Ever since Millennials took over the workforce, organisations need to know how to stimulate, engage, and retain this extremely sophisticated class of employees.
Organisations have been slow to learn, but are finally catching up on the importance of investing time and resources into creating strong employee experiences – and the statistics show why:
A study by AON reported that a single disengaged employee cost a company on average $10,000 in annual revenue. For larger organisations that have hundreds or tens of thousands of employees working for them, the numbers can add up, leaving a dent in their earnings per year.
Another study by Future Workplace found that 83% of HR leaders claim strong employee experiences lead to improved organizational productivity and success. Simply put, they feel that happy employees makes for a happy workplace, which ultimately affects the way they work towards achieving organisational goals.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The underlying fact is that the Millennial workforce is a highly engaged body that needs to feel a connection to the company’s mission and a sense of belonging and purpose at work. This cohort of employees want to know that the work they are doing is leaving an impact and smart leaders should harness their sense of mission.
In response, they are pushing for new types of engagement, and companies must respond to their demands by developing robust employee experiences.
But how does internal comms fit into all of this? And, more importantly, what role do communicators play in creating successful employee experiences?
In the past, organisations have devoted a lot of time and resources into creating successful customer experiences, allocating massive budgets to external relations and communications, while overlooking the need for internal marketing and communications.
With the rise of employee experiences, the focus has shifted on engaging the workforce, giving internal communicators the responsibility to create communication strategies that reflect cohesiveness and engagement among employees.
Here is why internal communications is a crucial business function helping companies build better employee experiences.
Creating an Engaged Workplace
It’s not so much that Millennials and Gen Z want different things from their jobs; they want the same things as previous generations – and more. They still need to have clear goals and a route for achieving them, but they want to know what value those goals are contributing. They want to feel part of a team, listened to and valued, but this need is amplified because they have grown up with a constant flow of messages, comments and likes on social media.
When it comes to internal comms, then, employees appreciate a steady flow of information which tells them how their team and the wider company is progressing towards various goals. But within this, they want to know that their own job matters. A recent LinkedIn survey found that 73% of the 26,000 people surveyed globally wanted a career where they felt they were making a difference.
An effective internal communications system should provide motivation for employees to keep working towards a shared goal. By seeing what they are working towards, they become more committed to doing their part.
Help Maintain Consistent and Clear Messaging
Want to know how to make employees feel like they don’t matter? Let them learn about important company news from an external source before it’s officially announced internally. Not just in terms of crises, but also announcements, significant appointments, etc.
This is a big challenge in the fast-moving world of social media and news accessible on our smartphones any time, but having a smooth internal comms process can help. There are two main factors to ensuring all employees hear information from the right source at the right time.
First of all, don’t let internal comms get held up by a lengthy editing and approval process. A few years ago we faced a similar challenge when it came to responding to critical social media posts – and we had to develop processes that allowed us to respond in minutes rather than days.
Secondly, organisations need channels to allow fast, reliable and interactive communication streams with all employees. Which today basically means mobile.
While email remains the most consistent and reliable form of channel for internal comms to distribute critical information to employees, they can also look into other tools that will relay news that matters, when it matters.
Making Manager Liaison Easier
A big flaw in large organisations is the trickling of information in a top-down flow. Information often gets lost, distorted, or mismanaged, often leaving managers confused and in a tough spot.
Internal communicators can help by providing middle management with better, easier-to-use tools and processes that decrease the chances of information getting forgotten or delayed. And when it comes to delivering messages that apply to the whole organisation (or an entire location), have a central way of delivering them to reduce the pressure on individual team managers.
Another important factor for Millennials is making the information flow two-ways, so they feel they have a way to respond and give feedback on messages if they wish.
Time to Take Internal Comms Seriously
Companies need to wake up to the fact that internal communications can no longer be treated as an afterthought; it’s an important business function that, when done well, helps keep employees engaged and loyal to the organisation. When neglected, it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
Fortunately, it seems that many companies are already aware of the need to invest in this area. A 2016 Internal Communication Survey revealed that internal comms budgets are on the rise, with 87% of respondents saying their budget would either stay the same or increase in the coming years.
However, if you feel like your organisation is moving too slowly on improving communications with employees, now is the time to speak up and get the issue in the minds of decision makers.
The ultimate goal for internal communication is to help leadership get their message out. In order to get buy-in, make decision makers aware of this goal and get them involved in the planning and development phase of your internal comms strategy.
Failure to prioritise internal comms and its role in creating positive employee experiences can leave organisations struggling for staff retention and productivity for years to come.
ContactMonkey offers an Outlook tool for Internal Communications. Create, send, and track personalised internal emails to improve employee engagement. Use metrics to amplify the impact of your business communication programmes and streamline the way you send email communications. They seek to facilitate conversations on internal communications strategies and tactics in order to make the workplace better for everyone.