HR leaders looking at engagement programmes always need to have one eye on the financial returns, the hard evidence they can take to the boardroom to demonstrate that the investment is paying off. So when I sit down with prospects to talk about their strategy and our solution, the ‘what can it do for me?’ question naturally always looms large. So let’s deal with it here.
We use five pillars of engagement to help frame our thinking and approach - communications, accessibility, enablement, recognition and feedback. Those pillars are evident in our business case and they shape our Engage platform and user app too. To us they are the essentials for engagement success - do these well and you’re 90% of the way there. It’s useful to have it broken down like this for another reason - people invariably have different priorities or are wrestling with different problems or are at different stages of the same problem.
So we have some HR or operational heads concentrating on universal communications and real- time messaging, whereas others are wanting to get typical intranet-located resources out to the non-desked or mobile; then there are those exploring process automation and help tools, others focused on onboarding or elearning opportunities, and some trying to make rewards available to all, or even considering doing away with the dreaded annual survey in favour of pulse polling. Most pillars get embraced eventually - and indeed, for all the talk of priorities, the reality for most is that it is often a juggling act of several pillars at a time.
But for now let’s take each pillar in turn - starting with communications - and demonstrate that it is quite possible to achieve a very respectable ROI from a single pillar alone. The three following examples are drawn from actual client success stories, and serve as a really handy illustration of what real engagement success looks like - and adds up to.
Industrial services company with 2000 staff spread across 14 sites- This blue-chip relied on a printed newsletter to get news out but readership was patchy at best and a perceived poor return on the 30K annual spend. We app-enabled the newsletter to deliver it direct to every employee, clawing back not just the 30K but also much of the production time, which was redirected into a monthly company update video. Readership now averages 92%, and viewing figures are trending upwards, rising from 54% to 79% in six months.
Sporting facility needing to manage several thousand casual staff on event days - This organisation was using text messaging to try and marshal a diverse part-time workforce, an unwieldy and expensive process with SMS bills exceeding 10K per month. By adopting the app and using push notifications and group/private messaging, they were able to drop SMS, pocket the savings and get back a considerable portion of admin time with the simplified, real-time comms capability.
Manufacturer with 1800 workers across three sites, and a lorry fleet - This food producer had to put out regular major policy updates as part of its governance structure, and estimated that each one cost it 6K in time and materials. The use of notifications with a link through to the policy and automatic tracking/auditing of it being opened and read is now saving them upwards of 36K a year.
To put the above in some sort of context, the returns for these three from just one activity in one pillar equated to between 65-85% of their annual investment in our Engage platform. That’s worth repeating - one activity within one pillar has the potential to set you well on your way to recouping your total costs.
It’s also worth making the point that this is based on substitutional benefits alone - we haven’t even factored in the financial impact of improved engagement, experience and enablement. When you consider that we have clients for whom even a 1% increase in staff retention means a 25K bottom line bonus, it’s fairly clear that there is plenty of potential upside - and with costs pretty much covered, no downside whatsoever.