Cascade Communications Method Builds Employee Engagement

Cascade Communications


Integrating frontline managers helps in disseminating and building awareness and buy-in for organizational policies.

Tony Silber, Editorial Director, Ragan Communications

The cascade messaging technique is an indispensable part of internal communications, especially in large organizations.

It seeks to employ frontline managers across the organization to pass along, explain, advocate and implement policies and announcements. It’s an invaluable channel, integrating leaders of small groups into the process and aligning them with objectives. But it’s challenging to do effectively and consistently.

[EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Communications Benchmark Report 2021]

That said, communicators who work with their departmental managers consistently report better employee engagement with communications messaging across a variety of topics, according to the 2021 Communications Benchmark Report, an exclusive study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council.

Naturally, larger organizations (78%) use the cascade method more than smaller ones do (47%), and it’s somewhat less of a priority for external communicators. And members of Ragan Communications Leadership Council are much more likely to use the cascade method (76%) than their non-Council counterparts (51%).

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It’s High Noon for Employee Engagement

It’s High Noon for Employee Engagement

Tara Lilien, Chief Talent Officer, Peppercomm

When the COVID-19 crisis hit and it became clear we’d need to vacate our New York, San Francisco and London offices, Peppercomm’s senior management team quickly gathered for what would be our last in-person meeting. 

We discussed how we could stay connected with everyone knowing they’d be leaving the office and heading to their various sheltering sites.

An idea was quickly born. We decided to meet virtually every workday at noon and spend 12 minutes connecting with one another via Teams. We christened our “new normal” staff meetings the 12@12. We figured it would be a short-term stopgap plan to carry us through what we thought would be a two-week hiatus from the workplace. 

Now, 18 weeks later, our 12@12s have become a precious part of our agency’s culture. Our CEO commented that he has never felt more connected to our team, and our employees have asked that we continue these meetings when we return to the office.

Has the intent and design of the 12@12 evolved since those early days? Absolutely. What initially began as a way to touch base and share any urgent updates has now become a vehicle to reinforce many aspects of the employee experience during these 12 minutes each day. These include:

  • Shining the spotlight on employees – We created “PepSpotlight” to encourage each employee to answer a series of questions ranging from what five people would they most like to be sheltering with to what they’ve been binge-watching or reading and where their first vacation destination will be when the all clear is finally given. The intent was to learn more about our colleagues and what makes them tick.
  • Sharing updates on our business – Transparency and honesty have been critical during this period. We’ve shown our team our financials, shared business losses and wins, discussed reboarding and shared how we could collectively cover for colleagues as some weathered COVID-19 during this time. This authenticity led 100% of our employees to say they had confidence in our response to the pandemic and our business decisions, according to a recent pulse survey we conducted.
  • Launching new, of-the-moment, employee programs – Our new “Gone Fishing” benefit was born and launched in 12 minutes one Monday during the pandemic. We now set aside 90 minutes each week for employees to focus on their personal self. There are zero questions asked, and we created a new billing code to input time.  
  • Driving health and wellness – We’ve had gratitude sessions with each of us sharing what we are most grateful for during this period. One employee told me after feeling so isolated, this was exactly what she needed. We also offer “Stay Well with Kel” sessions – 12 minutes of virtual exercises led by our IT director who is also a krav maga instructor!
  • Giving accolades – Shoutouts were formerly reserved for email or our Teams channel. Now we’ve brought them offline and into our 12@12 meetings to highlight and celebrate our people going above and beyond each week. Success breeds success, and people seem to really enjoy hearing about each other’s weekly wins.
  • Bringing the outside in – We’ve offered our team the opportunity to hear from outside speakers addressing best practices for new business networking during the pandemic, media relations challenges in the political space. We’re also holding Q&A sessions with our clients to learn more about what business challenges have been keeping them up at night during the pandemic.

Overall, we’ve kept an agile approach to the 12@12s as the weeks of remote work have turned into months. We’ve cancelled them on Summer Fridays so we don’t have too many employees miss any announcements or content. In other instances, we’ve extended the 12@12s to an hour to offer training sessions to employees. We’ve also held “out to lunch” days as a break from the 12@12s to virtually meet for lunch (or breakfast or happy hour depending on an employee’s location) with a senior executive or peers. There’s no formal agenda, and Peppercomm pays for each person’s lunch that day.

Importantly, the 12@12 is not solely an HR initiative or a CEO dictate; it’s something each of us at Peppercomm owns. We’ve never made it mandatory, yet we almost always get perfect attendance. We’ve had employees step forward to lead a 12@12 who wouldn’t have otherwise been a “host” of a meeting with the entire staff. We cheered and clapped when one of our leaders popped up on video after a two-week battle with COVID-19. We’ve learned a lot about each other and found common interests.

It has also been a great motivator to get dressed every day (which is often cited as a best practice to ensure remote work success) and be ready to “see” each other for our daily connect!

In one of our employee pulse survey, we were pleased to find that 95% of our staff have felt engaged during the pandemic. Based on what I’ve learned the past four-plus months, I encourage every senior HR and communications professional to overcommunicate with employees during these difficult times. Unfortunately, this is not happening as often as it should. A recent study we conducted with the Institute for Public Relations ( revealed that 27% of HR and internal comms leaders were not using any metrics or monitoring tools and, believe it or not, only 28% had even surveyed their employees.

Alternatively, we’re convinced that our special 12 minutes a day have made the past 18-plus weeks easier for everyone in our organization.

About the Author:  Tara leads all things people for Peppercomm, with responsibility for talent management, development, engagement and acquisition for the agency. This includes creating an employee experience that addresses the needs of both our business and team members with the goal of being a sought-after place to work where people can build and grow their careers. Tara is also a member of the executive team, which sets the overall business strategy at the agency.

Prior to Peppercomm, Tara was the U.S. Human Resources lead at Cohn & Wolfe, a WPP agency.  There, she drove talent initiatives for the agency across five offices and successfully attracted strong talent in the industry to the firm. Earlier in her career, she spent 15 years at MSLGROUP, a Publicis agency, working across the North America region. Tara’s focus there was to consistently drive HR and business through workforce planning, HR strategy development, employee policy and programs, mobility, diversity and inclusion and employee relations. Tara began her career as an employee programs specialist at Conde Nast.

Tara is proud to be a born and bred New Yorker (now residing in New Jersey) and a graduate of American University in Washington, DC where she received a BA in Public Relations.

4 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement in the Summer

Stefanie Lightman, Head of Limeade Communications

Summer is here. And that means warm, long days paired with more time spent outside and plenty of summertime activities. With flexible schedules and a lot of out of office auto-replies, it’s also the easiest season for productivity and engagement to slip. If you find your employees watching the clock and their hearts and minds are elsewhere, it’s time to heat up the office with summer initiatives that will keep your team motivated.

As a leader, here are four ways to keep your organization productive and engaged during the summer:

1)  Go mobile

Flexible hours and summer scheduling can take people out of the office, but that doesn’t mean they have to disappear or disconnect. Mobile is the best way to reach people, particularly during the summer when they are out and about. If you don’t have one already, think about investing in a mobile app. Communicating summer hours, activities and events through a mobile communications app instead of email will increase productivity. Not only is it extremely valuable to reach people where they are, but offering relevant benefits updates and HR services, along with opportunities for interaction and engagement, will set you up for success.

2)  Share summer-related hobbies

Communication that demonstrates organizational care inspires employees to connect and engage with each other — and further fosters trust, engagement, inclusion, performance and organizational effectiveness. On top of that, a LinkedIn @Work study found that 47% of global workers said discussing success with colleagues motivates them. Use your internal communications channels to share moments with colleagues enjoying the outdoors — think family days, team hikes or a mindful moment watching the sunset. It’s also a great opportunity to promote the human side of leadership.

3)  Take it outside

Summer is all about the outdoors, and just because you work in an office doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, most healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). With an eight-hour workday and commitments at home, this can be tough to achieve. But physical activity can directly impact stress levels. Managers must reinforce your organization’s commitment to well-being by not only allowing but encouraging physical activity during work hours. Take work outside with walking meetings, active lunch breaks or a mid-day break with a team offsite or hiking trip.

4)  Encourage real vacations

According to the State of American Vacation 2018 report, more than half of Americans leave vacation time on the table. Summer is the perfect time to send folks vacation balance alerts. While more employers are beginning to encourage employees to take their paid time off, employees continue to respond to email or feel the need to “check-in” while on vacation. As leaders, it’s beneficial for your team to take breaks and have real, unplugged vacation time. It can reduce burnout, relieve stress and even boost productivity and innovation. This all starts though with you leading by example.

Keeping employees engaged and productive during the summer can be challenging. But with the right strategies in place and manager support, your employees will stay motivated all summer long.

Stefanie Lightman, Head of Limeade CommunicationsAbout the Author: As a longtime communicator, Stefanie understands how crucial reaching every employee can be to create a fully engaged organization. As Head of Limeade Communications, Stefanie is responsible for accelerating the adoption and growth of the employee experience platform.

Time to Rethink Employee Engagement Strategies

Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight

Companies today must rethink their employee engagement strategies and communication techniques. This means going beyond what was a typical employee/employer affiliation in order to attract and retain top talent. Fortunately, there are technologies on the market that make this easier, and which can improve every facet of the employee communications lifecycle.


Finding the right employees begins with the job description. On one hand, employers should attempt to put their best foot forward, offering a glimpse into the positive aspects of working with the company. On the other, employers must be realistic about what the role, and expected career path, might look like. One tool that’s becoming more common across the recruiting (and overall) landscape is Grammarly, a proofing and editing software that uses AI to help improve writing and persuasiveness. More than ever, job descriptions must be about effectively communicating a vision, and this tool helps recruiters encourage prospective employees

More resumes, however, does not always mean more quality candidates, making it so recruiters should consider some sort of applicant tracking system, which can help separate the cream of the crop. Bullhorn is particularly effective, in that it removes many of the application hurdles; we’ve all applied for a role through services that ask you to upload a resume, which is promptly sliced and diced incorrectly, at which point we need to key in all the relevant information. While making it easier for candidates, Bullhorn also enables recruiters and HR leaders to sort candidates based on the criteria of their choosing.

When it comes to making an actual offer, many organizations are now trying to create a more professional look, as opposed to using company letterhead and sending a word doc attachment. Canva is one tool that allows anyone to create amazing looking documents. It offers a free version, as well as templates that can help the least tech-savvy among us build amazing documents.

Of course, once an offer is made and accepted, there is the onboarding process to consider. In an episode of How I Made This, Stewart Butterfield discusses how Slack was originally built as a way to maintain (and share) institutional knowledge. After all, if a question has been answered in Slack, a user can search for its answer with ease.

Current employees 

Once an employee has come on board and hopefully gathered lots of important information, companies must realize that retention efforts are just getting started. One way to retain talent is to instill a sense of company pride, which can be accomplished through a number of technologies, with one of the simplest being LinkedIn. HR departments that regularly feature employee events and gatherings, charitable initiatives, leadership thoughts and even work anniversaries can help to facilitate a corporate image that makes employees proud to work at an organization.

WeWork seems to have established an expectation of alcohol being acceptable in work environments (to be clear, beer fridges and wine tastings were a corporate staple long before coworking became common, but the idea of never-ending beer supplies became much more mainstream when WeWork started advertising it as a perk). As such, many HR teams have come to love services like Uber, which enable them to ensure employees can get home safely on the occasion where they have perhaps overdone it. Many organizations today offer ride-sharing services to all their major events.

Of course, not everyone enjoys drinking, and there has started to be a movement to find other means of employee activity. Let’s Roam is carving out a niche as a team building platform that offers scavenger hunts around cities. Amazon and Google are among the companies that have used the service for employee events.

Regarding other perks that employees have come to expect, the ability to work from home regularly ranks among the top considerations. After many, MANY attempts to build video conferencing solutions, Zoom seems to have finally built a platform that works well on all platforms (Windows, Mac, and Chrome) and enables remote workers to “be there in person” when it is necessary.  

Departing employee 

Companies must remember that employees who are leaving their role are often a tremendous resource. If they’ve been treated well, they can be a source or referrals for new hires and can actively help an organization look more attractive. Employees that have given their notice and are on their way out the door tend to be incredibly honest about giving feedback. While exit interviews are encouraged, there isn’t always time for them. One way to encourage feedback is through the use of Google Forms, which enable non-technical individuals to easily create web-based forms to gather information. Data is then stored in a spreadsheet or document, and therefore available to be reviewed at a later date.

For employees that are leaving on good terms, HR leaders should consider asking for a review on Glassdoor.  Prospective employees are doing more research than ever before, and peer reviews are gaining traction as the most important source of information candidates will consider before even applying.

Oftentimes, employees will have some sort of expense report that they need to fill out after they have left. Expensify is one solution that makes it incredibly easy for employees to submit these reports, simply by taking pictures of receipts and emailing them into the service. Failure to pay seemingly small expenses can leave a bad taste in a former employee’s mouth and tends to dramatically impact whatever goodwill the employee is leaving with. Also, while this is not legal advice, it is possible that failure to pay might negate specific clauses in a departure agreement (such as a non-compete clause).

Speaking of departure agreements, HR teams can incorporate eSignature solutions like those offered by DocuSign, in order to dramatically cut down on paperwork and printing, as well as storage for physical files.

Many of today’s employees have been conditioned to believe that companies are responsible for providing more than a paycheck. This means building pride over an organization’s mission and how it treats its people. However, not every organization has learned to effectively communicate their approach. Fortunately, there are technologies available that help employers more effectively convey their employee relations approach.

About the Author: Zoe Connolly is the co-founder and managing director for Hospitality Spotlight, a full service executive search firm for the hospitality and travel industries. For more than a decade, she’s pioneered innovative and proactive recruiting efforts, connecting the best talent with the best companies, across all levels of organizations. In her career, Ms. Connolly has worked with a variety of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 firms. For more information, visit 

Three Ways Managers Can Improve Employee Engagement

Three Ways Managers Can Improve Employee EngagementMark Angelo, CEO, Yorkville Advisors 

Employee engagement is one of the biggest issues that today’s manager must face. According to the Gallup report issued in 2017, engagement is still one of the biggest problems for many companies, with around 67.5 of staff feeling actively disengaged at work. As the head of a team, it’s up to managers to not only direct their people towards the right goals but also give them the inspiration and motivation they need to succeed. 

By focusing on improving engagement from day one, rather than constantly checking on employee outcomes, managers can improve the processes in their workplace and enhance better day-to-day productivity. Here are just three ways that managers may be able to improve employee engagement throughout the enterprise.

1.     Constantly Measure Performance 

The easiest way to help employees learn from their mistakes and optimize what they’re doing in the workforce is to give them plenty of feedback. The annual review is no longer enough to give your staff the guidance they need in their performance. Instead, today’s experts need regular and consistent conversations with their managers to help them stay ahead of the curve. 

By tracking performance metrics, managers can determine how employees are stacking up against expectations, and also provide those individuals with regular guidance on how they can enhance their outcomes. It may even be a good idea for managers to set up regular schedules where they can check in with employees and make sure that each staff member is reaching their personal goals.

2.     Show Instead of Telling 

When managers really want to have an impact on their workforce, they need to use all of the resources they have available. When an employee sees a spreadsheet referencing their performance, they might not fully understand what the key takeaways from that information are. However, with visual graphs and representations, it’s much easier to show an employee how they’re progressing over time. 

For years, educators have been using visuals in lessons to help students understand different content formats better and ensure that they’re ready to engage more. Studies have shown that using visual aids in teaching and training methods stimulates thinking. Since managers are responsible for teaching their staff to perform better, visuals could be very useful.

3.     Revisit Expectations 

Finally, it’s important to remember that business changes rapidly in today’s agile world. The expectations that a manager laid out for their employees when they first started working with that team might be different today. As a company continues to evolve and change, it’s important for managers to revisit the expectations and requirements that they’ve set for their staff to make sure that everyone is moving on the same track. 

By discussing long-term goals with supervisors, employees can begin to visualize success for the business, and this can lead to greater engagement. When everyone in a team feels as though they’re working towards the same goals, with clear expectations laid out for them, there’s less risk of things going wrong, or people getting confused along the way. Revisiting expectations is a great way to stop engagement from going stale.






Engage by Stage: Understanding How Career Stage Affects Employee Engagement (Download Report)

Julie McCracken_PadillaJulie McCracken, Senior Director, Padilla

For years employers have defaulted to age as the driver in employee engagement strategies. But, age is only a part of the equation. For example, you may have two employees of a similar age at completely different stages of their careers with the same company. They may share generationally driven workplace needs, but a new hire has different preferences and motivators than someone who’s been with the company for many years. Coupled with the diverse makeup of today’s workforce, a one-size-fits-all approach to employee engagement simply doesn’t work; successful companies consider both age and career stage.

This represents a new viewpoint on employee engagement, which is defined as the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. But, with two in five employees reporting they are completely disengaged from their current employers, a fresh perspective might be exactly what companies need to build, grow and protect their businesses.

The study, conducted by SMS Research Advisors and commissioned by Padilla, surveyed 1,500 people in the workforce of varying ages, positions/levels and industries. The report offers insights into the various stages people pass through during their careers, engagement preferences and motivators at each stage, and how to best drive engagement throughout an organization.

To learn more about how to retain and inspire your company’s most valuable asset, download the Engage by Stage Research Report.



About the Author: A senior director with Padilla, a top 10 independent public relations and communications company, Julie leads the development and execution of large-scale employee engagement initiatives and integrated marketing and public relations campaigns for national clients. Her expertise includes employee engagement, change communications, strategic planning, corporate social responsibility, national and local media relations, and sponsorship and event marketing. 

Tips for Building Employee Engagement

By Jason Khoury, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Jive

As communication leaders, we can’t do a good job of promoting our company’s success externally unless we effectively drive strategic alignment by engaging employees and making sure they are aware of key corporate updates. And why not? The latest Gallup Q12 employee engagement metric finds that companies with highly engaged workforces are 21 percent more profitable, between 17-21 percent more productive and experience significantly lower turnover than their low-engagement counterparts. In addition, high-engagement companies outperform peers by 147 percent in earnings per share. With numbers like those, it’s no wonder Gallup concludes that “the relationship between engagement and performance at the business/work unit level is substantial.” As the statistics suggest, when it comes to employee engagement, it is no longer an option for leaders to opt out.

Unfortunately, only around a third of U.S. employees are actually engaged at work. Worse, among the remaining two-thirds, 16.5 percent are actively disengagedcosting US businesses between $450 – $550 billion annually in lost productivity alone. With the stakes so high, why do some leaders still struggle to authentically connect with employees? One reason might be the sheer size of the modern enterprise. Many companies employ hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of workers that they need to keep aligned, making the task of internal communications increasingly daunting. It’s no wonder leaders who prefer handshakes to hashtags are at a loss as to how to build human connections across their globally-dispersed workforces.

Three Digital Communications Steps for a More Engaged Workplace:

  1. Get everyone on the same page. There was a time when town hall meetings, email newsletters and the traditional bulletin board-style company intranet were the only way companies could get the message out to all of their employees. But today’s employees are more social than ever. Not only do workers expect two-way conversations with executives, they demand them. An interactive intranet can provide a single activity hub from which leaders can communicate with all of their employees, regardless of location or device. Executives should relay important information including new initiatives, performance updates, workplace happenings and social events. By mixing it up with a combination of blog posts, status updates and videos, along with personal stories and engaging photos, an interactive intranet can humanize leaders to a workforce that’s becoming more mobile, remote and global every day. Another big advantage of this type of solution is that employees are empowered to engage with each other—and everyone across the organization is able to access the content, tools and corporate memory they need, all in a single location. 
  2. Listen. Once the lines of communication are open across the enterprise, the real challenge begins: listening. Experts recommend that execs spend at least 15 minutes a day tuned into the questions, comment threads and blog posts of the most engaged (and, thus, most important) people in the company. It’s a way for leaders to take the temperature of the organization so they can begin the necessary work of aligning the company’s culture with their vision. Again, an interactive intranet can serve as an excellent place to host “Ask Us Anything” Q&A sessions that proactively address outstanding questions from all-hands meetings, conduct organization-wide surveys or provide general feedback. Of course, listening should not only happen online. Some employees are more comfortable communicating in person so, when possible, leaders should accommodate one-on-one requests. Other important ways to connect in person include team-building exercises and offsites.
  3. Share. To develop meaningful relationships, executives’ digital communications must be authentic, consistent and realistic. If they’re not passionate and transparent in their messaging, people will notice, so it’s crucial to help leaders find their true voice and communications style. It pays when they stick with the subjects they care most about and hit those themes over and over again. When the organization’s strategic goals are reinforced via internal collaboration tools, as well as in live meetings, social media channels, customer communities and external thought leadership content, employees will get the message. Make sure execs don’t skimp on praise either. When employees are recognized for their good ideas they feel validated and are more likely to show up for the company and its leadership—and are far less likely to tear them down—when the going gets tough. It may take some time but, remember, the point of engagement is to make leadership’s vision employees’ mission.

Breaking through digital resistance

While digital engagement doesn’t always come naturally to leaders, it is necessary. Corporate communications and HR teams play an important role in coaching and enabling executives to succeed in this critical work environment. Smart executives are increasingly turning to technology to cultivate more productive and profitable workplaces that put engagement at the center of their culture. By helping each key executive to fine-tune their preferred mix of communications channels and tools to best suit their personality and objectives, you’ll ultimately increase overall employee engagement for the company. And of course, once the organization has a handle on engagement, it can steer more of the team’s energy towards innovating and increasing market share in order to stay as healthy on the outside as it is on the inside.

About the Author: Jason Khoury is the senior director of corporate marketing at Jive. In this role, Jason oversees corporate communications, customer marketing and the Jive customer community. Prior to joining Jive in 2013, Jason held director and senior management positions at various high tech companies and public relations agencies, including Yahoo, Informatica and Weber Shandwick. In addition, Jason previously served as a board member for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) from 2007 to 2012. Jason is passionate about pushing the boundaries of communications and exploring new tools and technology, including leveraging Jive’s collaboration and real-time messaging apps to transform the traditional public relations and employee communications models. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with him family, wine collecting (and tasting) and traveling (he’s been to 6 continents and counting). Jason has two Bachelor degrees in Journalism and Communications (Public Relations) and Political Science from the University of Oregon. Jason’s WorkType is Connector. 

The Impact of Human Capital Management Software on Employee Engagement Might Surprise You

Steven Kuhn -By Steven Kuhn, Vice President, Criterion

Higher productivity, reduced turnover and increased customer satisfaction are all associated with high levels of employee engagement. So it’s no wonder that 85% of global executives and HR leaders say engagement is important or very important, as reported in Deloitte’s “2016 Global Human Capital Trends Study.”

Yet only 11% of those same respondents said their organization’s engagement and retention programs were excellent. Clearly, organizations need to do a better job of promoting employee engagement, especially during the summer. And, perhaps surprisingly, human capital management (HCM) software can help them do just that.

In fact, here are five ways that HCM software promotes greater employee engagement during the summer months:

  1. Recruiting

People should start feeling a connection to your organization even before they become employees or you’ll fight an uphill engagement battle from the start. A quality applicant tracking system (ATS) can be a major ally here.

First, the ATS can help you find more candidates who are likely to be engaged. You can track the quantity and quality of candidates coming in from your various talent sources, which allows you to optimize your sourcing to identify more talent that fits your organization and culture.

Second, the ATS can help you provide a quality hiring process free of unnecessary delays and communication problems. This matters to candidates. According to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior study, 77% of candidates are willing to accept a salary that is 5% lower than their expected offer if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process. Further, candidates carry this positive view of your company into their first days as employees, which is important because “pride in working for the company” is one of the three key drivers of employee engagement identified in a study by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training.

  1. Onboarding

HCM software tools can help your organization create a more efficient and effective onboarding experience, which improves employee performance by 11.3% and increases employee engagement and retention, according to a report by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton.

HCM software helps promote engagement during on-boarding by:

  • Ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is filled out correctly. This allows you to better focus on getting new employees integrated into your organization and its business practices.
  • Ensuring better cultural integration as well. HCM tools enable you to share videos and content about your company, as well as manage onboarding tasks uniformly so all new employees receive the same quality onboarding experience.
  1. Performance Management

According to a 2015 study by SHRM and Globoforce, 83% of respondents said their employee recognition efforts had a positive impact on employee engagement. Quality performance management systems support recognition efforts by providing automated tools that help you reward employees for going above and beyond in their duties, which supports employee engagement for all employees.

Performance management systems also facilitate another engagement-nurturing practice—quality, consistent and relevant feedback. It does so in two notable areas:

  • Periodic reviewsPerformance management systems allow you to rate competencies and measure goals, and the relative importance of particular competencies and goals. The result is employees not only are more likely to be engaged, but also focused on what’s most critical to your organization.
  • Continuous feedback—Performance management systems facilitate immediate and continuous feedback, encouraging employee productivity and engagement.
  1. Manager Self-Service

Another key engagement driver identified by the MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training study is an employee’s relationship with his or her immediate supervisor. When this relationship goes sour, often the problem is poor or slow communication.

Manager self-service through HCM tools facilitates quality communication. Managers, for example, can quickly review time-off requests and performance appraisals, and use time management tools to optimize schedules for employees. The result: it’s easier for managers to address employees’ concerns quickly and effectively—which is essential for creating and sustaining a quality relationship.

  1. Employee Self-Service

Quality HCM employee self-service tools give your employees access to their demographic, payroll and benefit information, as well as to information about your organization and your people. This empowers your employees and helps them forge stronger connections with your organization and their co-workers.

Additional benefits of employee self-service include:

  • It improves peer communication. The quality of employees’ experience is heavily influenced by the quality of their working relationships with colleagues.
  • It enables employees to see how they fit into your company and how they can progress. By providing a visual view of your organization and your people, employees can see where they are, and where they can go—encouraging them to set goals for advancement.
  • It assists in keeping employees integrated with your company culture. Employees can view information and media disseminated by your organization that are designed to instill common cultural values, and stay updated about your organization’s news and events.

 About the Author: Steven Kuhn is Vice President of Criterion, a leading provider of modern HCM software solutions that comprehensively manage HR, payroll and recruiting for mid-market companies. He possesses over 25 years of HCM software experience and has worked with some of the more recognizable enterprise software organizations and boutique software houses. Steve brings a unique perspective of the HCM space with his background in product development, marketing and sales of HCM solutions across most industries. 


Employee Engagement is Important, But How Do You Get the C-Suite Engaged?

moonryanBy Moon Kim and Ryan Walker, M Booth

The benefits of an engaged workforce as well as the economic cost of disengaged employees are widely understood by CEOs and company leaders. And yet, two-thirds of U.S. employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged.

Disengagement is both costly and has negative impacts on a company’s overall performance. In fact, the estimated cost of disengaged employees in the U.S. is between $450 billion to $550 billion annually. But more importantly, disengaged employees are far less likely to advocate for their companies, take risks at work, and optimize their productivity. Simply put, these are the employees who lack passion, energy and diligence. To make matters worse, your customers can notice the difference.

Despite these significant implications, poor employee engagement remains an issue for companies of all shapes and sizes. In our experience, highlighting the engagement problem with senior leadership is often not enough because the connection between investment and result isn’t crystal clear.

Getting senior leaders on board and actively participating requires boiling down the most important aspects that will move the needle on employee engagement, and creating turnkey ways to involve them in the execution.

We’ve summarized the following guiding framework that will help communications leaders secure the necessary support and participation from the corner office:

  1. Share more transparently. A leading driver of employee engagement is hands down transparency with senior leadership. Employees generally crave more – not less – communications from the C-suite. So pitch your CEO to either pen a monthly/bimonthly employee letter or host a quarterly lunch session to share with employees what is on his/her mind.
  1. Listen more openly. A strong feedback outlet is another key ingredient of an effective employee engagement program. Without one, employees turn to gossiping or airing their issues on social media and Glassdoor. So consider having your CEO hold informal meetings with employees on a regular basis to solicit their ideas and rotate who is invited.

If your organization is divided by floors, encourage leaders to regularly walk a different floor and informally chat with employees to learn what they are working on. If your organization is dispersed geographically, consider polling employees on various topics and matters.

When leadership shows an interest in receiving feedback from employees, employees will feel heard and in turn develop a more positive view of the organization.

  1. Celebrate more regularly. Recognition from supervisors and managers can supercharge employee engagement for better productivity and performance. Work with your CEO to recognize outstanding teams and employees on a monthly basis, and spotlight these achievements on internal communications channels.

At the same time, encourage your employees to share moments of fun and pride at work. For instance, Brooks Running (an M Booth client) created #BrooksLife for its employees to celebrate their running and work experiences on social. Ultimately, turning employees into ambassadors can be infectious in boosting morale.

Small recognition that is public and sincere can go a long way in employee satisfaction and doesn’t require much time or financial investment.

An effective employee engagement program does not need to be laborious and expensive. Instead, try simplifying your program into the above framework to get senior leaders on board and engaged. Plus, it’s often the little things that matter most. Getting senior leadership buy-in on these small steps can be the most effective first approach.

About the Author: Moon Kim is Vice President and Group Manager and Ryan Walker is an Account Supervisor at M Booth, an integrated and award-winning communications agency helping companies enhance and protect their brand reputation. 

Executive Briefing 12.16.15 – Reduce the Risks of Cybercrime; Employee Engagement in the Mobile Age

CommPRO-Executive-BriefingIn today’s Executive Briefing we take a deep dive into cybercrime with A Communicator’s Guide to Responding to a Data Breach and Start 2016 Strong – 5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Cybercrime at Your Company.

As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of CommPRO, I’d like to take a moment to thank our loyal readers and partners for their continued support. We hope our new readers enjoy CommPRO and welcome your feedback and suggestions so we continue to provide a unique and relevant service. You can reach me at:

Click here to view today’s issue.









Employee Engagement in the Mobile Age (On-Demand Webinar & Presentation)

Webinar Overview

Companies are losing hundreds of billions of dollars every year due to a lack of employee engagement. With Millennials expected to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025, they are demanding that their employers provide them with the tools they need to be productive and engaged. However, a recent study conducted by theEMPLOYEEapp of over 300 communications professionals shows that current employee engagement tactics are just not getting the job done. The webinar takes  a deeper look into these survey results and see how they stack up against real world examples presented by fellow communications professionals.

Register Now


Charles Alfaro-USECharles Alfaro, Boehringer Ingelheim

Developing successful communications starts with understanding a company’s vision, direction and goals. During the past 30 years Charles Alfaro has specialized in the development of strategic, creative and authentic communications, designed to increase the visibility and reputation of companies, brands and executives. He has had success in different industries, including consumer, health care, business-to-business and sports. Charles has led communication teams and worked with CEOs and senior executives at such major companies as Roche, Cadbury Schweppes and Boehringer Ingelheim. His background includes experience in nearly every facet of communications, including: corporate PR, focusing on reputation management and crisis communications; launch campaigns, media relations and PR programs for a number of well known brands, such as Tamiflu®, Xenical®, Dr Pepper®, Snapple®, Trident®, Dentyne®, POWERade®, vitaminwater® and smartwater®; executive communications; as well as internal and employee communications, and change management.



Kandis BiglerKandiss Bigler, Meridian Healthcare Partners

Kandiss Bigler is Director of Communications, Lean Six Sigma for Meridian Healthcare Partners, the management consulting firm for Kern Medical Center.  In her current role, Kandiss manages the day to day internal communication between leadership, employees and physicians. Kandiss is also responsible for coordinating marketing campaigns for the hospital and sits on the Hospital Authority Communication Subcommittee which is currently going through a rebranding effort.  Prior to Meridian Healthcare Partners, Kandiss began her career in healthcare as a Project Manager at Managed Care Systems, where she was the working directly with Blue Shield on the implementation of the Trio product in Kern County.  Kandiss relocated from San Diego where she was Director of Communications for Southwest Value Partners, a real estate investment firm in San Diego.  Kandiss is green belt certified in Lean Six Sigma and has a Masters in Kinesiology from CSU, Fresno and an MBA from San Diego State.



Jeff-Corbin-headshot-150-150Jeff Corbin,  APPrise Mobile

As a public and investor relations consultant for the past 15 years, Jeff Corbin is pioneering the use of technology in the communications industry as the founder of APPrise Mobile, a business-to-business/enterprise native app platform that includes theEMPLOYEEapp®, for internal communications; theIRapp®, for public companies; theCOMMSapp™, for external communications; and theCONFERENCEapp™, for investor, analyst and other conference and event communications.  Jeff also serves as the CEO of KCSA Strategic Communications, and has consulted with hundreds of private organizations as well as NASDAQ and NYSE listed companies.  Through this experience, he understands how organizations communicate with their targeted audiences, how these audiences consume information as well as the importance of technology to facilitate the direct connection between a company and its audience.  Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. You can follow and connect with Jeff on Twitter @jcorbinIR.



JohannaJohanna Danaher, Pfizer Inc.

Johanna Danaher, a native New Yorker received her B.A. in Zoology and an interdisciplinary concentration in Public Relations from the University of Maine, Orono, ME, in 1995. Johanna has been a member of the Talent and Organizational Performance team at Pfizer for over 15 years and has worked in a variety of talent functions including university relations, full-cycle recruiting, employment branding, project management, strategy integration, and employee communications. Currently Johanna is leading efforts to create and deliver simple, intuitive, and reliable solutions to effectively communicate information on Pfizer’s people and talent processes.   Her work focuses on increasing alignment of communications across talent platforms and initiatives, streamlining communications processes, and improving access to Talent information to more effectively meet end-user information needs.  She is accountable for developing and continually improving Pfizer’s internal Talent Portal as the destination of learning for colleagues, managers and senior leaders.


Register Now

Employee Engagement Webinar-On-Demand - large



If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement

Jill Christensen

Employee Engagement is all the rage.  Why?  Let’s start with the fact that per Gallup, only 34 percent of U.S. workers are engaged.  This means the vast majority of employees are sleepwalking though their day, giving companies little discretionary effort. 

Engagement occurs when workers trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company – the same way they did their first day on the job.  And the payoff is enormous.  Companies in the top tier of employee engagement outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.  Additionally, engaged workers provide better customer service, stay longer, make fewer mistakes, are more creative and productive, and are great brand ambassadors. 

What should an employee engagement strategy include?  To engage or re-engage employees, develop a list of action items that your managers (not Human Resources – HR) execute on consistently, which fulfill employee’s basic human needs. 

Culture is defined as how we do things here.  So in order to change your culture, your managers need to do things here differently tomorrow than they are doing here today.  And, we know where managers need to focus, as these areas are proven to impact engagement:

  • The Right Person in Every Chair:  Employees want to work for a company whose values align with their individual values, as it causes them to feel more emotionally connected.  Therefore, hire for a values match as well as a job skills match.  In addition, if you have toxic employees, develop or remove them from your organization.  Why?  Because toxic employees spread negativity and incompetence, impacting the people around them. 
  • Goal Alignment:  Employees want to know that what they do every day has meaning and adds value, so ensure that every person’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals.  Why?  When an employee’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals, he/she can see that the work they are doing is making a difference.  They are adding value, and positively impacting the company’s future and success.
  • Two-Way Communication Culture:  Employees want their voice to be heard, so build a two-way communication culture where people can express their ideas, opinions, feelings, hopes, dreams and wishes. Why?  When an employee thinks their voice matters, they feel validated and important.  In addition, if you have the right person in every chair, you have smart people working for you.  These people are closest to the customer and have amazing insights about what’s working, what’s not, and what could be improved.  Tap into it.
  • Recognition:  Employees want to feel acknowledged and appreciated for a job well done, so create a recognition program based on thanking people for their great work.  Why?  When you give an employee a company-branded water bottle, you’ve done nothing to let them know specifically what they did that is recognition-worthy.  Put away the bottle and replace it with the words, “Thank you for…”.  These words will inspire employees to give you discretionary effort.

As you embark on a journey to improve employee engagement, remember that it is just that – a journey.  Employee engagement is not a program or an initiative led by HR – it is a strategy.  Successful employee engagement strategies are championed by senior leaders, executed on by managers, and results are measured via an Employee Engagement Survey.  Make the shift today and you can begin realizing benefits tomorrow.  

About the Author: Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. A Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, Jill authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and holds a Six Sigma Green Belt. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or or

Dynamic Signal Raises $36.5 Million to Transform Employee Communication and Engagement in the Enterprise Editorial Team

Employee Communication and Engagement platform, Dynamic Signal, announced it has raised $36.5 million in growth financing, bringing the company’s total funding to $88 million. Participants in this round include Adams Street Partners, Akkadian Ventures, Cisco Investments, Focus Opportunity Fund, Founders Circle Capital, Microsoft Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, Time Warner Investments, Trinity Ventures, and Venrock. The new funding will help drive company growth and innovation to expand the platform’s capabilities, further providing a solution to the urgent business problem of connecting with the most valuable assets of the enterprise, employees.

“Employees are an organization’s most valued asset and communication with them is mission critical. But in today’s enterprise, communication is broken,” said Dynamic Signal CEO and co-founder, Russ Fradin. “Technology has changed the way we consume information. Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults now get their news on a mobile device, and more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce does not have a corporate email address. The rapid adoption we’ve experienced is evidence that organizations recognize how significantly employee expectations for communication have radically outpaced enterprise communication practices. We’re proud to be leading this $5 billion market by providing the most comprehensive Employee Communication and Engagement Platform available today.”

More informed employees outperform their peers by 77 percent, but only 14 percent of communicators are confident in their ability to measure their efforts to inform employees (CEB, now Gartner). To solve this, Dynamic Signal modernizes, streamlines and measures all types of employee communication, those created in the platform and those originating in the many integrations already supported by Dynamic Signal – including widely used systems of record (HRIS, CRM, SSO, Identity Management, etc.), Intranet providers and collaboration/social networking tools such as Facebook, Slack and Yammer. The investment will fund an expansion of Dynamic Signal’s product functionality and deeper integrations with enterprise systems.

Additionally, this round of growth capital will support the company’s aggressive hiring plans which include staffing newly established Seattle and Chicago offices, as well as growing existing offices in London, New York, and Silicon Valley. Dynamic Signal expects to more than double its headcount in 2018 to meet the growing market demand for its leading employee communication and engagement platform.

Further, the company also announced the board appointment of Robin Murray from Adams Street Partners, and board observer Donald Tucker, from Cisco Investments.

“Work has changed, making the collaboration market even more important to Cisco,” said Rob Salvagno, Cisco Vice President and Head of Corporate Development and Investments. “We are always looking for innovative companies that are creating technology to improve work, enhance employee performance and drive business impact. We recognize the urgent need for Employee Communication and Engagement Platforms among our own customers and the world at large, so we’re thrilled to invest in Dynamic Signal, and further our commitment to meeting the business needs of the enterprise.”

Additionally, Dynamic Signal today announced:

DySi Open: Available in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, DySi Open is a free, fully functional Dynamic Signal powered-community that allows communication, HR and marketing professionals to experience the Dynamic Signal platform and connect with their peers in the same way their employees would experience Dynamic Signal within their organizations. Dynamic Signal will create, curate and publish insights on DySi Open about corporate communication, employee advocacy and engagement, inviting the community to share feedback and insights with each other through DySi Open.

Newsletters: Dynamic Signal’s newly released newsletters allow customers to quickly create personalized newsletters by selecting multiple pieces of multimedia content and dropping them into a customized, formatted template. Administrators can distribute newsletters to targeted employee segments in-app and via mobile push notification or email in minutes; ensuring employees get only the most timely, relevant news digests for their role, geography, team, or management level, etc.

Surveys: Dynamic Signal’s Surveys allow communicators, marketers and HR professionals to measure efficacy, benchmark impact, and gather employee feedback with easy to execute Employee NPS, custom and pulse surveys to targeted employee segments. Surveys can be sent in-app and via push notification, SMS or email, and employees can respond right from their mobile app or desktop. Survey responses can also be collected anonymously, and administrators can easily resend surveys to those who haven’t completed them. Results update in real-time, are easy to read and exportable in both text and graphical formats.

Video Broadcasting: Video has become an increasingly important tool for authentic communication. With Dynamic Signal’s Video Broadcasting, customers can natively capture, edit, submit, review and share real-time video with targeted employee segments on the fly, to be consumed on the channels or devices most convenient for the way they work.

How Employees at BMW Drive Awareness & Engagement (Free Webinar)


Webinar Overview

BMW, now celebrating its 100th year, leads the way in everything it does, whether it’s industrial design, customer service or marketing.

Andrew Cutler, Executive and Internal Communication Manager at BMW North America, wanted to ensure that BMW communications also lead the way in the new socially-enabled world. Mr. Cutler also wanted to help drive awareness and increase authentic engagement on social media. He knew that better informing and empowering his employees as brand advocates could solve both problems.

Join Dynamic Signal’s VP of Marketing, Dave Hawley, on Thursday, June 30th at 10am PT as he talks with Mr. Cutler about:

  • How BMW NA transforms internal communications into an engagement and awareness tool
  • How to draft in behind employees already on social media
  • How to keep remote and hourly workers informed and engaged


Andrew Cutler_Headshot squareAndrew Cutler

Executive and Internal Communications Manager

BMW North America

Andrew Cutler is head of Executive and Internal Communications at BMW of North America. In this role, Andrew leads the company’s executive communication strategy and actions including executive messaging, speech writing, speaking forums and crisis management. He also leads the internal communications strategy that supports cultivating more knowledgeable, engaged, and motivated associates within the company. Andrew is also responsible for the management of all communication services and innovations that supports BMW of North America’s Corporate Communications operations. More recently, Andrew has led the development of the company’s corporate-wide Social Business strategy that includes working cross-functionally to establish a social media governance council, create social media guidelines and policies, develop corporate training and establish an enterprise-wide monitoring and analytics platform. Andrew has over 20 years of diverse corporate communications experience in the automobile business that includes brand launch management, strategic planning, crisis communications and media relations.


DaveHawleyDave Hawley

VP Marketing

Dynamic Signal

Dave is a seasoned SaaS marketing leader, with over a decade of experience helping to build high growth startups. Prior to leading marketing for Dynamic Signal, Dave led marketing at SocialChorus, and held a variety of senior marketing positions at PowerReviews/Bazaarvoice, ServiceMax, KACE/Dell. Dave started his career consulting Fortune 50 and startup organizations with the Yankee Group.



BMW Webinar Register Now

A Great Place to Work Can Stem the Tide of Employees Looking Elsewhere

A Great Place to Work Can Stem the Tide of Employees Looking Elsewhere


One in four US workers plans to leave their job in 2022. Some are changing jobs, but many are switching careers. Since people are the backbone of any business, how can you stem the tide of this Great Resignation taking place in America? The best defense is a culture that makes your company a great place to work.

Reasons for looking for another job

The first action is to understand why this trend is happening. The ongoing global pandemic has enabled workers to rethink their careers, work/life balance, long-term goals, and working conditions. Many companies have come up short. When employees are deeply dissatisfied with their work situations and they can see alternative options, they will make the move.

Burnout and a lack of flexible working conditions are often the reason given for looking elsewhere. The trend is the result of people digesting the lessons of the pandemic and the lockdown and reimagining what they’d like their lives to look like. Being miserable at work has become unacceptable.

What are employees looking for right now?

The pandemic took its toll on workers. The uncertainty and financial strain caused a marked rise in mental health issues. If an employee feels that the company is not sufficiently supportive during this time, it only makes tough times even worse. Loss and grief are other factors in the rising mental health crisis. Companies must be aware of these problems and willing to be as supportive as possible.

Addressing burnout, as well as the grief and loss many people have endured, is one of the key challenges for employers trying to hold on to their best workers, according to McKinsey & Company. Workers want  a great place to work that gives every person at the company full support.

What makes a company a great place to work?

A flexible work environment and schedule is high on the list. According to a recent Beamery survey, more than a third said their work/life balance was better at the height of the pandemic and 42 percent want flexible working to continue. 

Hire people who share the values and attitudes embraced by the company. This can make work fun, rewarding, and challenging. That’s likely to increase engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Build a community of trust around the employees. Support them in striving for their individual and work goals. Encourage a culture of celebration. Mark achievements both large and small for the company and the individuals, so that everyone shares in the win.

One of the best ways to improve your company culture and stem the tide of employees looking elsewhere for job satisfaction is to do a thorough and extensive employee survey. The results can uncover previously unknown problems, highlight weak areas, and help you to strengthen the positive aspects of your business. Set the bar high – aim to make your company an amazing workplace!



Thanking Employees for Giving

Thanking Employees for Giving


Dr. David Hagenbuch, Ethicist and Professor of Marketing, Messiah University, Author of Honorable Influence, Founder of

Even during a pandemic, there’s much for which to be thankful.  Most organizations are grateful they’ve weathered the economic turmoil; at the same time, they also should be showing gratitude to the stakeholder group that has become increasingly important to them:  their employees.
Help wanted signs in store windows and job listings on websites abound.  Most of us can’t recall so many organizations, in all kinds of industries, competing for such a wide range of talent.
A few months ago, I offered some suggestions for how organizations might better market themselves to a shrinking pool of prospective employees.  Such successful onboarding is very important; however, it’s probably not as important as another tactic, which an old adage from personal selling mirrors:
It’s easier to keep current customers than it is to acquire new ones.
From a personnel perspective:
 It’s better to keep existing employees than it is to hire new ones.
Those of us who have served on search committees, conducted job interviews, and participated in training, know the significant time, effort, and expense it takes to make successful hires.
Yes, every organization needs to bring new employees ‘onto the bus,’ but if good, veteran employees are getting off faster than new ones are getting on, the company really needs to shift its focus, for economic and other reasons, from acquisition to retention.
Keeping employees satisfied and wanting to stay in their jobs has been the focus of HR practitioners and management theorist, such as Frederick Herzberg, for over half a century.  Marketers also have offered input through the specialization known as internal marketing, which treats employees as a unique target market and strives to meet their needs.
If you’ve ever left a job or thought of leaving one, you know many considerations impact the decision, some tangible like pay and benefits, others more intangible like respect and recognition.  In many ways, all these factors coalesce into one desire that practically everyone, employed or not, has each day: to feel appreciated.  We all like to know that others—family, friends, and employers—are thankful for us.
So, how exactly should employers show that they’re thankful for the people that work for them?  Of course, there’s no one way.  Also, different people might appreciate certain approaches more than others, similar to the way individuals have different “love languages,” or ways in which they’d like others to show love to them.
To help me understand best practices for showing gratitude, I reached out to three business professionals whose work prioritizes employee satisfaction.  Some ideas they shared were familiar, but many included a ‘creative twist,’ and still others were completely new.  Here are several of their responses to my question: How can organizations show their employees they’re thankful for them?
1. Anthony Hahn, president and CEO of Conestoga Wood Specialties

Manufacturing some of the nation’s highest-quality custom cabinets and wood components undoubtedly takes a skilled work force that is challenging to recruit and retain, especially in a tight labor market.  Hahn shared that new measures such as higher starting wages, improved vacation opportunities, and attendance bonuses have helped offset those challenges.
However, Conestoga have gone much further to communicate to its employees that they’re appreciated.  The company has given workers more flexibility in attending to personal needs, instituted employee recognition events with catered lunches, improved training of front-line supervisors, and enhanced corporate communication.
During the holidays, there are still more expressions of gratitude that Conestoga offers its 1,000+ employees, spread across several states, but two of the most significant things Hahn does throughout the year are to send each employee a birthday card and to seek opportunities to interact with individual employees and personally thank them for their work.

2. Stephanie Lehman, marketing coordinator for Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread
It’s unlikely that Martins would be the nation’s #1 potato roll and the bun of choice for Shake Shack if it didn’t have happy employees.  However, because of its workers’ exceptional response throughout the pandemic, the company felt it needed to do more to express its appreciation for them.
Lehman shared that one thing the firm has done is increase written communication to employees, sending a “Martin’s Management Minute” during the summer months—the  busiest time of year for a bun maker—in order to recognize employees’ exceptional contributions to the company’s success.
This past summer, Martin’s extended its gratitude a step further by videoing members of its executive team as they personally thanked employees for their contributions.  The firm played the videos on digital signs throughout buildings at its headquarters and in satellite locations.
In addition, every three years the company unfurls a full-out celebration of its workers by hosting employee picnics at each of its bakery locations.  With free food, games, and entertainment, the events are more like large carnivals or fairs, but they’re just for Martin’s families.
3. Jessica Walter, senior consultant for culture and employee engagement at Kincentric

Much of Walter’s career has involved helping all kinds of organizations communicate more effectively with their employees.  As such, she’s seen examples on either end of the efficacy continuum, as well as all points in between.
Above all, Walter emphasizes that organizational leaders need to examine their communication and “make it personal”:
“Today’s most effective leaders are focused on the human side of leadership – the heart side of leadership. Employees are craving connection, care, and compassion more than ever before, so a sincere expression of gratitude from a leader has a powerful impact.”  
She describes how that personal communication can happen, saying:
“Whether it’s a heartfelt email to the entire company, hand-written thank-you notes to your immediate team, or walking the floor and personally thanking each person you see, the act of appreciating and acknowledging [people] fosters trust and deepens the relationship.” 
I’m not sure if Walter has ever consulted with Conestoga or Martin’s, but it seems like she could have, as each of those companies’ expressions of gratitude to its employees are excellent reflections of her advice.
I’ve long been a believer that the customer comes first.  Although I still affirm that marketing mandate, I’m increasingly of the mind that treating one’s own personnel well is a critical, moral prerequisite.  Moreover, companies that regularly communicate thankfulness to their employees are engaged in some of the most “Mindful Marketing.”

David HagenbuchAbout the Author: Dr. David Hagenbuch, Ethicist and Professor of Marketing, Messiah University, Author of Honorable Influence, Founder of 

Five Useless Questions to Remove from Engagement Surveys

Five Useless Questions to Remove from Engagement Surveys


Remove the fluff with no clear path to action, and you’ll get higher response rates, better data and more robust answers. You’ll also build trust and waste less time.

Mark Murphy, CEO, Leadership IQ

The purpose of an employee engagement survey is to increase employee engagement.

The purpose is not to idly measure, satisfy executives’ curiosity or establish a baseline. If an employee engagement survey isn’t designed to help us increase engagement, we risk violating employees’ trust and actually decreasing their engagement.

Think of it like this: People take time out of their day to answer a survey. They do so with the expectation and an implied promise that something will improve. But if months go by with no significant action taken, they’ll feel like the company broke that implied promise.

[RELATED: Join us Nov. 15 for our Transforming Communications: Leaders Speak Out Webinar]

Most companies don’t start their survey with the intention of not taking action on the results. But that’s the typical outcome because the survey questions most companies ask are too vague or lack a specific path to action.

More than 10,000 HR executives have taken the online test “How Good Is Your Employee Engagement Survey?” One of the questions asks, “Do your survey questions have a clear path to action (i.e., if you get a low score on a question, you know exactly how to fix the issue).”

Continue reading here…

TikTok Challenges Rev Up Social Media Engagement Effort

TikTok Challenges Rev Up Social Media Engagement Effort


Cisco turned to the fast-paced platform to share #LoveWhereYouWork stories from intern ambassadors.

John Cowan, Editor, Ragan Communications

Cisco’s social media audience consists of two personas: current employees and potential candidates. It has a variety of social media strategies to engage both audiences, but wanted to activate its virtual summer interns to become content creators on TikTok in a pilot program. The goal was simple: to create #WeAreCisco advocates through motivating them to be a part of something new and exclusive, while allowing them to be creative.

Pilot program was first of its kind 

The pilot program—the first of its kind at Cisco—activated interns to share their #LoveWhereYouWork story through a variety of TikTok “challenges” that the #WeAreCisco team issued weekly throughout the summer. To reach the active TikTok audience, Cisco worked with its university recruiting team to identify interns who might be interested in participating, then created an initial group of intern ambassadors and employee ambassadors (to highlight how the intern experience was integrated into the employee experience) and introduced them to the program using Webex Teams technology.

Continue reading here…

Why It’s So Important to Show Employee Appreciation – And How to Do It

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Most companies fail to realize when their employees are dealing with stress, disengagement, and lack of motivation. Others that do realize know little about how to combat it. However, there is a simple solution: appreciation.

Employee appreciation is the open recognition and admiration of an employee’s accomplishments or conduct. Companies use it to show gratitude, inspire staff, and encourage desirable behavior. One study found that 82% of surveyed employees wish they were recognized more.

Establishing an appreciative culture in the organization is not something you do for just the employees. This also has a significant impact on your operational efficiency and organizational profit. Here’s what you need to know about employee appreciation and why it’s so important:

Increased Satisfaction and Productivity

Employees’ connections to the company, team, and job are impacted when they feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts. These emotional connections drive increased satisfaction that fuels good performance. Employees content with their work and organizations tend to be 12% more productive than the others.

Boosts Employee Retention

Employee retention is three times higher in organizations where the culture of appreciation is highly regarded. Even when an average employee opts to leave, an appreciated employee tends to stick around. This is because the constant gratitude makes them feel as if they’re an essential part of the company and helps develop a sense of ownership within the organization.

Builds Inspiration

A healthy and motivating environment is essential in a workplace because it allows the team to learn from each other. Individuals will see their colleagues working hard and receiving praise as a result. This can generate a little healthy competition and inspire the rest of the team.

Setting an example for your employees will also influence the overall business culture and how people recognize and appreciate one another. As this mindset develops throughout the company and departments, it will trickle down into peer-to-peer relationships and build a culture of gratitude.

Reinforces Company Values

Acknowledging achievements helps demonstrate to staff what is desired by managers, executives, and the business as a whole. When an employee gets good feedback for an activity, they tend to link it with a reward and strive to replicate that emotion in the future. When employees are appreciated for a particular thing, it emphasizes the principles that a company wishes to instill in its culture and demonstrates the type of achievements that the company is looking for. 

Improves Relationships 

Trust in management is essential. When an employee feels valued by upper management, they develop confidence in the process. It makes the individual feel like their contributions make a difference and they can count on their boss. Over 90% of employees who received praise or appreciation from their employer in the previous month said they had more faith in that manager, compared to only 48% of employees who did not receive acknowledgement and still trusted their superiors.

Creates Company Ambassadors and Advocates

Potential recruits typically go beyond the recruitment process to get to know the values of the organization. If you have satisfied employees, they will be able to act as advocates for the organizations. They promote the company and tell others about their positive experiences.

This acts as a stimulator for prospective applicants in taking a position at your firm. The ones that haven’t applied also get encouraged to listen to good personal experiences.

How to show employee appreciation?

Employee appreciation raises desire, promotes engagement, encourages loyalty, and improves productivity. All of these elements are valuable to any company. Here are a few ways you can show employee appreciation

1. Use social media 

Celebrate your workers’ birthdays and company milestones through social media. The post might include a photo with details about the employee’s role in the company or what they’ve achieved.

2. Lunches/Events

Send cupcakes to work or host a pizza party on the company card for lunch. This sort of reward will not only unite your workplace together and enhance their interpersonal ties, but it will also make everyone feel valued.

3  Send Gifts

Giving away business gifts, raffles, and other prizes is a simple way to offer a token of appreciation. For example, you might send them branded notepads, writing utensils, subscription boxes, gift cards, custom labeled wine bottles, and much more. These gifts go a long way towards making your team feel valued again and again. 

4. Vacation Time

Sometimes all an employee needs is time off to do something other than work. If they have performed well or accomplished a major goal, show your appreciation by giving them a well-deserved break in the form of a paid vacation or personal day.

5. Thank You Notes

People want to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Sometimes you don’t need a grand gesture; just a simple thankyou will make the worker feel valued.


Psychological Safety in Public Relations: Are You Encouraging Employees to Speak Up or Shut Down?

At a time when employee health and wellness are top of mind, there’s a different form of safety that we also need to focus on, one that’s key to long-term success – psychological safety.    

The concept of “psychological safety” is about encouraging employees to speak up. It’s about creating workplaces in which individuals or teams are not fearful of sharing their perspective.

Although creating safe spaces for employees to speak up is not new, but Harvard professor, Amy C. Edmondson’s work in this area has captured the imagination because it offers a path to higher performing teams, innovation and diversity. (Read her book The Fearless Organization or watch her TED talk on building a psychologically safe workplace.)  

Underscoring the importance of the concept, a Google study found that psychological safety was the most significant success factor underpinning high-performance teams across the organization.

Edmondson, who discussed psychological safety in our Marketing IMPACT Council™/CommunicationsMatch™, COVID-19 Reset webinar series shared the consequences when teams self-censor; when individuals don’t share problems or issues, because they don’t feel it is safe to do so. Read the summary of the webinar featuring Edmondson. Watch the replay here.

With so much going on, it may be tempting for industry leaders to argue that psychological safety isn’t a priority at this time. That would be a mistake.

When it comes to psychological safety, we are at an “if not now, then when” moment. If employees do not feel they can share their ideas, concerns around returning to office spaces during the pandemic or abuse or racism they may be subject to in the workplace, companies risk missing opportunities to innovate or worse.

We’ve all worked, at one time or another, with people who made us or others afraid to speak up. People who dominated conversations, shut down other perspectives, or dismissed them out of hand. And, we’ve likely seen the results that range from anxiety to missing out on transformative ideas with the potential to drive long-term success. 

These experiences are poisonous and corrosive to morale and productivity. Workplaces in which employees are not heard lead to employees closing down and eventually quitting. 

And when it comes to diverse employees, we need to recognize that there are additional layers of behavior and experience around race or sexual orientation that create even higher barriers to sharing perspectives from diverse viewpoints.      

The starting point for walking-the-talk is a recognition of the benefits of a psychologically safe workplace for employees and acknowledging the real risks to the organization when your team does not speak up. 

As a leader, how will you know if employees feel as though they can share what’s on their minds? Ask! As long as you can handle the truth and are willing to do something to address issues you may uncover. And, be willing to bring in experts to help – our partner coaches/consultants on CommunicationsMatch™ can help you navigate this difficult terrain.

In Success in Communications: Four Magic Words – What do you Think?, asking this simple question is a powerful starting point for open and honest discussions. But, only if your team or colleagues feel they can share what they really think and believe that something will come from it.       

When teams feel safe enough to share insights and perspective, challenge others, and see leaders implementing their ideas – you build the foundation for the road to innovation, alignment, diversity and inclusion.

As we manage through the pandemic and seek ways to increase diversity in the communications and marketing industries, psychological security has a key role to play. Time to talk about it.

Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatch™

CommunicationsMatch™ offers search tools and services to help companies find, shortlist, and hire agencies, consultants, and freelancers, and help agencies and professionals generate new business leads. During the coronavirus pandemic, CommunicationsMatch is leveraging its resources to help connect struggling not-for-profits and companies with Communications Volunteers willing to give their time to help others at no cost or discounted services. Through its’ partnership with the Marketing IMPACT Council™, it is offering communicators access to a unique low-cost telehealth services program from MDLIVE, as well as additional time and discounts on membership plans. Find out more at the CommunicationsMatch Insights Blog.

Jaya Koilpillai Bohlmann, President and Founder, Designing Communication, MSMOB, APR, ACC, certified coach. Professor, University of Maryland.

A marketing, communication, engagement, organization development executive and coach with 20-plus years’ experience working in-house and as a consultant. She has an award-winning portfolio of successes with global Fortune 500 companies, associations, nonprofits and consulting firms. A CommunicationsMatch™ coaching partner, she specializes in helping companies, nonprofits and individuals clarify their brand attributes, create brand identities and market themselves to influencers and customers. She helps professionals create career paths and find fulfilling opportunities while advising organizations on how to create their best teams. 

Linda Dunbar, CEO Diversity Decoder

Linda Dunbar is chief executive and founder of Diversity Decoder and a PR/corporate communications consultant and executive with global Fortune 500 experience. She is uniquely qualified to help companies interpret this moment in history and current events for business and non-profit leaders. Diversity Decoder helps companies get diversity right when it comes to communications, advertising, and product. It helps companies avoid diversity disasters caused by insensitivity and lack of understanding, and respond effectively if and when it is too late for prevention.