At far too many workplaces, employee engagement is sorely lacking. Instead of focusing on what employees really need to be effective at their jobs, for many employers, assessing ‘engagement’ becomes a habit that fosters fear, blame and pointless form-filling. Not only do these negative vibes impact your workforce – they also circle round and impact the effectiveness of your business as a whole. So what to do?
A lacklustre attitude can’t be fixed overnight. But by altering your employee value proposition (EVP), you can get things back on track. Every strong business needs a strong EVP – a convincing answer to the question, ‘why would a talented candidate choose to work at this company and stick around?’. If you can find that answer, you will be on your way to fostering a culture of engagement, cooperation and enthusiasm.
The case for examining your EVP
If you’re finding that your workforce is frustrated and your staff turnover is high, then you should take this as a clear sign that something’s not working (if you haven’t already). Over time, managers and CEOs have come to demonise the ‘frustrated employee’, deeming lack of engagement to be a personal flaw, rather than a result of company culture. To do this is to bury one’s head in the sand and ignore the real, wider problem.
To find and hold on to talented workers, companies need to accept the burden of providing a value proposition that will resonate. The recipe for a disillusioned workforce often goes something like this:
- Poor leadership
- Lack of recognition
- Excessive demands
- Below average compensation
- Unhelpful or unsupportive managers
- Few opportunities for professional growth
Consider carefully whether your employees are actually getting everything they need to thrive. This doesn’t start with yet another employee engagement questionnaire, but with figuring out an EVP that works for everyone and implementing it.
Defining your EVP
So your EVP is, in effect, the value that your employees get in return for working at your company – and that’s not just monetary compensation, but also things like having a good work-life balance, growth opportunities and recognition for a job well done. Every company has one, but they are rarely optimal. You may not have even thought about it before, but it’s crucial for holding onto your top talent, and even more so for recruiting new staff.
Creating an EVP doesn’t have to be hard work – it can even be fun. First things first, you need the right team on the job. And that’s not just managers; ideally you will bring together a diverse team made up of different strengths and experience levels to represent everyone at your company. From here, it’s as simple as nailing the following questions:
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- Why does it matter?
- Who do we need on our workforce to succeed?
- What matters to that workforce?
- Who are we competing with for talent – and what do they offer?
With the answers to these questions, you can begin to form your own ideal EVP that defines what you should be offering to your employees, and what you can expect from them in return.
Getting the message across
Once you’ve got round to defining your EVP, the next stage is to communicate it effectively to your workforce – and this is where having a strong internal comms strategy is super important. It’s easy to stop paying attention when you receive memo after boring memo, day after day. Getting the message across should be approached in way that’s both creative and relevant.
Start by communicating your EVP through each of your main hiring channels, such as your company website and any job listings. You can reiterate the highlights throughout the interview process. This will help prospective employees to decide if they are excited to come and work for you, and will be key to attracting the best candidates.
Of course, it’s also vital that you don’t neglect your existing employees in the pursuit of new ones. Brand ambassadors are one of the most powerful sources of advertising there is. But to achieve this status, there absolutely needs to be consistency – in your EVP and throughout all of your branding, PR, policies, advertising and daily operations. Consistency makes people feel safe and creates that all-important sticking factor: trust.
A strong EVP means you will have all of the best candidates vying to work at your organisation – an enviable position for any business. Be sure to review and update it every year to stay current and in touch with the mood of your workforce.
Assessing your internal comms strategy
So what about your internal comms strategy as a whole? How does all of this come together?
Every business needs a good internal communication strategy to function effectively. But what does that look like? And how do you go about creating one?
Polishing up your EVP isn’t the end of the road for nurturing employee engagement – the word needs to be out there, loud and clear. With a formal internal comms strategy, you give your business the best chance of reaching its goals and facilitating shared values among your employees, so they can work together effectively. You should consider:
- Desired results
Not only does a comms strategy boost productivity, it also creates a sense of community that is crucial to fostering a loyal, energetic workforce and reaching your organisational goals. On the flipside, with no clear internal comms strategy, the threads can quickly start to unravel, with inadvertent rifts, mixed messages and dropped balls. Clear communication is an essential component for an efficient and productive team, regardless of the size of your business. Whether you choose to implement a strategy yourself, or hire the services of a specialist internal comms agency with a tried and tested approach to transforming workplace culture, you owe it to your employees and your business to get it right.
So if you want to recruit the right talent and see your employees become re-inspired, now is the time to start working on a strategic EVP that will resonate with your workforce, and to communicate it effectively throughout your organisation. Not only will it give your business a competitive edge in the market, but you might just enjoy it as well.