All Things Employee Communication
What is Employee Communication?
Employee communication, also known as workplace communication, is commonly defined as any information shared between employees within an organization. A primary way employees connect with each other is through communication, which can be classified as one way or two way in nature.
Previously, communication in the business world was primarily one way oriented, with a stricter top down structure. Contemporarily, collaboration tools are making two way communication more popular with more information shared between senior leaders and workers than ever before.
There are many communication channels available for businesses to choose from, ranging from social media platforms to town hall style in person meetings. Regardless of which channels are utilized, senior leaders generally consider communication essential to long term business success and the employee experience overall.
In fact, studies show that Fortune 500 companies lose an estimated $31.5 billion every year due to a failure to share information effectively. Additionally, the entire employee experience including employee engagement and company culture is heavily influenced by workplace communication.
Notable positive and negative effects of workplace communication include-
1. Pro- Creativity
Effective communication encourages employees to be more creative and innovative. In a healthy communication workplace, employees know that they can explore ideas openly with one another.
The information employees share with one another allows them to work best together and develop a company culture rooted in trust. As such, it is important that management professionals make sure employees feel comfortable and encouraged to bring their ideas to the table.
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2. Con- Miscommunication
When effective employee communication is not present in the workplace there will likely be more miscommunications. Miscommunications negatively impact company culture through lower employee engagement rates and worsened employee experience overall.
Additionally, miscommunications that are not quickly remedied can result in costly legal issues that human resources will need to address.
3. Pro- Promptness
Due to vast technological advancements, communication is now more instantaneous than ever before. Employees across the world can now communicate with one another in a real time capacity.
In fact, avenues like social media are increasingly used as a primary communication tool type in the workplace. With video chat platforms, a town hall style meeting can even be facilitated, allowing employees to share information with one another both promptly and effectively.
Real time communication capabilities are a great resource for every workplace, but especially for those with workers spread across different geographical locations and time zones.
4. Con- Competition
Overly competitive company culture can create massive communication issues between employees. For example, one employee may choose to delay the relaying of information to another employee to purposely sabotage them in order to make themselves appear more knowledgeable to upper management staff members.
Unfortunately, overly competitive workplace communication styles only lead to the entire company losing money as well as the overall employee experience suffering.
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The Importance of Employee Communication
Workplace communication allows employees to share information and work together most effectively. Establishing communication best practices and an effective communication strategy is absolutely essential to both business success and growth.
Significant reasons that employee communication is important include-
1. Feedback Opportunities
Both receiving and administering feedback is absolutely crucial to the employee experience overall. If employees feel that they are not receiving or able to administer sufficient feedback they may not be as engaged or motivated in the workplace.
An all too common mistake that senior leaders commit is an unwillingness to receive feedback, which can be detrimental to both their own and the entire company's potential to grow. Senior management professionals must make sure to let employees know that their feedback is also welcome and valued.
Feedback should be a two way exchange where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions honestly.
2. Employee Engagement
Employee engagement levels are heavily influenced by workplace communication. If employees feel that their opinions are not valued, they may quickly disengage.
Effective communication occurs when employees share their concerns and opinions with senior leaders without fearing repercussions, retaliation, or unnecessary disciplinary actions.
Unfortunately, some management professionals expect that employees know information that has not been communicated to them. For example, if a manager does not keep employees informed about a specific objective, it is very unlikely that the goal will be met.
When employees know what is expected from them, they are better able to perform their roles adequately. When management takes the time to share information about company objectives, an employee may be able to align their personal goals with larger organizational goals.
Especially in an ever expanding global market place, change is consistent. As such, adaptability is a crucial component for helping businesses succeed long term.
Not only is communication important during times of change but it can help prepare employees to develop their adaptability skills. Instead of dreading change, a great communication plan can inspire employees to welcome it.
Although change is constant, consistency is also key. When employees know exactly what is expected of them in their roles, they are better able to perform both individually and collaboratively. Consistent effective communication also decreases the likelihood of miscommunications and misunderstandings between employees on staff.
When senior management takes the time to make sure employees get the information needed in a prompt and consistent method, the entire company culture and employee experience are positively influenced.
Modes of Employee Communication
There are 3 primary modes of employee communication that all business professionals should be aware of. These communication modes range from more traditional methods to collaboration tools that are incredibly technologically advanced.
The 3 modes of communication primarily used by employees include-
The large majority of businesses around the world utilize email communication to share information within their organization. Emailing and instant messaging are both recognized as communication tools that are commonplace in the business setting.
Email communications are a great option for everyday employee communication needs. Not only do emails and instant messages send in real time speed, but they are able to be referenced at a later date if need be.
A significant advantage of email communications is that a wide range of workers can be included on one thread. A significant disadvantage of email communications is the lack of interactional cues employees share with their body language and tone in an in person conversation.
Businesses used to rely on solely traditional communication methods in the workplace. Examples of traditional communication tool types include memos and letters.
A significant disadvantage of traditional communication is that it can be one way in nature, instead of a two way collaboration. Additionally, real time communication through traditional methods is nearly impossible, as it takes time to compose communications in addition to the time correspondences take to reach employees directly.
Remember-: Much like email communications, traditional communication tools can lack tone and be misinterpreted.
3. Social Media and Cell Phones
Most people carry cell phones with them nearly everywhere they go. Instead of needing to access a landline, cell phones provide employees with a real time communication tool to share information from virtually any location.
Cell phone and social media mobile app usage have become essential collaboration tools that the large majority of workers are comfortable utilizing. Social media is also a powerful communication tool for networking and professional development, especially through sites like LinkedIn.
Mobile app and social media usage are helping businesses to reach employees in a more effective way than ever before. Employees who are not as confident in their mobile app skills can request demo orientations from human resources in order to receive proper training.
Examples of Employee Communication
Many senior leaders find examples of effective employee communication helpful for their efforts to improve employee communication in their own workplace. Developing an effective communication strategy is much easier when there are great examples readily available to reference.
Examples of effective employee communication include interactions focused on-
1. Company Culture
A focus on company culture can majorly improve employee communication. Methods to distribute company culture news directly to employees range from recognizing successes to sharing relevant news stories.
When company culture focused conversations occur, employee engagement rates are positively influenced. Keeping employees well informed about organizational culture updates can also help with productivity and morale improvements.
Transparency in internal communication initiatives should always be a top priority. When employees know that their higher ups are receiving the same information as them, they may feel more trusted and valued.
Increasing visibility of conversations that are occurring between senior leaders through a virtual town hall setting also makes employees more confident in their management professionals.
An effective communication strategy will make sure that employees are recognized for their individual successes and contributions. Internal communication tools have made it easier than ever before to recognize employees for their efforts.
When employees engaged with their own work are rewarded, the entire company culture is positively influenced.
With more remote workers than ever before, workplace communication has undergone major changes. Every communication plan should focus not only on effective communication but also on the connectivity of employees.
Many successful companies have created their own within organization social media platforms specific for internal communication interactions. These social media platforms allow employees to engage directly with each other's posts.
How to Improve Employee Communication
Management should recognize how important workplace communication is to overall business success and profitability. When developing a communication strategy or communication plan specific for a company, there are many best practices to consider.
Tips for improving communication employees engage in within the workplace include-
The way employees and management communicate should be clear and concise. Technical jargon is a common way that internal communication becomes overly complicated and inefficient.
Another communication essential is brevity, avoiding unnecessarily drawn out or overly explained statements.
Information employees receive should occur through multiple communication channels. While some employees work best on social media type collaboration tools, others may work best in traditional town hall style meetings.
When employees get information through a variety of channels, there is less likely to be misunderstandings or miscommunications. However, it is absolutely crucial that communications stay consistent throughout every channel used to avoid confusion.
Although the rise of social media and collaboration tools have lead to more digital communications than ever before, personal interactions should still occur. As such, any communication strategy and communication plan formation should include opportunities for two way in person interactions.
Tip-: Management professionals should be provided with effective communication training for both in person and digital interactions as part of onboarding and development initiatives.
Every effective communication plan or communication strategy should focus on consistency. Employees want communications from their leaders that that are both strategic and systematic.
A great method to increase consistency in internal communications is by setting up reminders in work calendars to check in with employees or share information with the organization.
- Employee communication is crucial for business success and bottom line profitability increases.
- Employee communications can either be two way or one way in nature and can occur through different modes.
- Benefits of great workplace communication include improved innovation and real time connectivity.
- Tips to communicate effectively range from increased consistency to the utilization of multiple communication channels.