Employee Communications and Engagement Lead to Successful Quality Outcomes
Communicating with employees is essential to quality and has a positive effect on the morale of any organization that can drive a positive culture. This approach is a two-way street that includes communicating information (outgoing) to employees as well as receiving input (incoming) information from employees.
Employee engagement is the result of good communication with employees. Some managers and leaders may need further clarification on the meaning of employee engagement and how it influences the organization. An "engaged employee" is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's quality objectives. An engaged employee works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization.1 Employees should rank high on the list of stakeholders management considers critical to its success. According to Peter Drucker, the priority list goes in this order: Customer, Employees, Stakeholders, Suppliers (interested parties) ect.2
Figure-1 indicates that there is a positive correlation between Communication and Engagement that will lead a quality organization to success.
Great employees want to know where the organization is going and how their contribution plays a role. One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is to increase the level of communication between senior leaders and your employees. Everyone wants to feel like they make a difference. One of the most difficult challenges for any organization today is to find ways to interact with its employees effectively. Communicating with your employees on a regular basis helps ensure everyone understands the quality objectives and goals, as well as their place in achieving it. Methods to communicate to employees include monthly meetings, posting (current) results, newsletters, email, IM (pinging), intranet, one on one, policies and quality objectives, customer requirements, training needs assessment, etc.
The best form of communication is the one-to-one time where discussions are informal and open. In these conversations, it is ok to get off track and talking about non-work-related topics. These are opportunities to build relationships and trust.
Discussions are more difficult when employees are working from remote locations as opposed to direct contact due to travel or other restrictions. In these cases, technology can be used to make these connections. Managers can IM their reports to ask how their day is going. Organizations can use an intranet site or blog where employees can post pictures, status updates and comment on each other's posts.
Maximizing engagement includes involving employees in problem solving, continuous improvement initiatives, training needs assessments as well as regular visits to their work areas. Increased employee engagement results in increased retention, commitment, innovation, motivation, attitude, and awareness.
To facilitate the engagement of employees, managers and leaders at all levels should:
1) Provide incentives for employees to act with the initiative as well as recognizing good performance.
2) Define clear objectives and related goals, delegate responsibility, and create a work environment in which employees control their work processes and make their own decisions.
3) Introduce a recognition system, based on the evaluation of the employee's individual and team contributions and accomplishments.
Engaged employees at all levels throughout the organization are essential to enhance the organization's ability to be successful. Empowerment improves the motivation of employees to take responsibility for the quality of their work and achieve goals. This result provides employees with the necessary information, authority, and autonomy to make decisions related to their work. Managers at all levels should inspire employees to understand the significance and importance of their responsibilities and activities to delivering quality products or services on time for customers or other interested parties.
1 “Eliza Paul”, Effective Ways to Improve Employee Engagement, www.emptrust.com/blog/employee-engagement-a-key-hr-strategy
2 “Peter Drucker”, Who are a Company’s most important Stakeholders, www.destination-innovation.com/who-are-a-companys-most-important-stakeholders/