Effective employee listening requires employee involvement.
Employees at every level must trust that their honest feedback will lead to positive change. As HRIZONS EX notes in our guide to Thinking Beyond the Survey, a strong branding and communication plan can encourage employees to share their voice.
Reasons to brand and communicate an employee listening program
Like any change management effort, employee listening initiatives will gain more traction if employees are informed, frequently updated, and aligned with the “Why” or the value of the initiatives.
A distinct brand can help you achieve this by tying together all elements of your listening program. It helps employees see how a number of different initiatives and organizational changes stem from the organization’s commitment to listening.
Meanwhile, a well-developed communication plan can introduce and reinforce the brand, while:
- Equipping employees and leaders to participate
- Proactively addresssing barriers to participation
- Creating enthusiasm for the program
Our EX experts have seen a number of organizations title their programs. Simple, universal phrases like “Your Voice” or “[Organization] Listens” work well as titles: simple, easily understood, translatable, and descriptive.
Some campaigns also include a catchphrase or visual brand – imagery, badging, or a color scheme – reinforce the links between program elements.
Employee listening program communication plans should consider:
- Distinct audiences
Audience segments – Will the organization want to share different information with team leaders than team members? What about executives? Will factory or field workers participate differently than office workers? Does the workforce span multiple countries or languages?
Identifying these factors will help your organization reach distinct employee groups with the most accurate and meaningful information for them.
Timing – Communication plans should start well before listening initiatives take place and continue well beyond when they end. They need to take into consideration how the organization wants information to flow from senior leaders to team leaders to team members. And they need to be steady enough that they reinforce the brand and programming with every program milestone.
Your timeline will guide your messaging, but your messaging may also guide your timeline! For example, a communication campaign for an upcoming employee listening survey might include the following:
- We are launching a survey!
- The survey is coming soon.
- Survey starts tomorrow.
- There’s still time to take the survey!
- Survey results!
- Here’s what we are going to do based on survey results.
- Here’s how we’re going to listen next…
Knowing the gist of what you want to communicate may help you establish the dates for sharing with each audience.
Additionally, your communication should take important cultural holidays or situational factors into account. You don’t want the organization or program to come across as tone-deaf.
Message – Crafting your message is a crucial step in communication planning. You have already decided to whom you will communicate and when; now you must determine what to say. It sounds simple, but the most effective messages our EX team have seen focus on the basics: What, When, Where, Why, and of course, How.
- What is this program? What initiatives are involved?
- When will they take place?
- Where will they take place?
- How can employees participate? How can managers participate? How can senior leaders participate?
- And, arguably the most important piece: Why? Why is the organization doing this? Why should recipients care? What’s in it for them?
Delivery – Communications can take many forms. Think about what method(s) of delivery will be the most impactful for each audience. You may want to send emails, include an announcement at company-wide meetings, provide a slide for team leaders to cover in team meetings, or share a video to your company’s intranet. You may want to do all of those things, or only some for specific audiences at specific times. How you deliver communications will depend entirely on your organization’s unique set up and circumstances.
Raise awareness and raise excitement for your next employee listening initiative with a strong brand and communications plan. If you need support with this, or any element of employee experience, reach out to HRIZONS EX here!