How Macy's builds lasting employee engagement
An effective internal communications strategy can foster strong employee relationships and engagement, as well as contributing to a more successful organisation, according to Lisa Gick, vice president of employee relations at Macy's.
Gick will speak on the subject at the Marcus Evans sixth annual Internal Communications & Employee Engagement Conference in Florida, USA, next month. She is responsible for managing some 160,000 employee relationships within Macy's and Bloomingdale's department stores and their various support organisations.
When asked about the hallmarks of an effective internal communication strategy, Gick said that the strategy is always one that builds relationships and contributes to creating a sense of ownership within the organisation. Both of these concepts are fundamental to employee engagement.
"It's critical that we evaluate for which audiences our message needs exposure, and what are the unique features about each that might demand that we tailor our message to convey the important meaning within it," explained Gick. "Over-complication brings confusion and delay. Embedding for the audience 'why is this important to me?' as part of the message helps achieve understanding more quickly, and that means greater success with progress."
At the same time, being clear, concise and conversational is also very important. To be accessible through corporate communications, the text needs to be written like you would speak to someone: friendly and approachable. The logistics of delivery also must not be forgotten; one single channel of communication will not suit everyone.
Finally, one of the most significant hallmarks of a good internal communication strategy is feedback. Without that, you can't be sure your messages are being understood. Creating strong and dependable pathways for feedback will give you insight into how you might tweak and adjust your messaging.
According to Gick, at Macy's, the customer is at the centre of the company's thinking: "It makes perfect sense that, when we approach our internal communications strategies and tactics, we're focused on creating alignment with our mission, values and priorities across the organisation. Doing this provides a platform for adopting key information and concepts that drive a great customer experience. A strong, internal communications programme helps us make sure we have the greatest success in achieving that."
Two-way communication that allows for real dialogue creates stronger employee relationships, and that influences individual and organisational success. When relationships are strong, there is trust, pride, and advocacy - and many other captivating features that drive an engaged work community.
Being connected this way provides the kind of feedback that's important for the company to understand how its employees feel, fosters the kind of confidence that gives way to more innovative thinking, and promotes highly productive and vital collaboration.