Empowering Employee Engagement & Retention with Cutting-Edge Technology
Technology is transforming employee engagement and retention for deskless workers. So, if you want to vitalize employee satisfaction, productivity, and profits while slashing turnover, this blog is a must-read. Discover the latest strategies and insights for empowering your frontline workforce.
The evolution of internal communications
First, let’s take a look at how far internal communications has come. Internal communications emerged in the late 19th to early 20th centuries alongside new business management theories, social movements, cultural norms, and technologies.
Traditional communication methods within organizations
Internal communication has used many offline and online channels to build engagement over the years. These range from bulletin boards, faxes, intercom machines, and physical letters, to town hall meetings and notice boards. The ways in which frontline employees, in particular, communicate differently now can be viewed here.
Challenges associated with outdated communication approaches and their impact on employee satisfaction
Most traditional internal communication methods, like bulletin board notices, printed handouts, and email blasts, are about as effective at supporting employee engagement and retention as telex notes, teleprinters, and linotype house magazines.
That might sound extreme, but these modern staples have many of the limits as much older, outdated tech.
Methods like email updates, newsletters, or visual signs are best suited for top-down, one-way information delivery. Meaning they’re great for sending messages out from management but not ideal for getting feedback, holding a conversation, or cultivating dialogue among colleagues.
These methods keep things hierarchical, siloed, and one-directional, which is exactly what we don’t want for modern internal communications.
Shifting towards digital communication tools
The limitations, challenges, and weak spots of physical and analog communications led to a rapid embrace of digital tools.
Innovations like emails, listservs, and digital content publication made organizational-wide communication accessible, inexpensive, and fast. Later on came more social tools like forums, intranets, and survey apps.
Office workers were first in line, of course. Then slowly but surely, frontline workers were recognized as vital team members who also had to be engaged.
Internal communication matters. It matters for the top brass, corporate associates, remote team members, and frontliners.
And creating exceptional communications lies at the heart of fostering employee engagement and retention.
Understanding employee engagement
What is employee engagement?
Before we go any further, what exactly is employee engagement? A short answer, courtesy of Gallup, is how involved and enthusiastic workers are.
Employee engagement is a behavioral and psychological indicator, measuring a worker’s mental, emotional, and social participation, vigor, and dedication. It assesses how they feel and act towards their work, co-workers, and workplace.
Factors that influence employee engagement
Do your frontline workers feel heard or like their voice matters? Do they feel recognized and rewarded for their work? Are their contributions seen as valuable? Are there opportunities for growth and career advancement? If so, do your workers know about them?
Do they find their work meaningful? How connected are they to the company’s values, mission, and purpose? Does the company brand resonate with their daily work?
Engagement heavily depends on strengthening these areas through people-friendly HR policies and proactive communication.
Common communication pitfalls hindering engagement and contributing to turnover
Inconsistent messaging and insufficient feedback mechanisms are recurring problems. These create a siloed culture where management isn’t fully aware of frontliners and workers are left in the dark.
Siloed cultures then lead to unclear expectations, career uncertainty, inadequate rewards and recognition, and a lack of responsiveness to employee suggestions or ideas.
From in-house magazine to in-house communications platform: stepping into the future of internal communications
Privacy? Check. Security? Check. Control? Check. An internal communications platform offers better management capabilities and is essential for protecting corporate interests.
So now let’s cover the core function – delivering a variety of communications to a large, active workforce. Simply put, email, chat apps, and even an entire stack of communication tools are no match for a robust IC platform.
An internal communication platform is optimized for sending multiple forms of communication to a large, multifaceted workforce. And it’s tailored for experience.
Strengthening employee engagement and retention takes more than bare-bones information delivery. A secure internal communications platform helps to strengthen the culture, foster collaboration, and offer safe spaces for workers to share. And it does so while sharing exclusive insight into the company’s employee engagement and retention levels.
You can’t get that from G-Suite.
So, those are some of the outsized advantages of owning and leveraging an in-house employee engagement and retention platform. Now how can you tell which platform will deliver?
7 Essential Features of secure platforms that facilitate seamless, real-time communication and collaboration among employees.
- Delivers an elevated digital employee experience on cell phones, tablets, and other devices.
- Built-in employee feedback mechanisms so you can easily gather their ideas, opinions, and sentiments.
- White labeling so it fully reflects your company’s branding and culture.
- User segmentation capabilities so you can send different roles, work units, or divisions their own messages.
- Integrates with other solutions so you can unify your information and tools for greater convenience.
- Offers user tracking, analytics, and insight into their engagement and activity levels.
- Adheres to enterprise-level security practices, such as ISO 27001-certified data centers, data encryption, peer-reviewed coding, independent external testing, and business continuity procedures.
And yes, Speakap has all of that and more. Discover more here.
How to empower employee engagement and retention with an internal comms platform?
First, understand that the factors driving employee engagement and retention for deskless workers are more emotional than financial or practical.
In late 2022, BCG found that most job-hunting frontline workers were doing so because their emotional needs weren’t met, specifically, they weren’t feeling respected, appreciated, valued, like they were treated fairly, or like their work was meaningful or enjoyable.
Earlier in that year, BCG found the top reasons for frontline worker attrition to include a lack of flexibility, lack of career advancement opportunities, and poor employer reputation.
These challenges can and should be met through internal communications. You just need to leverage the correct mechanisms, levers, and approaches.
Strategic techniques and approaches to keep in mind
- Create, publish, and uphold safe communication policies that protect workers who speak up. People are less likely to engage if they fear reprisal.
- Use feedback mechanisms like surveys and polls for workers to quickly share opinions.
- Stoke interactivity with emojis and reaction buttons.
- Encourage dialogue between management and frontliners, as well as amongst team members. Two-way communication is critical for good engagement. This will help them connect with the organization and form stronger ties with coworkers.
- Be transparent. Remember to include frontline workers in general corporate messaging. This group is often left out and treated like second or third-class members.
- Support collaboration by giving different divisions, teams, or work units their own open communication channel.
- Rename and brand it. Want frontliners to feel excited about the culture and pride in the organization? Promote the cultural experience with a branded solution.
- Acknowledge frontline team member input so they know they’ve been heard, even if their opinions aren’t acted on.
What does this look like in practice? A case study of Hudson's Bay & Domino's
Hudson’s Bay connected its entire workforce – both office and frontline – with BayTalk, a personalized Speakap deployment.
Domino’s Germany rebranded Speakap as Domino’s Chat and uses it to help restaurant teams stay plugged into the rest of the company. Now that frontliners can chat with regional managers, drivers, franchise partners, and HR leaders, the entire restaurant crew is better informed, more motivated, and engaged.
Tips for measuring and maintaining employee engagement and retention levels
Leverage the power trio of internal insight, personal feedback, and a robust communications platform.
- Internal insight comes from metrics and indicators related to employee engagement, retention, performance, satisfaction, and other areas.
- Personal feedback should be solicited directly from frontline workers, on an ongoing basis.
Check performance metrics and frontline worker feedback on an ongoing basis. Keep channels open and monitor their engagement. Use in-depth questionnaires, like Gallup’s Q12 or Employee Net Promoter Score Questions, along with topical questions, conversation starters, and reaction buttons. Use this insight to keep tabs on employees, understand the organizational pulse, and drive continuous improvement.
How cultural alignment and remote work impact employee engagement & retention
The Culture Factor
Engagement and culture together constitute the number one reason people are leaving their employers. Gallup recently determined those factors to be more influential than well-being, work-life balance, compensation, and management. In other research into American workers, 77% said culture influences if they perform at their best, while 76% said it influences their productivity and efficiency. For this reason, the most effective employee engagement and retention strategies are aligned with the company culture.
Case Study: Autism Charity Strengthens Employee Engagement, Retention, and Cultural Alignment with Branded Internal Communications
Real Life Options is a hands-on charity for people with autism and learning disabilities. But achieving its mission meant tackling the high turnover and churn rates endemic to the social support and care industry.
How could it reach, inspire, and bond with its entire team? Especially since around 90% are active caregivers?
By adopting Speakap and rebranding it as “Real Talk” for an explosion in team engagement.
Remote Worker Engagement
Remote work might be inherently isolating, but all that solo desk time leaves these team members poised for virtual social connection.
So embrace the remote life together with a digital employee communications platform that’s geared for connection, engagement, and experience.
- Schedule regular, consistent information updates that your team can look forward to.
- Establish different channels for different kinds of communication, e.g., channels for collaborating, getting updates, giving feedback, or just chatting.
- Try out all the interactive features to see what works best with your employees.
- Encourage open dialogue but set conduct guidelines to ensure that everyone is appropriate, safe, and comfortable.
Get this right and your remote segment will be more motivated, energized, tapped in, and just flat-out happier.
Ready to move your Internal Communications a step further?
Thriving, passionate employees are good for business. The way to make that happen is by empowering, supporting, and staying connected with them.
Your deskless workers are far more likely to engage when they feel like they belong, matter, and have a future at the workplace.
A versatile, secure communication platform is the best tool for connecting with all sorts of workers and delivering a range of messages.