How internal comms can create a strong employee experience

Discover how strategic communication practices foster employee engagement, collaboration, and a sense of belonging within the organization.

employee experience

Employers are neglecting important elements in employee experience that can have the biggest impact on the bottom line. Here’s what leaders need to know. 

Employers are aware of the importance of the employee experience but often prioritize ineffective, one-size-fits-all elements while neglecting others that could really make a difference. This can only lead to more of the same—or potentially worse—outcomes for employees. Business leaders who employ internal communications strategies can avoid that stalemate.

The advent of hybrid work has permanently altered the employee experience, with varying perspectives depending on the company, department, or region. However, most organizations continue to treat the employee experience as a one-size-fits-all approach, which is no longer effective. The essential ingredients business leaders need to create a strong employee experience in today’s work environment include opportunities for employee growth and development, integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations, and more. But one of the most crucial elements of a strong employee experience is having a clearly defined purpose and strategy that aligns with the company’s goals—a component many employers omit. 

Employees feel more engaged, motivated, and valued when their employers effectively communicate their role and how it connects to the company’s broader mission, fostering a sense of belonging and shared vision. To expound that feeling of connectivity, business leaders must prioritize investing in their internal communications (IC) team and the tools they need to cultivate a culture that puts employee well-being first to maintain an effective and productive business environment. Here’s how.

Optimize work performance through the workplace experience.

With the rise of varying employee experiences, business leaders’ primary focus has shifted to engaging the workforce, leaving internal communication systems responsible for creating communication strategies that reflect cohesiveness and employee engagement. But leaders of these organizations must work to accommodate employees’ needs. McKinsey’s research shows that a flexible working arrangement, whether through remote work, flexible hours, or a hybrid model, is one of the top three motivators for workers to find a new job. 

Business leaders must accept and adopt flexible digital technologies to streamline processes and improve collaboration and communication. This includes providing employees with the necessary technology and tools to do their jobs effectively, as well as providing resources for digital learning and development. In addition, organizations must ensure that their digital experience is intuitive, user-friendly, and accessible to all employees. This can include implementing measures such as accessibility options for employees with disabilities and training resources for employees who may not be as tech-savvy. All of this makes internal comms more accessible and clear across the organization.

But just as important as the digital work experience is the physical office experience. As an employer, you must establish a workplace environment that is safe, comfortable, and, most importantly, conducive to work. This can include initiatives such as ergonomic furniture, bright and well-lit workspaces, and facilities for relaxation and recreation. To ensure that workspaces are designed to support collaboration and communication, business leaders must provide employees with the necessary resources and spaces to work effectively together—a prime area for internal comms to work its magic. 

By providing flexible desk, space, and meeting room reservation options, you can reduce the time employees spend finding where to work and allow them to get into their productive groove faster. For even better workplace navigation, employers need insight into how their employees really use office space. 

How often are employees coming to the office, and what do they do once they’re there? Sensor technology makes it easier to assess the status of the office and optimize the space to accommodate employee preferences. Make the most of your office space with powerful on-demand analytics and eliminate employee frustration. 

Create an encouraging and supportive environment. 

Employees have no qualms saying that what they value most are incentives and growth opportunities, alongside an employer prioritizing their health and well-being. So why not give them what they want? After all, making people feel valued and cared for at work contributes to a more positive employee experience and a more efficient business model.

As for incentives, both monetary and non-monetary incentives work, but they must be aligned with the company culture and employee expectations. Implementing a rewards and benefits incentive system alongside opportunities for growth and development can greatly impact employee motivation. Regular recognition of employee achievements by employers and management is also crucial in creating a strong employee experience. To further the business’ goals, leaders can even invite employees to recognize someone from another department, bringing a more holistic view of the organization and how employees work cross-departmentally to achieve business goals. A well-designed recognition program can lead to a more productive and satisfied workforce, especially when paired with thoughtful opportunities for growth based on individual employee experiences. 

Opportunities for growth and development mean providing access to resources and training to help employees acquire new skills and improve their personal and professional capabilities. A robust learning and development program can create a culture of continuous improvement, which, in turn, positively impacts employee well-being, which is imperative to build a supportive workplace environment. Encouraging innovation and initiative in employee development can also have long-term benefits, such as increased productivity, improved skills, and increased employee retention.

Business leaders must prioritize their employees’ physical, emotional, and mental health by promoting healthy habits and behaviors. Internal comms has an essential role in employees feeling seen and heard. In addition to in-work programs like upskilling opportunities and offering incentives, this can include initiatives such as flexible work arrangements, health and wellness programs, and stress management resources. Gallup reports that, on average, 15 to 20% of total payroll in voluntary turnover costs comes from burnout. Internal communications plays a critical role in supporting rollout, ongoing messaging, and feedback loops to drive the success of these key initiatives.

Develop and implement policies that have an impact inside and outside of your company. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies may seem like buzzwords, but they genuinely impact a business’s success. Creating a workplace culture that values DEI is proven to help companies to outperform their competitors. McKinsey reports that searches for ESG have grown fivefold since 2019, while searches for similar terms like CSR (corporate social responsibility) have declined. 

By prioritizing DEI and ESG considerations, business leaders can create a more responsible and sustainable workplace culture with improved organizational outcomes. Employees are more likely to be proud of their company and its impact on society when they see how the two interconnect. Clear internal communication bolsters this mission throughout any organization with remote workers. Consistent messaging can reinforce DEI and ESG initiatives, cementing them into the foundation of the workplace.

By fostering an inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported, regardless of any aspect of their identity, leaders can see an improvement in the overall employee experience—from recruitment and onboarding to learning and development. And integrating ESG considerations like reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and engaging in charitable activities into the employee experience can help organizations create a more sustainable and responsible workplace culture.

Employee experience is crucial to organizational success and will never be a one-size-fits-all strategy. Business leaders must understand their employees’ unique needs and preferences and tailor their approach to create the best experience possible. By prioritizing flexibility, a supportive and growth-minded environment, and policies that make a real impact, business leaders can ensure their internal comms teams elevate employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.

With a strong employee experience, organizations can create a more sustainable, responsible, and productive workplace culture, which will impact the bottom line.

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David Levin

CEO at Poppulo

David Levin is the CEO of Poppulo, the leading communications and workplace experience software company. In 2005, David co-founded Four Winds Interactive (now merged into the Poppulo brand) with a vision for how digital technology would transform how businesses communicate and engage with customers and employees. Today, the Poppulo Harmony platform helps enterprise organizations achieve more by connecting their employees, customers, and workplaces effortlessly. Poppulo’s 6,000+ customer base is representative of the world’s most successful companies, including half of the Fortune 100.
David has been recognized by Forbes Magazine’s list of most promising CEOs under 35. He previously co-founded the software and consulting services firm Sage Circle and was an Associate at Denver-based venture capital firm Cornerstone Ventures. When not working, David enjoys golf, skiing, running and travel.