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Need a winning employee communications and engagement strategy? Leverage these top tech tips

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Figuring out how to improve employee engagement and communications strategy is one of the most important priorities for any organisation. Many of the most pressing problems that today’s leadership teams face are the result of employees who have become disinterested and disengaged. In the modern, distributed workforce where remote workers and other non-desk or frontline employees (NDEs) comprise a significant part of the total staff pool, mobile technology has become a crucial connector that boosts engagement and improves communications across all levels of the company.

Here are some top tips on how technology can help your company rapidly identify and deliver a superior employee experience that transforms loyalty, retention, and productivity levels across the entire organisation and has a measurable, definable impact on your business and its specific goals:

Understand how an internal communications platform can connect people. 

When employees feel disconnected from the larger organisation and its mission, it can hurt engagement. This type of scenario is especially common with those who work virtually in an NDE capacity if there isn’t an intentional strategy that loops them into key communications. Mobile technology is currently the best (and frankly only) tool on the market that can truly reach every person in an organisation, whether they work in the home office, in the field, or from home. An internal communications and engagement platform that enables you to deliver a customised communication strategy can take the pain out of achieving business goals in this area.

Know the features you need in a solution. 

First and foremost, you want to be sure to seek a solution that is secure, and also gives you the ability to moderate content and measure results. Additionally, the solution should provide a way for employees to have a voice. Another important feature is having a way to effectively measure engagement. Gamefication can help drive adoption of the solution and improve the employee experience, and targeting content and messaging to specific communities can help make the material customised, granular, and relevant to all users. 

Another smart move is to leverage a best practice implementation service like AppSuccess to help ensure successful launch and ongoing use of the app. With AppSuccess, you can avoid having to find a separate implementation partner, since the service provides the needed domain expertise to help you define your organisation’s best practice content and communication strategy.

Prioritise implementation, not just software. 

Best practice implementation acknowledges that once you’ve selected your employee engagement platform, finding out the best way to implement it to maximise its performance throughout the organisation becomes the next step of the journey. You may know that you need the benefits and features included in the solution you have selected, but the platform is only the strategic enabler for employees. 

To really derive the most value from an engagement platform, you need a strong roll out plan which includes training programs, leadership workshops, counselling, best practices resources, templates, and customised advice and guidance. This approach helps companies not only identify the right use cases for their business, but also helps clarify the benefits and challenges of the platform, explore what users really want, plan a successful launch, and determine who needs to be involved at different points in the process.

Think about the difference between a network and a community.

An internal social channel makes more sense to employees when a key distinction is clarified: network vs. community. A loose network of people is generally more transactional, which means people can choose to join in and comment, but then often opt to leave. This makes it difficult for a company to develop a meaningful relationship with followers. A community, on the other hand, is both active and stable, with a shared purpose around which they discuss many topics together. It builds tight, interlinking relationships between the majority of the group members.

See the connection between EX, engagement, and business performance. 

Employee experience, or EX, is a big part of what leads employees to feel engaged or disengaged. Ample research has proven the clear link between disengagement and productivity—low engagement decreases productivity and hurts a company’s bottom line, so it’s incumbent on companies to find ways to improve EX for both desk based staff and its frontline employees. Working with a best practice implementation service in conjunction with your chosen technology solution is an effective way to determine what your own company needs to deliver in order to really transform the EX. For example, you might want your app to be configured to address people by location, function, group, or division, so that you can deliver the right messaging to the right staff.

Consider the NDE experience. 

When you keep in mind the high percentage of NDEs in many organisations (i.e., today non-desk employees make up over 80 per cent of the world’s workforce, and in this digital age, the non-desk employee number is only expected to rise), it becomes clear why a mobile technology-enabled strategy is so critical. Some staff travel frequently, and others may lack a permanent office, laptop, or even corporate email address. Your business needs a way to reach these mobile workers who may be in transit more often than stationed at a desk or in the office. When utilised strategically, an employee communications and engagement solution can make it easy to reach everyone in your workforce, and can additionally facilitate measuring this reach and engagement to improve EX across the organisation.

Pair technology with strategy.

Choosing the best technology solution to help meet business goals is an important first step toward improving workforce engagement, but it’s only one element of part of the engagement puzzle. The true power comes from combining technology with strategy in the form of a customised, granular content and communication plan. Specifically, you need to determine not only how you will communicate, but what and to whom you will communicate at different times. Accurate measurement of engagement parameters is a critical piece of strategic engagement, so you can tell not only what is working about your current approach, but also which individuals and groups are most and least engaged. The tech tool you select should take the guesswork out of which areas of your business need more work or a change in tactics to battle disengagement.

Build on what’s working. 

With your internal communications solution in place and best practice implementation services ensuring that you’re maximising the value of the mobile technology, the next step is to continuously leverage the app’s measurement capability to improve engagement over time. One indicator that people are excited about the platform and becoming more engaged is a rise of employee-generated content. With this in mind, a few general smart engagement tactics include:

  • Finding ways to simplify how staff can engage, communicate, and get involved with the content. Leadership should encourage people throughout the company, including NDEs, to contribute their views and participate. Recognise people for sharing and promote interaction.
  • Prioritise group sharing among peers. Some top employee platforms allow you to set up messaging element within the app. This allows workers to communicate/chat most efficiently with specific teammates as well as their whole team, their managers, and other divisions. 
  • Leverage the cloud. Cloud-based mobile technology allows for more digitally mature solutions, with better and more frequent upgrades, so that time-consuming maintenance doesn’t end up on your IT department’s plate.

To engage employees, companies must commit to giving them a voice. Employee mobile solutions allow for not just content consumption, but content creation. When people have the choice to engage by being creators rather than just recipients of corporate information, they develop greater stakes both in the organisation’s mission and its messaging.

Bulent Osman, Founder and CEO, StaffConnect (opens in new tab)
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Bulent Osman is responsible for leading strategy and driving growth at StaffConnect, the world’s leading enterprise mobile employee engagement platform.  Prior to StaffConnect, Osman served as International Sales and Marketing Director for 3i Infotech, where he in the first full year grew global new business sales revenue by 346% and exceeded targets by over 24%.