46% of employees generally never know what they are supposed to do after leaving a meeting, according to Entrepreneur. Communication can be inadequate in many aspects of the workplace.
Many 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 principles and share in its mission, vision and values.
11 tips for effective communication with employees.
1. Be clear and concise.
Overwriting and using technical jargon will lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Keep it simple and clearly outline expectations.
2. Set the tone at the top.
CEOs and senior leaders need to set the tone. These individuals should be visible and accessible; there needs to be an understanding that there’s a correlation between strategic employee communication and the achievement of organizational goals.
3. Understand your employees.
You may need to communicate differently with different audiences. Consider surveying your employee base regularly and ask if they’re getting the information they need.
4. 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. But be sure that your message is consistent across all these channels.
5. Notify employees first.
When you prioritize your communications, always think of your internal people first. Your employees shouldn’t be surprised by a media report, they should hear it from the organization first.
6. 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 future communications seriously.
7. 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 on how to communicate and provide the necessary tools needed to succeed.
If managers are expected to help explain a complicated change to the organization’s pension plan, you need to provide the talking points and resources (like handouts).
8. Train often.
It is imperative for a company to continuously train their employees, as stated above. Here at PrimePay, we pride ourselves on our employee training program. Click here to read our article on employee training and development with input from two of our subject matter experts.
9. Communicate regularly.
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.
10. Measure effectiveness.
Set objectives and assess whether you have met them. Ask employees if the organization has communicated its strategy well.
Do they understand how their day-to-day activities help the organization meet its goals?
11. Facilitate conversation.
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 company intranet, and suggestion boxes.
Employees significantly influence the outcome of any project. If you communicate strategically and with purpose, you’re more likely to see all your employees working t 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.
How PrimePay can help.
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.