The folks from Gallup are out with the news that is probably not a surprise to anyone: employee engagement is stalled around the world. It is better in the US, but even here it is only 32%.
How can this be? We have all these tools, right? There's email and streaming video and highly-designed intranets and we can use online tools to measure out the ying-yang...how can this have gone wrong?
The article from Gallup does a good job of giving five hints on what can be done, but to me it boils down to this:
You have to treat employees like an audience that you care about and whose beliefs and behaviors you want to influence.
I always tell people that communication works from the inside-out. You're never going to fully convince the guy on the street that you are who you claim to be if you haven't convinced the people closest to you. In an inter-connected world, this is more critical than ever.
Many of Gallup's recommended topics are not strictly communications tactics, but all of them have a communications element.
As communicators, the biggest challenge is to employ what we know about reaching specific audiences when talking inside the company. Things like the idea that involve creating relevant messaging and applying it consistently over time. Things like putting leaders in situations where they can be authentic and then letting them do it. Banishing corporate jargon and using evocative language that can actually reach people. Brand discipline. You get the idea.
Then, of course, it has to be implemented, and it won't be as plug and play as you might have hoped. Yes, email makes it easier, but at many corporations there are legions of employees who don't sit at a desk and don't look at email and they are often the least engaged. There will be some shoe leather involved. You'd find a way if it was a valuable customer, right?
Finally, we all love measurement (don't try to deny it), but if we measure without responding strategically, then all we are doing is taking surveys.