E-mail and intranet are top communication methods used to engage employees

The most common communication vehicles organizations use to engage employees and foster productivity are e-mail (83 per cent) and an organization’s intranet (75 per cent). Those are a couple of the findings in a new survey released by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Research Foundation and Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company. The survey also found nearly half of employers currently communicate through Facebook, instant messaging, and Twitter.

This is the second “Employee Engagement Survey” conducted by the IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants to determine how organizations are communicating with employees to keep them engaged and productive. Nearly 900 communication professionals participated in this year’s survey, representing a broad industry and geographic base.

“This year's respondents reported slight increases in use of social media tools, and more of them say they have established internal and external policies for appropriate workplace use of social media,” says Robin McCasland, past chair, IABC Research Foundation and president, Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. “When managed effectively, social media can be a great addition to an existing employee engagement strategy. Employees and job candidates alike can read employer news and anecdotes that reinforce a strong, positive culture.”

The “Employee Engagement Survey” also measured practices for creating and sustaining a culture of engagement in organizations.

Goals for engaging employees
Increasing productivity (66 per cent) and retaining top talent (65 per cent) are the most important goals employers cite to keep employees engaged. Other important goals identified by survey respondents are increasing employee morale (59 per cent) and creating a new culture or work environment (52 per cent).

Sustaining an engaged work culture
“Listening to employees is essential to employee engagement and retention. Yet surprisingly, 32 per cent of survey respondents indicate that their organizations rarely or never conduct employee listening activities,” says Bruce Spiegel, principal at Buck Consultants. “This is a huge opportunity for organizations to mitigate their risk of employee turnover and diminished performance.”

Publishing a formal list of values (74 per cent) and using exit interviews with managers (73 per cent) are the top practices of survey respondents to sustain an engaging work culture. Other practices include regularly surveying the workforce on engagement and work satisfaction (60 per cent), including material on the organization’s culture in new hire orientation (56 per cent), and involving senior leadership in orientation programs (54 per cent).

Measuring effectiveness
Formal or informal employee feedback (77 per cent) is the number one way that organizations measure the effectiveness of their employee engagement strategies. Other methods include meeting annual company performance goals (48 per cent) and measuring employee retention rates (42 per cent).

Social media results
• Most top executives do not participate in internal (60 per cent) or external (62 per cent) social media.
• Fewer than half the organizations surveyed have policies in place to address employee use of internal and external social media.
• Approximately half the organizations surveyed do not measure the effectiveness of internal and external social media.

To download the complete survey report, visit www.iabc.com/researchfoundation.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global network of communication professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. For more information, visit www.iabc.com.

Founded in 1982, IABC Research Foundation serves as the research and development arm of the International Association of Business Communicators. The Foundation supports and advances the practice of organizational communication by providing IABC members with research that bridges the divide between communication theory and practice by offering in-depth knowledge and tools that improve organizational communication performance and strengthen the communication profession as a whole. For more information, visit http://www.iabc.com/researchfoundation.

Buck Consultants is a leader in human resource and benefits consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. For more information about Buck Consultants, visit www.buckconsultants.com. Buck is a wholly owned subsidiary of ACS, A Xerox Company.

Xerox Corporation is a $22 billion leading global enterprise for business process and document management. The 130,000 people of Xerox serve clients in more than 160 countries. For more information, visit www.acs-inc.com or www.xerox.com.