10 ways to produce more effective employee communications

Be clear, set the tone, use multiple channels—these tips and more will help you get through to your workforce.

Businesses are typically hyperfocused on attracting and engaging customers, investors, media members, analysts and community members—but what about their own people?

Organizations often overlook communication with their most important constituency— employees. High-performing organizations make employee communications a priority. They recognize that an engaged workforce is essential for their success, and they prioritize clear, consistent communication.

Here are 10 tips for effective communication with employees:

Be clear and concise.

Overwriting and using technical jargon will lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

Set the tone at the top.

CEOs and senior leaders should lead by example. They should be visible and accessible, and understand the correlation between strategic employee communication and the achievement of organizational goals.

Understand your employees.

It’s important to communicate differently with different audiences. Consider surveying them regularly and asking whether they are getting the information they need.

Use many channels.

Most people need to hear or see a message multiple times, in multiple ways, to understand it completely. Distribute your messages electronically, in writing, face to face and at meetings. Your message should be consistent across all these channels.

Notify employees first.

When you prioritize your communications, always think of your internal people first. Your employees should hear it from you before they hear it from anyone else. They shouldn’t be surprised by a media report.

Match actions with words.

Do what you say you’re going to do. Otherwise you undermine your credibility, and employees are less likely to believe or take seriously future communications.

Emphasize face-to-face communication.

Although today’s employees may be more tech-savvy than ever, nothing beats human interaction. Most employees want to hear news and information from their supervisors. Train managers in how to communicate, and provide them with the necessary tools. If managers are expected to explain a complicated change to the organization’s pension plan, for example, provide them with talking points and handouts.

Communicate regularly.

Be systematic and strategic. Create an editorial calendar with regular dates for communicating with your employees, whether it’s by newsletter, email or a scheduled meeting.

Measure effectiveness.

Set objectives and assess whether you have met them. Ask employees whether the organization has communicated its strategy well. Do they understand how their daily work helps the organization meet its goals?

Facilitate conversation.

One-way communication is a thing of the past. Employees who feel “listened to” tend to be more engaged, motivated and loyal. There are many ways to facilitate two-way communication, including face-to-face meetings, interactive video interviews, employee surveys, Q&A features on your intranet, and anonymous comments and questions via suggestion boxes.

Employees significantly influence the outcome of any work project. If you communicate strategically and with purpose, you’re more likely to see your employees working with a common purpose toward shared organizational goals.

Ultimately, effective employee communication keeps employees engaged and eager to contribute to the company’s success.

American businessman Lee Iacocca confirmed the need for effective communication when he said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

A version of this post first appeared on the PrimePay blog.


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