If your business has reached the size where you can no longer shout to each other across the office, chances are you’ve introduced a regular newsletter to share information and let people know about new developments and make some headway towards employee engagement.

You could be getting a good open rate, and if you’re lucky, the click rate is also good and it’s happy days in terms of readership stats.

Is the open rate a good metric for engagement, though? Of course, it’s a step in the right direction, but for anyone wanting to work on culture and , the switch from one-way authoritative communication to real interaction should be encouraged.

But what if they say something negative? What if there are a few ‘overly communicative’ types that spoil it for the majority?

For me, any feedback is good, as it gives you the chance to react, to answer, to engage. It gives you the opportunity to show you’re listening and that all views are valued. It also gives you a glimpse into what your people are feeling and what’s important to them.

So, try not to categorise responses as positive or negative. Try to see them all as a step on the way to an engaged workforce.

If you’re feeling a little uncomfortable about opening yourself up to negative comments, you don’t need to go all out with a town hall presentation with everyone. You could start with a small group and learn from the experience. Or use one of the many internal comms tools on the market – you can add social-mediaesque functionality where colleagues can add to the discussion or ask for further information. This can be a good starting point as it gives the leadership team time to respond.

Before embarking on any change/internal comms programme, it’s worth checking you’ve got the capacity to manage the responses you receive. There’s nothing worse than going out with a ‘we’re listening’ message, only for your actions not to reflect that as you’re not able to respond quickly enough, if at all.

When you get internal comms right, it can be extremely satisfying. When it’s working well, colleagues are sharing ideas and are a part of the solution rather than just highlighting the problems. It can be easy to build deep relationships with an intelligent audience – when you see different areas of the business working together and breaking down the departmental barriers, it can be really beneficial.

 

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