Strong communication critical to help galvanise an organisation

Employee engagement is a prominent consideration for companies in the current ‘down’ economy. American department store Macy’s has developed a strong internal communications strategy in recent years. Its clear focus is on building relationships and creating a sense of ownership within the organisation, both of which are fundamental to employee engagement, says Lisa Gick, Vice President Employee Relations, HR Policy and Communication, Macy’s Inc.

Gick will speak at the marcus evans Internal Communications and Employee Engagement Conference taking place in November in Florida.

Among the crucial hallmarks of good internal communications is to be curious about what employees are interested in, according to Gick. “Sometimes we may make assumptions about that and not share them in a way that creates engagement. This helps us get to the types of messaging that are really important for our associates.”

In a ‘down’ economy, change to working practices is inevitable. It is important for companies to look at how maximum benefit can be harnessed through employee communications for the good of the organisation.

“For a lot of organisations today, change has become a regular part of the landscape. The best way to manage change is through information and the communication process supports that. This helps people manage through periods of change by making sure that we are lined up well, are sensitive to what is important as well as helping everyone feel more anchored to the organisation.

“When we are communicating well and have strong relationships as a result of our strong communications, people have a commitment level as well as a connection that feels much more supportive. When we have those types of connections in the work environment together we manage through change much more successfully,” according to Gick.

Several features of communication strategy execution are important. “First, it needs to be considerate to the audience it is directed. Sometimes our messaging is for a particular audience, more complex messages are for several audiences, the impact of the messages may be unique for different audience segments. Considering how the message must be targeted to deliver it most effectively is very important.”

The message needs to be clear, concise and conversational, she adds. “To be accessible through our communication we need to write like we would speak to someone. This way the tone is very familiar and interesting and more likely to be considered and retained by the audience and that’s very important to help and create understanding.”

The marcus evans Internal Communications and Employee Engagement conference 8-9 November, Orlando, FL.