How to Effectively Communicate with Employees
Effective employee communication is a vital aspect of the employer-employee relationship. It demonstrates to employees that they are valued by the company; conversely, lack of communication can make them feel underappreciated, fostering discontentment and low morale. With the multitude of communication channels today, there are plenty of opportunities to supply both permanent and temporary employees with timely company news and information.
Examples of Communication Channels
- Videos (online or broadcast on televisions around the building)
- Blogs (written by CEOs or other executives)
- Hotline telephone number for emergencies or important announcements
- Bulletin boards (online or physical)
- Company or department-wide meetings
- One-on-one meetings between employees and their direct supervisor
When to Communicate with EmployeesCommunication is important on several levels, ranging from groundbreaking company information to day-to-day interaction.
- Significant news: This includes layoffs, mergers/acquisitions, management changes, bankruptcy, organizational crises and company re-organization. It is essential to inform employees of such news promptly, truthfully and transparently. Nothing hurts employee morale more than hearing about something on the morning news rather than from their employer.
- Quarterly and yearly goals, initiatives and achievements: Provide employees with upcoming and ongoing goals or initiatives and details on the future direction of the company. Employees want to know that they are working for a healthy, financially solvent company.
- One-on-one meetings: All employees should have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with their immediate supervisor periodically to discuss expectations and concerns or questions.
- Praise and recognition: Employees want their hard work to be recognized, so make sure your management team finds ways to praise large accomplishments. Whether its a personal e-mail, an in-person handshake or an announcement on the company intranet, dont let employee achievement go unnoticed.
- Ongoing company news or information: This could be anything from how current projects are progressing to dates for the upcoming company party to updates in a company policy. The more involved they feel with the company, the more loyalty they will likely have.
Fostering Two-Way CommunicationGetting information out to employees is essential, but hearing their thoughts, concerns and ideas is important too. Not only will they feel like the company values their opinion, but they could also provide some excellent feedback for future changes or improvements. Here are just a few ideas for encouraging open communication:
- During company or department-wide meetings, allow time at the end for a question and answer portion. Here, executives need to be sure to answer employees honestly and directly even if the answer is, Im not sure or I cant discuss that now and heres why...
- When possible, deliver news in smaller group settings to allow for discussion and conversation among employees and management.
- Conduct periodic employee opinion surveys and keep them anonymous to encourage candid responses. Analyze the results collectively and work to improve items of concern among employees.
- Have an open-door policy for all management levels. Employees should feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns or suggestions with a supervisor.
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