of the company or department.
In the dark: When employees do not feel communicated to or involved, they come to work each day with no buy-in, no passion, no drive … they do a job for a paycheck and go home. The company may think they are doing a good job of communicating with webinars and memos and meetings, but the culture of the company does not support transparency and involvement and the attempts at communicating fall on deaf ears or are received with an eye roll.
Strategy: This is where listening is required. No solution is a one-size-fits-all. Your coworkers hold the answer as to what strategies can be implemented that will make them feel in the know. If coworkers’ strategies are implemented, be sure to give them the credit for providing the feedback that resulted in change.
In the know: New coworkers should be ushered into a work environment of communication and involvement on day one. Initial onboarding meetings should focus on integrating the coworker into the culture and introducing channels of communication.
In the dark: When a new coworker begins their job with activities that focus only on safety training and “how-to-do-your-job” training, it’s implied that they are there to fill a specific role and shouldn’t be concerned about the organization as a whole.
Strategy: Here’s where a lot of companies can make great strides. They may have enhanced workplace communication in many ways but failed to revise their coworker orientation program to reflect their new culture. Put it on the corporate project calendar to review coworker onboarding at least every 6 months to ensure it reflects the overall workplace culture and focuses on inclusion and involvement. Make new coworkers champions of your workplace from Day One!