Jill Christensen
Jill ChristensenAuthor Blogger
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website | LinkedIn Profile

Strategies’ is one of the top three most Googled employee engagement search terms.  I have uncovered four powerful strategies to re-engage employees, so each week in September we’ll dive deep into one of them. This week’s focus? Building a two-way communication culture.  Why?  Because when you get this right, you increase trust in leadership and the emotional connection that employees feel to your organization.

In order to engage employees, you must be open, honest and transparent, and communicate often.  Employees are smart.  They know when something is wrong and it’s not being shared, and they become suspect when the only news they hear is good news.  When sharing negative news, you can soften the impact by providing context and letting employees know your plan to ensure the event does not occur again.

Additionally, when you communicate that you are going to do something, you must do it.  Your words mean the world to employees; they hang on them and are counting on you to be accountable and follow through.  When you communicate openly, honestly and often; share both positive and negative news; and follow through on your word, you will build trust in leadership, which leads to employee engagement.

In addition to being open, honest and transparent, you also must seek out your employee’s ideas, opinions and concerns, and engage them in a two-way dialogue.  Employees don’t want to be spoken to; they want to be spoken with.  When they are spoken with and heard – when they know they have a voice – they will be engaged.  Also, by acknowledging the feedback you hear from employees, you will encourage them to continue speaking up, which is a good thing.

Some ideas to increase two-way communication in your organization between leaders and employees include:

  • Employee Town Hall Meetings Led by Frontline Managers & Leaders
  • ‘Lunch with Lori” or “Breakfast with Bob”
  • Employee Focus Groups which focus on fixing a broken process identified by employees
  • Process Improvement Employee Suggestion Program
  • Appoint an Ombudsman – a “safe” person who employees can speak with as you are building a culture where it’s safe to speak up
  • Morning and End-of-Day Team Huddle to share important information and recognize accomplishments
  • App that enables employees to receive communications from senior leaders on their Smartphone and comment
  • Tweet-Up live chat led by the CEO.

ON DECK FOR NEXT WEEK.  We’ll focus on my fourth and final strategy to re-engage employees: Recognition.  Everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, and these tips will enable you to easily create a culture of rampant recognition.