The pandemic was the ultimate business disruptor. And in a post-pandemic world, so much has changed. From Zoom meetings to nearly zero business travel, from hybrid working environments to employees who are just not willing to come back to the office, today’s business owners need to navigate a whole new world.
But the one thing that hasn’t changed for businesses is your employees remain the best ambassadors for your organization’s message. And if they aren’t acting like your biggest cheerleaders, you have a problem. Thus, it is ever more important to continually engage your employees — as challenging as that may be in this new environment.
For some businesses, employee communications programs have often been little more than an afterthought. But today’s employers can no longer think that way. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, disengaged employees cost the world an unbelievable $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.
So for today’s leaders, it is time to take a long hard look at how you are engaging with your employees and make some changes. From the obvious to more innovative programs, here are four things businesses can do to increase employee morale through communications programs.
Create two-way communications between management and employees.
Too many companies think talking at employees equates to talking to employees. Successful companies give employees many opportunities to share their thoughts with the management team. Consider a quarterly town hall or regularly scheduled zoom for all employees. Maybe an annual meeting among all employees, a departmental luncheon with the CEO or a CEO call-in hour every month. Give employees a chance to engage with the management team in a setting that encourages a back-and-forth sharing of ideas and concerns. Your communications vehicles will serve as important tools to not only share when these opportunities exist, but to also celebrate the outcomes of these meetings, enabling all employees to see that their voice makes a difference.
Support professional development.
Why wouldn’t you want your employees to continue to expand their knowledge base? Companies that support professional development programs for all show a desire to give employees a chance to learn, while reaping the benefits of that learning in their own day-to-day business operations. Communicating these opportunities to staff gives the management team a chance to show its commitment to employee growth.
Recognize employee contributions.
Employee recognition programs, awards and scholarships don’t have to be cheesy luncheons — with bad trophies and worse speeches. Creating meaningful recognition programs with measurable metrics for gaining that recognition is good for everyone. Don’t try to create a program that is one-size-fits-all for every department. Your sales force has very different goals than your administrative staff so don’t try to measure them straight up against one another. Your employee communications program will be essential in making recognition programs relevant to the team, as well as keeping employees updated on the progress of such programs. Various communications vehicles will help you celebrate the winners and avoid the rubber chicken luncheon as the penultimate goal.
Establish a sense of team among employees.
While the pandemic severely threatened the sense of team at many organizations, those that kept employees in touch with the management team — and with each other — are the real winners. And for something old that’s new again, send something home. Your spouse, your partner, your children are part of the success team that makes you a great employee, so why not share the news with them? In today’s email world, sending a printed newsletter or magazine to employees’ homes is a personal touch that many organizations are bringing back to foster that sense of family
Every company says its greatest asset is its people, but many organizations don’t go beyond those words to foster good feelings among their employees. Those that do create internal cheerleaders who spread positive vibes about their brand far and wide.
Jeff Durosko, a former journalist and writer with three decades of PR experience, offers a broad range of strategic communications planning, crisis communications, media relations, employee communications and writing services through Jeff Durosko Communications. He is based in Lakewood Ranch and Pittsburgh.