Weber Shandwick’s Employees rising: Seizing the opportunity in employee activism research, published in April 2014, showed that employers may not be communicating effectively with their staff.
According to the study of 2,300 global employees, only about four in 10 feel they can confidently explain to others what their organisation does or what its goals are.
The same report also found that 88% of staff use a social media site for personal use, and 50% of them post messages, pictures, videos or links about their employer on it. This represents a huge communication opportunity for businesses, offering both the ability to leverage their employees’ passions for social networking, and the reach and potential of their networks, to spread the word about what a great organisation it is to work for.
Key features of employee engagement
A key feature of good employee engagement is that staff feel valued and respected at work. Much of this starts with communication in terms of how aligned they feel with the vision and values of the business, and also the various benefits, large and small, that help to make them feel valued.
Sometimes these perks can be straightforward, such as having good-quality coffee and ergonomically designed office furniture available, but they will need to be balanced with more deep-reaching, wellbeing-oriented benefits, such as generous holiday entitlement, flexible-working arrangements and childcare or bikes-for-work schemes.
Perks are a key part of organisational culture
The rewards and perks that an employer offers are as much a part of its culture and story as its products or services. And the best way to get employees aligned is through open, transparent communication, for which there is probably no greater enabler than social media.
Let your employees share in what you do, whether it’s the coffee and fresh fruit, having their birthday off, the sights and sounds they experience while cycling to work, or the benefits of working from home on a sunny day.
Having an internal platform through which to share these stories and experiences helps to raise spirits and reinforce the positives of being their employer.
External sharing is crucial, too. The high number of people who regularly use external social platforms creates an excellent opportunity to showcase an organisation’s culture and benefits to potential hires, which is a great bonus when trying to attract talent in a competitive labour market.
Mervyn Dinnen is a blogger and content and social engagement strategist
Mervyn Dinnen will deliver the opening keynote address at Employee Benefits Live 2014 on 25 September.