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Employee Engagement

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How to Communicate with employees during the coronavirus pandemic

How to Communicate with employees during the coronavirus pandemic 1600 1067 VP Legacies

The Challenge of Communicating Remotely 

A recent study from Harvard Business Review showed that 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with their employees and 57% of employees feel they are not given clear directions at work. This is quite a high number considering the amount of technologies available to us. One would assume that with so many communication tools at our disposal–smartphones, text messaging, e-mail, WiFi, social media–effective communication in the workplace should be a breeze. But it’s apparent that simply having those tools isn’t enough.

Perhaps fostering our work relationships also means learning how to use technology in a way that serves our professional needs. Here at VP Legacies, we recognize the challenges that come with working remotely and are providing you with free, live shows to help foster communication.  In today’s post, we’ll share our best practices for maintaining communication with your employees during the current global pandemic.

Why is it important to communicate with employees during a pandemic or other crisis?

Two people with laptops in meeting

Effective communication in the workplace is what makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. In most workplaces, team members are distinguished by varying levels of skill, experience, and expertise. They are further divided by different responsibilities, duties, and tasks. 

Without clear intentions and clarity of expectation from team leaders, even the most devoted and hardworking team members can easily spin off track. Thus, communication can be seen as the glue that keeps a team working together, even as they accomplish their own separate tasks. It’s up to team leaders, department managers, and company executives to establish a culture of transparency and communication so that the company can benefit as a whole.

Related: Working from Home: Tips to Stay Engaged and Connected

6 Steps to Effective Communication with Employees During a Pandemic

Person working on laptop computer with notebook

Technology affords us a multitude of ways to communicate with employees even while working remotely during the pandemic. But as we hinted above, merely downloading the right apps isn’t enough to create a culture of meaningful communication amongst your team. How can we use our tools and resources to increase the quality of communication with our employees? 

1. Establishing Clear Goals

 we recommend establishing clear goals for each encounter. This allows you to express to employees or team members why you’re contacting them and what you hope to accomplish. Getting everyone on board from the outset of the conversation will help you focus the direction of the meeting. 

2. Share Your Thoughts

 Share your thoughts on the topic at hand and how discussing this topic is beneficial to a particular project or to the company as a whole.This establishes a level of transparency on your part, thereby encouraging others to be transparent as well. It’s also a way to remind employees that you’re prioritizing the company and starts the conversation off with a positive tone.

3. Leave Room for Employee Feedback

Open up discussion to receive feedback, suggestions, and observations from your employees. Recognize the value of your employees’ points of view and let them know you’re considering their needs and expectations. Communication is a two-way street so this step is important if you’re serious about connecting with your employees.

4. Prepare to Follow Up

If necessary, make plans for following up on any ongoing topics or addressing suggestions made by you or others. This shows your employees that you want to continue to communicate with them and also expresses that you care about their feedback.

5. Be Thankful to your Employees

 Thank your employee or employees for their time. This gesture of respect and gratitude will keep communication lines open and help your employees feel appreciated for their efforts.

6. Keep Records

 keep a record of your communication so that you’ll remember what you talked about when you communicate with employees again. The record will also be helpful for keeping minutes of meetings that you’ll share with your employees.

These steps can be used for an entire conversation or you can repeat the first three steps throughout if you’re handling multiple items during a meeting. Let’s take a closer look at how we can apply these steps to remote communication with your employees.

Related: 8 Tips for Effective Communication Online

Using Technology for Remote Employee Communication

Technology being used for employee communication

 

Phone

 The phone has been a tool for communication for much longer than any of the other technologies on our list. Even so, it’s easy to become complacent and resort to picking up the phone and rattling off a list of to-dos. In the meantime, all of your best intentions to improve workplace communications are quickly forgotten.

Instead of catching your employees off guard, set up a time to talk on the phone through text message or email (whichever is more appropriate in the context of your workplace). Let them know ahead of time what you want to discuss and your goals for the phone call. This gives them some time to prepare any documentation you’ll be discussing and to consider any suggestions they want to share with you regarding the topic to be discussed.

Once you’re on the call, be sure to share your own thoughts on the topic at hand and why you think this call is necessary. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are experiencing stress about a certain task, be sure to use your words in a non-threatening manner. Remember, the ultimate goal is figuring out together what is best for your project or company.

Don’t forget to invite suggestions or comments from your employee. Show sincere interest in the employee’s experience of what they’re working on and take note of what they share with you. Finally, ask the employee what they need to complete the task and whether they feel fully equipped to do so.

End your call with an expression of appreciation and be sure to save your notes. You can reference them on future calls with the employee and you’ll be even more prepared the next time around.

Email

Computer screen with email page 

Email is a pleasant and professional way of communicating with employees. Be sure to follow email etiquette whenever sending correspondence to your staff. Opening communications with a personable greeting and using the employee’s name is advisable (example: “Hi Tim…”).

Explain why you’re emailing and what you hope to accomplish. Next, share your thoughts on the progress of the task at hand and what you think would benefit the project or company. Then invite the employee to share their suggestions or thoughts on the topic. 

Finally, sign off with a gesture of gratitude (example: “Thanks for your help on this project”). Send a follow-up email if you find there are more topics to discuss later on or you want to continue discussing a particular topic. Save your email thread so that you’ll have it as a record of communication.

Related: How to Maintain Real Connections With Your Professional Network

Video Conference

Person using Skype on smartphone

Video conference applications have become increasingly popular in the past few months as workplaces strive to find ways to stay connected while practicing social distancing. Apps such as Google Hangout, Zoom, and Skype allow businesses to conduct group work meetings even while employees are working from home.

Plan a video conference by scheduling a conference date and time with your employees. You can give them advance notice of what you’ll be discussing through email or any work messaging system you’re currently using. Doing so will allow employees to prepare any documents, presentations, or work product they’d like to discuss on the day of the video conference. If there is anything you’d like employees to see during the online meeting, be sure to email it to the group before the conference starts so they have time to review it.

Start the video meeting off by introducing any new members of the team and expressing what you’d like to accomplish during the meeting. This is a good time to list multiple meeting items so that everyone is up to date. Next, bring up each meeting item, updating your employees on the progress of that task and what you’re hoping to accomplish by the next meeting. Invite the team to share any recommendations or observations for accomplishing that task. 

Once each meeting item has been addressed, open up discussion with your employees as to whether they feel the goals of this meeting have been accomplished. Discuss any ongoing topics that you’ll be addressing in future meetings and whether there’s anything you or your team need to follow up on. Thank your employees for their time, energy, and contributions. If you or anyone else at the meeting has taken minutes or recorded the meeting items, email this out later in the day so that everyone has a record of what was discussed.

Clear Communication Will Ensure the Health of your Business

Woman using a laptop

Let’s recap the six steps to clear remote communication:

  1. Establish clear goals and objectives of the conversation or meeting.
  2. Share your thoughts on the meeting item or topic and discuss why addressing this item is beneficial to the company.
  3. Invite employees to share their comments, suggestions, experiences, and observations regarding the topic.
  4. If necessary, plan to follow up on any ongoing items or suggestions/concerns.
  5. Thank your employees for their time.
  6. Keep a record of the encounter and send out meeting minutes, if any.

Creating an environment of clear and open communication in the workplace is important to the health of your business. Even while working remotely, strong team leaders can take this opportunity to boost morale and foster growth by prioritizing meaningful connections with employees. With the help of modern technology and our six steps to effective remote communication, you can continue to accomplish important tasks and build team culture through the pandemic.

Take this time to advance your communication skills to the next level. VP Legacies is currently offering a free course to help others like you improve their soft skills and maintain important connections during this time of isolation. Check out How To Personally Connect in the Midst a Global Pandemic, live daily on Instagram and Facebook.

Related: Implications of Technology for Personal Connection


Have you wanted to learn how to change strangers into friends, friends into best friends and create a personal connection with anyone?

Man working remotely working on his computer that has two monitors

Working From Home: Tips to Stay Engaged and Connected

Working From Home: Tips to Stay Engaged and Connected 1197 798 VP Legacies

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, many companies have opted to have their employees work remotely. For a lot of people, this is the first time they’ve ever worked from home. It might feel a little strange. Maybe a bit lonely. If it’s something you’re not accustomed to, working from home can feel like you aren’t really connected to your co-workers like you were when you were able to stop by their desk throughout the day or see them at lunch. 

For some employees, working from home can leave them feeling a lack of motivation. It’s hard to feel as involved with a project when you aren’t working on it face-to-face with your team. And it’s hard to not feel discouraged when you hear the latest news about COVID-19. When will you ever be able to go to the office again? 

While life will return to normal sooner or later, there are ways to feel engaged and connected while working remotely. First, take a break from the negativity and check out VP Legacies’ newest course, How to Personally Connect in the Midst of a Global Pandemic. It’s streaming free daily on Facebook and Instagram, sharing some positive news and tips for remote workers. Then, follow some of the advice below to make working from home an experience you enjoy. 

Have a Dedicated Workspace in Your Home if Possible

Very  clean and organized work space at home

It can be hard to get in the zone when you’re trying to work while on the same couch you were playing video games on or binging Netflix on just a few minutes ago. And sitting on your bed is making you just want to lay down, watch YouTube videos, and sleep with your dog. To stay motivated, create a temporary workspace that gets you feeling productive. Clear off the kitchen table and replace dinnerware with office supplies. Set Up a Schedule

When you’re not at the office, you can start feeling like there’s a lack of structure. You have Slack and Zoom meetings here and there, but it’s so easy to get distracted by Disney+ and even walking around the neighborhood. To keep yourself on track, set up a daily schedule, just like the one you would have at work. Even hang it on the wall if you have to!

This schedule should include a timed lunch break, a set amount of time for each project you’re working on, and even when you’re going to “go home.” Knowing that your day will indeed end will give you a better sense of urgency during work hours and give you a chance to relax come dinner time. 

Stick to Your Goals

The lockdown has led a lot of people to feel discouraged or unmotivated. The world is scary outside our makeshift office space and it’s hard to ignore it. Keep a sense of hope and normalcy by not letting go of the goals you had for yourself and your work before the coronavirus pandemic. Discuss your goals with your boss or supervisor and let them know what you need to succeed. 

Keep Checking In 

To stay connected to your office as a whole, keep Slack — or whatever you guys are using to chat with — open at all times during the workday. Think about all the times you interact with people at work, whether it’s checking in on an assignment in the morning, walking by and chatting before a meeting, attending a meeting, working on a project… To maintain that sense of collaboration and engagement, make sure you’re checking in with your co-workers consistently from home. This could be a simple, “Hey, how’s your day going?” to a more in-depth discussion on a presentation you’re working on. 

It might be a great idea to implement a daily morning coffee, where everyone just chats for a few minutes each morning. Maybe create themed photo contests and other interactive activities that keep everyone engaged and interacting throughout the day. 

Don’t Lose Touch With Your Work Friends

Friends having a personal conection and having fun

One of the keys to feeling connected to the work you’re trying to focus on at your new workspace is your co-workers. Yeah, it’s definitely not the same when you can’t see them face-to-face in the office, but it’s important to maintain a relationship with them any way you can. 

Go on video chats with them throughout the day to discuss what project you’re working on, hit them up on Slack for more than just work-related jargon. Have virtual lunches together to just joke around and have some fun face-to-face. 

If you’re worried that being physically apart will weaken your personal connection with co-workers, check out VP Legacies’ Personal Connection 101 course. This interactive video course will show you how to build deeper connections with just about anyone. 

Take Care of Yourself

It can be hard to adjust to working remotely at first. You are used to your co-worker stopping by to show you photos of his cat. And you always had lunch with those women who cracked you up. You felt motivated after those morning meetings and felt a sense of inclusion when you collaborated together on projects. You’ll start to realize that being alone doesn’t mean you’re truly alone. It means you’re alone with yourself — and for a lot longer than usual. Learn to connect with yourself through VP Legacies’ course, How to Build a Strong Relationship With Yourself. You’ll learn things about yourself you never knew, from strengths to the ways you work best. And you’ll even start to appreciate this time spent alone even more than ever before. You’ll start working better alone once you realize what your strengths are and what there is to appreciate about yourself and the way you work. 

Conclusion

The COVID-19 epidemic has created a lot of obstacles, including learning to transition to remote work. At first, it can be hard to stay focused. You may even feel disconnected from your coworkers and yourself. But with a little bit of motivation and a little bit of adjusting, you’ll soon be loving all the benefits of working from home, like getting to type with a cat on your keyboard and wearing sweatpants during a meeting. 

There’s a lot of perks to working from home, including learning more about you and the connections you have with your co-workers. Contact VP Legacies today if you want to learn more about staying connected and engaged while working remotely

How to Retain Top Level Employees (The Right Way!)

How to Retain Top Level Employees (The Right Way!) 1138 642 VP Legacies

The tech industry has the highest turnover rate out of all other business sectors at 13.2%. If you work in tech, this might not surprise you at all. Still, it’s getting more and more difficult to retain top level employees at any business and within any industry. On average, employees switch jobs every 4 ½ years.

But creating a strategy to keep top talent is a must if you hope to maximize your company’s success. Employees are your company’s best asset. Building genuine personal connections with your employees can help them envision a long-term career path at your business.

Empty promises and meaningless employee resources aren’t enough for your most talented employees. By focusing on communication and Personal Connection®, you can create an authentic retention strategy that truly works. VP Legacies creates courses around the value of Personal Connection® in the workplace. With this ideal in mind, here’s our guide to retaining top level employees.

Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

Interviewing and On-boarding to Retain Top Level Employees

Applying and interviewing can be an employee’s first impression of a company, so it’s important to get this stage right. The recruiting and application process allows you to show off your company culture. You can then find attributes in your candidates that are well-aligned with those of your company, making both the hiring and retention process easier.

A person’s resume is also a good opportunity to see if they often switch jobs and to ask them why. Maybe they’re looking for the perfect role and your company has that to offer them. But if they seem to be bouncing from one place to another, this may indicate that they don’t have a strong sense of loyalty or follow-through.

Another one of the first impressions of a company is its onboarding program. A positive onboarding experience will stick with an employee and give them a clue in to the kinds of professional development you have to offer.

Increasing Engagement Opportunities

employees having a discussion in a conference room with laptops

Retaining these employees also means increasing engagement. When employees feel disengaged, the company may start to see them leaving in large numbers.

Employee engagement goes beyond the initial weeks of on-boarding. If you’re first starting with creating an engagement strategy, you can rely on the opinions of employees.

Gather information from your employees with a survey of intelligent questions. This will give you a pulse-check on their feelings and help you think about ways to improve workplace culture.

Anonymous surveys can be a great way to allow employees to be open and honest without fear of repercussions. Use the information in these surveys to create an engagement strategy that will work for both the company and employees.

Only 33 percent of new employees feel engaged. To beat this statistic, companies will need to have a strategic approach to engagement. This is an important stage in retaining top-level employees within their first year.

To keep up with engagement, it’s essential to check-in with employees beyond their initial onboarding. Pair your engagement plan with an internal communication strategy to guarantee success.

Once you’ve gained an employee’s loyalty and engagement, they will expect to be paid based on industry standards.

Related: 9 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover

Fair and Competitive Compensation

With sites like Glassdoor, employees are more informed than ever about industry standards for pay. If you’re not meeting these and making competitive offers, employees will know.

Revenue-sharing can be key here, as you’re tying a part of the employee’s wages to the company’s performance. This can help align their productivity with the company’s revenue and profit. So the incentive to stay with the company as it grows is tied to their compensation.

Another important aspect of compensation is an employee’s benefits package. This also helps to entice top talent during the hiring stage. A competitive benefits package is second to salary but can help to make an employee feel valued.

But an important aspect to keep top of mind is that the benefits program should not be so general that it could be applied to any employee. Targeted benefits packages create a more effective strategy for improving engagement and retention because they show that upper-level management has taken the time to connect with employees as individuals.

The rewards you give to employees should also stretch beyond financial compensation. All employees want to feel valued in ways that are not just monetary.

Genuine Employee Recognition

Employees appreciate the recognition that feels genuine and tied to their hard work. Giving awards in front of a large company audience can go a long way by making a top-level employee feel appreciated.

You can increase engagement by having department or company parties, along with other special events. Lunches with executives, free clothing with the company logo, and volunteer outings are all great options. All these efforts build good employee morale and provide a chance for them to connect with other top employees.

To remain competitive with hiring and retention, flexible schedules and paid time off will be considered.

Flexible Schedules and Generous Time Off

women relaxing on bed with a laptop and holding a hot mug

Today’s workforce wants flexibility in their schedules that allow them to be remote. When employees can work from home, you’re showing them that you’re willing to adapt to their home life and help them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Flexible hours and having the option to work from home (at least occasionally) keep employees happier and more productive. That’s because employees tend to be highly productive for 3 hours in an 8 hour day. Flexible schedules can allow them to take breaks when they need to, creating efficiency when they’re actually working. 

It’s also important to set work from home expectations and a clear policy ahead of time so that there’s no ambiguity. An employee will want to be set up for success while having a flexible schedule so that they can continue to enjoy this perk.

Employees also want generous time off for both vacation and sick days. Having breaks from work can be beneficial to an employee’s productivity and the relationship with their company.

It’s unreasonable to expect employees to keep operating at 100 percent efficiency without having time off to relax. Having breaks and relaxation time is important even on a day-to-day basis. Pacing work can be key to keeping employees efficient so they don’t easily burn out and become resentful.

No matter your work-from-home and vacation policy, it’s important to communicate clearly. You’ll run into fewer issues with your top level employees if you set guidelines in a way that’s easy to understand.

Related: Denver Startup Week: What To Do with Employee Engagement Data

Invest in a Professional Development Program

After you’ve hired top talent, you know they’ll be great at what they do. But it’s important to allow them to keep growing and enhancing their skills.

You can devote some of your resources to providing ongoing training, whether they are short eLearning modules, longer lectures and media courses, or a combination of all of the above. Companies have a great opportunity to provide online courses to their employees. This can help them improve their skills.

A mentorship program also helps employees grow. This can create a new pool of potential leaders by pairing more senior employees with newer ones. This type of training program can be a cost-effective strategy for building a positive company culture.

Once employees have loyalty for their company and a desire to build on their skills, they should also be allowed to grow from within.

If you continue to hire outside talent, the best employees will receive the message that their career path will be short-lived. Create paths to promotion and employees will want to stay put.

Employees Remember How You Make Them Feel

smiling man in professional attire and holding a book

Beyond having opportunities to advance, employees want to feel seen and respected. Indeed, people will always remember how you made them feel. Focusing on employee happiness creates an intangible sense of company loyalty within employees.

Having solid support systems from the highest level will allow managers to be respectful and help to grow a positive workspace. The managers will then take the support they’re given and help to support their contributors. Remember that an overworked and stressed employee will likely feel demoralized and disconnected from your team.

Also, if you want employees to be self-sufficient and productive, even while working from home, you want to show that you trust them to do so.

Giving employees new responsibilities shows that you value their abilities and know they are hard workers. It will also encourage them to continue to grow.

Related: What is the Best Strategy for CEO Communication?

Retaining Top Level Employees Will Help Your Company Succeed

It’s important to keep in mind that all this effort will go both ways. When you show employees respect, they will feel more enthusiastic about staying at your company. If you continue to create opportunities for advancement and give employees fair pay, they’ll remain engaged.

About 1200 CEOs left their jobs in 2019. To avoid your top talent leaving, it’s important to take the time to invest in the right strategies that will keep employees engaged and invested in your company. That means creating a strong recruitment plan that clearly shows your company’s identity and providing plenty of opportunities for employee feedback, recognition, and learning every year. Get started with VP Legacies to build an effective employee branding strategy. We’ll help you develop an actionable plan that reaches current and prospective employees on an emotional level.Connect with us to find ways to improve relationships at your company and retain top level employees.

How to Create a Recession-Proof Employee Retention Plan

How to Create a Recession-Proof Employee Retention Plan 1218 780 VP Legacies

Talent management is a crucial aspect in cultivating a healthy workplace. Employees and employers work in a mutually beneficial manner, where employees provide their skills and knowledge to help make the company a success. In turn, the company offers them a stable source of income and (ideally) professional fulfillment.

This is the ideal scenario in an ideal world. However, things don’t always stay the same, especially when there’s an economic slowdown or a recession. Managing employees becomes complicated when there are external forces that an employer has no control over. 

To counter any influence of such external forces, it’s essential to optimize for long-term employee retention even in times of economic hardship. At VP Legacies, we believe in the power of personal connection as a way to engage employees. But how can you connect during a recession? Here’s our guide.

Related: A Guide to Effective Crisis Communication

Why Is Employee Retention Important?

Employee retention is how companies make sure that their talent stays with them. When it comes to an unpredictable scenario like recession, employee retention plays a huge role in minimizing losses for employers. When the market situation is unstable, employees tend to feel unsafe and thus are more likely to jump ship. 

For an employer, hiring a new employee costs money. There’s training, onboarding, and other costs involved that put a dent in an already tightened wallet. Employee retention is beneficial for both employees and employers.

How to Create a Recession-Proof Employee Retention Plan

This recession-proof employee retention plan will keep employee morale high and make a company surf against the tides of recession when it comes to managing their human resources.

Communication Is Key

The first step to retaining employees is to have a solid internal communication strategy. Employees like to stay updated about some of the inner workings of an organization. Every big or small success should be shared with the employees. Not only do they feel like their work is producing a tangible benefit but it also increases their confidence in the company. This plays a huge role during the recession as employees won’t feel like their job is at risk as the company is doing well and keeps them updated.

Focus On Training

All employees want to grow on a professional level. If they feel like they’ve stagnated, they’ll look for opportunities where they see scope for them to grow and learn more. If an organization has a training program, employees won’t look for the same opportunity elsewhere as there’s a risk involved.

Invest in training employees, giving them the opportunity to learn and grow and it will reward an organization by increased loyalty and increased productivity. In addition to onboarding training, ongoing training is also important. This helps employees feel valued and develop a personal connection with your company.

Need to build a custom eLearning training program for your company? Find out how VP Legacies can help.

Provide Recognition

Apart from their salary, employees also want to feel appreciated on a personal level. They put in 8-10 hours on a daily basis for a company, and reinforcing them with due praise in any way you can will affect their morale, productivity, and happiness. 

If you don’t reinforce your valued employees, they might feel insecure about their job status and start looking for a new job during a recession. To avoid this, one must make sure all employees feel valued and appreciated. This can be done by recognizing their achievements, hard work, and team effort. By setting up reward systems and incentivizing their contribution, employers are safeguarding the interests of the employees and in turn, benefiting from their increased morale.

Stay Connected

The importance of developing a personal connection is heavily underrated in the rulebook of employee retention. Armchair management just does not work when it comes to a healthy workplace environment. The sheer fact that the leaders in an organization are present and active gives employees a sense of comfort. Personal connections with top-level employees gives forth a sense of availability and trust that is hard to achieve with distant and absent leadership.

Seek Feedback

How does one know what an employee wants? The easiest way is to simply ask them. Often plans don’t work how they are intended to and most managements have no way of quantifying the results. To do so, getting employee feedback becomes a necessity.

An anonymous feedback program can offer invaluable insight into what the employees are thinking and can expose the management to shortcomings they aren’t even aware of. This helps draft a more effective plan of action for the future of any organization.

Take Action

The next step after receiving feedback is to take action. If one has all the information necessary, there needs to be a certain plan of action to implement whatever decision has been made. When employees notice that their opinions are being heard and acted upon in an organization, they feel a personal connection that motivates them to work harder and with a boost in their morale. The key to employee retention is to take the right action at the right time and to be proactive as and when the need arises.

Manage Change Effectively

Change is an inevitable part of every organization. Sometimes it is positive and sometimes it is negative, what matters is how an organization deals with the change and more importantly how it deals with the employees during that period. Remember that when an organization is changing, the employees too feel the effect of the change – whether it is a rise in sales or a merger or even layoffs.

It is important to have a strong internal communication strategy to convey these changes so as to keep the employees updated and to stop any rumors or misinformation from spreading within the organization.

Maintain Balance

To retain employees, organizations have to take the extra step to maintain a work-life balance. Every employee cherishes their time out of the workplace and an organization that prohibits them from that in any manner, intentionally or unintentionally, will be met with high turnover rates, even during a recession. 

Professional Growth Strategies for Employee Retention

If an organization has a culture that promotes communication, conversation, feedback and honesty, employees are much more likely to stick around. Aside from their income, they also value their time, respect and happiness. If a workplace is able to provide all of these, then an employee has no reason to leave and take a risk of starting afresh in a different organization. On the other hand, a workplace culture where employees can seek feedback, improve, and be recognized for their labor is one that encourages employees to stay. Building connections with employees helps them feel supported and empowers them to grow their skillset – thus allowing them to contribute to your company in a positive way.

Employee retention is about creating and harboring a safe culture for the employees and encouraging them to live a happier, more productive life both in and out of their workplace. Are you ready to get started with effective communication? Learn how VP Legacies can help you with an internal communication strategy.

Related: Key Takeaways from Recession-Proof Businesses

Denver Startup Week: What To Do with Employee Engagement Data

Denver Startup Week: What To Do with Employee Engagement Data 1086 670 VP Legacies

Employee engagement is more than a survey. 

Although surveys are the start of collecting the data you need to propel your company forward, it takes a conscious effort on part of your executive-level employees to actually leverage this information. You’ll need to consider what employee metrics and data mean, and how you can transform them into strategies to build better employee engagement and a better company. Furthermore, how do you use employee engagement data to find the “right fit” for future hires?

At Denver Startup Week, Colorado leaders across different industries have shared great use cases to accomplish the same goal: right fit hires and a more engaged workforce. VP Legacies contributed insight about devoting resources to forging authentic personal connections across levels and departments.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

What Is Denver Startup Week?

Denver startup week

Source: Colorado Biz Magazine

Denver Startup Week is all about sharing new ideas and creating personal connections with the people involved in Denver tech companies and Denver startups. Both Jobber Group and VP Legacies were heavily involved in the week between attending events and hosting various events. 

Jobber Group specifically put together a panel made up of innovative executives working in their own Denver startups to engage and create personal connection with their employees to close the week on a high note. On September 29, 2017 Jobber Group invited  VP Legacies (us) to the Denver Startup Week Employee Engagement Panel called “I’m Measuring Employee Engagement…Now What?” to capture the responses from these talented executives.

Our Talk on Employee Engagement

In conjunction with Jobber Group we have put together the 90 minute video of the Denver Startup Week Employee Engagement Panel: “I’m Measuring Employee Engagement…Now What?” for your viewing pleasure. We highly recommend watching 15 to 30 minutes of it by skimming through it at the very least.

We want to say thank you to our featured panel members and their organizations they represent (Listed in order of appearance in the video below):

  • Craig Smith, President and COO, HomeAdvisor
  • Anne Rooney McCord, VP Human Resources, Peak 10 + ViaWest
  • Rob Dravenstott, SVP and CIO at Dish Network
  • Noël Mink, Manager HR Operations, City of Aurora

Want to further engage your employees? Get started with a VP Legacies course built for establishing and maintaining real professional relationships.

What Is a Company’s Greatest Asset?

Our biggest takeaway from the Denver Startup Week Employee Engagement Panel: “I’m Measuring Employee Engagement…Now What?” is that no matter what kind of organization you own, manage or work for, people are the most important asset. Therefore, they should be treated as such with personal connection being at the forefront.

Data tells only half of the story, and it’s up to you to decide what happens next. Therefore, use the data to connect with your peers and create employee engagement. Use insight to further develop your employee branding strategy to attract and retain talent. At VP Legacies, we’ll help you use data to identify challenges, then deploy a strategy to address these issues while building on your successes.

Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

How Internal Communication Strategies Boost Employee Engagement

How Internal Communication Strategies Boost Employee Engagement 761 489 VP Legacies

Of the many formulas that contribute to the growth of an organization, one of them is employee engagement. Employee engagement indicates the potential for a company’s long term success because it understands the value of employee satisfaction and retention. In recent years, more and more people are exploring engagement as revenue drivers – recent studies show 71% of executives cite employee engagement as a primary concern for growth.

You might be wondering how to drive employee engagement in your company: the answer is through internal communication. Communication serves as the driving force behind keeping the morale of employees high. It gives them the reassurance that what they do matters and keeps the spark of emotional stakes alive. 

Internal communication entails treating the employees with respect and letting them know that they all contribute value to the company. Modes of communication are vital pathways to achieving your bottom line, and when they’re thoughtful and well-forged, they can also boost employee morale and help everyone feel connected. As long as employees are kept in the loop, given regular feedback, and exposed to a high degree of transparency, employee engagement will stay high. At VP Legacies, we keep internal communication with real personal connections in mind with every learning module we create for our company. Here’s why and how internal communication can boost employee engagement.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

Why is Internal Communication Important for Employee Engagement?

Reports suggest that 85% of the employees around the world don’t feel engaged at work. This could be due to reasons like not being copied on emails or receiving vague information, which makes them feel left out or disconnected from their work environment. This is where the importance of internal communication steps in. 

Here are some of the reasons why internal communications and employee engagement are strongly linked:

  • Open communication between the manager and the employees makes them feel valued. 37% of employees have confessed that being recognized for their work is the best way to feel supported and respected.

As a company, you should make your employees feel comfortable enough to go to management in case they encounter an issue. Employees should also know that managers are being upfront with them regarding current information about the company. Managers should create a connective environment that allows the employees to share professional intimacies with them, be it concerns about the company or concerns related to the industry. 

  • When the internal communication between the employees and the management is poor, employees can feel anxious and distracted. This causes a disconnect between the employees and the company, leading them to hold back key insights from their fellow workers, who in turn feeling withdrawn from their work and the team. 
  • Internal communication encourages conversations between people from various departments. This allows goals to be reached more quickly, as people feel free to interact with one another in case they need help with their respective work. 

If the in-house departments don’t coordinate with each other, the efficiency and rate of progress slows down. This in turn causes work to feel mechanical for most employees, and that’s the last thing you want as an organization.

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

How to Use Internal Communication Strategies to Increase Employee Engagement

Boosting employee engagement through internal communication is something more and more organizations are formally trying. Some of the ways in which you can accomplish that are as follows:

Make the Company’s Goals and Objectives Visible

Publish the goals you have for your company so that your employees can view them at all times. This allows you to approach your employees from a transparent perspective. When an employer’s goals are transparent, employees tend to find it easier to understand, and therefore work towards achieving that goal.

Clear goals help in improving productivity and performance around the workplace. When your employees know that their contribution aids in the growth of the company, they feel responsible and motivated enough to work harder. 

Find a course that meets your company’s goals at VP Legacies.

Lower the Frequency of Meetings and Emails

While meetings and emails form an indispensable part of the workforce, most companies can stand to lower their frequency. Today’s younger workforce generation doesn’t believe in unnecessarily long conversations. They prefer to achieve tasks quickly yet efficiently.

No one wants to read long emails. Keep your emails short and crisp. If a message can be conveyed through two lines, then do so. The same goes for meetings. Meetings are usually seen as hurdles in the way of productivity as far as employees are concerned. More often than not employees feel they could be getting a lot of work done instead of having to sit for a meeting whose intention could have been conveyed via an email.

Use the power of internal communication. Employ in-house messaging forums such as Slack to discuss work with your employees and create pathways for personal connection. You can also use Slack to pass on important information before meetings so that no extra time is wasted.

Make Your Managers More Accessible 

Managers are the people employees turn to whenever there are problems with the work ambiance. Make sure that your employees have a constant line of communication with your management team. Encourage those sort of warm, cordial relationships between these two segments so that a harmonious environment can be maintained at work.

Provide your managers with all the necessary tools of online communication. That way, employees won’t have to wait till weekly or monthly meetings to put their concerns forward and have them sorted.

Conduct Surveys and Listen Carefully

One of the most effective ideas for internal communication with regards to enhancing employee personal connection is conducting surveys every once in a while. These surveys can include questions regarding new strategies, management behavior, and the overall company structure. Make the surveys anonymous – this allows the organization to recognize its flaws and make amends accordingly.

Truly listen to your employees when they talk, be it through their surveys or during face-to-face conversations. Jot down their inputs and make it a point to work on them so that everyone working under you feels comfortable.

Summing Up

When an organization employs effective internal communication strategies, it makes the employees feel more secure and motivated. Engaged employees tend to be more dedicated towards their work. In fact, employee engagement increases productivity by 17%, with reported profit rates for a company going up to 22% when their employees feel more engaged.

Therefore, use your internal communication system effectively, and you’ll find your employees consistently working harder to drive bottom-line goals at your company. Find out here how VP Legacies can help you reach your internal communication goals.

Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

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9 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019

9 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019 1920 1144 VP Legacies

High employee turnover can be extremely costly and detrimental to an organization. It’s normal to encounter some level of turnover in an organization due to reasons such as retirement. However, turnover due to other reasons, such as poor employee morale, is not good and should be fixed.

A higher than normal amount of turnover is usually one of the first signs there are significant issues in an organization, and if it’s ignored can lead to even further issues such as a decline in workforce productivity. All of this will eventually trickle down into affecting the bottom line.

In short, turnover can’t be ignored and won’t go away without intervention. It’s essential that you improve your communication strategies, amongst other things to take action to limit your employee turnover.

Management studies on reducing turnover are plenty. In this post, we’ll distill the many mitigation techniques out there and go through some easy and practical ways of reducing employee turnover.

We’ll distill the many mitigation techniques out there and go through some easy and practical ways of reducing employee turnover.

The first step in reducing employee turnover is getting a good grasp of how it’s happening and more importantly, why.

This means keeping track of how many employees are leaving an organization in a given year and how these numbers compare with the years before. If there’s been a sudden spike one year, look into why this might be the case. Did a major event happen that year such as an acquisition by a bigger company? Where is the turnover happening? If it’s only within a specific department, was there a new leader hired there that may be causing issues?

Drilling down may help uncover possible hypotheses on why turnover has spiked and ways to solve. Numbers alone aren’t enough; it’s essential to know the underlying reason – the why?

Qualitative insights also help. This is where implementing practices such as exit interviews can be very beneficial.

Most employees that have decided to leave an organization are willing to state why. Be sure that these exit interviews are conducted by an unbiased party such as an HR practitioner and are done confidentially so anyone who reads the takeaways from the interview won’t know who the interviewee was.

Establishing monthly employee surveys can also help raise red flags to leadership if employee morale is sinking, and there’s a chance of high turnover happening. It’s important these surveys are anonymous when completed and isn’t collected at a level where employees or managers handling the data could determine who might have completed it.

Monthly employee surveys are a great preventative measure in flagging potential turnover before it happens.

2. Don’t shy away from praise and recognition

The next tactic to reducing employee turnover is quite simple, low-effort, but very effective.

Make sure employees, managers, and the overall company culture value the practice of giving recognition and praise.

If employees are doing a great job, submit an excellent deliverable, or have gone above and beyond in any way – recognize them for this in front of their colleagues. Or if certain events have happened such as the colleagues being promoted or certain milestones being met by a team during a project, recognize them for the work done.

Praise doesn’t always have to be public. It can also be privately done and still be effective. Take employees out for coffee and let know their hard is work is appreciated.

Don’t go overboard with this and only give praise when employees genuinely deserve this.

Praise is a great way to reduce turnover. Employees will feel like their hard work is being noticed and appreciated – boosting their morale.

3. Show employees the end goal and how to get there

Feeling a sense of progress is critical towards employees feeling fulfilled in their jobs.

This means if they think they’ve stayed stagnant in a particular position and begin to get bored of their job – they’ll start looking elsewhere for new opportunities.

Luckily, this one’s easily avoidable by ensuring that there are clearly defined roles and career progression in an organization.

By formally establishing these and communicating it with employees, they’ll start to understand what’s the next step in their time here and what might be the tasks they need to show they’ve accomplished in order to progress to the next level.

This doesn’t always been dishing out a promotion. Sometimes this can be adding more responsibility to their current role or rotating them across different functions to keep things interesting.

Keep career paths transparent, detailed, and supplementing this with regular performance reviews. This means employees will know what to work on to get to the next level and progress through the company – instead of leaving for the competition.

4. Let employees manage their own time

The next trick to reducing employee turnover is simply providing them with autonomy. When it comes to their daily tasks, this may be hard due to a lack of experience, but freedom and independence in how they manage their time to completing work on their plate are surely doable!

Provide employees as much freedom to set their own schedule, and even where they work from. Introduce options such as work-from-home days, and flexible work hours so that it’s not mandatory for them to be in-office, 8 hours, 5 days a week.

Employees can pick a work schedule that’s optimal for them but also gets work done effectively. Having the option to do this might keep them in the organization cause ultimately, there’s no price one can set on freedom.

5. Pay employees well and offer bonuses

Money matters. And this means employees want to feel like they are compensated well or else they’ll leave.

Make sure annual salary reviews are in place and that compensation is benchmarked with the market rate and to what competitors offer.

This can extend beyond just base salary to include other benefits such as bonuses. Make it attractive and it doesn’t all have to be monetary. Pairing market salary along with flexible work-at-home policies can shrink turnover as employees start to value the flexibility over more pay elsewhere but restricted to being in the office all the time.

6. Align values and purpose

Everyone want’s to feel a sense of purpose to what they’re doing. This is the same at work.

Communicate to employees what it is the organization is striving to achieve, and why their contributions matter. This doesn’t have to be altruistic. The effort just needs to go into helping employees see the purpose in what they’re doing. The key is being able to articulate a company’s purpose in a way that connects.

This might sound complicated. But to keep it actionable, translate this down by ensuring managers communicate the bigger context of what their direct reports do.

An analyst helping crunch numbers in an excel sheet just needs to know that this analysis is going towards identifying bottlenecks in the shipping process – which in turn could be fixed and speed up delivery times for customers. It can be that simple and be enough to give an employee a sense of purpose in the work they are doing.

Related: How to Retain Top Level Employees (The Right Way!)

7. Check-in with employees often

This trick is all about habit and it can be implemented in a fairly easy way within an organization.

Simply ensure that time is carved out for direct reports to have casual conversations about how their job is going with their managers. Make this mandatory for managers to schedule into calendars on a recurring basis with every direct report. Keep them accountable by measuring such practices and making it a part of their annual performance reviews.

This should be a casual check-in for 30 min. or an hour and involves going for coffee or a walk to ask how things are going. This practice alone can be hugely beneficial in making a frustrated employee who’s a flight-risk feel heard and reconsider leaving.

8. Create a rewarding culture

Although rewarding for a job well done is great and much needed. Most often, employees want more than that. They want their time with a company to be more than just work so it’s important to create a sense of culture.

This means hosting regular ‘after work’ events such as having managers gather everyone to go for drinks nearby. Or having monthly team lunches that allows everyone to get together.

Cheeky traditions at work also help such as telling employees to dress up in whacky costumes during Halloween or creating a fantasy football league for employees to participate in.

All this boosts camaraderie and makes the work team feel more like family. Leaving your ‘family’ for a job somewhere else is a lot harder to do and starts to reduce turnover!

Moreover, having a team that’s well bonded also means they’ll be more comfortable in voicing any issues that creep up proactively. This allows an organization to address any problem quickly before leaving their job becomes the only solution.

Though hiring the right employees who are a good fit for an organization is important in reducing turnover. The other often overlooked aspect is hiring or training up good people managers.

Some employees can be high performers that excel at their work but can be horrible people managers who don’t really know how to lead, develop, and instill a sense of culture in their teams. They may often prioritize actual work over activities such as hosting check-ins with their employees to see how they are doing. Because of this, direct reports to some of these managers may have no issue with the company but hate their boss so much they decide to leave.

To fix this, if hiring for managers, be sure to vet their people management skills thoroughly, and if promoting from within, be sure to train them on effective people management!

9. Make wellness a key priority

Tackling a sudden spike in turnover can seem daunting, but there are simple, habitual strategies that can do wonders in reducing turnover in an organization. Take our suggestions above and put together a task team to apply it to a company. Remember, high turnover left unchecked can be disastrous in the long-run.

Takeaway

Tackling a sudden spike in turnover can seem daunting, but there are simple, habitual strategies that can do wonders in reducing turnover in an organization. Take our suggestions above and put together a task team to apply it to a company. Remember, high turnover left unchecked can be disastrous in the long-run.

Related: How to Create a Recession-Proof Employee Retention Plan

 

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