Keith Kitani reminds organisations of the benefits of people having access to personal development tools to ensure they are always equipped for change.
After a year of feeling mostly powerless against a pandemic and its implications that were largely beyond our control, in 2021, many of us aim to take a more active role in shaping more fulfilling and rewarding professional and personal lives.
Whether it’s finally planning the dream vacation they’ve been putting off or furthering their education, it’s a safe bet that your employees are looking to make positive changes this year.
At the same time, external change is also accelerating all around us. Our world is increasingly digital, distributed and diverse, and companies need a change-ready, agile workforce in order to be successful.
And while it might seem tangential on the surface, empowering your employees to be change-ready in their personal lives has a direct impact on their change-readiness at work. Supporting your people with the right tools, motivation and incentives, no matter what their goals, is a worthwhile investment in talent – and in the future performance of your company.
Because knowledge is power, effective communication is essential to keeping employees motivated and aligned with their own goals and the company’s strategic direction. Doing so requires giving them the right information at the right time in the right way so they can do the right thing.
Whether that’s taking action toward meeting their personal wellness goals or hitting the quarterly sales target, here are seven ways to empower your team through regular, ongoing communication.
- Cut through the clutter. Because communication has gone almost completely digital for a large portion of the workforce, employees are being inundated with information, and it’s hard to rise above the noise. Turn off the firehose and empower your people with the information they really need by targeting and tailoring messages specifically for each individual.
- Keep it going. Communication that empowers employees to achieve goals cannot be a one-and-done situation. If it is, the sense of empowerment you instilled in February will be fizzled out by the end of first quarter.
Especially with work-from-home expected to continue for the foreseeable future, employees need regular, ongoing communication to stay engaged and moving forward toward whatever personal or professional objective they’ve set.
Use communication campaigns to offer reinforcement through a cadence of timely, appropriate messages to maintain the feeling of empowerment and make it a key part of your company’s culture.
- Support wellness goals. Empowering employees to take the best possible care of themselves pays tremendous dividends. Especially now, when many are working more, feeling more burned out and stressed than ever, investing in personal wellness is critical.
Studies show that employees who are healthy and happy are much more productive and engaged at work, so companies have a vested interest in supporting employees’ wellness. Use software to help them set goals and monitor their progress toward achievement. Keep them motivated and engaged by offering and promoting remote-friendly wellness perks and incentivising healthy habits. Implement ongoing communication campaigns to keep wellness top of mind and integrated into your organisation’s culture.
- Connect job goals to business strategy. In the day-to-day tedium of tasks, employees can easily lose sight of how their individual work ties into the company’s overall business strategy. And when this happens, they can feel like nameless, faceless cogs in a very large wheel, especially when working remotely.
Proactive communication around how individual work aligns with the company’s overall strategy can help employees feel empowered as a part of the team. By distributing team, department or role-specific details on project achievements or status and how it moves the needle on corporate objectives can keep employees engaged and motivated.
- Promote learning opportunities. This seems obvious, but because of remote work and the lack of in-person training, many companies are only doing necessary training, like keeping up with required certifications. But cross-trained and upskilled employees are more valuable than ever to navigate the new world of work, not to mention, it’s well documented that career and professional development are key for attracting and retaining employees.
Don’t just stick to role-focused training or licensing and certification requirements. Create a culture of continuous learning to help employees advance their careers by promoting growth across the spectrum.
Whether it’s through programs offered through your company or through external providers—like including local and online colleges and universities—instill a culture of learning by communicating the benefits and opportunities to do so.
- Consider employees’ emotional needs. Sometimes, in the urgent drive to disseminate information, it’s easy to just hit “Send” and forget that there’s an actual human on the other end. But employee experience must be considered now more than ever. With so much to deal with, communication fatigue and overload are a major problem and often cause employees to disengage.
To empower employees, send information in small, digestible bites with a clear call to action so they know what’s required of them and in what timeframe. Be aware they may be dealing with a variety of challenges and piling on is ineffective.
Make sure the messages you send and the way you send them reflect your company’s culture of empathy and connection. While you may be tempted to just stick to the facts, presenting them with sensitivity can have a huge impact.
- Measure impact. No matter how impactful you feel your communications might be in empowering your employees to achieve their goals, all that really matters is how your employees feel. If your campaigns are missing the mark, neither the company nor your employees will achieve the desired results.
Using analytics tools to evaluate engagement and response can help to identify what’s working and what’s not. By leveraging both behavioral feedback and solicited feedback through surveys, you can easily adjust the tone, timing, volume, cadence and media you’re using to optimise empowerment.
Empowering your employees to achieve their goals requires more than just words of encouragement, especially in the new world work. It demands a comprehensive approach to organisational communication that keeps them engaged, motivated and accountable.
Implementing a comprehensive employee communications platform can help your team give employees the relevant, real-time information they need to be successful in both their professional and personal lives.
About the author
Keith Kitani is the CEO and co-founder of GuideSpark.