A lot of communication happens every day in every organization--in fact, most employees will tell you that they receive too much information.

But despite the content flying around in an organization's cyberspace, employees aren't satisfied:

  • 95% of organizations have employees experiencing burnout, says a study by Kronos.
  • 87% of employees aren't engaged, according to research by Gallup--and only 13% are excited by what they do.
  • And 40% of people experience loneliness (AARP), especially in professions like law, engineering and research.

Another email will not do a darn thing to address these systemic issues. But what can make a difference is enlightened internal communication--focused on creating meaning for employees, helping them make connections with their colleagues and building community across the entire organization.

How? I raised this challenge to nearly 300 internal communication professionals at the recent Connect 18 Conference, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America's Employee Communication Section. (Related post: Predicting the future of internal communication.) 

Here are 37 ways these communicators engage employees in their organizations:

Determine what employees need

1. Ask employees what we can do to make them feel more connected

2. Interview managers one-on-one to determine their communication needs

3. Determine what employees are most passionate about

Share meaningful content

4. Tell employees' stories

5. Emphasize the organization's goals and purpose in every communication channel

6. Make sure rumors are addressed

7. Share stories about why employees choose to work here

Make leaders accessible

9. Encourage leaders to visit every worksite

10. Invite employees in small groups to Q&A sessions with the CEO

11. Hold a monthly breakfast at which 10 employees meet with a senior leader

12. Block out 10 hours a week of executives' time to visit front-line employees

Celebrate achievements and recognize success

13. Use the quarterly newsletter to highlight accomplishments

14. Acknowledge employees' struggles and celebrate their successes

15. Spotlight what employees do outside of work

16. Launch a rewards and recognition program

17. Send regular positive shout-outs to the entire organization

18. Create a "boosters" committee with a mission to celebrate wins and recognize employees

20. Create weekly gratitude and recognition stories about employees

22. Publish a "Colleagues on the Move" newsletter each month to recognize internal promotions, new hires and work anniversaries

Build community

23. Arrange meet-and-greet sessions for new employees

24. Hold quarterly offsite meetings focused on building community

25. Create volunteering experiences for employees

26. Organize a volunteering event during the holidays to put together care packs

27. Hold informal mixers at which employees can get together

28. Develop an intranet that emphasizes two-way communication

29. Create an internal social media platform so employees feel they have a voice and can hear what their colleagues have to say

Change the employee experience

31. Revamp the orientation process

32. Throw jargon in the trash and use plain language

33. Train managers on the importance of connecting with employees

34. Hold events that focus on women's empowerment

35. Give employees a chance to experience our products

36. Hold a quarterly gameshow-style employee event

37. Advocate for what employees need