If I offered you “free money,” you may be rightly skeptical. After all, there’s no such thing as free money (or a free lunch, for that matter). But what if I said, “I can show you how to bring 20% more profit to your bottom line?” Now we’re talking – and we’re talking employee communications and corporate culture. Consider this:
Higher Engagement Yields Higher Profits
In a Gallop article posted in last year, their annual study revealed that top tier business units with higher employee engagement realize higher productivity, better retention, better customer engagement and 21% higher profitability than companies in the lower quartile. This means that if you are making $1,000,000 without employee communications, there’s another $210,000 in profit to be added to your bottom line by simply engaging your employees. Better retention and lower turnover are the biggies here.
Another study conducted over the course of 15 years found that the cost of replacing a mid-level employee remained relatively consistent at 20% of salary. For a $40,000 salaried staff member, the cost is about $8,000 to replace that position. That is a striking statistic for companies large and small.
Do I Really Need Employee Communications?
Despite numbers like the two examples above, an employee communication program is often viewed by B2B marketing managers and business owners as an intangible. It might be “nice to have,” but it is not seen as a necessity. Companies can in fact achieve success without employee communications or the foundation of corporate values. The trouble is, in the long run these companies fail to measure up to competitors. In the short run, they are missing out on the value generated from developing a positive culture that fosters employee engagement. No matter what you do, you have a culture. You might as well have a good one.
How to Engage Employees – Start with Corporate Values
Engaging employees starts with identifying your corporate values to clearly define your culture. My SCG colleague Matt Helgeson recently wrote about The Power of Listening in Creating Corporate Values. He shares how the most important part of successfully capturing a company’s values is listening, so all involved know that their opinion matters. By simply listening and fostering a dialogue, we are able to help companies not only identify their values but get complete buy-in from everyone in the room.
When we engage these dialogue sessions, company leaders or long-time employees are sometimes nervous that a discussion of corporate values and the potential change to the current set (if they exist) will discredit their own work that formed the company’s current culture. When approached properly, creating corporate values is really creating and sustaining a culture around the shared values that already exist. The trick is to articulate these values in a way that resonates and inspires the entire workforce.
Transforming Values into Engaged Action
Once a company’s corporate culture is defined, the next step is to put those values in motion by developing a program that informs, involves and inspires the staff. The tactics always revolve around clear communications published regularly in the form of a newsletter or email. The goal is to transition staff from their current awareness of the culture towards conviction and then action. My colleague Kate Tichy provided insights on how the best internal newsletters weave together voices from leadership and team members to paint the picture of your culture and values. Just as importantly, or perhaps more so, she then offered four tips on “What Not to Put in Your Corporate Newsletter.”
Other elements of an employee communication program are designed to increase engagement. These can include a recognition program to encourage great work or innovation programs to encourage independent problem solving. Eventually, comprehensive programs incorporate the values into all elements of the employee experience, from recruiting to performance reviews.
Bottom Line Benefits
Back to the free money part. The effort and cost to design and implement a B2B or B2C culture program is significantly less that the tangible, bottom line results it brings. But the overall benefits go beyond the financial rewards: Employees are happier; customers are happier; customers usually increase in number or spend more. (Gallop also noted that earnings per share growth was four times higher for companies with highly engaged employees.) So, if you don’t already have a culture program in place, now is the time to start thinking about it. You will be glad you did. We’d be happy to talk further. Send us a note!
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