Inside Out E-Column: Aligning Employee Engagement with Marketing Communications

Simple questions with big implications.

Answer the Questions
Here are three simple questions that have big implications for how you think about the connection between employee engagement and marketing communication. Rate each one on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest), and then compare your answers with the data we’ve collected from other respondents over the years as shown below (don’t peek until you’ve answered the questions):

1. How much impact do you think the quality of employee relationships within your organization affects your relationships with customers and other external stakeholders?

2. How much is the quality of employee relationships affected by the level of trust and the quality of communication in your organization?

3. If someone asked employees in your organization to rate the level of trust and quality of communication in your organization, what would they say?

Compare Your Responses
After administering this questionnaire to hundreds of people, we’ve found a fairly consistent pattern with the following average scores:

  • 8.5 on question #1
  • 9.2 on question #2
  • 4.5 on question #3

Here’s an interesting point worth noting about the data. Almost all of it has come from managers, and the responses to questions #1 and #2 are highly consistent across all levels of management. On question #3, however, the higher a person’s management level, the higher the scores tend to be. Front line supervisor scores are generally the lowest on that final question. It’s probably safe to assume that the gap between the first two questions and the third one would be even greater if the percent of non-management employees had been higher. It’s not a scientific study, of course, but the anecdotal evidence is pretty clear – and somewhat sobering.

Consider the Implications
So why do so many companies persist in living with such a glaring gap between where they are and where their own conclusions suggest they should be? After talking and working with numerous people in the various groups and organizations, here is what we have concluded:

1. Management doesn’t fully appreciate how much the quality of internal relationships accounts for business success.
2. They have misguided notions of what constitutes effective communication and what fosters trust among employees in the workplace.
3. Even if they do understand the requirements for communicating well and fostering employee trust, making the shift requires considerable effort and resources to do it right – usually more than they are prepared to undertake, especially when they believe the competition is really beating them at some other aspect the game of business.

It’s easy for management to ignore the significance of strong employee relationships as the core driver of marketing and business success. It’s even easier to miss the boat in trying to make a strong positive connection with employees when it comes to communication and building trust. If you want to get your management team tuned in to both of those issues, invite them to answer our three simple engagement questions. You might be surprised at just how attention-getting they can be.

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