Suspend the employee satisfaction surveys, pause the recognition programs – it’s time to rethink employee engagement. It’s often considered an internal matter; something that concerns what takes place within the company walls. But what many companies are realizing is that this is no longer enough; employee engagement must break out of the internal sphere, and support the way in which organizations portray themselves externally. Here are three employee engagement ideas that boost employer branding.
1 – Turning Attention to Corporate Social Responsibility
According to Wilson HCG, companies need to turn their attention to corporate social responsibility: “With the ever-increasing ease of accessing information online, many people won’t make a purchase or choose a restaurant without doing research first. This mentally holds true today when candidates are assessing employees. So it comes as no surprise that an organization’s commitment to being socially responsible plays an increasingly large part in their ability to attract top talent.” Indeed, companies’ ability to engage their employees in initiatives that go beyond their immediate business objectives have a knock-on effect on how the organization is perceived externally.
What’s more, says Wilson HCG, “as these initiatives take root, not only will they have a positive impact on your current workforce, but they will also generate quality content that can be used to boost your employment brand, leading to a stronger ability to attract top talent in today’s competitive market.” This is the key point: any CSR initiative opens up a wealth of content creation and communication opportunities that reflect a company’s unique culture, and that should not go to waste. Additionally, Meero explains that “your culture reflects your employer brand; it isn’t something that can be prescribed. So building a positive culture is the right place to start to create a strong employer brand.”
2 – Opening up Communication in a Way that Truly Engages All Employees
In a recent blog post we discussed the importance of enterprise communication that transcends hierarchies; the need for companies to create “a vent of communication” that allows for the free flow of information and ideas. The breadth and depth of employee engagement is enhanced considerably when all individuals feel they have a voice; when attention is drawn to the experiences and insights of those at all levels. From photos employees take at events, to blog posts written by senior management and ideas put forward by interns; companies need to find a way to centralize, share and discuss content that comes from employees themselves. This content is of extreme value when it comes to employer branding; as it has a personal voice and showcases the people who make the organization tick.
However, the workplace as we know it is changing; and the challenge lies in opening up communication in a way that truly engages all employees. With the number of freelance and remote workers on the rise, the need for a centralized, online communication and engagement hub is all the more pressing. And with intranets failing to tick all the boxes, many companies are turning to employee advocacy and engagement platforms, which allow them to streamline both internal and external communication, and engage employees through content creation, collaboration and gamification initiatives.
3 – Facilitating the Sharing of Ideas and Information in Real Time
In addition to engaging employees who are not necessarily at the office on a daily basis, companies must facilitate the sharing of ideas and information in real time. As Nina Mehta-Vania of Training Journal points out, “organizations that find a way to support employee contribution and satisfaction naturally during the day-to-day workflow, rather than as part of the annual approach to performance management, will be most successful.” This means every employee must, at any point of their working day, have an easy way of sharing pertinent content they find online, relaying client feedback to those for whom it is relevant, viewing the latest company publications, interacting with colleagues…and much more besides. Asking employees for their contribution on a sporadic basis is no longer enough; individuals must be able to speak up. And when they choose to do so, it’s up to companies to give them the means to do this.