Where do the most engaged, loyal employees come from?
Every company wants them. But where do engaged, passionate employees come from? Does HR hire them? Or does your company ‘make’ them? It has to be a combination of both, because as a company grows, it gets harder to find candidates who are super-hyped to make sure your company sells the most hornswaggles and snarfblatts than your competitors.
So if your company can ‘make’ engaged and loyal employees, how does it happen? If you offer catered lunches and foosball tables? Perks are nice, but employees need more than that to feel truly engaged. That’s why many people probably just count the minutes and shuffle papers around until they go home. In fact, one recent report even stated that 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. That’s about one in eight!
While it’s not the easiest thing to make employees feel engaged, it can be done if an organization is committed to its employees beyond a superficial level. And it should be done.
As long as they show up and do their work, why do you really need highly engaged employees?
Take it from Richard Branson, one of the most successful business people with a truly engaged workforce:
“What’s your business’s competitive advantage? I’m not talking about top secret, proprietary information – and neither am I thinking about award-winning products. No matter your industry, your employees are your company’s real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen – so long as their needs are being met.”
It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But it’s a challenge to create an engaging environment and build brand loyalty with your employees, so why bother? Well, if you’re in a communications role, engagement, and even helping Turn Employees into Advocates, is probably an important part of your work. You know already know that just putting business communications out there and hoping people pay attention just isn’t enough anymore.
What kinds of rewards can companies reap from engaged employees?
You need to make sure your employees feel connected to you because of the incredible gains that come along with elevated engagement: It’s a fact that highly engaged employees are willing (and do) work much harder (one study saw a 12% in productivity from happy employees), they even go above and beyond their duties (with 25% higher job performance ratings in one study), call in sick less, stay at your company much longer, and advocate for you to their networks. Your organization, in turn, sees better job candidates and higher profits (one research report found companies with highly engaged employees outperform their peers by 147%!). Engaged employees really can drive success in all areas of your business, including talent acquisition, sales, and customer and public relations.
Convinced yet? If you weren’t already, think about it this way: one resource noted that unhappy employees cost US companies roughly $450 to $550 billion annually. Gulp. So if you’re in an employee communications or related role, you can prove your value and the return on investment in your team by strengthening your employees’ relationship with your organization.
So how do you go about turning an ordinary workforce into a loyal employees?
Sir Branson’s awesome advice continues:
“Luckily, understanding [employees’] needs is pretty straightforward: they want to feel that they belong and are important, that your organisation cares about them, and ultimately, that they have a grip on their lives.”
If you chat with any coworkers in marketing, this might sound quite similar to what your customers want from you. Consumers buy from those they like, and those who are the most relatable and human. It isn’t just about specific product features, but about something much deeper. They want to feel like you care about them, and they want to feel in control of their own decisions, like choosing you versus being forced to buy from you.
That’s a good reason why 87% of online marketers use video: it’s a powerful medium. It’s incredibly engaging and relatable. It helps your audience feel like you’re there with them because it’s the next best thing to being there in person. So if you want a highly engaged workforce, treat your employees the way you would treat your honored customers: meet and exceed their needs by giving them an incredible experience. Video is an exceptional way to do that.
If you aren’t using video in your internal communications strategy, here are 5 reasons why you need to start right now:
Reason #1: It’s the medium your workforce wants.
You know as well as anyone how busy your employees are. It seems like work life is getting more and more hectic, and people are relying so much on multi-tasking to get things done. One survey found that 92% of people multitask during meetings, and 41% do it often or all the time. If employees are barely paying attention in meetings, they probably feel like they don’t have time or desire to stop and pay attention to things outside their own job function, and that often includes reading company communications. Which is not a great thing – they can be missing some imperative, informative, or even simply fun content that will help them feel more connected and engaged with the company.
Video, on the other hand, engages audiences like no other medium. It offers a visual and audial experience, and demands attention, keeping viewers’ interest. If you offer video, you are providing access to content at any time and on any device, which millennials, for example, have proven they require – this demographic touches their smartphones 43 times per day, and 30% admit to touching more than four devices over the course of 24 hours. They want interactive content, and video provides that through calls-to-action and interactive elements like surveys baked right inside the video. Video is the medium that offers a unique, fast, distraction-free experience, and it always proves its worth: did you know that audiences spend 88% more time on sites with video? Imagine what video could do on your intranet!
Reason #2: Video is relatable, honest, and memorable.
When you create email communications, post to your Intranet, include information in collaboration channels, or other channels, you’re probably using some text format. And in doing so, you’re leaving out a fundamental aspect of human interaction and communication: body language and tone. Words can carry meaning, but tone can shift that meaning, and body language can determine whether your audience believes in you or questions your motivations.
That’s why video is relatable. When you see and hear people on camera, you make instant, even subconscious decisions and reactions, which can work perfectly in a communicator’s favour because the ambiguity that might occur through text is no longer present. If someone is sharing an exciting message or offering hope during a difficult situation, video offers an honesty and transparency that isn’t nearly as powerful in other mediums because though video, that person on screen is talking to you in ways that they can’t through text. This honesty helps build trust with your employees, strengthening their emotional connection and loyalty to the company.
Reason #3: Employees can hear messages straight from the horse’s (or CEO’s) mouth.
Imagine this: learning about who your company is, and why it does what it does, through a website or email or sent down the ranks until it finally reaches you. Not very motivating or inspiring, right? Even worse, when you don’t hear messages directly from the ‘horse’s mouth’, information may be misconstrued or missing. But that can be the very real situation for companies that don’t use video in their communications. Would you believe it if I told you that just 41% of employees in the United States know what their company stands for and what makes the brand different from competitors? It’s true.
When employees can get information straight from the source in an honest and relatable way, it’s easier for them to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. One poll found that over 70% of employees felt more engaged in companies where company goals, objectives, and individual and company performance were clearly communicated. Which supports what Richard Branson said: employees need to feel valued. They get that fulfillment by understanding that their work is contributing in a real way to the company’s own mission. That fulfillment at work leads to employees feeling proud about what they spend their days and years doing. This pride, in turn, leads to a stronger bond with the organization, a deep sense of engagement, and a willingness to advocate for the brand.
Communicators know that it’s a typical request from employees to have more direct and frequent contact with their leadership. They want transparency over secretive handling of the business. Video is perfect for providing it because the mutual honesty and connection between a leader and employee can’t be as effective through another medium – blog posts can be ghost written, and emails sent from an executive assistant. Video proves to your employees that leadership genuinely cares about them (which is exactly what they need to feel engaged!) because that leader took the time from their schedule to get on camera and speak directly and openly, on what feels like a on a one-on-one basis, to employees.
Reason 4: Video makes it easier for employees to advocate for your brand.
When employees feel valued and connected to their business, they want to talk about it to their family, friends, and team members. But sharing a web page or blog post or press release isn’t nearly as exciting as sharing video content. That’s why videos are shared 1,200% more times than links and text combined. So why not help you employees express their love of video and desire to share this engaging medium? When employees share video content, they can strengthen the relationship between your company and its current employees, as well as its future employees and customers, more quickly and easily than a brand itself can do – in fact, brand messages that are shared by employees are re-shared 24 times more frequently than those that are distributed by the brand. These re-shares aren’t meaningless; they can drive real results because, these days, an employee advocate is now trusted twice as much as a CEO.
Don’t worry – if you’re thinking that a lot of your content is confidential, you can lock down video content and limit it to certain audiences, like just your employees. That way, employees can access the best company-created content, but only content that is safe for external eyes and ears.
Reason 5: You can easily and accurately gauge employee response to your communications content so you can give them more of what they want.
If you’re using a powerful video platform, you can get analytics on your communications videos that tell you exactly how your employees are responding to your content. Find out information on your video content like how long people watched, where they dropped off, or if they rewatched or skipped any parts. You can even learn about what videos specific viewers are watching, and how engaged they are with the content.
How does this data drive employee engagement? Well, how do you measure the effectiveness of your communications now? You can’t tell if employees are reading your whole email communications or Intranet pages – only that they opened or landed on the content. And employee surveys are useful, but can be too infrequent to get real-time feedback. But with video data, you have the power to learn what content you should keep creating, what messages need refinement, and what isn’t working. When your content so effectively mirrors the interests of your employees, they will feel like you truly understand and value them.
How have you used video – or how are you considering using it – to engage your employees?
Want to learn more about video for employee communications? Join this upcoming webinar!