IABC Start the Dialogue: Employee Engagement in Tough Times


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NATIONAL’s Research Start the Dialogue: Employee Engagement in Tough Times" presented at IABC Employee Communications Conference

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IABC Start the Dialogue: Employee Engagement in Tough Times

  1. 1. From Monologue to Dialogue: Employee Engagement, Social Media and the Bottom Line Carolyn Ray Vice President, Employee Engagement IABC Employee Communications Conference, October 2009
  2. 2. “If we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward” - U.S. President Barack Obama, The Cairo Speech
  3. 3. What is dialogue? Conversation between two or more people WITH INTENT Talk Listen Respond
  4. 4. Trends in Internal Communications Evolution
  5. 5. Has your communications strategy evolved to market dynamics? ©
  6. 6. Effective communications = Better business performance Firms that communicate more effectively are four times as likely to report high levels of employee engagement versus firms that communicate less effectively. • Companies that have highly effective communicators are 20% more likely to report lower turnover rates than their peers. • Companies with the most effective employee communication programs provided a 91% total return to shareholders (TRS) from 2002 to 2006, compared with 62% for less effective firms.
  7. 7. Internal Communications has a measurable impact on business performance Tangible Measures of Engaged Employees • Shrinkage (retail) • Absenteeism • Turnover • Customer satisfaction, loyalty • Safety • Productivity • Profitability/Performance • Quality • Loyalty • Referrals/Recruitment ©
  8. 8. The soft stuff is the hard stuff “Intangible” Measures of OLD NEW Engaged Employees Inspiration •Commitment INTENT Information Awareness Engagement •Integrity •Trust •Inclusiveness •High energy •Passion •Respect •Innovation •Creativity
  9. 9. Communication drives trust
  10. 10. Why this matters: Canada is not reaching its true potential • Only 20% of the Canadian workforce is engaged; 80% is not engaged or is actively disengaged • Managers rank internal communications problems as the second highest barrier to productivity around the globe, after staffing and labour shortages • 54% of employees still feel confused about how social and environmental impacts are addressed in their company or feel they are treated in silos • Only 23% of employees think their firm is highly effective in communicating initiatives to business leaders or employees Sources: Gallup, Proudfoot Consulting, Watson Wyatt, Fresh Marketing
  11. 11. Start the Dialogue: Employee Engagement in Tough Times™ www.national.ca/startthedialogue Research Findings
  12. 12. Start the Dialogue ™ Research Goals • Understand key trends, challenges and opportunities for internal communications in the economic context • Examine the role of dialogue: how two-way conversation can stimulate participation, exchange ideas, solve problems, promote action and ultimately improve trust • Help leaders and managers embrace dialogue to inspire and engage employees in the midst of a challenging economy • Understand perceptions and value of internal communications • How we did it: Qualitative telephone and in-person interviews with communications and human resources professionals at organizations across Canada
  13. 13. Key findings 1 Context: Economic environment 2 Top trends in internal communications 3 Role of leaders and managers 4 Measuring the value of internal communications 5 Implications
  14. 14. 1 Business challenges: A time of tremendous change
  15. 15. Challenges for Internal 1 Communications
  16. 16. Top trends in Internal 2 Communications #1 Social media • 88% identified social media as the primary trend influencing internal communications • Social media describes tools that facilitate ongoing online interactions and conversations • Organizations use social media to facilitate dialogue to support executive visibility, customer experience, vision, branding, sustainability, recruitment, etc. • FACT: Companies that use social media achieved year-over-year improvement in employee engagement of 18% compared to 1% in those who don’t (Aberdeen, 2008)
  17. 17. Communications modernity: 2 76% have fairly modern tools • Some organizations using more ‘traditional’ tools said they lack resources to implement new ideas • Fairly modern: HTML newsletter, podcast, voice messaging, texting, video conferencing, intranet, webcasting, email “If we had internal social media tools, we would definitely use them. Our CEO thinks there is a general appetite for it.”
  18. 18. Communications: Then & Now Dialogue and information spreads faster and easier © One-way communications Two or more way communications Controlled Facilitated and integrated
  19. 19. “Everyone at our organization agrees that social media is changing the way we work.” “It would provide our employees who don’t have access to technology at work access to the senior team.” “Employees are starting to ask us why we aren’t doing more social media.”
  20. 20. Internal use of social media is gaining momentum… Source: iABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants, 2009
  21. 21. Top trends in internal 2 communications #2 Demographics 45% said that changing demographics in the workplace are a major trend impacting internal communications FACT: By 2011, Millennials will outnumber baby boomers in the workplace (Don Tapscott, Growing Up Digital)
  22. 22. “The demographics of the workplace are forcing us to constantly re-evaluate how we’re communicating and whether or not we’re reaching all employees, from the recent college grads to the 30-year employees.” “We need to engage an aging workforce, a new younger workforce with new, more digital communication tactics.”
  23. 23. Top trends in Internal 3 Communications #3 Timeliness and relevance 30% cited an increased need for timely and relevant communications FACT: Only 23% of employees think their firm is highly effective in communicating initiatives to business leaders or employees (Proudfoot Consulting, 2008)
  24. 24. “We need more consistency of messaging and alignment… connecting everything to the bigger picture.” “The amount of time you have available to engage employees seems to be diminishing.”
  25. 25. Role of Leaders: 3 Leaders excel, managers lag • 38% indicated that their CEO communicated very effectively with employees • 56% ranked other senior leaders significantly lower in terms of communications effectiveness • The CEO was ranked at ‘4’ or above by 82% of respondents, versus 50% for other team members 82% 50% CEO Manager Communication Communication Effectiveness Effectiveness
  26. 26. Leaders have more dialogue, 3 but it’s too formal • 48% said senior leadership is more visible now than 3 months ago; 31% said it was unchanged • 61% said there is more dialogue with senior management as a result of acquisitions, economy, restructuring, crises • Majority of dialogue occurs for ‘formal’ announcements Benefits of Reinforces confidence in leadership dialogue: Builds trust Facilitates two-way communication Prevents rumour mill Positively impacts morale Helps with message retention
  27. 27. Demonstrating business impact 4 is critical • Despite wide array of metrics available, 44% lack formal vehicles for measurement • Most respondents use online surveys to evaluate events or issues or do pulse surveys on specific issues • Some use annual communication surveys to evaluate effectiveness • Minority leverage Gallup, Balanced Scorecard to measure business impact
  28. 28. Discussion Implications
  29. 29. Starting the dialogue with social media ©
  30. 30. Thank you! cray@national.ca Twitter: dialoguedivaray national.ca/startthedialogue