This six-part series addresses the challenges employers face in addressing their workforce’s environmental, social, and political demands.
Managers struggle with keeping employees informed and engaged, especially in this age of remote and hybrid workplaces. You walk the fine line of what, when, where, and how to communicate.
Gallup research shows that all of the individual moments of an employee’s experience play a role in how a worker feels about an employer’s purpose, brand, and culture. These feelings directly affect employee engagement, retention, performance, and development.
Two-thirds of employees are worried about the planet’s future and society and want to work for a company that positively impacts the world.
Make the wrong move, and you risk reducing productivity and engagement. Worse, a tone-deaf manager can hinder recruitment, increase attrition, and spread the new trend of ‘conscious quitting.’ Nearly half of respondents say they would leave a company that does not align with their values.
Here are some troubling statistics from the Net Positive Employee Barometer study by Paul Polman:
- Your employees know that you are addressing environmental and societal problems, but 68% of employees in the UK say current efforts do not go far enough.
- 77% say you should take responsibility for your company’s impact, not just on its employees and stakeholders, but in the broader world.
- Nearly 2/3 say your company should take a firmer stance on the environment and economic inequality.
- Two out of three employees want you to communicate your actions on significant environmental and societal issues.
No brand is immune from what happens next.
Here are a few things we learned:
- Executive leaders typically take a top-down approach to defining corporate responsibility goals. They present a thoughtful, articulate plan that falls flat because it doesn’t account for the workforce’s needs.
- Many employees believe the CEO and senior leadership do not care about their issues, and almost half of UK employees believe leaders are driven by their own gain.
- Companies spend millions collecting and analysing data to improve a consumer’s experience, optimise marketing and streamline operations but fail to utilise data to discover what employees want in their culture.
Employees are keen to ‘The Space Between’ what you say and what you do.
We asked Leo Bottary, Author, Keynote Speaker, Opinion Columnist at CEO World, Founder and Managing Partner of Peernovation, “What is the biggest challenge employers face with employee communication and engagement?”
Leo states, “Clarity. In 2022, Grammarly/Harris Poll revealed that ineffective communication costs US companies alone $1.2 trillion annually. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to improve anytime soon because more than 80% of the knowledge workers who took the survey believe they’re great communicators. With no one looking in the mirror and leaders who don’t understand that the receipt of a message they send is up to them, not the recipient. This statistic will not improve anytime soon. The consequences will only worsen. Here’s why:
By 2025, 64% of the workforce will be comprised of millennials and Gen Zs. By 2030, it will be 75%. These workers expect their leaders to be proactive about being clear and transparent.
Clarity of communication and employee engagement are two sides of the same coin.”
If you identify with these challenges in your workforce, you’re not alone. So now what?
- Identify the gap. Like any strategic initiative, you start with the data. You’re likely already sending out employee surveys and capturing feedback from performance reviews. But are you asking the right questions and gaining insights?
- Shift your mindset and behaviour. We admit that this is not easy. Even with a clear understanding of the workforce, your responsibility is to shareholders, not the rank and file.
- Empower your workforce. The good news is that more than half of your people want to have a more significant role in helping your company change for the better. Let’s make it 100%.
- Partnerships matter. As we previously mentioned, you are not alone! Collaborating with the right organisations will significantly reduce the burden of change.
- Communication is key. The turbulence in the industry has allowed some forward-thinking companies to leapfrog the competition by embracing new ways to create meaningful experiences.
Employees want their leaders to prioritise well-being and purpose, which leaves you with a choice—ignoring your workforce results in lower-quality talent, less engagement and declining productivity. Refine your strategies; the outcome will lead to greater creativity and innovation, satisfied employees, an enjoyable workplace, and a more sustainable and profitable business.
Our colleague Joni Roberts, creator of the EVOLVE Sustainability Framework and Compassion-Centered Stakeholder Approach, says, “The status quo will kill the spirit of your people. Will you give them the tools to take action? That will drive engagement and productivity. Creating change champions and allowing them to lead interdisciplinary teams that get to the heart of issues and spark imagination and action is the best way to energise people and fill their lives with purpose and meaning.”
The next article in this series will dive deeper into capturing and analysing employee data to enrich your knowledge, gain insights, and inform your strategy.