Employee Communication: A Guide To Unlocking Its Benefitson 28 April 2021
Communication is a key component of any relationship, personal or business. Leaders prioritise customer communication because it impacts revenue, a critical aspect of any business that wants to stay afloat. However, employee communication tends to rank low on the priority list for some leaders.
If you’re one such leader, you should know the importance of employee communication. Prioritising communication with your employees:
- Increases profits. A Gallup study notes that having engaged employees produces 21% greater profitability.
- Encourages better performance. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
- Generates more value from compensation. Actively disengaged employees cost their organisations $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary (or 34%).
It’s clear that, regardless of the types of employment communication methods you choose, there’s an upside to prioritising interactions with your workforce. But how should you go about learning how to prioritize employee communication? Check out the advice below, which includes valuable strategies and best practices.
5 Employee Communication Strategies
1. Use collaboration-focused solutions.
How do businesses communicate with employees effectively? “We’ve found that employing communication software is very important to making remote work feasible,” says William Schumacher, CEO of Uprising Food.
What kind of solutions does Schumacher recommend? First, he notes that video chatting software is essential, especially for a remote team. Emails and instant messages may work for sharing information, but teams also need a substitute for in-person interactions to stay connected—video is the next best option. “Also, project management software that has communication features is important. To keep your entire team organised, you need a way to centralise work.”
2. Set regular interdepartmental meetings.
While it’s essential that senior managers are communicating clear goals and strategies down the chain of command, it’s also important that all departments in an organisation are in sync with one another in striving toward those goals. That’s why Solomon Thimothy, co-founder of Clickx, recommends setting up interdepartmental meetings on a regular basis, whether in person or through virtual methods.
“You want the departments to really talk to one another to ensure their efforts are inclusive,” Thimothy explains. “Make it a point to set meetings that will not only encourage a healthy exchange of ideas and updates but will also enhance teamwork and camaraderie between departments.”
3. Send company-wide messages.
Caroline Lee, co-founder of CocoSign, recommends adding company-wide emails to your employee communication strategy since email is still standard in many organisations. “With mass emails, you can ensure every employee gets notified about important events or changes.”
You can also apply this same concept in different formats. For example, if you’ve incorporated communication software, as noted above, use it to deliver announcements and share news within the application as status updates, pinned items, and push notifications.
4. Schedule regular team-building activities.
“So much of an organisation's success hinges on effective employee communication,” says Markus Albert, managing director of Eat First. He notes one of the major roadblocks to good communication is a lack of trust and camaraderie in the workplace, which can only really be built by giving employees a chance to get to know and collaborate with one another.
Albert says a practical way to build trust and camaraderie is to hold regular team-building activities, either in person or virtually. These activities give teams the opportunity to see colleagues showcasing their abilities in real time and rely on one another to meet group objectives.
Complementary to these activities, Albert’s company regularly hosts professional development days that focus on case studies tailored to different business functions (e.g., marketing, sales, IT). The purpose is to give employees the chance to work together and build their collaboration and communication skills. “The combination of more casual team-building activities and structured professional development days have paid dividends with more effective employee communication and improved employee performance.”
5. Gather employees in person.
Jeff Dawson, who is vice president of a construction company, reminds us to never forget the power of communicating in person with employees. While much of the business world has gone virtual, going back to basics—in this case, a face-to-face meeting—can often have a more lasting impact than an email or instant message. “I know this strategy may seem old fashioned at this point, but I know how useful it is.”
Sometimes your message can get lost in the sea of communications your employees absorb every day. When that message is critical, it’s sometimes best to get in front of your employees—in person. “It’s hard to ignore what someone is saying when they’re in your face. That, plus you can really drive your point home because they get the ‘feel’ behind what you’re communicating,” says Dawson.
Dawson shares an employee communication example of how gathering with employees in person can have a big impact, especially when they aren’t performing as expected. During one construction project, the foreman and his team of workers weren’t completing the essential task of checking maintenance records for assigned equipment, despite being told via email and phone.
“I decided to show up Monday morning for a surprise meeting,” says Dawson. “I had the whole team congregate in a trailer, where I proceeded to remind them of the importance of checking maintenance records. Afterward, each worker had to state to me individually their intent to follow through on the task before returning to work. I never had an issue with the task being completed on that project again.”
5 Employee Communication Best Practices
1. Be clear about employee expectations.
Employees should always know what leaders expect from them as members of the organisation. “Setting and informing employees of expectations is an essential component of effective employee communication. This includes having detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs),” says Alex Shute, founder and editor-in-chief of FaithGiant.
For example, Shute notes how employee onboarding needs SOPs. Once hired, new employees need to know the duration of the onboarding process, their responsibilities throughout the process, how other members of the organisation will interact with them during the process, and how you as the employer plan to judge their performance at the conclusion of the process.
2. Encourage feedback from employees.
“To be truly effective, employee communication must go both ways,” says Mike Chappell, founder of Formspal. That means in addition to senior management sharing information, employees must be given the opportunity to do the same. “It’s essential that employees have a voice.”
April Maccario, founder of Ask April, agrees with Chappell. She says creating a work environment that allows employees to talk about their views and opinions openly is the best way to keep employee communication intact. “You want them to be comfortable voicing their sentiments without the fear of being reprimanded. If everyone has this comfortability, you can resolve issues more quickly and experience more fruitful collaborations.”
From a practical standpoint, Chappell advises encouraging employees to provide feedback to their managers—and ensure this occurs all the way up the chain to senior leaders. But simply telling employees to give feedback isn’t enough: You have to provide clear means for employees to do so. For example, choose a communication solution that incorporates automated workflows for capturing and routing information to appropriate organisational members.
3. Develop a culture of respect.
To foster effective employee communication, Maccario says respect needs to permeate the organisation. And just like communication, respect must go both ways—employees should respect their managers and vice versa. It goes without saying peers should respect one another as well.
“Consider a team meeting. Respect means never interrupting someone talking,” Maccario explains. “Each participant should be given the time to speak. If someone has something to add, they can write it down and share their thoughts at the appropriate time. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but it should be the default. Mutual respect helps prevent unnecessary conflict, improving employee communication within the workplace.”
4. Share strategic goals with employees.
What happens in the boardroom shouldn’t always stay there. Some company cultures tend to make sharing strategy a no-no when it should be a common affair. “Everyone in the organisation should know the company’s strategic objectives. Otherwise, employees have no guiding light for their efforts,” says Andrew Martins, senior associate at LVBet.
Martins notes that you should explain your goals clearly, so all employees fully understand how their work contributes to the organisation’s success. And while senior management should have a solid idea of employees’ efforts, the same applies from the employees’ perspective—they should know what senior management is doing to achieve strategic goals.
5. Check in on employees regularly.
“Consistent and timely employee communication makes the connection between management and employees stronger,” says Patrick Wu, marketing manager at Ioforth. Employees may have concerns and suggestions they wish to share, but it may take prompting from leadership to bring them out. “Whether it’s one-on-one coaching, team huddles, or a simple email, pinging employees makes them feel valued and heard, which can keep communication flowing and increase engagement.”
Unlock the benefits of employee communication with the right key: Glasscubes.
Glasscubes is a robust collaboration solution that supports employee communication and ensures your entire organisation can stay connected internally and externally. In today’s fast-paced business world, you can’t effectively accomplish your goals without collaboration. Glasscubes makes that collaboration simple.
From document management to task management to contextual communication, Glasscubes gives you the ability to stay in the loop on the latest updates and share what’s most important—all while keeping work moving efficiently.
With Glasscubes, you can:
- Collect, process, and approve information through customisable, automated forms and workflows that include user assignees, assignee follow-ups, and completion alerts.
- Assign and manage tasks for different members of the team, and track them to completion.
- Create customised workspaces for each project team in your portfolio. Team members can share resources and communicate with one another in their specific workspace, and you can access them all for easy oversight.
Want to see how other companies are using Glasscubes to streamline their employee communication? Check out these case studies.