29 Oct Value of Employee Communication Sessions
By Jay Delahousay, Demand Media
Despite the many ways to pass information in the workplace — email, social media, phone, text or via the company intranet — inadequate communication between managers and employees exists. Employees need guidance from their supervisors, and management needs input from the entire team in order for the company to succeed. To help foster an open and honest culture, many companies host communication sessions that can provide measurable benefits to all employees.
An employee communication session is a give-and-take opportunity where employees can air their concerns and where management can share what’s happening in the company. Hewlett Packard, for example, holds upward of 22 communication sessions with more than 10,000 employees in attendance at sites around the world. Many companies also encourage employees to complete surveys to voice their concerns regarding management or the company in general.
When a company is multifaceted, one department might not be aware of the strategic goals of another part of the business, — or information trickles upward, but not downward. Companies such as Flextronics and Emerson Process Management use employee communication sessions. These scheduled meetings positively reinforce the objectives between management and employees, according to Alan Miu, managing director of TNT Express Worldwide. When an employee can communicate with management at its highest levels, it improves the transparency and openness in employee dialogue.
Inspires Involvement and Loyalty
Employee communications programs help give the employees the perception that they are greatly involved in the company’s objectives and goals. A 2001 study by the Hay Group revealed that employees who are engaged in the direction and decisions of the organization are more productive and will stay with the company longer. The employee communication session tells the employee at all levels: “You and your opinion matters to us.” When employees take this message to heart, they tend to feel more inspired and are motivated to support company goals, according to a 2008 study published in the journal of the Public Relations Society of America.
Builds Trusting Relationships
Employee communication programs can be a tool to build a trust level that encourages employees to speak freely about their work, according to Evan Reineking of HR Tools.com. When an employee feels heard and is kept well-informed, he feels respected by his employer. While a company might not be able to disclose all the details about management decisions, keeping employees in the loop with accurate and complete information makes them more likely to trust what is shared.
Gossip is prevalent in many workplaces, especially where communication is nonexistent and where employees are left to speculate about conditions or the company’s health. When employees don’t receive necessary details from their supervisors, rumors are likely to be spread, which can damage morale and cause uncertainty among employees, according to Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. Keeping employees abreast of the current climate in the workplace can alleviate the need to speculate.