11 Jan The Why and How of Employee Communication
Why do it?
It Builds a Psychological Contract
– A good internal communication policy helps to build a two way non verbal understanding between the employee and the employer – the employee feels valued by the employer and the employer is able to visibly display their commitment to the employees’ well-being by acknowledging that employee feedback/interaction matters to them. It is not just one of those ‘good to have’ things, it is in fact one of the ‘things to have’, if you wish to build a world class organization.
Improved Work Performance
– Good communication practices result in better performance and better overall organizational climate. At the same time, they help bridge the gap between the employee’s need to have access to more and better information. Employee communication is commonly confused with an open door policy, while, in reality, these are two very different things. Employee communication pertains to the messages that the management communicates to, and receives from its employees. An open door policy, on the other hand, is a reflection of the attitude of the management towards its accessibility for employees.
Reduced Staff Turnover
– Research has revealed that open communication at the workplace has a direct positive impact on employee satisfaction and morale levels, which in turn, reduces attrition levels. And if you thought that the time and money spent on communication is not justified or necessary – well, think again… Would you rather be paying three times to find replacements or take some preemptive action? Remember, the cost of replacement is not just the money that you pay to the recruiting agency there is loss of knowledge and adverse impact on morale of the people who stay behind that also has to be taken into account.
It’s Branding at its Best
– Right from the time a candidate is interviewed for a position to the time when an employee leaves the organization; all forms of written or verbal communication that are exchanged are implicitly projecting the identity of the organization – your brand is at stake. It’s that little bit extra that you put into communication that separates the good from the best. A well planned employee communication process is internal branding working for you at no extra cost.
How to do it?
Make a Communication Strategy
– Right from convincing the top management about the importance of internal communication and building internal alliances to facilitate efficiency of the communication process to reviewing communication initiatives to check what has worked, what hasn’t, and why not at the end of a communication cycle forms the communication strategy. It is advisable to have a structured approach to this as opposed to haphazardly trying to put across information.
Mind the Medium
– No single method of communication is most effective, each one of them have their own pros and cons and specific situation based usage. Communication can be usually divided into two major categories depending on their usage, which is, they can either be in a dialogue mode like one-to-one meetings or notification based like a letter or an intranet information board. Also, they can be either verbal or written; due consideration is to be taken of that fact the verbal communication can be misinterpreted and written communication can be missed or overlooked, therefore it is advisable to use the right combination of both.
Ensure Communication Clarity
– If you are trying to set up a communication strategy or are in the process of revamping it, your motto should be ‘right information for the right person, at the right time and delivered in most impactful manner’. You have to make sure the message is consistent, over time and between audiences. Overtly complicated language is counterproductive to the entire exercise of communication. And make sure that wherever possible, a two way communicated is established which encourages dialogue and feedback.
Create the Aha! Moment
– The Aha! Moment in communication is that time when the intended message hits home in the minds of the audience in a moment of clarity and realization. These are some of the common Aha! Moments:
- “Ah, now I get it!”
- “Now I can do something about it.”
- “That makes perfect sense.”
Creating and delivering an Aha! Moment is the ultimate aim of any employee communication practice, this technique is especially effective in communicating change where you don’t want to spell the information out in clear words at first but instead provide related information and data leading the people automatically to the Aha! Moment. It also helps people to form their own understanding of the situation rather than feeling that information is being forced down on them.