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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.

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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
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.

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Employee Engagement

What is Employee Empowerment?

empowering employees

What is Employee Empowerment?

We’ve all heard the phrase when asking a question that is ever so slightly outside the script. “Let me talk to my manager and I’ll see what I can do”. It’s often the death of a potential sale, you’re left unhappy and the employee feels helpless. These situations can be avoided by ensuring employee empowerment is engrained enough for each employee to feel confident making the right decision on the spot.

Employee Empowerment doesn’t mean you simply hand over the wheel and see what happens! It is built up over time through better understanding of your business needs. In this blog we’ll look at 5 types of employee empowerment your business and its employees can benefit from.

Training

You cannot expect your employees to take control if they are not well trained or under prepared. When empowering employees to make their own decisions, companies are responsible for equipping them with the tools and information they need to approach certain events or scenarios’.

When employees try out new ideas and test new skills, then they grow and develop. They improve themselves and become more proficient. In turn, this makes them happier, more engaged and better prepared to face obstacles and challenges.

Employee empowerment is encouraging employees to develop new skills through trainings courses and other educational methods.

Time Management

Some businesses feel the need to see employees seated at their desks to get a full day’s work from them. But as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, time management has truly come into its own with many workforces now working from home.

A more flexible time management approach gives employees the autonomy to use their time as they see fit, working non-traditional hours or dividing time between home and your work location. Employees are still expected to complete their work on schedule and to be available during times when a physical presence is required.

Employee empowerment comes when employees are given the freedom to make their own calls when it comes to scheduling work hours and location.

Shared Information

Employees who are empowered with an honest look at what’s going on behind the scenes at work are less likely to believe gossip and hearsay. When employees are left in the dark about key business decisions or lack an understanding of why a particular business approach is being implemented, they may feel shut out.

When open and honest communication is promoted, employees will feel like valued and important members of the small business team. They will be more likely to feel empowered to help with problem solving and new program implementation.

Financial Power

Employees who are entrusted with their own budgets or funds for certain situations are financially empowered.

Giving employees financial empowerment allows them to decide the best use of budget and achieving company goals. When employees have this type of financial empowerment, they are more likely to review their spending carefully, looking for the most appropriate use of funds and use their budgets wisely.

They will have a more personal connection and sense of ownership with the money they are using.

Decision Making

The big one! Making a decision without fear and or “Teflon” it up the chain of command!

Most businesses have a hierarchy employees are expected to follow when it comes to different levels of decision making. For example, employees may be empowered to make decisions about simple workplace issues, such as what type of office supplies to order, but be required to consult a manager for larger decisions, such as whether to extend credit to a particular customer.

Start small with decision making boundaries and then widen that boundary as employee empowerment grows based on successful implementation and feedback.

Empowering employees to make more important decisions gives them a vested interested in the overall success of the business.

author-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…

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Employee Engagement

What is Employee Engagement?

what is employee engagement

What is Employee Engagement?

To answer the question “What is employee engagement?” let’s turn to the famous visit President John F Kennedy made to NASA in 1962. During his time there he noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said:

"Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

The Jainitor replied:

"I'm helping put a man on the moon"

The answer to “What is employee engagement” is this janitor. They are an engaged employee who understands their role in the organisational goals. 

 Employee engagement flows from the top to the bottom of an organisation, goals are achieved if everyone involved is aware and invested in them.

Employee engagement goes beyond social activities and events. Engaged employees understand their role and how important they are to achieving a company’s goals. They want to come to work, they know what is expected of them and how vital their role is in the overall picture.

it is about your employees feeling pride and loyalty working for your organisation, being a great advocate of the organisation to its clients and going the extra mile to finish a piece of work.

The Facts & Figures

70% of employees do not consider themselves very engaged.

The UK has an employee engagement deficit. Surveys indicates we rank ninth for engagement levels amongst the world’s twelfth largest economies as ranked by GDP. The UK also has a productivity deficit stretching back to 2011. Our output per worker was 20% lower than the rest of the G7 nations. Employee disengagement is therefore clearly contributing to our disappointing productivity figures and should be driving many more organisations to ask themselves “what is employee engagement?”

Employees can be categorised into 3 groups in terms of their overall engagement:

Ambassador

The target state! They are very enthusiastic about their work and their employer. They give their best and make significant efforts to improve the business. Often going above and beyond without seeking praise or reward

Passive

They are at the club, but hang around the edge blending in. They do contribute to the company, but in at a minimum level. More than happy to stay with the business without fuss.

Detractor

They are not at all invested in their work at all and are totally disengaged. Sometimes, they even actively work against their company. This set shows a much higher rate of absenteeism and very low work output.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

An Employee Net Promoter Score (or eNPS) is a metric that is used to measure employee engagement and loyalty towards an organisation. The eNPS is directly correlated to the short-medium term intentions of an employee. It is a score that is often measured as part of a wider study looking at employee satisfaction. It is a calculation that shows which of the categories above your employees fit in.

There is a direct link between performance of a company and the engagement of their workforce. Working towards a good eNPS can help reduce your staff turnover, meaning less money needs to be spent on recruitment and training.

VRAMP has built-in eNPS tools that allow you to gauge your employee engagement, turn passive employees into ambassadors and help guide detractors into a mindset that benefits company and employee.

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…