6 Ways to Engage Employees

6 Ways to Engage Employees
Wes Steele
June 18,2020

Remember the stone age?  I’m talking about the decade of the 1990’s.  Did you know Google wasn’t even founded until 1998?

The future of employee engagement is here.  Employers have wifi, and employees have smart phones.  So, why aren’t employers doing more to communicate with employees digitally?

Many employers think employees, especially blue collar employees, aren’t ready for digital communications.  They’re wrong.  Your employees are more likely to read a text message you send them than a letter you mail to their home or a flyer you leave in their work mailbox.

If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you have to communicate with and effectively engage your employees.  Here’s six ways how.

#1 – Send employees text messages

Your employees have a cell phone.  If you text your employees, they will read it.  When employees read your texts, they know what’s going on.  Therefore, what better way to engage your employees is there than sending targeted texts?

Buyer beware, according to Spiderman great power comes with great responsibility.  If your texts or too long, or if you send too many texts, your employees will either tune you out, or unsubscribe.  Jenn Gaddis, HR Director at MS Companies, suggests confining your texts to 140 characters.  This is wonderful advice.

#2 – Record and post your group meetings

You know those all staff group meetings you used to do?  Will you ever do them again?  Group meetings have multiple problems – 1) they drain productivity time, 2) they’re boring, 3) families of your workers aren’t engaged, and 4) they often contain too much information to remember.

There is an answer: Record your meetings!  Post your meetings online on your intranet or somewhere that your employees can find it.  Let not just your employees see the meetings but also share them with spouses.  And, when an employee forgets part of what you told them, they can always go back and watch it later.

How do you tell your employees what material is available?  Send them a text message where to find it!  See where this is going?

#3 – Link to documents in your benefits portal

Some things are just too long to text or e-mail out.  And let’s face it – we do need to give employees all the details, for example your benefits plan documents.

Are employees going to read your plan documents?  I plead the fifth amendment.  But, in the event they want to read them, they should be available.  This is why it’s a good idea to either link out to detailed materials or post them in a library on your benefits administration portal.

#4 – Send a group e-mail to employees

I know, I know.  Employees don’t read their e-mail.  We all get too much e-mail.  You’re not wrong.That said, e-mail is still an efficient way to get relevant information in the hands of employees.  In the event you need to use e-mail to communicate information, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Keep it short, then make it shorter
  • Attach more information
  • Use a catchy subject line, i.e. New Benefit: Enrollment Requires an Action!
  • If you’re asking for a reply, the reply you’re seeking should require two sentences or less. If it takes more, maybe this should be a meeting, a survey, etc.?

#5 – Seek information with a survey

With surveys, be careful.  Many well-meaning people have gotten themselves in trouble with surveys because they are well intentioned when they send them, but they don’t take action with the results.  The goal is to engage employees, not frustrate them!

Also, keep in mind that it’s not enough to take action after you get your survey results.  You also need to communicate what you did.  An employee can’t give you credit for an altruistic action that you took if they don’t know you did it!

#6 – Engage your employees with a quiz

When you send quizzes, it’s important to know your objective for sending the quiz.  There’s two basic reasons to send employees a quiz. They are:

  • To test knowledge, and
  • To engage thought and surface some intrigue

That means, if I send employees a quiz titled How well do you know your HSA, you might really be trying to TEACH the employee, not assess their knowledge.  To teach, you have to engage and hold the employees attention.  A couple hints to help you engage:

  1. Keep the questions short,
  2. Keep the answers short,
  3. Don’t ask too many questions, and
  4. Share the answer key!

Summary

The employers that best engage employees have the best chance to attract the best talent, and keep the best talent.  Therefore, it’s important to engage employees in ways they respond to.

Employees respond to digital communications.  Therefore, be sure to take time to plan, schedule, and execute regular digital communications.  If you do, your business has a better chance of achieving your business purpose.