The working zeitgeist in 2018

Online since 22.03.2018 • Filed under Human Resources • From Issue 7 - March to August 2018 page(s) 42-43
The working zeitgeist in 2018

In this article we explore how to avoid cognitive dissonance between your business objectives and your staff’s motivations.

‘The shared conclusion of many articles written about the generational differences between the employees of yesteryear and the employees of now, is that the workforce today demands personal fulfilment from their jobs,’ explains Brendan Cooper, head of internal communications at New Media.

‘For staff to be engaged and invested in their jobs, they have to find value in what they do. They need to be able understand the organisation’s broader purpose and what the company they work for is doing to make the world a better place and add value to the communities in which they operate,’ he adds. Very different from the traditional mindset of working for a salary and being grateful for a job, this trend is known as value-ation.

The value-ation mindset demands that people know what is going on at an organisation – internally and externally – and what the organisation stands for, which requires an ongoing conversation between leaders and staff.

This paradigm obviously needs to be a two-way conversation with empowered employees, but also equally empowered leaders, who need to balance communicating and enforcing the organisational requirements that make the bottom line work with staff culture priorities.

Facebook understands how to do this. People are motivated by the power of pride in an organisation that they perceive to be doing social good, with a mission that they understand and an optimism that they can buy into, which engenders pride and job satisfaction.

South African CEOs and other senior executives are also adopting new tactics and channels to ensure that they are visible and communicating business objectives with staff in a way that authentically motivates employees to achieve them.

So how do you align employee motivation with company objectives?

You communicate. It’s all about understanding what you want to say, why you want to say it, who you want to say it to, and then unpacking how to deliver it effectively. Staff are unceasingly hungry for this communication from their employers. New Media has seen great results with internal communications content they have produced for various types of businesses. ‘For one of our clients, we have statistics that show a 5 366-download rate and seven-minute reading time of a digimag to an audience of 6 000,’ Brendan says. ‘That’s serious engagement and it’s an indicator of staff being hungry for information about the company and getting it with content that they find easy to consume and that is relevant to them.

‘We have also seen an 85% take home rate of a print internal communication using video. ‘Unpacking big issues by framing the content in a people-centric manner lets the most relevant person or people in the company tell the story from their viewpoint, making the message relatable,’ Brendan maintains.

Research by Willis Tower Watson showed that companies with good internal communication outperform their competitors by 3.5 times. Yet, a recent Gallup Survey showed that 82% of HR managers felt that their internal communication strategy needed an overhaul.

It is becoming very clear that when dealing with the employees of today that companies that do not have a good understanding of the trends in this space run the risk of staff disengaging with their messaging. Engaged employees thrive and there’s no doubt that organisations reap the benefits of effective internal communication through increased staff retention and attraction, as well as the bottom line, magazine we produce on behalf of one of SA’s bestknown and most innovative companies and are seeing great stats on the emailers we produce for a variety of clients, regularly hitting an open rate mark which is almost double the industry average,’ he adds.

Video emailers with a message from the CEO (using his first name only) resulted in 97% of recipients saying they wanted to receive further communication. Brendan believes this was because the message was humanised through relaxed visual communication.

Video also works very well to convey difficult messages when you use a people-centric approach. According to Brendan, a video interview message and visual graphs, given by an HR director responsible for wide-spread retrenchments is just one great example of successful internal communication using video. ‘Unpacking big issues by framing the content in a people-centric manner lets the most relevant person or people in the company tell the story from their viewpoint, making the message relatable,’ Brendan maintains.

Research by Willis Tower Watson showed that companies with good internal communication outperform their competitors by 3.5 times. Yet, a recent Gallup Survey showed that 82% of HR managers felt that their internal communication strategy needed an overhaul.

It is becoming very clear that when dealing with the employees of today that companies that do not have a good understanding of the trends in this space run the risk of staff disengaging with their messaging. Engaged employees thrive and there’s no doubt that organisations reap the benefits of effective internal communication through increased staff retention and attraction, as well as the bottom line.

New Media is the leading content marketing agency in South Africa. Established in 1998 and part owned by Media24, New Media connects people to brands through crafted content on a variety of media platforms. Based in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, the company’s portfolio covers the food, décor, entertainment, internal communications, health, sport and financial services sectors. New Media adds value to brands and audiences by creating content that engages, entertains, increases sales, improves customer affinity and retention, positions brands and aligns informed staff. For more information, visit www.newmediapub.co.za

Issue 7 - March to August 2018

Issue 7 - March to August 2018

This article was featured on page 42-43 of SABI Magazine Issue 7 - March to August 2018 .

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