It’s safe to say that the majority of HR professionals, as well as many business executives, understand the importance of employee engagement. That’s evident in the fact that more than 70% of companies collect employee engagement data, according to a 2013 AonHewitt study. But, their analysis also found that only 20% of companies transform the data into visible actions.

That same study noted that companies who implement visible actions after an engagement survey show an increase of 19% to 31% in engagement scores. Finally, AonHewitt found that a highly engaged workforce is up to 78% more productive and 40% more profitable.

It just doesn’t make any sense to not transform your engagement data into visible actions. The nagging question for us is why does this lack of communication happen? Why do so many of us work so hard to connect with our workforces, gather powerful feedback and insight and then just let it sit?

While every organization is unique, we see often see two culprits in play. First, communication action isn’t “baked-into” the engagement study at the beginning of the project. Second, too many organizations defer to established internal communication processes delivering messages that get lost because employees see them as all the same.

Incorporating communication planning at the start of an engagement study gives power to the overall initiative by clearly defining the opportunity, value proposition and by creating a project management framework that ensures follow-on actions will be visible to all.

At the same time, holistically integrating communications into the engagement project will force you to think through what is indeed effective communications for this project and your organization. You will become focused on creating messaging that really stands-out as well as determining the best channels for delivery. You won’t settle for bland messaging that doesn’t get the job done.

It’s a well-worn thought: don’t ask the question if you not willing to hear, and act-on the answer. We take that a step further. Don’t ask the question if you’re not ready to engage.

Quick-Tips to Make Your Engagement Study More Visible

  1. Bake-in communications at the front end: Think like a campaigner and build broad themes that capture people’s imagination; breakdown each communication stage; and set milestones and outcome goals.
  2. Know your audience: Be ready to communication on multiple fronts to multiple audiences and have a sense of which delivery method is best for each segment. Always come back to the What’s-In-It-For-Me model knowing that it’s different for different groups.
  3. Be authentic, sincere and honest: The foundation of employer brand communication applies: it has to be real or people won’t connect.
  4. Say – Do – Say Again – and Never Stop Doing: Communicating is communication; action is communication too. Once you’ve asked the questions, stand tall and tell them what you’re going to do. Then do it, live it and own it. And along the way never stop talking to your people.  

About the Author

Bob Johnson is the practice leader for The David Group's Workforce Communications Practice. Please feel free to reach Bob at or by calling 216.685.4486.

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