Categories
Internal Communication

Is terminology standing in the way of employee engagement?

employee-engagement

September 16th, 2021.

Is terminology standing in the way of employee engagement?

Have you ever paused and thought about the terminology we use and the connotations those terms may have? I found myself doing this recently and it’s really hit a chord. It’s made me question if some of the language we use could be preventing, or at least holding back, employee engagement. Let me explain why…

We commonly use phrases such as “deskless workers” and “remote employees”. But surely these terms go against the very definition of employee engagement?

For an employee to feel engaged they must feel part of the company. They must feel like a valued member of the team. But both these terms create separation. “Less” within ‘deskless’ suggests a lower level to their office counterparts. The term “remote” instantly makes it acceptable that these people are more distant.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve created a divide. In the 1920s the term “blue collar worker” was created to represent the jobs which were typically carried out by people who wore darker clothes to hide the dirt. Accompanying that was the “white collar worker”. Over the years, these terms took on wider meanings with “blue collar workers” often being seen as low paid jobs completed by uneducated people. A divide was born.

Today we hear these terms less and less because those labels are no longer seen as acceptable. Furthermore, they are in no ways beneficial. So why are we repeating history?

It’s time for change

In the past, terminology that divides office-based workers from their frontline counterparts may have been necessary. Purely from a logistical point of view. Communicating with someone using a computer was very different to communication with someone on a factory production line. No doubt, albeit subconsciously, these terms favoured our office workers because they were far easier to communicate with. Sending an email or publishing an intranet article is much more straightforward than ensuring a message is disseminated through line management for example. Due to this completely different way in which we communicated with the two groups, there was a need to categorise them. Although I would still argue that we could come up with better terminology than “deskless workers”!

But today we do not need this definition.

We have internal communications software that can send (and receive) communications to every employee no matter where or when they work. Communicators can now focus on communications rather than the logistics of communications. This technological advancement means we do not need to segment employees by their access to a computer.

But to add to the argument; we now work in a world of hybrid working. The pool of “remote workers” has grown exponentially since the COVID pandemic. If we continue to define these people as a separate more ‘remote’ group, we are going to find our employee engagement taking a downturn.

With the help of internal communications software we have an opportunity to actually treat everyone the same. To create a level playing field that brings everyone together playing their part in the company goals.

I accept that internal communications software is a relatively new solution that hasn’t been adopted by every organisation yet, but I have hope. Hope that with the help of an internal communication tool and an eagerness to make hybrid working a success, we could see the end of divisive terminology.

In a decade I really hope that I look back on this blog with a smile on my face having realised that I haven’t heard the term “deskless employees” or “remote workers” for an absolute age. If I do, we’ll know that employee engagement has reached a new point in its evolution. A more sophisticated, employee centric point that in which businesses will be reaping the rewards that come hand in hand with an engaged workforce.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society. And my pug Winston…

Categories
Employee Engagement

5 Steps to Better Engage Your Hard to Reach Employees

26 August, 2021.

5 steps to better engage your hard to reach employees

The number of employees we segment into the ‘hard to reach’ category is expanding. Technological advances, a ‘give it to me now’ culture, and new hybrid/home working policies are all influencing how and when our employees work. From warehouses to home offices, supermarkets to oil rigs, hospitals to delivery drivers – our hard to reach employees make up a huge part of our working population.

It therefore comes as no surprise that in a recent survey we conducted with internal communication professionals, 27% said an inability to engage their hard-to-reach employees is their greatest challenge right now.

In some ways it is refreshing to see that this is a top priority for over a quarter of internal communicators. It suggests they recognise the importance of engaging with these people. For too long, organisations have focused on communicating with the easy-to-reach people; relying on third hand channels to cascade information. Not only is it impossible to know how effective these channels are, but it is also a sure-fire way to make these people feel less important. To feel marginalised and disconnected from the collective vision. Once that feeling is ingrained productivity will decrease and staff turnover will increase.

So let’s prevent this from happening and ensure you find the right ways to engage with your hard to reach employee

5 steps to better engage your hard-to-reach employees

1. Select your channels and get buy-in

How you are going to communicate is the first hurdle to overcome. If you are reading this blog, it suggests the channels you currently use are not effective. But before you discard them and start from scratch, first consider why they aren’t effective. Do they require your employees to take time out of their working day to consume the information? Is this perceived to be a distraction from their ‘actual’ work? It may be that your existing channels are the right mode of communication, but the culture surrounding them needs to shift.

Manager and senior leadership buy-in is absolutely critical. They need to set an example to your employees. They need to be seen using the communication channels and they need to spread the message that it is acceptable to take time to participate in those channels. They also need to spread the wider purpose; the reasons for the new methods of communication. Nail this and you are already well on your way to improving engagement.

So what about the channels? There are many to consider:

  • Team briefings
  • Newsletters
  • Emails
  • Posters and signage
  • An internal communication app
  • Letters
  • An intranet
  • Social media channels
  • Text messages
  • Company events
  • Employee surveys

It is highly likely you will select a few different channels. In fact, in the study we carried out, most organisations have at least 3 channels to communication with their employees. As the provider of an internal communication app, we are obviously advocates of using technology but, ultimately, you need to consider what is right for your employees. What kind of people are they? Is the majority of your workforce made up of millennials who would embrace an app? Or do you have a real mix and need to consider two internal communication channels at the opposite end of the spectrum?

If you’re unsure, carry out an employee survey to find out more about your hard-to-reach employees. That way you will be confident in your decisions.

2. Harness your advocates

Humans are like sheep. We are more likely to join in and get involved when we see others doing so. Therefore, once your channels are up and running and while you are building up your engagement levels, advocates could really help you. Identify who is engaged within your hard-to-reach communities and use their enthusiasm to spread your messages wider. Encourage them to promote the channels you are using and work closely with them to gauge feedback.

Within our internal communications software we automatically identify these advocates making it easy for you to identify and engage with them.

3. Engage rather than broadcast

The moment you start broadcasting information through your channels is the moment you risk disengaging your employees. Where possible, segment your employees so that the communications they receive are only relevant to them. If everything they receive is interesting, they’ll keep reading.

As you put a communication together always consider what’s in it for the reader. How is that information going to help them and what do you want them to do. By keeping these basics in mind, you will write communications for your employees rather than for your leadership team.

Our internal comms app also has the functionality to like or comment on messages which further helps employees to engage with what they are reading. Not to mention helping you to see what people like reading, but I’ll come to that in a moment!

4. Consider your timings

When you communicate could make a real difference to your engagement levels so consider your audience carefully. Are there tight deadlines at a particular time of the week/month that you should avoid for example?

You may also want to consider creating a communication schedule so that your employees become familiar with when they are going to receive set communications. Routine is a large part of our lives, both at work and at home. Having a familiar schedule will really help with engagement encouraging employees to take a few moments at the same time each week/month.

5. Measure and take action

You now have your channels in place, buy-in from those that can influence engagement, and a solid strategy for how and when to communicate. The final string in your bow is to know how successful your communications are. Without this insight you are working blind and will never truly know how engaged your employees are or what you can do to improve employee engagement.

Our internal communications software tracks the interactions with every communication you send. You can compare them side-by-side so that you can see what your employees have engaged with and what they haven’t. You can also carry out surveys within the employee engagement survey feature to gain even further insight into what your employees want to learn about.

Another huge benefit of our internal comms software is the ability to see which teams are or aren’t engaged. For example, our customers can see if a team has historically been engaged but in recent weeks and months that engagement has dropped. It enables others in the business to explore the reasons before the disengagement becomes ingrained.

How you collate and analyse data on your employee engagement is up to you. Just make sure you have a way to measure your success. And when you have the data, ensure the insight is used otherwise you will be back to square one. There is nothing that will disengage a workforce more than them providing you with feedback and that information not being used. They need to see that you are listening and see that you are achieving your goals of improving employee engagement.

Good luck on your journey to improve employee engagement! It won’t be quick, but if you incorporate all five of these steps, you will see the results.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

I am a focused and highly organised communications professional with over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector.

Categories
Employee Engagement Employee Wellbeing

How to Motivate Warehouse Employees

how to motivate warehouse employees

How to motivate warehouse employees

The demand for warehouse employees is rising. As stated by the Financial Times “employers are scrambling to recruit staff”. Now more than ever there is a need to focus on how to motivate warehouse employees. Improving employee engagement will both retain existing employees and appeal to future recruits. But this is an enormous challenge in this sector. Someone once told me; “The only thing that motivates warehouse employees is their salary and the people they work with.” There is certainly some truth in this. As you can see below from the top 10 reasons people leave their employment, compensation features highly while many of the others fit into the category of ‘cultural fit’.

Top 10 reasons employees leave their employment

  1. Feeling unappreciated
  2. A lack of proper compensation
  3. Insufficient time off
  4. Change in management
  5. Outdated machinery and equipment
  6. Unrealistic goals
  7. Lack of management support
  8. A lack of challenge
  9. Lack of joyful environment
  10. Lack of career progression

While the distribution sector is so buoyant there is a lot of competition with the potential to poach your employees. There is also the added challenge of many of the baby boomers now retiring resulting in the need to appeal to a very different generation.

Combine this with the fact that the average cost for losing and replacing an employee is £12,000 (Employee Replacement Cost), and it is clear that you need to do everything you can to retain and motivate warehouse employees.

5 steps to retain and motivate warehouse employees

By improving motivation and better engaging employees, you not only increase retention rates but you are also highly likely to see improvements in productivity. There are few sectors where staff satisfaction has such a direct effect on productivity. Here are the 5 steps we recommend every distribution organisation adopts in order to maximise staff retention and employee engagement.

1) Understand your employees

An obvious point but one that is often overlooked. You can’t improve their working lives unless you truly know what makes them tick. What are their motivations for coming to work? What do they enjoy about their working day? What don’t they enjoy? What barriers do they consider to be hampering their performance? What do they enjoy doing when they leave work?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions it is important to understand them. Without these answers you cannot set a benchmark, you cannot relate effectively to your employees and you cannot improve warehouse staff retention rates.

To find out the answers you could carry out employee surveys or ask in 1:1s. Whatever your method, ensure you get as many people involved as possible and explain the reasons for the survey to get buy-in.

2) Review your remuneration package

In such a competitive market, it is always a valuable exercise to review what you offer your employees. From salary, through to productivity incentives and holiday allowances. When warehouse staff can pick and choose their employer, these factors will make a huge difference in their choices.

You may want to carry out research on your closest competitors to understand where your remuneration package sits in comparison. The answers to the questions in step 1 will also guide you on what your employees expect and need.

If you don’t already, you could introduce some productivity incentives in which employees receive a reward when they reach certain productivity milestones. If you do this, the most important factors to consider are; make the targets challenging but achievable and consider your reward carefully. You may even want a few different rewards to cater for different employees. Another option to consider is ‘employee of the month’ which recognises and rewards employees who have achieved their productivity targets or who have demonstrated your company values.

You may also benefit from considering more flexible working hours in your employee engagement strategy. This is something the younger generation are likely to look for and is becoming more expected since the pandemic.

3) Provide a pleasant working environment

A very basic but absolutely vital employee need. An unpleasant vs a pleasant work environment will influence an employee’s decision on whether they stay or leave your company. Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Cleanliness – dirty areas are depressing but also potentially dangerous. Investing in a cleaning regime will always boost the mood of your employees.
  • Machinery and tools – in a job where productivity is measured constantly, anything that hampers an employee’s productivity will cause significant frustration. Where possible, ensure you have the right machinery and tools in place to minimise these frustrations.
  • Space to relax – working in a warehouse is hard work and often noisy. By providing a quiet, comfortable space to retreat to will help your employees recharge their batteries and have the downtime that is so vital in a busy work environment.
  • Use music – as well as improving morale, a study found that playing music improves the productivity of 73% of warehouse workers. This is therefore well worth considering if you don’t already have a music policy.

4) Ensure effective managerial support

Positive working relationships with managers make a huge difference to employee engagement. With the right processes and feedback loops in place a manager’s role in the distribution sector is absolutely critical to staff retention. They can show appreciation for the work the employee has undertaken. They will help the employee with any career progression aspirations. They will identify any training requirements or opportunities. And they will cascade information in both directions.

The role of a manager cannot be overlooked in this sector. They need to be granted the time and processes necessary to carry out effective 1:1s, provide quality support and put focus on employee engagement. This in turn will foster loyalty, all of which contributes to staff retention.

5) Consider your company culture

The final factor that wraps all of the above steps together is your company culture. Your culture should demonstrate the attitudes and behaviours you expect your employees to adhere to. In essence, when you have nailed your company culture, everyone will be working towards the same goals with mutual respect for one another. It is this shared ethos that will create a community and that will create loyalty amongst your staff.

Central to a solid company culture is communication. Your employees need to know what is expected of them and where they fit in the company goals. Likewise, your employees need to feel listened to and have the avenues to provide ideas and feedback. You can achieve this two-way communication loop far easier in today’s world. Technology such as employee communication software provides all of this in a single platform helping you master employee engagement and ensure your employees feel valued and part of the company’s journey.

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

Driven to learn and better myself physically, mentally and professionally.

Categories
ENPS

Turning eNPS Passives Employees Into Promotors

employee net promoter score passives

employee Net Promoter Score - turning passive employees into promoters

For eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) to work effectively it needs to ignore passive employees. But while it is the promoters and detractors that generate the employee Net Promoter Score, it is actually your passive employees that hold the greatest potential. Before I explain why, let’s remind ourselves how someone becomes a ‘passive’ employee.

How the eNPS calculation works

The employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a measure of how likely your employees are to recommend your company as a place to work. Employees are asked one question and answer that question on a scale of 0-10. Those who provide a score of 0-6 are classified as ‘detractors’, those who choose 9 or 10 are ‘promoters’ and those who opt for 7 or 8 are known as ‘passives’. To calculate the eNPS score passives are ignored and the percentage of detractors are subtracted from the percentage of promoters.

While this calculation is extremely effective at benchmarking employee loyalty, running an eNPS survey gives you so much more than just a score. It gives you an opportunity to start exploring the reasons behind these scores.

Life after an eNPS survey

Once you have completed an eNPS survey you will want to explore the reasons behind the scores. For example, if you have a high percentage of detractors you will need to quickly delve into the reasons so that you can take remedial action. Likewise, you will want to learn more about the positivity of promoters so that you can encourage that further. While follow-up approaches for these two groups will need to be carefully considered, they are relatively straightforward. You want to know the reasons for the negativity and the reasons for the positivity. Passives however are much more complex and because of this complexity, they are often overlooked.

What a passive employee could be thinking

‘Passives’ are on the fence. They have a relatively neutral opinion of your company. But the reasons for the neutrality could be vast:

  • They may like your company but had a recent negative experience that is holding them back.
  • They may be negative about your company, but their morals or fear of being reprimanded may have prevented them from pressing the score they really wanted to select!
  • They may just be a reserved character who doesn’t naturally have strong opinions either way.
  • They may not trust the anonymity of the eNPS survey.
  • They may simply be moderately happy at work.

This list could go on an on and as you can see, the reasons for a passive falling into this category are vast. But one thing that is certain – passives hold significant opportunity. They act as a bridge between detractors and promoters. If you can understand their decision to score a 7 or 8 you have an opportunity to convert them. And this conversion will be far quicker than those who are detractors. You also have an opportunity to prevent them from becoming a detractor, or from seeking employment elsewhere.

How to motivate passive employees

Whether through further employee surveys, focus groups or one to one conversations, you need to delve deeper into the minds of your passive employees.

Hot tip: With the follow up questions ensure there is no room for neutrality. You need to ask a question that will give a definitive answer. For example, ask “What single thing can we do to increase the likelihood of you recommending our company as a place to work?” rather than asking “Is there anything we can do to improve your experience at work?”. By being much more direct in your questioning, you will get more valuable answers.

When you know more about the reasons it will be time to make changes. For this to be effective you will of course need buy-in from your leadership team. In fact, they need to be onboard before you even embark on your eNPS survey. Without them understanding the benefit or purpose, you will struggle to follow through on any of the points your employees raise. And that is a guaranteed way of disengaging your employees!

The next step is to communicate. Not just the actions you have taken in response to the survey, but the survey results themselves. Transparency will earn respect and trust, particularly within a group of people who may typically be more reserved.

Finally, you may also want to reflect on your company culture. Particularly if you have a large percentage of passives. There could be many underlying factors that are preventing passives from becoming promoters. The little things that just niggle away at people. For example, an expectation to work longer hours or a disparity between team recognition. Even if these are just perceived scenarios, they will have a negative impact. Addressing these blockers and communicating that they have been addressed, will really help your passive employees view your company more positively.

Converting passive employees with the right software

If you would like to discover how our employee survey tools can help you run effective eNPS surveys and gather deeper follow-up insight have a look at our eNPS page and employee survey page for more information.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

I have over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector and have always been heavily involved in internal communication and employee engagement. I firmly believe that with the right engagement strategy in place, an organisation can achieve so much more.

Categories
Internal Communication

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

July 14, 2021.

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

VRAMP is thrilled to have been awarded the highest international information security standard. The ISO 27001:2017 certification highlights VRAMPs dedication to providing a highly secure employee engagement software solution.

What is ISO 27001?

Published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), ISO 27001:2017 requires a detailed audit to ensure compliance against an extensive list of information security criteria. The standard evidence that a business holds data safely and has the systems in place to combat any threats to the integrity of that data.

What this means for VRAMP’s clients?

It provides confidence that we have the best information security, cybersecurity and privacy protection a business can achieve. Our clients know that we have the systems in place to protect their data.

What ISO 27001 means to us

There are many milestones a business can reach, achieving ISO 27001 is one of them.

Protecting all data within our business, in particular that of our clients, is routed at the core of what we do at VRAMP as a data handler. This accreditation means that we not only meet the highest standards today, but also confirms that we will review our processes and information security on an ongoing basis to ensure VRAMP continually meets the highest standards.

We also believe that it sets us apart from our competitors. Many in the employee engagement software industry just rely upon their data centre to meet the ISO 27001 standards. We choose not to take any shortcuts. While we still only work with ISO 27001 accredited data centres, we also ensure we meet these standards too.

When you combine or security with the capabilities of our employee engagement software, it makes all of us extremely proud of what we have achieved for our clients.

If you feel like you need to find a better way to improve employee engagement, get in touch and we will show you how our employee engagement survey tools will help you achieve better results.

Categories
ENPS

A Guide to employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

guide to eNPS

A guide to employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

We have long measured customer loyalty, but many organisations are now recognising the importance of also measuring employee loyalty. Organisations that are armed with their employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) are better positioned to retain talent and maximise productivity. This guide explains why.

What is employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)?

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a measure of how likely your employees are to recommend your company as a place to work. It is based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) measure associated with customer satisfaction surveys, and asks just one question – “How likely are you to recommend our company as a place of work?”

The reasons eNPS is effective

What makes employee Net Promoter Score effective is that you can work out your score with just one question. This simplicity benefits both those creating the survey and the employees because they can contribute quickly and easily. Once you know your score you can then take the right steps to improve or maintain how satisfied your employees are.

How is eNPS measured?

Your employees respond by stating their likelihood to recommend your company on a scale of 0-10. That score is then categorised as Promoter, Passive or Detractor.

Detractor (0-6)

They are not particularly satisfied with you or their work and could spread negativity towards the company.

Passive (7-8)

Generally happy with the company but would be receptive to offers from other employers.

Promoter (9-10)

They are loyal and like working for your company. Actively promoting the business through word of mouth.

To calculate an eNPS score the passive scores are disregarded. It is simply the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors.

%PROMOTERS

minus

%DETRACTORS

equals

YOUR ENPS

Here’s an example; company X sends an employee net promoter score survey to its 1,000 employees and gets the following response:

200 (20%) were Detractors

450 (45%) were Passives

350 (35%) were Promoters

35% -20% = an eNPS score of 15

What is a good eNPS score?

An eNPS can range between -100 to 100. A score above zero is widely considered as acceptable. But a good employee net promoter score typically ranges between 10–30 and anything above that figure suggest a very loyal, happy, and driven workforce.

eNPS benchmarks by industry

While it is always interesting to compare your eNPS with other organisations, there is little value in doing so. There are so many variables that could influence an eNPS – size of organisation, age, location, culture – the comparison is likely to just leave you with questions.

Instead, we recommend to our clients that they benchmark against their own data. This direct comparison keeps you focused on your employees and helps you establish how to make improvements.

How often should an eNPS survey be completed?

While a consistent cadence is important, the most important factor is how you respond to the results. For an organisation with good engagement, open channels of communication and the processes in place to effectively react, our recommendation is to run an eNPS every quarter. This takes a consistent temperature check and enables you to react quickly to any fluctuations.

But one size does not fit all. Before you embark on quarterly eNPS surveys it is important to consider all factors. How engaged are your employees? How likely are they to respond? Do you have the right internal communication channels in place to involve everybody? How quickly can you and your colleagues react to the results?

The latter point is perhaps the most critical. If you cannot analyse and respond to the results within a 3-month window expand your timescales. Your employees must feel as though the employee Net Promoter Score is being used for them to continually want to be involved.

How to improve your eNPS score

Measuring your eNPS is just the start. In essence, it is a signal of how much work you have to do and how quickly! No matter what your score, we recommend you undergo the following four steps so that your eNPS survey successfully contributes to your employee engagement strategy.

1. Explore

Wherever your score lies, initiate further tactics to explore the reasons behind that score. You could carry out a deeper survey, hold face-to-face conversations or send further pulse surveys. This also gives you an opportunity to quiz the passive employees to understand what is making them ‘sit on the fence’. What you ask will depend on your eNPS results but these follow-up questions are commonly used:

  • What is one thing we could do to improve your score?
  • What is stopping you from referring friends to the company?
  • Describe what you enjoy about working here?

At this stage you want to ask open ended questions that will give you thorough insight. Avoid yes/no questions such as “Do you see yourself working here in 5 years?” because they just won’t give you the information you need to evolve your engagement strategy.

2. Communicate

Keep your employees informed at every stage to help them feel part of the process. Once the initial eNPS survey is completed let everyone know the results and the next steps. Likewise, when you complete the follow-up investigations, explain the reasons for the survey and the results. This is easy to overlook, particularly if the results are not as good as you hoped, but honest and transparent communications are critical. They not only evidence the organisation’s commitment to employee satisfaction but also encourage employees to take part in future initiatives.

3. Act

Perhaps the most important aspect of the process. Employees will quickly disengage if they do not see actions being implemented following their input. No matter how big or small, ensure the actions are effectively carried out. Some actions will take time to implement so it is always worth reminding your employees why you are doing what you are doing. Simple statements such as “you told us this, so we are doing this”, all help to reaffirm that there is value in participating in employee surveys.

4. Repeat

Keep the cycle going. Once you have decided the cadence of your employee Net Promoter Score be consistent, not just with the timing of the survey but also with all the actions above. The more familiar and routine the process becomes, the more natural and effective your eNPS surveys will be.

The most important aspect to remember with your eNPS

The employee Net Promoter Score is an extremely valuable tool to measure employee loyalty but, it should always be a contributor towards a wider employee engagement strategy. By combining the eNPS with more detailed surveys and other employee engagement tactics you will have a very solid picture of how to better engage your employees.

At VRAMP we recognise the value of this combined effort which is why our eNPS survey software sits side-by-side against other survey tools and internal communication channels. This gives our clients all the tools and data they need within a single system for fast, effective employee communication and engagement. If you would like to discover more about how VRAMP can help you measure and bring eNPS into your engagement strategy, contact us today.

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

Driven to learn and better myself physically, mentally and professionally.

Categories
Employee Wellbeing

The Barriers to Keeping Frontline Employees Safe and Well

barriers to keeping frontline employees

The Barriers to Keeping Frontline Employees Safe and Well

Every organisation will say that the health and safety of their frontline employees is of utmost importance. But despite this awareness and eagerness, keeping everyone safe and well is extremely difficult. The statistics speak for themselves: in 2019/20 693,000 people sustained an injury at work, whilst an additional 828,000 suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. We are also currently experiencing a decline in the mental health of the UK workforce as evidenced by a 2020 CIPD survey which found that just 35% of respondents believed work had a positive impact on their mental health, compared to 43% in 2018.

This decline in mental wellbeing combined with the knowledge that physical and mental illness results in a loss of 38.8 million working days per annum, highlights the need for UK organisations to up their game. In this blog we address the challenges and identify how you can improve the mental and physical health of deskless employees.

The barriers to frontline employee safety and wellbeing

When you read the stats above and then add COVID to the mix, the challenge of reducing injury and improving mental health is big enough as it is. But combine this with the complication of how to effectively reach your employees that ‘work on the tools’ and the scale of the challenge is amplified. Ultimately, there are two factors that complicate matters.

Their environment

By the very nature of their job, your frontline employees are more difficult to keep safe. For starters, their job roles often mean they are at greater risk of injury, but they are also harder to communicate with. They often work at different locations or on varied shift patterns. They simply don’t have the same consistent access to the information their desk-based counterparts have.

In fact, many frontline workers are still reliant on their line manager to pass on a message. This reliance on receiving information secondhand presents many problems:

  • Line managers will rate messages at different levels of importance and convey these accordingly.
  • Those responsible for distributing the message have no idea whether the message was received or if it was portrayed effectively.
  • The staggered method of distributing comms makes it nigh on impossible to communicate anything urgently.
  • Employees have a very limited opportunity to provide feedback.

Ultimately, any dependency on third party communications is unreliable. There are too many steps involved in the process and too many variables that will impact the speed, effectiveness and responsiveness of each communication.

Their perception

While the environment is an obvious blocker to communicating and keeping remote workers safe, there is a more problematic, silent barrier. Perception.

How frontline employees perceive the company they work for, their manager and the senior leadership has a big impact on how they work. Many of the decisions and actions that an employee takes will be influenced by their own motivations and drivers. If they are not engaged, the risk of them not reading the latest health and safety notice, or taking potentially dangerous shortcuts, or not mentioning their increasing anxiety, is increased.

But many organisations also suffer from a two-way perception challenge. Remote workers are often seen as just that, ‘remote’. They are labelled as outsiders. They are unseen employees whose needs and voices often come lower down in the pecking order than their office-based team members. It’s often a historical pattern that is engrained into the organisation. How many times have you heard things like; “we’ve always communicated that way” or “but the operatives just don’t care about that stuff”. These are all perceptions that need to be addressed and without addressing them, organisations will be left with a ‘them and us’ culture.

Ultimately, any perception, whether misconstrued or accurate, will be a blocker. If those on the frontline perceive themselves, or believe someone else perceives them, to be less valued than their colleagues they will lack pride, confidence and satisfaction. They will feel as though they don’t have a voice and the company culture, and profits, will take a hit.

Using employee engagement to improve health & safety

What the two barriers above highlight is that unless your remote employees are engaged, your health, safety and wellbeing policy will not be effective.

As a provider of employee engagement software, we have worked with our clients to strengthen their employee engagement strategies so they can communicate health & safety strategies that resonate and take effect. Take a look at our 7 employee engagement techniques for a deskless workforce to discover how you can put the right foundations in place to break through the barriers.

Or contact us to see the difference an employee communication app could make to your deskless workforce.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

I am a focused and highly organised communications professional with over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector.

Categories
Employee Wellbeing

Mental health in the workplace

mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing in the workplace: 6 steps every organisation should take

2020 was the year to forget, but for many it is a year to recover from. For our employees, never before have the lines between work and home been so blurred. We were forced to juggle home life with work all while adjusting to the fact we were in the middle of a global pandemic which altered life as we knew it. For many of us we had never experienced anything of this scale or severity in our lifetimes and this impacted our mental wellbeing.

Now more than ever, we need to do more.

A study by Oracle found that over three quarters of the population said the pandemic negatively affected their mental health. The same study discovered that 76% of employee believe their company should be doing more to protect the mental health of their workforce. These statistics alone speak volumes but when you then start to combine these facts with the estimated cost of mental health on UK businesses, the message becomes even clearer. The Centre for Mental Health found that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £35 billion a year and this figure keeps on rising. This equates to a cost of £1,300 for every employee in the UK economy.

Many organisations are already stepping up and acknowledging mental health as a big part of their engagement and wellbeing strategy but if anyone in your organisation still needs convincing; Deloitte identified that for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover. When you add this hard economic fact into the mix, it is clear that employee mental ill-health has to be a top priority.

How mental wellbeing strategies should fit into your organisation

It is important to note that any mental wellbeing initiative cannot be a standalone project. It isn’t something that should just be mentioned during Mental Health Awareness Week. It needs to be deeply ingrained in the culture of the organisation. At VRAMP we firmly believe that mental wellbeing and employee engagement are inextricably linked. After all, when you strip back employee engagement, its purpose is to make someone feel they matter. That positively impacts our mental health. We would therefore always recommend that mental health initiatives are part of your employee engagement strategy so they can be weaved into your company culture.

How to better manage and support mental wellbeing at work

We have combined suggestions for some of the UK’s leading mental health charities and support organisations to create a checklist of steps an organisation should take to implement better mental health support.

Step 1: Have the right support networks in place

Mental wellbeing is complex. For you to provide effective mental healthcare it is likely that you will need support from professionals. This could be access to a workplace mental healthcare scheme, links to mental health helplines, employees trained as mental health first aiders or support creating a mental health policy. Once you have solid support provisions in place, you can take on the remaining five steps.

Step 2: Change perception

Many employees are still reluctant to declare a mental health issue for fear that their employer will regard it as a weakness or failure. Your employees need to be comfortable and confident in sharing their experiences. They need to know that good health, both mental and physical, is a company priority. The best way to achieve this is to lead from the top. If senior leaders and line managers are honest and open, the barriers will begin to lift.

Step 3: Ensure your leaders are confident

If an employee went to their line manager and informed them they were struggling with their mental wellbeing, are you confident that all your line managers would know how to respond? If not, some internal training will be necessary to run through the support you have available and how to personally provide ongoing support – from the right questions to ask to a reminder to consistently carry out 1:1s and return to work interviews. If your line managers are confident, your employees will feel better supported.

Step 4: Communicate in many different ways

The more we communicate about something the more comfortable we feel. But we are all different and we prefer to consume information, and engage, in different ways. Therefore, the more channels you use to spread the message the more aware your employees will be of your commitment to support their mental health. From the induction process, through to articles, posters, weekly tips for line managers and guest speakers at company conferences. Every time you discuss mental wellbeing, it has the potential to resonate with another person.

Step 5: Involve employees with organisational decisions

The more you involve people, the greater sense of ownership they will feel, increasing productivity and morale. This might be input on your mental wellbeing policy or opinions on how the organisation should evolve. No matter how big or small the decision, you have multiple routes available to make it happen. These include staff surveys, focus groups, performance reviews, innovation events, team briefings and feedback through internal communication tools.

Step 6: Regularly take stock

To know how to effectively support your team you need to know if there are any factors that have changed that could have a negative impact on mental health. For example, a big project with tight deadlines, a noisier work environment, an increase in lone working, or poorly managed change could all cause mental health problems. By taking into consideration all the possible triggers and ensuring you monitor and measure them, you can make the necessary changes or interventions to protect your staff.

The final word

Ultimately, for us to normalise mental health and give it the same non-stigmatised understanding that physical health has, we need to communicate and engage. And when we spend around 50 years of our lives at work, the workplace has to be somewhere we are comfortable discussing our mental wellbeing.

For further guidance or support we recommend visiting:

NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/

Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/

Mental Health Foundation – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

Mental Health at Work – https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/

Centre for Mental Health – https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/

Rachel Stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager
I have over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector and have always been heavily involved in internal communication and employee engagement. I firmly believe that with the right engagement strategy in place, an organisation can achieve far more.

Categories
Employee Engagement

7 employee engagement ideas for a deskless workforce

employee engagement ideas for deskless workers

7 employee engagement ideas for deskless workers

No matter what message or policy you want to communicate, unless your deskless workers are engaged, it’s effectiveness will be limited. With 80% of the world’s workforce consisting of deskless employees, and traditional methods of communicating no longer cutting the mustard, it is time we addressed how we communicate with these people and introduced new employee engagement ideas.

Traditionally, frontline employees have either relied on their line managers to disseminate a message, perused a noticeboard or logged into a shared computer. While once upon a time these were the only options, today we have technology that can make communication equal, no matter where your employees work.

Whether you have already identified the employee engagement channels you need to deploy or are still researching your internal communication and staff engagement options, below is a checklist that will help you create an effective internal comms strategy for your hard to reach employees.

1. Ensure the basics are covered

Before you embark on an all guns blazing communication strategy that focuses on granular details it’s important to remember, when your deskless workers have been working remotely with limited communications, they may lack some of the basics around the purpose of their role. Ensure you include company strategy communications into your plan so that everyone understands what they are doing and why are they doing it. That way, everyone will be able to see how their role fits into the bigger picture and they are more likely to engage with your new employee engagement ideas.

2. Make information more personal and relevant

Digital capabilities mean we no longer have to push the same comms to everyone. By taking time to understand what is relevant to an individual and what they would like to hear about, you can instantly improve engagement. A starting point is to create segmented groups for email sends or you could paint a more accurate picture by using an internal comms app that has the capability to report on engagement with each piece of content.

This would enable you to build up an ‘engagement profile’ of each of your employees, not only enabling you to send them communications they want to hear, but also helping you to identify brand and communication advocates who you can recruit to further improve your internal communication strategies.

3. Give deskless workers a voice

Traditionally, many deskless employees have to communicate their opinions or ideas through their line manager but this no longer needs to be the case. An employee engagement app will give your hard-to-reach employees a voice. In a structured way, they can feedback their thoughts and ideas directly to those who want to hear, giving them the empowerment needed to motivate and encourage innovation.

4. Show recognition

While it is often harder to recognise frontline employees because they often work alone or in silos, it is important to find effective methods to recognise your remote teams. Whether that is setting time aside in schedules to engage in conversations that aren’t directly linked to day-to-day work, highlighting the purpose of a team and their performance in a company briefing, or providing a channel for colleagues to recognise one another.

Whatever the right approach for your organisation, make the necessary changes, promote the reason for the changes, onboard champions to push your message out and ensure you recognise employees equally and consistently.

5. Provide direct access to documentation and people

One of the greatest challenges for a workforce constantly on the move is having access to the right information at the right time. You cannot expect an operative to memorise your policies, but if you give them direct access through an internal comms app or file storage facility, they are far more likely to reference it. Likewise, without direct access to forms, it is highly likely that some of your employees will cut corners or ‘wing it’. The same applies with communication. If your deskless employees don’t know who to speak to, they may just not bother.

With immediate access to a searchable people directory, you can connect your frontline team with colleagues across the organisation and encourage collaboration.

6. Provide options to your deskless workers

No one person is the same, everyone will have their own preferences for how they consume information and how they communicate. It’s important to give your deskless teams options, none more so than during a period of change. As you introduce something new, such as employee engagement software, ensure your existing channels run in tandem. Overtime you may be able to decommission certain channels but you need to ensure everyone is familiar with their options first.

7. Learn and evolve

With an effective two-way communication strategy in place you will have the insight you need to inform and confirm your strategies for years to come. Whether it is the results of a satisfaction survey, the comments on an article, or a month-on-month content comparison, feedback is invaluable. For optimum efficiencies it would be beneficial to have all this information within one employee engagement platform but whatever information you collate, ensure you do so in a structured manner so that you can utilise your data as effectively as possible.

With the seven employee engagement ideas above in place you will engrain a culture of inclusivity and empowerment. Your deskless employees will want to familiarize themselves with and engage with the communications you send and you will have an effective employee communication and engagement strategy that works for everyone.

If you are ready to change how you engage, get in touch with VRAMP today and we will show you how our employee engagement software can improve the effectiveness of your frontline employee communications.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

I have over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector and have always been heavily involved in internal communication and employee engagement. I firmly believe that with the right engagement strategy in place, an organisation can achieve so much more.

Categories
Internal Communication

Internal Communications Strategy

internal communication

Internal Communications Strategy

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Every company will have different goals, based on their individual needs. However, in a successful internal communications strategy, there are some goals that should be the gold standard. These are:

  • Share information – ensuring employees are kept fully informed
  • Unity culture – imparting the values and ethics behind business decisions
  • Employee feedback – offering employees a platform to share ideas and concern.

While the primary goal of internal communication is to keep employees informed, it is also crucial to ensure that a unity culture is strived for and two-way internal communication channels put in place. Ask yourself the 5 best internal communcations questions.

Who is it aimed at?

Never forget to focus on who your internal communications strategy is aimed at.

Your employees have a lot on their minds, from the stress of the job they have in hand to worries about what the future has in store. They have personal matters and concerns too. Your job is to cut through all the noise and get your company message heard.

To get, and keep employee engagement you will need to understand your workforce and what information they will find interesting and important. It may be helpful to segment the audience into specific groups based on age, locations, teams and attitude. Messages about pensions will be more important for older employees for example, as anyone under 25 plans to live forever!

Don’t expect a single internal communication to work for every employee. Use a range of techniques in your internal communications strategy to allow for individual needs.

Why do you do it?

To get the most out of your internal communication strategy, you need to define your goals.

This will be different for every company and it can’t be just “make more money”. For some the goal may be to improve staff retention levels, while for others it will be about improving productivity.

Using an employee engagement app like VRAMP give you the ability to set benchmarks and monitor engagement to achieve these goals.

Once you have strong, clear goals in mind, the rest of your internal communications strategy will fall into place much more easily.

What are you sending?

You need to always consider the two questions that reside in the minds of your employees, “why should I care?” and “how does this affect me?”. Employees will see everything you are saying through their own personal filter.

Your internal communications strategy will work best if you have already mapped out some outcomes that will interest them. Making their jobs more enjoyable and easier for example.

Not as easy as it sounds I know, you can’t put a positive spin on everything! This is where a positive unity culture comes into play, the bad news needs to be on everyone’s shoulders in the business, not just the shop floor.

How is it received?

It’s important to consider how your messages are transmitted when creating an internal communications strategy.

Will they respond to a company-wide email, a social media channel or perhaps a messaging service like Microsoft Teams? Your best option is always to provide a choice of channels to allow your employees to receive information the way they like it.

An employee engagement app offers a range of channels, tools and feedback mechanisms. Providing a two-way communication stream for maximum employee engagement.

When are you broadcasting?

Like comedy – timing is crucial in both external marketing and internal communications. It is a balancing act between announcing too early with incomplete information, and leaving it until after the office grapevine is in overdrive!

When your internal communications become sporadic and only when there is a crisis you will find engagement levels begin to suffer as employees feel forgotten and side-lined.

Your aim should be to maintain a regular and consistent pace of messaging within your internal communications strategy. Use the range of tools and reports at your disposal to ascertain when the best time of the day is for your employees.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society. And my pug Winston…