Employee communication refers to how organizations communicate with their employees—and conversely, how employees communicate with organizational leadership. While dialogue takes place in every workplace to some capacity, organizations that think and act strategically when communicating with employees may be able to realize benefits.
The way an organization communicates with its employees has a tremendous impact on employee productivity, collaboration, engagement and overall workplace experience. Effective communication is important because it:
Poor communication can be a costly mistake for both small and large organizations. Business experts from PRovoke reported that large companies (those with more than 100,000 employees) cited an average loss of $62.4 million each year in lost productivity as a result of inadequate or irrelevant employee communication. Wasted time due to clarification, poor direction and bad listening translates to reduced productivity. Furthermore, miscommunication costs smaller companies (those with 100 or fewer employees) an average of $420,000 each year.
It’s essential to strategically link employee communication to overall organizational strategy to ensure effective and consistent business operations. An employee communication plan or strategy can help organizations communicate consistent messages, establish a recognizable and positive employer brand and deliver information or messages from leadership that are consistent with the organization’s mission, vision and culture. Poor communication may suggest indifference to employees’ performance and result in lower productivity. To that end, a lack of communication can make a workforce feel underappreciated, fostering discontentment and low morale.
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A strong employee communication strategy hinges on effective messaging. To ensure communications resonate with all employees, ensure messaging is compelling, concise, credible and consistent. It’s not just about having a message to share—it’s about how that message is shared or discussed with employees. Employee communication can be effective or fall flat depending on the channel, tone and delivery. Transparency is vital.
Employee communication strategies can be scaled for any industry or organization size. The goal is to tailor communications to be effective for that company’s leadership, management and employees. Start small and work with available resources and communication channels. If needed, identify communication gaps or what will make the biggest impact on the workforce, and focus on strengthening those channels or efforts.
Lastly, even if an organization already has employee communication initiatives in place, it’s important to continually measure and evaluate those efforts to ensure employees are informed and engaged. It’s critical to have a long-term plan for employee communication. The key to success is to be mindful of all communications across all levels of the organization—and find what’s authentic and effective for the organization and employees.
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