Top 10 creative tips for employee engagement

Gallagher recently released its annual ‘State of the Sector’ survey on what’s trending in internal comms (IC) and employee engagement. It understandably reported that 2020 had been a year like no other and chose to position its findings more as a guide to navigating holistic communication challenges.

We’ve looked through some of the findings and drawn up a short list showing where creativity could provide real impact or cut-through in terms of employee experience (EX).

  1. Communicating change: Change can bring uncertainty and resistance. Good creative ideas and authentic messaging can help alleviate fears, foster engagement and illustrate roadmaps for change. When Coca-Cola acquired Costa, we worked on many projects to manage the transition including timelines, email broadcasts and dedicated websites.
  2. Cutting through noise: In 2018, Gallagher reported that too many digital channels had overwhelmed employees and impacted engagement. In 2020 we again saw real digital fatigue, with most communications being done online. Print is a channel offering real cut-through, especially with people working more at home. During the pandemic, MarketReach research claimed mail engagement was up 5% to 96% on the previous year.
  3. Faster sign-off processes: 9%3 of global businesses saw quicker approval of IC content/campaigns as a trend for this year. Marketing portals provide an efficient central repository for comms assets and can greatly speed up sign-off processes.
  4. Creative content: With a wealth of channels at your disposal it’s easy to lose sight of a calendar of content that will appear consistent across all. We have created all manner of IC content including e-zines for Avara Foods and timelines for Costa.
  5. Employee experience (EX): There’s a lot of influencing factors in play in EX including career development and physical and emotional wellbeing. Care-packs could prove a thoughtful way to welcome back furloughed or remote staff. And getting creative with rewards and incentives can really boost EX. Over the years we’ve helped promote Costa’s ‘Barista of the year’ programme and have seen engagement skyrocket.
  6. Insight: One of the fundamentals of good brand management is ‘diagnosis’, and the same can be said of IC. Analysing employee feedback and keeping an eye on what your peers are doing are vital to help shape your own strategy. We can help provide actionable insights such as annual team member surveys.
  7. Channels: The more touchpoints you can use to communicate messages, the more effective they will be. We have several years of creating multichannel campaigns using both digital and traditional media.
  8. Personalisation: 35%3 of IC professionals see more personalised messages and comms as a trend and we don’t disagree. Try not to confine your IC to just ‘digital’ as advanced techniques mean personalised printed comms and promotional items are highly affordable and arguably more trusted.
  9. Experiential comms: Another trend predicted for the next 2-3 years is a growth in experiential comms; some 21%3 see it emerging. After the year we’ve all had, we all value ‘experiences’ above other criteria! Think laterally, like how a calming, mural could create a break-out environment to benefit office wellbeing.
  10. Empowerment: Creativity doesn’t begin and end with just sending out messages. Line managers and other stakeholders need to feel confident to engage and communicate with teams, to influence behaviours and company culture and ensure values are upheld. We have considerable experience in helping teams embed behaviours that bring about transformational change.

3 Source: State of the Sector 2020, Gallagher