Are you engaging your employees enough?

A recent survey of over 500 Internal Communications professionals revealed recently that CEOs and MDs are failing to effectively advocate employee engagement within their businesses.

It is not a good look, with the fifth annual Internal Communications market survey  which was carried out by the global recruitment specialist for corporate and marketing communications, VMA Group, revealing that many leaders are paying lip service to employee engagement, but failing to invest in this area.

While 72% of respondents felt that senior teams value the importance of Internal Communications (IC), 74% believe their CEO or MD dedicates less than half a day per week to this function. One respondent, Mairi Doyle, Director of Internal Communications at Bupa said, “Building internal pride and brand advocacy is a fundamental contributor to a positive external reputation. Organisations who overlook this fact are missing a huge opportunity.”

Considering that at Endeavour Magazine, we speak with business owners and leaders from around the world every day and one of the topics that is consistently mentioned is employee attention and focus it is an enlightening statistic that paints a completely different image about what these company leaders consider important.

When looking at financial investment, 81% of teams have seen budgets remain the same or decrease in the last 12 months, a trend that looks set to continue with only 20% expecting to see an increase in funds in the coming year. Andrew Harvey, Director of Internal Communications Practice, VMA Group says, “Internal Comms teams play a key role in engaging a company’s biggest asset: its people. However, while there is the perception that CEOs and MDs see the value of IC, it seems that senior leaders are simply paying lip service to the function. It’s a well-accepted fact that employee disengagement directly impacts corporate profitability. Without an engaged workforce, businesses risk falling behind the competition. And without investment from the top and a strategy in place, internal comms teams will struggle to achieve their full potential.”

It would seem that many CEOs are still playing the business game by the old rules, believing that a gap between the management of a company and the workforce is necessary however this gap has been narrowing in recent years until today thanks to successful businesses adopting an open door, open air, wall-less approach to conducting their affairs it is almost non-existent.

More to the point, a CEO of a company is put into that position not only to act as the decider of the big issues affecting his or her company but also as a figure head and an example. If those same CEOs are not investing time in employee engagement, it is harrowing to consider what other areas they do not invest in, or lack interest in investing in.

There are still business today who do not have a social media strategy, many who don’t have an active social media presence and these businesses are starting to feel their customer base erode away beneath them thanks to the lack of engagement. CEOs are captains of their ships, employees make up every moving part that goes into a vessel and customers are the ocean on which the ship sails. You cannot fight against what the customer wants but at the same time the captain cannot tell what the customer wants unless he or she listens to the ship.

And there is the key word that should always be spoken with “engagement” and something that those in charge can always do more of. “Listen.”

Like King Henry, descending from his throne into the ranks of his men prior to battle, it always pays dividence to take the time to listen to what the staff have to say. Always.

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