A new report from interactive video company Rapt Media reveals that only one in three U.S. employees (32 percent) feels engaged at work. Another one-third of employees think their companies do not care about them and feel unappreciated by their supervisors, disconnected from their leaders, and bored with their employers' internal communications and training programs.
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Key findings from the survey of 400 full-time U.S. employees include:
- 69 percent are open to other opportunities or are already seeking their next job.
- 57 percent feel detached from their leaders.
- 24 percent fib or outright lie on their employee engagement surveys.
- 60 percent find their company's internal communications boring.
- 73 percent have suggestions for their internal communications.
- 74 percent have already forgotten some or all of the last mandatory training they completed.
- 82 percent learn better from visual training content than they do from static materials.
Lack of personalization, innovation, emotional connection, and creative thinking in the internal business landscape produces disconnected employees. The report's recommendations for business leaders – specifically leaders in human resources and internal communications – include cultivating internal brand loyalty through better content, innovation, and authentic employee connections.
Build Engaging Employee Content and Internal Communications
Internal communications compete for attention not only with an employee's workload, but also with the constant influx of web and social content employees face on a daily basis.
"One in four employees surveyed want more use of humor and entertainment – i.e., games – in internal communications, and another 24 percent want more personalization," says Erika Trautman, CEO and founder of Rapt Media. "The only way for internal content to really be noticed and absorbed is if it's reevaluated and reimagined."
Communications leaders must invest in new technological tools and platforms to breathe new life into internal channels by personalizing messages and enabling more two-way interactions and emotional connections.
Introduce Innovative Training Programs for Professional Development
Ongoing training and professional development programs are critical in achieving success as a company, but they also provide a certain level of personal fulfillment for employees. The problem with many existing training programs stems from the fact that many companies rely on stale, outdated training tools – and then they wonder why employees perform less effectively.
"The majority of employees (82 percent) learn better from visual content like video over static content like PDFs," says Trautman. "Therefore, training and development professionals must adapt materials to better accommodate different learning styles and allow employees to choose content based on personal preference."
Rapt Media's report suggests solutions such as testing new training techniques with a pilot group, accommodating learning styles by offering multiple options to employees, and implementing improvements based on employee feedback.
Personalizing Employee Connections
Employees want more from their managers and senior leaders. Today, employees expect their leaders to be open to emotional connection and understanding of their day-to-day challenges.
"At Rapt Media, we're in the business of captivating employees – and other audiences –through interactive video," says Trautman. "This medium allows for a more personalized experience, creates emotional connections, and puts the user in the driver's seat."
Interactive video is just one example of a powerful tool that can combat boredom and capture attention at work. Rapt Media sees many other similar tools in widespread use across the marketing, advertising, and social media fields.
"The question is, why aren't HR and internal communications leaders employing these channels to court their employees on a personal level?" Tratuman wonders. "If they did, we might see a very different level of employee engagement begin to emerge."
Maintaining Long-Term Employee Engagement
"Three out of four employees (73 percent) have suggestions for their internal communications," says Trautman. "The first step is listening to these suggestions to demonstrate that employee voices matter."
Opportunities to share feedback should be built into qualitative channels, and assessing those suggestions should be standard operating procedure. Companies should publicly acknowledge the feedback and use it as a springboard for tangible and lasting change.
Today's employees act as internal brand consumers and must be engaged with the same amount of time, attention, and resources that companies devote to marketing efforts and customer engagement strategies. The importance of strong leader-employee and supervisor-employee relationships cannot be overstated when it comes to employee engagement. Employees rank their management (good or bad) as the single biggest factor that determines their satisfaction at work. Closing the connectivity gap means creating opportunities for management to show authentic appreciation and understanding of employees' day-to-day challenges which, in turn, boosts internal company loyalty.