How to Build an Employee Communications Strategy
Employee communication is an integral part of a business’ success. The sharing of information, feelings, and ideas between employees and management is a crucial driver of business growth and success.
While up to 34% of on-site employees prefer in-person conversation, several other channels exist for effective workplace communication. This blog will highlight these channels, the importance of implementing a great communication strategy, and the best practices to adopt.
The Importance of Employee Communication
If done right, workplace communication can have a significant positive impact. To demonstrate the importance of employee communication, here is a look at the top benefits.
- Increased Employee Engagement
Effective workplace communication is vital to boosting employee engagement. When employees have clear information to do their jobs and can provide feedback, they aren’t only more productive, but they also become more engaged and motivated to give their best.
- Improved Efficiency
Mistakes are bound to happen when instructions aren’t clear, if any. Effective employee communication eliminates these mistakes and the impact on overall efficiency that comes with the errors. Great communication ensures you have a team that runs smoothly as it works toward meeting company objectives.
- Conflict Mitigation
Poor workplace communication leads to misunderstandings and breeds conflict. According to recent research, 49% of workplace conflicts result from poor communication. Clear communication about what you expect of each team member helps to mitigate these conflicts. Inclusion and allowing employees opportunities to provide feedback and not feel left out also helps reduce conflict.
- Increased Loyalty
Employees who feel seen and heard will be loyal to the company. If you are clear in your employee communication and don’t feel the need to micromanage your team, rest assured they will not be eager to leave. Have a good workplace communication strategy, and you will not have to worry about employee turnover. Your retention numbers will be 4.5 times more than businesses with poor employee communication.
Assessing Current Best Practices
Effective employee communication is undoubtedly one of the key factors that sets apart high performers across various industries. So then, what works? Here are some best practices these organizations swear by that help with collaboration in corporate and government offices.
- Keep It Clear and Concise
Avoid communication overload. Keep it simple, and avoid the kind of technical jargon that would otherwise lead to misunderstanding. Also, be clear about expectations.
- Use Multiple Channels
Diversify and leverage communication tools and channels. The various options have pros and drawbacks, which is why it’s a great idea to have a good mix. Your employees shouldn’t only be willing to use the channels you select, but you can certainly look forward to better results if they actually enjoy doing so.
- Maintain Consistency
All communication across the different channels should carry the very essence of your brand and workplace culture. A consistent communication style avoids ambiguity and misunderstanding while unifying team members. Your employee communication strategy should include a clear plan defining formats, guidelines, and best practices.
- Encourage Feedback with Two-Way Channels
You earn the trust of your employees and create a sense of belonging among them when they feel heard. Face-to-face meetings, suggestion boxes, and employee surveys are excellent two-way communication channels. With these communication tools in place, cultivate a workplace culture that encourages everyone to share ideas and concerns.
- Measure Effectiveness
What are your communication goals? Define employee communication metrics and track your performance. If your goal is engagement, then track how well that is going and how to improve it.
Defining Your Goals
Communication goals are the starting point of your workplace communication strategy. These goals define what you want to achieve with employee communication. With that in mind, you will make informed decisions about allocating your resources and where to focus your efforts.
In setting your communication goals, follow the SMART model, that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. In addition to aiming for these qualities, keep in mind your business objectives, your people, and the communication channels you will use as you define these goals.
What Channels Should You Use?
There is no one correct channel for workplace communication. In fact, the choice of channel and format for employee communication ultimately comes down to the message you’re communicating to your team. For example, virtual communication through video conferences would be a great choice if you’d like to encourage interaction. Conversely, in-person conversations are ideal if you’re looking to pass a complex subject.
In addition, other factors, such as your employees’ preferences and your budget, also come into play when selecting a communication channel.
The right mix of employee communication channels and formats can make a difference. Here is a look at the top 5 options.
- Face-to-Face/ Personal Conversations
Face-to-face communication is an excellent choice for passing across sensitive or complex messages. It allows you to communicate with more than just your words, but also non-verbally with your facial expressions and body language.
Additionally, one-on-one conversations are great for interaction. For example, a meeting in the conference room would be great to bounce ideas with team members before starting a new project.
Email is one of the best communication tools for sending formal messages in a structured way. Indeed, you can outline exactly what actions you expect from the recipients and indicate the message’s urgency.
- Online Messaging Platforms
The last few years have seen more and more online messaging platforms for internal teams joining the market. Although they function much like text messaging, these communication tools, such as Slack, add a level of professionalism that is required for workplace communication.
- Digital Signage
That it’s highly engaging and helps reinforce workplace culture are among the top reasons digital signage boosts employee communication. From company dashboards and noticeboards to meeting room signage, digital signage adds a fresh, dynamic, and interactive approach to any organization’s workplace communication strategy.
In any case, you can’t go wrong with digital signage if employee engagement is top on your communication goals. There are many industries that benefit from digital signage. Whether you are running a small business or a big enterprise, these innovative solutions have so much to offer, even beyond improving employee communication.
- Phone Calls
Phone calls are a great pick when there is a sense of urgency involved, as calls are real-time. While the team member on the other end of the line may not be able to see your facial expressions, as in face-to-face conversations and virtual communication, they can read your tone. Additionally, calls are good for lengthy discussions.
Implementing Two-Way Communication
Planning and implementing two-way communication in the workplace holds many benefits for any organization. From improved trust and enhanced collaboration to improved job satisfaction, these benefits cannot be overstated.
How can you get two-way communication right and enjoy these benefits? Here is an outline of a surefire 5-step plan.
- Understand your employees and what is important to them
- Create or choose the best communication tools and channels
- Cultivate a workplace culture of transparency and empathy that encourages employee feedback
- Gather feedback
- Act on the feedback
Execute a Winning Strategy
No two businesses are the same. It is essential to remember this as you approach creating and implementing an effective employee communication strategy. As has been noted, with the right mix of channels, including corporate digital signage and the best practices, you will have what it takes to create a winning employee communication strategy that drives employee engagement and boosts productivity, growth, and team harmony.