It probably comes as no surprise that the most successful businesses are made up of highly engaged employees. These top-performing workforces share a relentless dedication to what’s in the best interest of their employers. They’re committed, determined and consistently instrumental in increasing their companies’ productivity.
Every business owner’s dream, right?
But what’s not so obvious is knowing what attracts these MVPs in the first place. Even more important, what’s the best strategy for keeping them once you hire them? Is it strong management? Money? Recognition?
Sure, those are all important factors. But according to a Career Builder study of the best places to work, what truly sets the most-coveted businesses apart from the rest is their commitment to effective communication with their employees.
Whether you’re making a formal announcement about a corporate reorganization or talking with your employees about their workloads, how (and when) you communicate your message is vital.
So, how can you be sure you’re communicating with your workforce effectively across the entire organization? Here are seven strategies to help you foster employee engagement and impact your business’s success:
1. Keep it real
When delivering your message, be truthful and as complete as possible. Be transparent and let employees know if there are details you simply cannot share due to confidentiality. Even if they don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, they’ll appreciate your honesty and likely be more supportive and, as a result, more engaged.
2. Be timely
Don’t wait until you have all the information to deliver a message. There is never a vacuum in communication. If the message doesn’t come from you directly, people will fill in the information gaps with rumors or assumptions – which can lead to low morale, distrust and a lack of productivity. Communication is a process. Share what you can as often as you can.
3. Focus on consistency
Align your messages with your company’s mission, vision and values. Sharing the “why” behind a decision or change in direction helps your employees understand the reason behind the decision. This builds trust and a strong team mentality.
4. Tailor your message
Make sure your message is meaningful to your workforce and answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” This creates buy-in from your team and helps empower them to move forward with change more easily. You’ll create a sense of ownership that motivates employees to get on board and do their part for the greater good. Employees who feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves will become your company’s biggest advocates.
5. Reinforce it
Hearing something once is not enough. Everyone learns and processes information differently, so it’s critical that you communicate using diverse channels. Company meetings and email may be more appropriate for delivering formal messages, while small “town hall” meetings, social media, designated chat rooms and your company’s intranet can provide an informal forum for reinforcing communication. Remember, consistency across all channels is key.
6. Encourage feedback
Just as you use multiple channels to communicate your message to employees, consider using those same channels to encourage feedback from them. It’s important that your employees feel comfortable sharing their questions and concerns, so your organization’s communication flow should be two-way – a dialogue, not a monologue. When you encourage feedback and listen to what employees have to say, you send the message to your employees that their opinions matter.
7. Empower your managers
Keep your middle managers in the loop from the start. They are the voice of your organization, the messengers between upper management and employees. By empowering them with information and an effective communication strategy, they will be better equipped to deliver consistent messages to their teams and provide answers to any questions that may come up.
In some cases, such as in a company reorganization, it can be helpful to hold regular meetings with your middle management to update them on developing changes.
You may want to provide them with talking points they can readily share with their teams to ensure consistent messaging across departments and to avoid the spread of miscommunication.
Here are some things to think about when creating talking points:
- What information are we ready to communicate now?
- What information cannot yet be shared?
- Which communication channels will we use (both formal and informal)?
- What questions can we anticipate that our employees will ask when they hear this message?
- What are the appropriate responses to those questions?
Engaged employees are committed and driven to make your business a success. When you harness the power of communication through clear and consistent messaging, you empower your entire workforce to do their best work and take your business to the next level.
For more tips on how to effective communication can inspire your workforce, download our free magazine: The Insperity guide to leadership and management.