Employee engagement and attention is more important than ever to get, and harder to than ever to keep. Most organizations have a significant portion of their workforce working from home and internal comms working overtime to keep people feeling somewhat connected.
This change has been sudden and most of us were not prepared for it. Our home office conditions range from a shared living room with our kids and spouse to a dedicated office with the right connectivity to be productive. Communications used to benefit from casual encounters between people, talking at the watercooler or chatting in the halls, passing information along, and raising the awareness level of key communications. While it sometimes resembled the game of broken telephone, these days there are no such casual encounters, the telephone is broken. To make matters even more challenging, those of us working from home have dozens of our distractions from furry attention-getters to miniature versions of ourselves who are loud and tired of being confined.
According to a recent Gallup global meta-analysis of 62,965 business units and teams, published in the organizational science journal Human Performance, the relationship between employee engagement and performance outcomes such as profitability, productivity, customer perceptions and employee turnover has actually been stronger in past recessions, compared with non-recession years.
Employee engagement is often affected by numerous factors, here are some classic examples:
- Do they know what they are supposed to be doing?
- Do they know why it matters?
- Do they have the right materials and equipment to get their job done?
- Do they feel that their coworkers are as committed as they are?
- Is there a clear purpose or mission to the organization and do they know how they fit into it?
Higher engagement has material benefits for the organization, which is why internal communications is so important. Here are a four key impacts of having higher engagement:
- Produce substantially better outcomes
- Treat customers better and attract new ones more easily
- Exhibit lower attrition, i.e. are more likely to remain with their organization
- Are healthier and less likely to experience burnout
It’s one thing to want higher engagement and another one to achieve it. Often the level of effort between posting content on the Intranet, sending it out by newsletter, and maybe sending it via mobile app is time-consuming and can feel pointless. The additional wear on the communicator can sometimes bleed through, affecting the frequency of communications, neglecting certain groups, or not being able to show results because of a lack of unified analytics. Yet, you need all of those channels. Multichannel was an improvement over just having one, however the cost in additional effort often results in less effectiveness.
The difference between omnichannel and multichannel can appear subtle, but the idea is that from one platform you push your content out to all your channels as easily as putting it out on one. Your analytics are available, knitted together, as if it was just for one platform but with the ability to break it down.
Omnichannel approaches appeal to employees by increasing their points of contact with your company. Good omnichannel employee communication goes one step further: it personalizes, simplifies, and creates one coherent conversation for engagement.
Organizations that adopt an omni-channel platform, like Sparrow, do more than just extend the reach of their communications with less effort, they
- Increase employee retention and motivation,
- Produce substantially better outcomes while minimizing content creation costs,
- Build trust with employees by bringing only the information they need, to where they are spending their time,
- And can triple their employee satisfaction and retention.
The difference between omnichannel and multichannel
Although both multi and omnichannel involve communicating across multiple physical and digital channels, the key difference is how the employee experience is joined up across those channels. A traditional multichannel communication company may use an Intranet and email. These two channels are generally very siloed and have very little interaction with one another. Make a comment on one channel but you don’t see it on another. Make a comment on one language version of the post, those reading it in another language don’t see it.
Today’s employees do not tend to see your channels as silos. They are likely to have multiple touchpoints with your content and expect their employee journey between each touchpoint or channel to be seamless. I do not see the Intranet and email as silos, but often my experience across one channel is completely separated from another channel reminding me that they are disconnected and breaking the illusion of being connected. It should be one coherent experience between the Intranet, Teams or Slack, my mobile app, and email.
Today’s employees will script their own journeys across the available channels and touchpoints, and every one of them matters. Forcing an employee to stick to a single channel or making them start at the beginning when switching channels creates friction and impacts the employee’s experience. An omnichannel approach assists in that unified experience for no additional effort on the part of the communicator.
If it’s that obvious, why isn’t everyone doing it?
There’s two parts to this answer. The first is questioning whether or not it would really make a difference. Often this isn’t at the comms level, but rather at a higher business level where there can be doubt about how successful the company can be with engagement. The other part of the answer is the cost and complexity (depending on what you pick) of putting in place an omnichannel communications platform. Often what’s missing from the equation that answers both questions are:
- the human cost in managing the separate channels
- the cost of not having the right data answering the right questions
- the impact on productivity of frustrated and disconnected users
While some communication systems have some omnichannel capabilities, real omnichannel communication platforms like Sparrow are built from the ground up for such a task. Sparrow has allowed many customers to switch over in days, not months, and to start getting traction and realizing the benefits of what a well-crafted omnichannel platform can provide.
The right omnichannel platform can provide you with the following benefits:
- A better employee experience with your content
- Save you time from tedious operational tasks such as formatting content for different channels, and cross-posting
- Save you money by consolidating several contracts into one
- Provide you with accurate metrics consolidated across all channels
- Provide you with outcome based KPIs that your executives will actually care about
If you want to experience an omnichannel employee communication platform – why not book a demo of Sparrow? You can easily do it by clicking on this link.
If you’re looking for a platform to help make your life easier and connecting you with all of your workforce, give Sparrow a look. We’ve lived the pain, we understand the hopes, and we built a platform for communication professionals that delivers. From Intranets, to Microsoft Teams, to newsletters, and mobile, we know how important corporate communications is. Sparrow – Built for Communicators. Book a conversation with us today.