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5 Ways to Engage Your Employees in the Digital Workplace

By Special Guest
Tony DeAscentis, CEO of Ving
January 26, 2016

When companies rely on old-fashioned one-way, top-down internal communication methods, it prevents employees from participating in the company culture. The usual result is disengaged employees and high turnover, with all of the attendant disruptions, expenses and quality issues. Effective internal communications has the capability to create a sense of ownership among both employees and management that gets everyone on the same page in order to support company goals.

Internal communication plays a crucial role in building company culture, increasing employee engagement and encouraging collaboration that drives business results. Yet, sometimes it is difficult to get your busy workforce to actually read internal communications and consume the information they need to be more connected to the organization and effective in their jobs. Communications tools can provide a platform to communicate with and engage employees.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 70 percent of employees in the U.S. are disengaged, which costs U.S. businesses $450 to $550 billion every year in lost productivity. On the flipside, companies with high levels of employee engagement reported an average 19.2 percent improvement in operating income. Simply put: better engagement leads to increased revenues and expanding business opportunities. 

This data makes it clear that there is an overwhelming relationship between organizational effectiveness and strong communications and information sharing. What measures can be taken to transform organizations and make them more competitive by closing the “engagement gaps” that exists?

1. Relevance– The Key Driver of Engagement

It’s a given that so much information flies by our multiple screens every day. Hundreds of emails, IM’s, etc.  Amidst all of that chaos, what then actually causes anyone to finally pause and look at a piece of information or communications - and more importantly, engage and respond to it?

The answer – Relevance. Relevance cuts through the chaos to increase your chances of engagement.  And being relevant is about being ‘on topic’ regarding a particular subject at a particular time for a particular person.

2. Feedback - Encourage Feedback and Collaboration from Employees 

No matter what company, big or small – employees want to feel that they’ve been heard. They want to think believe that management is focusing on removing obstacles for company-wide engagement, rather creating them.  Employees want to know that their CEO or manager welcomes any feedback and input from the team, whether it be negative or positive and that they aren’t policed on their collaborative environment. 

3. Diversify Your Communications Methods in the Digital Workplace

To empower employees to collaborate, leading organizations have begun to implement an entirely new working environment – the digital workplace. By integrating the technologies that employees use (from e-mail, instant messaging and enterprise social media tools to HR applications and virtual meeting tools), the digital workplace breaks down communication barriers, positioning you to transform the employee experience by fostering efficiency, innovation and growth via different formats of communications such as  video, text, photos, infographics and audio. The key is to understand how your employees prefer to work. You can then develop a change management plan and digital workplace strategy that aligns to your organizations’ working culture.

4. Accountability for Adoption  

When you introduce a new capability or medium into internal communications, it’s important to make employees accountable for adopting the new approach. Depending on the organization, the accountability could go to marketing or corporate communications, human resources or the executive suite. Accountability at work is important to a business’s success as a whole. Every employee, no matter what level of seniority is equally responsible for aiding in the success of the company. In order to achieve the goals of the company, long and short term, it is important that all people within the company to work together and share accountability. Employees who work together towards the same overall goal help their workplace to become more accountable, in turn make the business more productive and efficient.

5. Empower and Leverage Leaders to Become Communications Champions

We are always so adamant about listening to the voice of the customer, what about the voice of the employee? When going down the collaboration road within your organization it’s important to make employees a part of the decision making process from step one. Listen to their ideas, their needs, and their suggestions and integrate their feedback as the company moves towards meeting milestones. When appropriate, give positive attention and praise. When applicable, work together as a team to better understand where leadership could be doing a better job. The roadmap towards effective communications is a two-way street.

When all members of an organization demonstrate these behaviors, the result can be the transformation of the business into a more competitive, nimble and profitable company. By developing an effective strategy for internal communication and supporting it with the most appropriate technology, chances are you will be able to improve the employee experience and better meet employee expectations for communicating in the digital workplace.

Tony DeAscentis has over 20 years of combined global business, IT and technology experience, with three successful startups under his belt.

Tony is the CEO of Ving, an emerging technology startup that leverages today’s most current and entrenched tech tools for engaging students and parents, and aims at increasing the connection between the teacher, student and their home.

Prior to Ving, Tony was Vice President of Marketing at Turning Technology, a global leader for learning engagement and assessment services focused on measurably improving teaching and learner success. While at Turning Technologies, he helped transform their Student Response Systems into a global force.  He established partnerships with Thompson Publishing and McGraw Hill to bring student response to universities nationwide, and Intel foundation, which introduced technology into the k-12 and higher education system. Tony has spoken at multiple trade shows both nationally and statewide on the importance of emerging tech in the classroom to ensure student engagement. 

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere
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