A blueprint for engaging and communicating with employees

While the case has been made that employee engagement is inextricably linked to company performance, the real challenge is designing a program that delivers desired performances.

While the case has been made that employee engagement is inextricably linked to company performance, the real challenge is designing a program that delivers desired performances.

What goes into influencing employee perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in ways that increase a firm's employee productivity and retention?

Here is a six-point blueprint for an effective staff program:

Leadership communications. Employees look to leaders to set the company's vision and direction - and leaders need a communications strategy to engage their people on the go-forward plan. Leaders must clarify their expectations and create a sense of empowerment to create and reinforce their credibility.

Driving performance. Leaders for each area of the company must engage teams and individuals to deliver business per- formance day to day, with a set of defined communications methods and tools to create focus and commitment across the workforce. Address the need to manage change effectively.

Engaging employees. Leaders and managers need to connect employees to the company and clarify how employees contribute to the business priorities. An accessible and responsive manager can help employees understand their career paths.

Rewards and recognition. A high-performance culture requires both celebrating and sharing successes.

Identify options and opportunities for discretionary rewards.

Align and reinforce. Ensure critical information from the company is made relevant to employee groups via multiple communication channels, using both high-tech and high-touch sources.

Feedback and measurement. Establish a system for gathering feedback on an ongoing basis to motivate high performance.

The ideal architect for this blueprint is a team that combines strategic communications and talent management professionals. It requires art and science, and delivers a harmonized experience for leaders and employees while adding value to an organization.

Sheila Kindig is a managing director in the strategic communications practice of FTI Consulting.

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