Employees are valuable messengers of your organization’s impact—among each other and the community. Engaging employees in your purpose can have great impacts, including increased retention. Read on for strategies to build an effective narrative with your team.
What are some unique considerations to take when developing a communications strategy aimed at increasing employee engagement?
– “Where to start…Remote work options. Integrating diversity, equity and inclusion plans and philosophies. The growing gig economy. Mental health burnout. The Great Resignation. It’s no secret that the modern workplace is rapidly changing for the better. Along with change comes risk, and the stakes for business leaders to recruit and retain talent are higher than ever,” says Amy Moynihan, Vice President, GFM|CenterTable.
– “When employees say they never saw your message, what they are really saying is you aren’t communicating in a way that catches my attention. Try asking employees how they prefer to learn about what the organization is doing,” says Sarah Hogan, Chief Purpose Office and Co-Founder, Barefoot PR.
– “When considering a communications strategy to increase employee engagement, employees should have a clear understanding of the company’s values, aligning their values to guide their work and a sense of fulfillment. As a result, employees are more likely to engage and help achieve the company’s vision and goals. An environment and culture that encourages and nurtures the voice of employees as storytellers sharing their experiences and contributions can be valuable to creating an authentic narrative of pride within the company and in the community. Engagement generally increases alongside job satisfaction and workplace morale,” Paula McClain, Principal, BPM Global says.
– “Recruiting executive champions is an important step in fostering an engaged workforce! I have also had success in partnering closely with ERG’s. While many of us are still navigating a hybrid workplace, it’s critical to offer several options for employees to engage whether that is a virtual volunteer opportunity, workplace giving campaign, in person etc.,” adds Carlee Craddock, Community Relations, Lockheed Martin.
Where is internal storytelling heading next?
– “Employees of today want to believe. They are drawn to meaning and purpose. They need to know that the mission of the company aligns with their own. To reach employees and other key stakeholders, storytelling must cut through all the noise with clear proactive and authentic communication,” Amy Moynihan says.
– “Companies have to embrace the fact that every employee is an influencer, and they can’t control what people say where. Tech companies are learning this right now as employees face layoffs. Employees who once were doing day in the life posts on TikTok highlighting cool working environments and snacks are now sharing how poorly their companies’ handled layoffs and how dehumanizing the experience was. People will talk about good and bad experiences – it is our job to make sure even tough things are communicated well,” says Sarah Hogan.
Anything else you’d like to share about storytelling best practices?
– “I’ve found that the more people you can interact with within your organization, the more authentic and unique stories you’re able to tell. This is your sign to get connected both with your internal network and clients! Go to that networking event, join an ERG, participate in a team building opportunity,” says Carlee Craddock.
Check out part one of our series on creating your storytelling strategy.