Do you know the impact engaged employees can have on your bottom line? Kelly Womer, vice president and partner at Linhart Public Relations, can help you answer that question. With more than 20 years of experience, Kelly specializes in corporate and employee communications to help companies meet their business goals.
I had the chance to ask Kelly a few questions about the ROI of employee engagement, common mistakes organizations make when communicating with employees, and emerging trends in the employee communication field. 3)      Greater advocates – They are the face of your brand, building credible relationships with customers or potential customers each day. ASHLEY:  What are some of the biggest mistakes organizations make when communicating with employees? KELLY: Organizations often overlook the fact that most employees want to know the answers to three burning questions:  Where is the company going?  How does my department or team fit in?  How do I contribute? It may seem basic but leaders and direct supervisors – whom employees look to for information – need to be aligned, prepared and equipped to answers these questions in ways that are tangible and jargon-free. Another common misstep is not taking the time to assess and measure the effectiveness of employee communications programs, including asking employees what’s working and what’s not when it comes to getting the information they need to do their jobs well. ASHLEY:  How does Linhart Public Relations partner with companies to help improve employee engagement? If you have additional questions regarding employee engagement, please contact Kelly or watch a four-minute video from one of Linhart PR’s employee engagement seminars.
Getting Mom to update her internal profile might not be a major career victory, but it represents something bigger.
Knowledge and experience get buried when you have a workforce of 260,000 employees and another 250,000 non-payroll partners, says Diaz, senior manager of emerging communications and global marketing organization. This means allowing commenting on articles, and posting videos made in tandem with articles. Gather ideas for getting the right people at the table from day one: PR, compliance, legal, labor, and others. And draw on Diaz’s experience to boost real-time participation during town halls and other live events. Before launching your employee survey, you should communicate the plans, goals, and intentions with senior leaders, managers, and employees.
Provide an outline of the survey logistics, including expectations for each senior leader to conduct or oversee debriefing of results. Define the roles of HR and the top leader, including the support to be given to each senior leader and department manager.
Highlight the benefits to each team member: increased morale and performance, reduced turnover, and enhanced leadership impact. Before sending the actual survey invitation to employees, the top leader should communicate the plan to all employees in a personalized email. Emphasize that all responses are anonymous and that the data are being collected by an outside company. Once the data are in (APPROXIMATE DATE), we will share the results with the entire organization so you can see for yourself how we are doing. We would like to get 100% participation in order to ensure that each and every employee's voice is heard.
One of our standard employee survey questions is, "Senior leaders will take action based on the results of this survey." For those employees who agreed with this statement, don't let them down. Regardless of whether your survey results are generally good or bad, keep the tone of this message positive or at least neutral.
If the results are mostly negative, you may want to acknowledge that "there is a lot of work to be done", but emphasize that you are eager to tackle the issues and excited about the positive changes that will be coming soon.
If your results are overwhelmingly negative, and you can't find very much positive to talk about, you probably need to simply acknowledge the seriousness of the problems.
We emphasize "the" action plan because it is important to create buy-in at all levels of the organization.

Make sure the entire senior leadership team is on the same page and supportive of the action plan. The action plan should include some things that can be done quickly and that are easy for employees to observe. The action plan should also include some longer-term, more substantive plans that will have a deeper impact, but that will take longer to implement and achieve.
Establish a pattern of regular communication about senior leadership's commitment to employee morale and satisfaction.
Finally, at some point, it will be time to repeat the employee survey in order to measure progress and also to assess whether any new problems have emerged.
For companies that are undergoing significant changes (like a merger or a major restructuring), a follow-up survey can be conducted after three to six months.
More frequent pulsing surveys are recommended for organizations that can handle the logistics and that want to stay on top of emerging engagement issues.
Employees will quickly grow tired or annoyed if pulsing surveys are too frequent or too long. When done right, pulsing surveys can signal to all employees, from the CEO on down, that employee opinions matter and employee engagement is a priority. Prior to joining Linhart PR, Kelly was an independent consultant and ran the Chicago office of Carmichael Lynch Spong, where she helped manage the PR agency’s employee communications practice and professional development program.  She also served as senior manager of internal communications for McDonald’s Corporation, where she spearheaded public relations programs that reached employees, franchisees and restaurant crews worldwide. Just as companies use qualitative and quantitative data to drive their business decisions and direction, the same rigor, approach and commitment should be applied to employee communications.  This research can help identify opportunities, solve problems, define benchmarks and ensure that communications resources are supporting business goals. Storytelling is a powerful tool for bringing to life the history, culture and direction of an organization. As the job market begins to thaw, companies are realizing that they need to define and promote their reputations as great places to work in order to retain and attract the best talent – a human element that is critical for profitable growth. Get as many people in your leadership involved as possible, and teach them about social media, Diaz says. Discover ways to move beyond one-way email communications and encourage collaboration around stories. If you’ve made the outlay for social platforms and don’t have all the tools you need, fear not. These communications are separate from the actual invitation to fill out the survey, and they should take place before the survey invitation is sent out.
You have the opportunity to set a positive tone in these areas before the survey even begins. Encourage employees to respond candidly and get in front of any potential trust issues that might exist. Simply telling people that you want to know about employee satisfaction or employee engagement might ring hollow with some people.
It should be adapted to your unique situation and to capture the top leader's own style and voice.
We are conducting this survey in order to get a better understanding of employee morale, satisfaction, and engagement at (COMPANY NAME).
This outside company will host the survey on the Internet and collect your responses online. In the months that follow the survey, HR and management will meet with groups to discuss plans to improve our culture and performance and address any problem areas. When you receive the survey request (LATER THIS WEEK), please give it your prompt attention. Don't focus on failures to reach targets or disappointments with the response rate or the results. Make sure you have had a preliminary look at the results so you have an idea of how much work there is to be done.
Not sharing at least some high-level results reinforces many of the things that have a negative impact on employee engagement and satisfaction.

Employee morale and satisfaction are not going to decrease further as a result of recognizing what everybody already knows.
Show employees a united front and convey your strength and competence as a leadership team.This can be easier said than done, especially if some functions had worse results than others. You may want to share the survey results and your action plan with all managers before communicating to all employees. Share progress toward goals, milestones reached, and other activities related to the action plan. When employees are reminded of promises that were made and goals that were set, the people responsible for delivering on those promises are more likely to follow through.
This means they won't provide the same detailed results as a more comprehensive engagement survey. The same concept applies to an organization’s most important audience – employees.  There’s great potential in using social media to engage employees – from using mobile technology to communicate anytime, anywhere with an increasing diverse, on-the-go workforce to tapping staff as brand ambassadors to advocate for your products and services.
Stories help us understand where an organization is going, what’s expected of employees and why. It is essential that organizations understand current perceptions about their brand (internally and externally), get leaders aligned, and define desired outcomes – whether it’s decreasing staff turnover or developing a recruitment campaign to increase the number of candidates with specific skills. Show off successes by writing how-to guides and mini white papers that feature individuals, he says.
Moreover, communicating and establishing trust will also increase the survey response rate as well as the candor of the responses.
It is OK to use terms like "employee satisfaction" in your communications, but make the benefits more personal. Your opinions are important to us, and this survey is your chance to express those opinions. Sharing some of the results with employees signals trust, openness, and most importantly, respect. Functional leaders or other key stakeholders may feel threatened or take the results personally.
Employees should be able to see a positive impact fairly quickly, even if the impact is modest. Don't expect employees to automatically know everything that is being done or to simply observe the changes that are being made.
It is as simple as peer pressure and can be a useful technique to impose on yourself and others. It usually takes about a year for a company to analyze the survey results, implement an action plan, and for employees to observe the changes and shift their attitudes. Put a poster in the lunchroom that lists an organization’s five values, and I may not be inspired.  Share real-life stories about how employees put those words into action, and I’ll remember them and recognize related behaviors. If you are in HR, analyzing the results and creating an action plan might be one of your top priorities, but other leaders might need more time to fit these things into their schedules. If you anticipate or encounter problems, this is one point in the process where an outside consultant can be particularly helpful.
If you demonstrate that you are taking action based on the feedback from the pulsing surveys, response rates will be more likely to remain high. Organizations should be finding and sharing employee stories to complement their communications. The decision depends on your organization's culture, size, and the sorts of problems and actions that are needed.

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