As an employer, effective communication is key to running a successful organization. Whether you’re discussing job duties, explaining HR policies, or outlining a benefits package, it's crucial that there's a clear line of communication between employers and employees.
This article will explain why open communication is vital for your organization and provide eight tips for employers and HR managers can leverage to ensure an open and honest line of communication.
Why is an effective communication strategy important?
When you communicate openly with your employees, it can have a profound effect on their work and the culture of your organization.
Open communication encourages higher quality work, understanding of essential policies, and a relationship of trust between employers and employees. Good internal communication allows employees to understand the big picture goals of your organization and how their work plays a role in your organization's overall success.
When your employees understand why they are working on their tasks, they're more likely to work toward their goals. In addition, an open-door environment can even promote employee retention, helping save employers thousands of dollars on recruitment costs.
Eight tips for establishing communication with employees
Establishing an internal communication channel takes a lot of effort. In the following sections, we'll share tips for creating better organizational communication.
1. Enact an open door policy
One way to foster communication is to enact an open-door policy. This creates a culture where employees are comfortable going to management for questions and support, but only if the employer means it. Employees can generally tell if it's just for show.
An open door policy should also allow and encourage employees to provide candid feedback. This helps employers keep an eye on potential concerns so they can tackle those issues.
2. Encourage feedback
Not only should employees feel comfortable with providing unprompted feedback, but employers should also ask for feedback directly. This is especially vital when implementing a new program or policy within your company.
This can be done through employee surveys, such as engagement surveys. Ask employees direct and specific questions. Be sure they understood the message that was delivered and that all concerns are addressed. Once you've gotten feedback, use it to improve your future strategies.
There may be a time when an employer receives feedback that doesn't make sense to act on. If this is the case, employers should communicate with employees about why their feedback wasn't implemented, so they don't feel ignored.
Feedback is also crucial for teams. By normalizing feedback in your company culture, your teams can start to improve together, helping uplift the entire organization. As a result of an open culture that values and seeks feedback, you'll eliminate toxic behaviors and boost employee morale.
3. Establish ground rules
Different employees will have different communication preferences. Depending on the information being communicated, employers may choose to take a different approach with each employee or apply the same process to everyone.
Regardless of how and when communication happens, it's important to establish expectations at the start. Determine whether there will be daily check-ins, weekly status updates, or monthly meetings with individual employees and your team. Once you have a communication plan, ensure everyone knows the expectations.
4. Ensure confidentiality
Helping employees with issues like personal concerns, employee benefits, and HR policies and procedures requires a great deal of trust between employers and employees. It's vital to show sensitivity to what your employees are going through while validating their concerns. Making employees feel safe and comfortable about coming to you with any concerns they have is essential for fostering a relationship of honesty and trust.
5.Use the right employee communication tools
Email and messaging apps like Slack make it easy to circulate information quickly through your company. Employees will instantly see your message notification when they're online and can reply directly to your message with any questions or comments.
However, messaging tools aren't without their shortcomings. It can be challenging to know if employees have read a message, as they can quickly get buried if your company is active on the platform. If there is something important to communicate to employees, it may be best to schedule a meeting or video call.
6. Be direct
Don't beat around the bush or try to sugarcoat when delivering bad news. Your employees will respect your honesty, even if they don't agree with the message you are delivering. This is vital in fostering an open relationship based on trust and honesty.
7. Promote brainstorming
One of the best ways to promote better business communication is to create a culture that encourages employees to brainstorm and contribute ideas. This creates engagement and increases participation, helping make employees feel valued.
The sharing of ideas and solutions also helps ensure organizational success and growth. To foster this environment, you'll need to recognize employees for sharing their thoughts and ideas. You can also establish set times for the team to formally brainstorm new ideas and initiatives every month or quarter.
8. Be open about employee benefits
Being open about employee benefits and compensation is important for ensuring compliance with fair labor standards and diversity obligations. Not to mention it helps employees feel appreciated and trusted. However, it can be challenging and uncomfortable for many employees and managers.
Information about your benefits package should always be readily available to your employees so you can ensure they know how to use them. After all, the more employees you have using your benefits, the more value you'll receive as an organization in terms of morale, engagement, and productivity.
For example, if you offer a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or employee stipends to your employees, you'll need to ensure that your employees know how to submit their expenses for reimbursement. Thankfully, benefits administration software solutions like PeopleKeep can help with this.
Although some organizations take this approach, being open about benefits doesn't necessarily mean that you need to tell all of your employees how much their co-workers make. Instead, being clear about how employees can earn raises, who gets bonuses and commissions, and whether certain benefits and stock options are available can go a long way in making employees feel informed.
You'll also want to be clear about why an employee didn't receive a raise or promotion by directly discussing the situation with them. That way, they can work toward their goals or have a better idea of when they might be able to have this conversation again.
Knowing how to implement employee communication strategies and foster two-way communication between management and employees is essential for the growth and prosperity of your organization. Employees can become frustrated and disengaged if your organization suffers from poor communication, leading to increased employee turnover rates.
By following the tips in this article, you'll be on the right path to better communication between managers and your entire team.
If you're looking to improve employee retention at your organization, offering the right employee benefits can go a long way in making your workers feel valued.
This blog article was originally published on October 15, 2014. It was last updated on September 13, 2022.