The art of communication is the language of leadership. ~ James Humes
Effective employee communication is a building block for a healthy employee-employer relationship.
Communication by definition is the imparting or exchanging of information by writing, speaking or using some other medium. This definition although catches the essence of the word, but in the real world, communication is much more than simply exchanging information.
Effective Communication in the business world is particularly important. It is a fundamental criterion to run a business. It includes the exchange of information, ideas, and feelings. It is advocating collaboration and teamwork in the workplace.
Employee Communication is the only way to bridge the gap between the differences that each individual in the workforce carries, be it demographic, cultural, geographical, psychological etc. It has the power to unite the individuals and drive them towards a common goal, that is the betterment and success of the business.
With millennials and Gen Y generation dominating the workforce, internal communication in an organization is now more important than ever. These new age employees have very high expectations and they constantly want to be felt valued.
The best way to do that? Communication, communication, communication.
How to facilitate effective employee communication in an organization?
To harbor employee happiness in the workplace, effective communication must become a part of company culture. It is not something that you can practice every now and then, in fact, it should become part of the fabric of your company values.
It can start from simple acts like greeting each other in the morning, celebrating birthdays and milestones or removing any kind of hierarchy in the work environment.
Here are a few tips to help you build a work environment that facilitates employee communication:
1.Encourage peer to peer communication:
Employee Communication doesn’t mean that communication should only be from top to bottom, horizontal communication or what we call peer to peer communication is paramount in a workplace.
Foster a culture in the workplace that encourages teamwork and collaborative work. When you focus too much on individual performance analysis, competition among employees often becomes fierce and communication often fails. On the other hand, when you encourage teamwork, it nurtures internal communication and results in better delivery of the team goals. Come up with innovative team building activities such as fitness programs, awareness programs, training programs etc.
Additionally, it creates better interpersonal relationships among peers and makes work enjoyable!
‘The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated’
Appreciation at work probably is one of the best ways to improve the flow of communication within the organization. When employees are not well recognized for a job well done or for their small and big achievements, they feel demotivated. It directly impacts their productivity, performance level and engagement at work. Fostering a culture of Employee recognition is the need of the hour.
But having said that employee recognition will only thrive when you implement it properly, i.e with well-defined criteria, clarity, and fairness.
Keep in mind that appreciation need not always be grand, sometimes gestures like a thank you or a well-done verbally or on a note can do the trick. There are tons of easy and effective ways to reward and recognize employees.
An open door, transparent office culture will be a big move forward in building a culture of communication in the organization.
When you communicate with your employees be sure you are as transparent as it comes, let them know about the current statistics, company goals and missions. Do not ever try to sugar-coat or blur the reality. When you allow honest and open communication it gives them a sense of belongingness and builds trust which is extremely important for any business to succeed. Clear and transparent communication also helps at times of crisis and downfall of a company.
Incorporating feedback into the company culture has a great impact on enhancing employee communication and hence employee engagement. A continuous feedback system ensures the smooth running of an organization. It thrusts learning and development. While implementing feedback practice, keep in mind that it there should be a healthy balance between positive and corrective feedback.
A sound feedback system nurtures growth-minded individuals and leads to improved performance level. The trick is to use the feedback to drive innovation and foster growth of individuals, teams and the organization.
5.One size doesn’t fit all:
When we talk about making effective communication a part of the company culture, it is important to acknowledge that one size doesn’t fit all.
Some projects/jobs require more frequent communication than others. Additionally, some individuals might communicate well in group meetings while others might do it better in one-on-one communication. Handling different employees differently will hugely improve the effectiveness of communication in the workplace.
6.Communication is a two-way street:
Honor your relationships by developing listening skills. – Allan Lokos
One thing that is pretty obvious but often forgotten is that communication is a two-way street. Communication is talking with people, not at people. Good listening is what ensures that communication is efficient. When you take time to hear out your employees, it gives you a new perspective about the matters in hand. It improves your ability to understand and boosts the emotional quotient. Moreover, your employees want to be listened to, it gives them a sense of belongingness and value.
Also, do not hesitate to put a good suggestion or idea into use!
7.Encourage good communication skills/Use global Communication:
Sound employee communication is trumped by good communication skills. Good communication skills can effectively help in conveying and receiving messages within the organization. Encourage a culture of using good communication skill in the workplace. Leverage activities, events, programs that can help individuals in improving their communication skills. Always keep the tone global and simple.
8.Keep the messages concise and precise:
Brief, to-the-point, clear-cut messages are always more effective. It makes the message you are trying to convey more actionable. As the great Martin Luther said, The fewer the words, the better the prayer.
Besides, long messages and technical jargons lead to confusion and sometimes misunderstanding. Also be consistent with the tone and words in all forms of communication.
9.Leverage multiple channels to improve communication:
Communication must be done through channels and platforms that are more relevant and accessible to today’s employees. You simply cannot limit your communication practices to board meetings. The answer is to look for technical solutions that will best ensure maximum reach and maximum engagement. There are a plethora of channels to choose from- emails, apps, social media, live chats, webinars, messenger- the list is endless.
The best way would be to distribute your messages through multiple channels and have a balance between electronic, face-to-face and written messages.
Image Credit to rawpixel on Unsplash
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