5% increase in employee engagement tied to 3% increase in growth

If you have been charged with reducing costs and driving revenue for your business in 2020, you are not alone. But what can set you apart is driving results from an often-forgotten source: employee engagement.

Almost every business problem can be traced back to a communication breakdown. Whether it’s missing, slow or wrong information, mixed messages, no response, or mismatched expectations – poor communication has a negative effect on your business. Communication is the great equalizer across generations. Taking the time now to enhance your internal communications will produce positive outcomes in the long run. Here are three reasons you should develop a robust internal communications program for your organization.

1. Employee engagement and brand advocacy.

According to MSL Group, when employees share a brand message, it has 561% further reach than when shared through a company channel. When employees feel engaged and connected to an organization, they are more likely to become brand advocates. The result is higher retention rates and lower talent acquisition costs. Employees want to stay, and they want to recruit others – making finding top talent a bit easier in the current tight labor market.

Where do internal communications fit in? By recognizing and celebrating employees, giving them a voice, allowing them to get involved, getting buy-in and keeping them in the loop, internal communications build an organization’s culture.

Professional services firm LBMC uses its weekly newsletter to give shout outs to employees, keep them informed and update them on the latest firm news. Launched two years ago as a way to streamline communications, the publication gives managers a chance to show appreciation for employees and highlight their successes. The newsletter’s messaging is reinforced with internal digital signage that offers quick bites on happenings around the enterprise, employee events, volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved.

When implementing your strategy, make sure your messaging is relevant and timely. The consistency is just as important as the content itself.

2. Innovation, process improvement, and productivity.

According to McKinsey Global Institute, organizations with connected employees have 20 – 25% higher productivity. When your employees understand how their role fits in and impacts the whole, they are more likely to care about your company and work harder. Use your internal communications tools to give them the big picture and let them be heard, and they will be inspired to achieve your company’s vision and long-term goals.

LBMC launched an Innovation Center where employees can submit ideas for process or service improvements. Winning ideas are rewarded via financial incentives. Ideas are transparent, and all employees are invited to comment and build upon the ideas and flesh them out for implementation. Through empowering employees, the Center has yielded efficiencies as well as new service offerings for clients.

By sharing best practices across your organization, you can affect change. Leverage your employee communication channels as your vehicle. Giving your employees a chance to be part of the solution goes a long way towards building morale.

3. Increased revenue.

It may be easier to connect the dots between employee engagement and cost savings. But can employee engagement drive revenue? According to Aon Hewitt, a 5% increase in employee engagement is linked to a 3% increase in growth the following year.

If your company sells multiple products or services, effective internal communications are a must for educating your employees. Make sure your messaging is clear without being overwhelming. Not everyone needs to know the details of every product or service, just that your company offers them.

LBMC’s internal communications provide a constant drip of information to educate employees on its multiple service lines. Frequent contests on “service line spotlights” engage employees while accomplishing the goal of learning via friendly competition. The communications are supported by an internal “university” website that offers on demand information on business units and training for all employees – new and existing.

LBMC’s monthly Learning & Development (L&D) Days provide ongoing education and training opportunities, including Lunch & Learns focused on a business unit each month. The rotating sessions give employees a high-level overview of each service line as well as what to listen for when talking to clients.

The more your employees know about your products and services, the more cross-sell and new business opportunities your company will have. And educating them on your company’s service lines will lead to better communication across lines of business, foster interdepartmental collaboration, and promote camaraderie, which leads to higher engagement.

Internal communications and employee engagement.

Now is the time to look at your internal communication strategy. If you don’t have a program in place, implement one. If your communications need a refresh, enhance them. Employ internal communications to convey key messaging, cut through the noise, establish consistency, build your culture and brand, and drive employee engagement. As employees are your key influencers, internal communications may be the most powerful marketing tool you have.

Liesel Meyer is LBMC’s Senior Editor of Corporate Communications Strategy. She can be reached at lmeyer@lbmc.com.