Good communication shows employees they are valued. Lack of communication can make them feel unimportant or under-appreciated, both of which can easily lead to disengagement and low morale.
With tons of communication channels available, there are plenty of opportunities to give employees timely and accurate news and information. Why not take advantage of this easy way to keep your employees happy and in the know?
You’ve got to keep in touch. But how?
Communication can include anything from groundbreaking company information to day-to-day interactions. But depending on your communication frequency and mode of delivery, there can be too much of a good thing.
Email boxes are overflowing, task lists are long, and busy employees may not have time to add another meeting to their day. It’s good to keep these things in mind when choosing what and how to communicate with your employees.
Questions to consider:
- How important/timely is it?
- Who does it affect most?
- Would this subject matter be best handled in person? In writing?
- Will there likely be confusion and/or questions?
- Who should this news be coming from? Is it sensitive or potentially upsetting?
- What’s the best way to make sure everyone who needs the message gets it?
Resist the urge to rush through your communications to get them out as fast as possible. The only thing worse that no communication is careless communication. The backlash can be swift and painful. The more thought you put into your messaging, the better your results will be.
Here some tips for how to communicate various kinds of organizational information:
This includes major company changes such as mergers/acquisitions, management changes, new product announcements, bankruptcy, organizational crises and company re-organization. But significant news doesn’t have to be bad! It could be that your organization won an award, received a grant, or is expanding and hiring.
Whether your update is going to be challenging or exciting to deliver, it is essential that you inform employees quickly, honestly and transparently. Nothing hurts employee morale more than hearing news that affects you and your company from someone other than your employer.
Organizational goals and vision
It’s important to communicate these things regularly and strongly. If your employees don’t know what the company values or goals are, how can they possibly get excited about them? Or work to deliver them?
Let employees know where you are, how far you’ve come, and where you want to be. Reinforce core company values, and provide details about upcoming goals/initiatives, performance metrics, and the future direction of the company. Employees want to know what leadership values, how the organization is performing, and where they are headed as a team.
This kind of information is best communicated in person, and is a great use for annual or quarterly all-staff meetings. If you can’t get everyone together at once, consider sending key leadership figures to various locations and departments to cover this important content.
Your organizational vision should be communicated regularly and woven into the fabric of your company.
Performance management and feedback
All employees should have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with their immediate supervisor periodically to discuss expectations, current projects and concerns or questions on either end.
Companies looking to improve retention will also consider regular check-ins that aren’t performance related. Offering professional mentorship, talking about potential career paths and development opportunities, and conducting stay interviews can help keep employees feeling valued, engaged and committed.
Your benefits package can be a great asset to your team. Or a giant missed opportunity. Often, the difference hinges on how you communicate it.
When it comes to health benefits, what your employees don’t know can hurt them. And you. Confusion is your enemy here. Make sure your employees know exactly what’s being offered and how to use it. You might also want to let them know what the total package value is and how much you’re contributing.
Of course, you’ll want to cover this during enrollment meetings, but don’t let it end there. Communicate benefits information year round to keep this information top of mind and to make sure employees know how to use their benefits whenever they need them.
Employees want their hard work to be recognized, so make sure your management team finds ways to praise your team members when they come through.
Whether it’s a personal e-mail, an in-person high five, a company-wide announcement, or a tangible reward, don’t let employee achievements go unnoticed.
Knowledge is power
Do you want to be the kind of organization that chooses to wield power over its minions, or would you rather empower your employees to do great things? If you want to be a successful business and a coveted place to work, there is a right answer.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re withholding information on purpose, on accident, or because you’re just too busy. Failing to share information will create confusion, break down trust, and foster discontentment.
Master the art of employee communication and you will build a team (and an organization!) worth bragging about.
Need help with benefits communication, employee engagement, and HR strategy? Want to be a coveted employer of choice in the greater Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area? Get in touch with Raffa. We love this stuff! And it’s what we do for our clients every single day.
Photo by Eric Isselee