Gallup research shows that fewer than half of employees are truly engaged at work. Millennials, a fast-growing portion of the workforce, often report they don’t feel connected to their company’s mission.
Lisa Richter, Stakeholder Insights, and Fred Bendaña of partner agency CPG shared examples of how experiential marketing drives employee engagement on May 18 at a St. Louis Chapter American Marketing Association event.
All-employee meetings, strategically planned using diagnostic culture audit and employee engagement metrics, need to deliver on five characteristics of employee communications that boost employee engagement:
- They are personal
- Build anticipation
- Inclusive, and
- Minimize change in the workplace (reducing fear of the unknown)
We shared examples of planning metrics and experiential employee engagement activities from Southwest Airlines’ Annual Employee Rally and two other companies’ national internal meetings. Each case demonstrates how pre-meeting systematically designed employee survey input helped create an engaging meeting experience and, post-meeting, documented its success.
Each national gathering featured company speakers and facilitators addressing the most relevant employee workplace questions through learning, networking and entertainment activities that increased employee commitment to the corporate mission.
The post-meeting survey that repeats questions from the pre-meeting benchmark and calibrates differences in awareness and belief are one employee engagement and commitment measure. Another indicator: Southwest Rally employee attendance grew 31% over the previous year with this deliberately planned, experiential engagement program.
The AMA learning event ended with a hands-on demonstration of employee engagement. Using CPG’s Idea Kitchen brainstorming approach, each table of 8 attendees developed a sample plan for communicating to employees that their company has been purchased by another company. A second stimulus to initial thinking was added after five minutes: “What would LeBron James do in this situation? Kim Kardashian?” More creative solutions emerged.
We expect some of the resulting ideas and programs will eventually be shared and even implemented by those engaged in the experiential engagement exercise at this AMA event.