Everything You Need to Know About Employee Communication
Effective employee communication will help decrease the $62 million dollars that larger companies and $420,000 dollars smaller companies report losing each year due to workplace communication barriers.
What is Employee Communication?
Employee communication consists of sharing information and ideas between all employees within an organization. Effective employee communication occurs when employees are well informed and business operations are running as smoothly as possible. Human resource teams should promote communication best practices in order to create an effective employee communication strategy.
Previously, employee communication largely consisted of two way communication that was face to face. With social media and technological developments, employee communication is more complex than ever before.
Technology has allowed for information and ideas to be spread almost instantly between employees. An increase in communication speed can make communication more effective but it can also create unique additional communication barriers.
Within organization communication channels must make sure to keep employees informed and help employees get the data they need in a timely matter. Common communication channels include but are not limited to-
- Social media interactions
- Company wide emails
- Two way face to face conversations
- Live chats
Employee Communication vs Internal Communication
Employee communication consists of both internal and external communications. Internal communication focuses on communications between managers and employees. Employee communication goes beyond internal communication by focusing on employee engagement and employee experience optimization.
Effective employee communication finds ways to get employees engaged while keeping employees informed about important information. This includes incorporating social media and any other alternative communications platform beyond two way face to face conversations.
Increased technology paves the way for changing the way communication occurs in the workplace. 98% of employees currently use a social media site for personal use and 50% post about their company.
In fact, 71% of employees report spending over 2 hours weekly accessing company information via mobile devices. Embracing social media and technological advances will allow employees to most effectively and efficiently communicate.
The Importance of Proper Employee Communication
Effective employee communication has many benefits for a business including-
1. Higher employee engagement levels- Employees who are consistently communicated with have higher employee engagement levels. A better employee experience results in increased business success and better customer service.
2. Two way feedback- Instead of one way feedback that does not encourage conversation, two way feedback allows for employees and management to learn from one another. Employees get important critiques about their own performance while employees feel open to being honest with their management about how they can be best supported. Two way feedback promotes a company culture of transparency and truthfulness.
3. Keeps consistency- Employees informed effectively will understand business best practices and are more likely to improve business success overall. Managers who do not connect employees with business objectives or role descriptions will leave their employees to create their own assumptions or lack thereof.
4. Promotes compliance- Company wide regulations and safety protocol should be clearly communicated with employees. Additionally, employees should be provided direction on where to find company guidelines and policies if they want to review them at any time.
Better compliance leads to less costly fines and workplace accidents. Employees informed on how to most safely navigate their roles aids employee safety and confidence.
5. Encourages innovation- Open communication employees have a greater opportunity to explore creativity. Innovation can connect employees with similar passions and bring your business to new heights.
The Consequences of Poor Employee Communication
Poor employee communication can create massive consequences for a company. Communication channels used ineffectively will create communication gaps and develop into larger issues over time. Negative consequences of poor workplace communication include-
1. Higher stress levels- Employees feel stressed when they are not provided with clear instructions and expectations about their role and how it connects to larger company objectives. A high stress company culture is often the result of larger workplace communication issues.
Effective communication can keep an employee engaged and helps employees feel supported. Contrarily, ineffective communication causes employees to feel tense and overworked which leads to higher stress levels.
Employee stress multiplies quickly and causes work life balance issues. When employees are highly stressed at work, a lot of that stress is brought home to their personal life and families. Improve employee experience and decrease stress levels by promoting healthy workplace communication.
2. Health issues- Both physical and mental health issues are more likely to develop during stressful times at work. There should be within organization opportunities for stress relief and mental health support available, especially in high-stress professions.
Communication channels should seek to create and maintain a positive company culture that promotes self-care and opportunities to develop emotional management skills. If you notice an employee struggling, make sure to direct them to professional care resources and help the problem from developing further.
3. Misunderstandings and conflicts- Employee misunderstandings and conflicts can result in costly lawsuits and the loss of top talent employees. Unhealthy workplace communication can quickly rot your company culture from the inside out and create an atmosphere of fear and frustration.
Information employees need to know should be clearly articulated and employees should feel free to ask questions openly. Two way communication and transparency are best practices that can help keep employee conflicts to a minimum.
Employees are much more likely to engage in healthy business communication when they know the way employees best communicate. Encourage employees to get to know each other better and to work as a team instead of fostering competitiveness and conflict.
Workplace productivity will be improved with solidarity among employees and clearly communicated company objectives. Instead of fearing difficult conversations or conflict, you can connect employees to find the most innovative and effective solutions possible.
4. High turnover- The employee experience is severely negatively impacted by negative workplace communication. Employees should not feel they are in survival mode in the workplace.
When employees are just trying to get through the day, they are less productive and have less morale over time. Eventually, even the most effective employee will seek another job opportunity.
Examples of Effective Employee Communication
Effective employee communication can be challenging to create and maintain. However, many successful companies can serve as examples for the way employees working together can not only connect employees but also create best practices long term. Examples of effective employee communication include-
1. Resolving customer complaints- The company Multichoice, a video and internet service provider, accomplished its goal to resolve the 99 most frequent customer claim issues in one year. Creating the hashtag
Tips on How to Effectively Communicate with Employees
Effective communication can make the difference between business success and failure. Successful business leaders report that their best practices for employee communications include effort, thoughtfulness, repetition, and genuineness. Additional tips on how to effectively communicate with employees include-
1. Consistent check ins- Even the busiest business leaders should make sure they take the time to keep employees informed and individually connect with employees whenever possible. A best practice technique is sending out a weekly personally written email to staff over the communication channels a business uses.
2. Swift responses- Many successful employers aim to answer any employee email within 24 hours of receiving it. This helps employees feel heard and valued by their employer and fosters two way communication practices.
Employees are a top investment for business success and should receive attention and responses as swiftly as possible. Employees understand that employers are busy, so if you cannot create a response to their email within 24 hours, consider sending a note saying when you will be able to properly follow up.
3. Difficult conversations- An emphasis on an overly positive company culture that does not discuss issues or anything that could be perceived as negative is not one that employees want to work at. Uncomfortable conversations are not only necessary but they are healthy to increasing workplace communication and fostering bottom line growth.
Two way communication helps employees feel in the know about what is going on in your business and decreases gossip. Employee communications that focus on facts instead of gossip are not only more effective but can help avoid conflicts from developing.
4. Town hall meetings- Even if your company is innovative enough to have completely remote workers, it is important to create an opportunity for employees to have face to face interactions periodically. For companies with remote workers or multiple office locations, this may require traveling and hefty expenses incurred.
However, these face to face company wide meetings will increase your company culture and allow for internal communications to be more effective. A great communication strategy allows two way communication opportunities in person at least annually.
5. Leadership conferences- Hold a senior leadership conference at least every year. Providing important information employees should know to their direct leaders is a great way to make sure that communication can trickle down to every employee effectively.
These leadership conferences provide an additional opportunity to connect employees who are top leaders and encourage effective communication throughout the year between these leaders.
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