Most often when an employer wants to connect with staff to find out how the firm is doing or where they can make improvements, they will create a survey that allows people to answer anonymously. Employee engagement programs and the surveys that go with them are usually led by the human resource department and (hopefully) an external, impartial 3rd party. This makes sense but what can be lacking from these programs is an understanding of how to get the greatest participation through messaging and a marketing process. This is a bit off topic from the usual marketing and business development focus, but an important idea for strengthening internal programs through collaboration and communication.
Our firm asks staff to participate in a survey annually that gives us a pulse as to what they are thinking. As this has been going on for several years, our staff understand why we do it and generally want to participate. HR owns the program and has developed a process with help from marketing that has been very successful in getting staff to participate. We enlist the president to initiate the program through a single communication and use a 3rd party to send communications while the survey is open to help generate the best results. In addition, we have our office managers remind staff about the survey, make sure our leaders are promoting the survey and include details on our intranet. With the survey being managed by a 3rd party, details are 100% anonymous and we (HR) are only provided consolidated results. The marketing team played a significant role in developing the process and historic results have been excellent with over 92% participation.
Although the process is strong, no one wants to waste time and complete a survey if they don’t feel anyone is listening to their opinion. They will either not participate or not provide truthful answers. This is where messaging becomes key. It is not enough to let people know you are listening if they cannot see results. By letting the communications team craft messages that incorporate changes that have been made, staff will know their voice is heard. Coming from HR this may sound forced or too factual whereas the communications group is able to weave together the results into a story. Firms should be proud of the accomplishments made and they should thank staff for their insight. A properly conceived message will do just that and help staff understand that their voice is important.
Having the marketing and human resource teams work together to develop programs and messaging is just another form of collaboration. HR is absolutely capable of drafting message for staff. However by working together we are able to deliver a single voice for the firm and ensure, enhance our teamwork and allow people to use their skills and training in the best possible way.