How Can Internal Communicators Improve Retention of Frontline Workers?

Why does employee retention matter? What are some tactics that internal communicators can use to increase employee retention? How can internal communicators convince management to invest in employees?

We caught up with Tobi Anderson, Head of Customer Experience at Speakap, to hear about the importance of internal communication on employee retention.

In your experience, why does employee retention matter?

Employee retention is all about keeping your already hard earned employees onboard. You pay a lot of money, to attract, hire and on board employees. So there's a hard cost to that. And ultimately, it's a lot cheaper to keep an employee than it is to hire a new one to replace.

What are some tactics that internal communicators can use to increase employee retention?

So as internal communicators, tactics are key. How do we go about getting to our employees? Increasing productivity and strengthening company culture... These are topics that come up in business today. As an internal communicator, one of the best things that you can do is show the value you bring to the organization by tying to business outcomes and business results. You've got a variety of employees in a company, some are sitting in front of a computer and they get email, and that's often how we reach our employees.

But how do we first reach the whole group of employees? So when I'm in manufacturing, I have people on the plant floor. Bulletin boards, digital signage... these are things that kind of catch people in the moment. But one of the coolest things you can also do is enable them with an employee app. They have the ability to quickly on their phone, pull up the app and see what they need to know, have information relevant to them, important to them in those few minutes they have on a lunch break.

How can internal communicators convince management to invest in employees?

One of the themes that I've seen is that the C-suite, the decision makers or management, feel that they know what their employees want, need and care about. And internal communicators who are really good at their jobs are able to show that that's not always the case. It's very enlightening to understand that maybe some of their assumptions about their employees are not correct. And that by opening these channels where when you communicate with your employees, especially when you're outreaching field workers, you're giving them a place to have a voice.

Do you have any other tips for internal communicators and their role in employee retention?

Another really cool thing that a communicator can do is look to measure reach. So today, when you have the tools to reach frontline workers like asking managers to share messages or posting a bulletin board notice, you're hoping you reach those employees. You don't know who has seen it and who has gotten there.

So when you employ things like an employee app, one of the great things is that you can track who is looking at the app, how often are they using it, what are they looking at? And that actually helps you measure your reach, which is the number one goal of an internal communicator, to understand your effectiveness.

And then, you know, have fun. I think this is one of the things in business that we just need to do more of. We're all humans, you know. It's really cool that your goal is to communicate to me 'internal communicator', but I'm working, you know, in a hospitality environment, working with customers all day. What do I care about? What do I, what am I interested in participating with? Right. So understanding the needs of your audience is super key. And then look at ways to have a fun contest. Have people share examples of what went well today.

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