Employee engagement important for company performance, loyalty

August 13, 2012 

There are many ways to motivate and engage employees; however, without effective communication, employees can become disengaged. Lack of communication will not only affect productivity, it will ultimately impact company loyalty and erode workers' trust.

According to the 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, only 35 percent of employees are highly engaged. That is an alarming fact considering the strong correlation between high levels of sustained engagement and company results. Competitive wages, professional development and career advancement opportunities, work location and environment, and employee confidence in supervisors and senior leadership all contribute to a company's ability to attract and retain talented workers. However, add to these factors the importance of effective communications in cultivating a high level of sustainable engagement.

Communications to improve employee engagement should include transparent, quality communications through various channels. Mission, vision, values, goals, business strategies, accomplishments, accolades and such can be posted in a company newsletter, on a digital display in employee break rooms, or on a company intranet page. Employee and leadership feedback should be two-way and can be obtained through on and offline surveys, an electronic suggestion box, performance evaluations and peer to peer reviews. Don't underestimate the value of face-to-face communications. It can be as simple as saying good morning or hello when management and workers' paths cross during the day. The key is to communicate often and in various ways that appeal to a multi-generational and diverse work force.

One example of the way we strengthen communication and improve engagement is to bring the entire organization together in one location to share pertinent information about what we do, how we do it and why. By doing this, everyone hears the same information the same way at the same time.

We incorporate a team building exercise into this meeting regarding our top five challenges, have teams

exchange ideas, develop solutions and then present those solutions through role playing to the entire group. Each team is comprised of staff from different office locations and departments that otherwise would not interface with each other on a daily basis. As a result, we raised the engagement level between senior level management and staff as well as among co-workers.

Are your employees highly engaged? Are they delivering on their business goals? Are your retention rates low? In addition to the basic drivers for attracting and retaining talent, consider increasing the breadth and depth of employee communications. Workers want to stay informed, they are thirsty for regular feedback and they want their voices to be heard and to celebrate their accomplishments.

Mary Helen Kress, president and CEO of Suncoast Workforce, can be reached at 941-358-4080.

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