A successful and effective internal communication strategy relies on more than informal Slack channels, fun work memos and humorous office banter. Whether strong, weak or non-existent, the internal communication of a company directly impacts employee engagement. A Harris Poll found that more than 70% of employees were engaged when their company clearly communicated information of value such as company goals, objects and individual/organization execution. When employees are kept in the loop of what’s happening internally, their loyalty and satisfaction increase ultimately improving the annual revenue and reputation of the company.
Slack channels and office jokes can only do so much especially when a company is going through major changes or in the middle of a pandemic where businesses around the globe are laying off workers every day. Having an effective internal communication strategy eliminates rumors, increases trusts and strengthens the morale and engagement of employees. Furthermore, it provides an avenue and process for employees to feel comfortable reporting concerns, incidents or asking questions.
Here are three ways companies can show they value their employees through effective communication.
Maximize Communication Channels And Techniques
While intranet and email are commonly used communication channels, not every employee has the time to read everything. The average attention span of a millennial is 12 seconds while a Gen Z worker is approximately eight seconds. This means, employers needs to be cognizant on text-heavy emails and focus on how to convey information that’s concise, informative and sensitive. The marketing “rule of 7” suggests an individual needs to hear a message seven times before they will consider taking action. Employees consume information differently. Some process it immediately while others it takes a few times in order for it to click. Different consumption styles consist of:
Face-to-face (or live Zoom call)
A newsletter is an effective way to prevent rumors and fake news. Employees want to be kept in the loop of what’s going on. Gregory Golinski, head of digital marketing at Your Parking Space, shared “a newsletter can relay the latest company news, explain what’s going on, how things are going financially, who got hired recently, who got promoted, etc…” Andrew Roderick, CEO of Credit Repair Companies, shared “it’s important to keep messaging concise so that the team knows what they need to focus on” instead of bombarding them with an overwhelming amount of information.
Dismantle The Red Tape And Have An Open-Door Policy
Face-to-face communication remains the most preferred type of communication. While most companies have extended their remote working guidelines until the end of the year, that doesn’t mean they should disregard face-to-face communication entirely. When presenting any form of information, employers should always opt for face-to-face communication. This is because information can easily be misinterpreted and misunderstood when reading.
Chris Brenchley, co-founder and CEO of Surehand, said “an open-door policy is a symbol of trust and openness.” He added “get rid of the red-tape that slows down processes, after all, you’re running a company-not a bureaucracy. In order put it into motion, you might have to invite a few employees to your office and randomly start a conversation about them.” Once they start to feel more comfortable, they’ll come on their own with things to share.
Holding Q&A or “Ask Me Anything” sessions with managers and the leadership team gives employees space to ask about where the company is at and have their questions answered and concerns addressed. It’s crucial leadership is transparent instead of dodging questions.
Give Employees A Seat At The Table
Employees want to know what’s going on outside of the role. They want to know how well the company is doing, what changes are being made and essentially all the things leadership keeps secret from their workers. Communication should not be a one-way street going from top to bottom.
Neal Taparia, CEO of Solitaired, said “every employee wants a seat at the table. They don’t want to be someone just taking orders, but they want to understand the big picture and how they fit within the puzzle.” He added “if they know how their work translates to the company mission, it’s incredibly motivating.”
Having frequent town halls are a great way to deliver updates, host Q&As with the leadership team, share current challenges and seek feedback. Taparia shared “we send daily, short updates to our entire team about progress, challenges and questions we are addressing across all functions. He said this helps improve communication considerably and it prevents anything from slipping through the cracks.