2 conclusions for internal communication for 2021

Surprise: in 2020 employees were far more engaged than in the previous year. Not bad for the time when the pandemic broke out, isn’t it?
Maciej Przybylski

Maciej Przybylski

Aude Editor, ex-media-worker writing about PR, living in Warsaw yet born close to Szczecin. Managing his life with writing and editing. Likes to look into companies’ communications’ from inside and outside, as well as talk about media and cook. Tries to read all of those Stanislaw Lem’s books, even though this goal seem overwhelming sometimes.

★ 4 minutes czytania

Experience management software provider Qualtrics surveyed nearly 12 thousand people from 20 different countries, to sum up employee engagement indicators from 2020. The company noticed an increase in their “engagement level” by 13 percentage points (from 53% to 66%, data collected in November 2019 and 2020, respectively). The rate of people not planning to change their job also grew by 17 pp. (from 53% to 70%). The authors of the report call it a “seismic change.” 2020 saw an improvement in the indicators which HR departments and Internal Communication find most important.

“Are those really results from the year when the pandemic broke out?” was my first thought. Jay Choi, General Manager Qualtrics, also calls this increase “surprising” . Under the circumstances, any increase seems counter-intuitive, especially if we look at the survey published in the “Journal of Applied Psychology”. It says the stress the pandemic causes leads rather to a decline in the engagement among employees. The fact fewer people plan to change their job can be explained by the results of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2021. The report says the level of uncertainty when it comes to employment is record high among the respondents. It is even higher than the fear of being infected with COVID-19 (pp. 14–15).

One way or another, the Qualtrics research results are clear: engagement has grown. If we want to keep it at least at a similar high level in 2021, it’s worth drawing two conclusions. They can help plan internal communication.

A message from CEO 

“When leaders are visible and regularly communicate in a reliable way, we see an increase in the employee engagement level,” says Vanessa Kowolik, Experience Management Scientist, in the Qualtrics report. The same conclusion comes from the “Journal of Applied Psychology” research: good management communication can prevent the drop in the engagement level during the pandemic.

Many AUDE customers indeed started to get people from top management more involved in communication with employees. No wonder – when a crisis comes, everyone’s eyes turn to the leaders. It’s the CEO who should communicate the most important information regarding the pandemic – claim 49% of communication experts surveyed by the Institute for PR. During the pandemic, well-built messages from the top management – that is transparent, honest and emphatetic – have become a new standard in many companies. The survey by Qualtrics clearly shows such messages positively impact employee engagement. They also let them believe that their company is heading in the right direction because someone stays on their toes. In order to keep the good engagement results despite the pandemic, maybe it’s worth considering a permanent contribution of the CEO to internal communication. Naturally, if the CEO can be talked into that…

Finish what you started

92% of the respondents surveyed by Qualtrics believe the company they work for should listen to their feedback. Only 7% add that their employer is already doing it “very well.” The discussed report suggests that companies have a problem with making the proper use of feedback, even though during the pandemic they were asking people more questions (the organization noted an increase in the number of corporate surveys in Q2 2020; by the end of the year the statistics went down again). What’s more: according to Qualtrics, if an organization asks for an opinion but does not use the information gathered (or doesn’t show that it does), it can see a decline in: the engagement level, the level of willingness to stay in the companythe number of employees willing to give their opinion in the futureAccording to Qualtrics, the solution can be good communication. Whenever a company introduces some changes as a result of employee feedback, it should remember to communicate it to employees.

Qualtrics carried out the survey in October and November 2020 among 11 864 respondents above the age of 18. Detailed demographic data and the remaining conclusions can be found in the report.

Kategorie: top trends

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