Nowadays, businesses are heavily focused on how to best engage their external audience: customers, investors, media, analysts and community members. As a result, communication with their most important constituency, employees, often goes overlooked.
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High-performing organizations make employee communications a priority. They know that an engaged workforce contributes to the company’s success. Employees become engaged when they understand the company’s fundamental principals and share in its mission, vision and values.
Below are 10 tips for effective communication with employees:
Be clear and concise.
Overwriting and using technical jargon will lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
Set the tone at the top.
CEOs and senior leaders need to set the tone. They need to be visible and accessible, and they need to understand that there’s a correlation between strategic employee communication and the achievement of organizational goals.
Understand your employees.
You may need to communicate differently with different audiences. Consider surveying them regularly and ask whether they are getting the information they need.
Use many channels.
Most people need to hear or see a message multiple times, in multiple ways, to understand it completely. Distribute your messages electronically, in writing, face-to-face, and at meetings. Your message should be consistent across all these channels.
Notify employees first.
When you prioritize your communications, always think of your internal people first. Your employees should hear it from you before they hear it from anyone else. They shouldn’t be surprised by a media report.
Match actions with words.
Do what you say you’re going to do. Otherwise, you undermine your credibility, and employees are less likely to believe or take seriously future communications.
Emphasize face-to-face communication.
Although today’s employees may be more tech-savvy than ever, nothing beats human interaction. Most employees want to hear news and information from their supervisors. Train managers in how to communicate, and provide them with the necessary tools. If managers are expected to help explain a complicated change to the organization’s pension plan, you need to provide them with talking points and handouts.
Be systematic and strategic. Create an editorial calendar with regular dates for communicating with your employees, whether it’s by newsletter, email or a scheduled meeting.
Set objectives and assess whether you have met them. Ask employees whether the organization has communicated its strategy well. Do they understand how their daily work helps the organization meet its goals?
One-way communication is a thing of the past. Employees who feel “listened to” have enhanced feelings of trust. There are many ways to facilitate two-way communication including face-to-face meetings, interactive video interviews, employee surveys, Q&A features on the employee intranet, and anonymous suggestions via suggestion boxes.
Employees significantly influence the outcome of any work project. If you communicate strategically and with purpose, you’re more likely to see all of your employees working with a common purpose toward shared organizational goals.
Effective employee communication allows everyone to stay informed and work toward shared organizational goals. It keeps employees engaged and eager to contribute to the company’s success.
American businessman Lee Iacocca confirmed the need for effective communication when he said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”