Employee engagement is notoriously hard to measure. Is it how many people respond to your company-wide email requesting ideas for the next charity event? Or how many read your article posted on the intranet system? Or the amount of people you count walking out of the office with a smile on their face?
This in itself is a big challenge for HR and internal communications professionals who can sometimes feel like they are screaming into a void when it comes to communicating effectively with employees.
To have engaged employees, you need to provide a great employee experience – and with 80 per cent of executives rating employee experience as important in the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey, it’s clearly a key focus for most business leaders.
New technology should drive employee engagement
The exciting thing is that technology is enabling employers to communicate in new ways to establish a more holistic employee engagement approach. Supported by a plethora of collaboration and communication apps and platforms, employee self-service technologies and pulse feedback tools, employers now have a number of techniques at their disposal.
Despite this, 59 per cent of executives reported that they are not fully ready to address the employee engagement challenge (2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey). This is completely understandable, with so many technology options available it would be easy to fall into the trap of overwhelming employees, which is likely to lead to disengagement and cause exactly the opposite to the desired effect.
It would also waste resources and budget too, which are often in short supply regardless.
Alongside implementing these new tools, organisations also need to produce engaging content to populate the platforms. This can often be a sticking point for internal comms/HR professionals who are unsure on how best to use the technology to ultimately drive engagement.
It’s all very well having flashy technology, but if it isn’t impacting employee experience and resonating with the workforce, what’s the point?
Remember, employees only want to see content that will impact them directly.
One effective way to address this is by having a centralised platform that enables individuals to publish content across a range of channels including clever multi-functional mobile apps, intranets, physical screens in offices, social media, and desktops widgets.
But it’s crucial to remember that disseminating information via these routes needs to be targeted and relevant to reach employees in whichever format they rely on most.
Below are three key considerations for those looking to integrate more platforms into their internal communications strategy:
1 Access data and analytics on viewer behaviours
Publishing content, whether HR or culture related, is a useful way to gain data about your employees. Being able to publish a video from the CEO, for example, announcing the reasons behind a new office move on a dedicated employee portal is, in itself, great. But the important thing is that you have the analytics available to show how that content is being consumed.
Are employees switching off after five seconds? Are employees even clicking on the video to watch? There’s no point communicating with employees in that way if no one is watching and engaging with it. There needs to be in-depth analytics to measure the effectiveness of communication.
2 Target employees with personalised information
Communicating with employees via portals, screens or mobile is an effective way to encourage action. It’s essential that employees feel either compelled to act on the messaging they receive from internal comms or are compelled to feel important as an employee.
One way to do this is by segmenting content: understand what channels employees want to use and what the point of the communication is. Then you can personalise content either by team, geography or department.
If you’re looking to broadcast, then displaying a message on a screen in the office is okay, but if you need a response then a personalised message on the company’s mobile communication hub will likely be more effective.
Employees want to feel connected to the place they work and want to be kept in the loop about what’s going on.
Furthermore, a Facebook-style news feed could be used to display information only relevant to that person. It’s likely that employees working in the accounting team won’t be interested in an announcement about the promotion of an individual in the marketing team for example, but they would be interested to know changes to the annual leave request process.
Targeted communications could mean blog posts only appear on certain people’s feed or comprise specific widgets letting that individual know that their appraisal is due next week or how they are performing against a sales target.
Remember, employees only want to see content that will impact them directly, hence employers need to be able to easily share content in this manner.
3 Integrate new end point devices and data sources with ease
Having a platform that is scalable to any business and any sized HR/internal comms department is key for employers looking to create, manage and deploy content across a variety of endpoints including apps on mobile and desktops.
If you’re currently working with a basic intranet portal but want to integrate that into a clever user friendly mobile app, it’s vital that the information going up on both platforms is coordinated so that individuals aren’t excluded from important information relating to them.
It should be seamless to integrate new devices into your digital signage network and messages need to be consistent and easy to access to engage employees. On the flip side, you need to be able to easily feed in various data and content sources to populate the various platforms. For example, a live-chart of sales deals that pulls data from the sales dashboard.
CMS platforms should be considered the unsung hero of internal comms in the digital era where understanding the most effective way to communicate with a range of employees can be difficult. Such technology can be seen as merely a place to house content, but it should be seen as the gateway to creating a truly interactive employee experience.
Employees want to feel connected to the place they work and want to be kept in the loop about what’s going on. Employers can do this in a targeted and appealing way, using new technologies as a powerful way to engage.
About Robert Michelson
For the last three years, Bob has been the CEO of RMG Networks (Nasdaq: RMGN). Under Bob's leadership, the company has realized significant improvement in its financial performance. Contributing to this success has been a total refresh in corporate strategy, company-positioning, the Leadership Team and the technology platform.
Prior to joining RMG Networks as CEO, Bob served as an Operating Partner with the $5B private equity firm, Sterling Partners. Bob was responsible for consulting with the 30 portfolio-company CEOs in the development of their strategic plans and in preparing them for successful sales of their businesses. Additionally, Bob had accountability as the Lead Director of 4 portfolio companies (2 of which were SaaS software companies).