We’ve identified previously that good employee communication can have real business benefits, but what does good communication actually look like?
Here is our handy checklist of five top tips to help you identify whether your employee communication could be improved:
Is it regular?
Regular communication should be a combination of just taking the time to talk to employees individually on both a formal and informal basis, but also a reasonable amount of structured communication.
If employees know that (for example) there will be a team meeting every Tuesday, a newsletter every month and a one to one meeting with their manager every fortnight, and know what type of information they can expect to receive through each of these, they will have improved confidence in the quality and frequency of communication in your business, will worry less about any issues affecting them, and will ask fewer questions on an ad hoc basis.
Is it a two-way process?
Good communication doesn’t just involve telling employees things, it involves seeking feedback, and listening to comments/reactions/suggestions. You don’t necessarily have to always act on feedback or suggestions – clearly sometimes they will not be possible or appropriate. But the improved engagement you will get from genuine two-way communication will still come, if employees feel confident that their feedback will be listened to and considered.
Ensure everyone has full opportunity to express views and make suggestions, and make sure you show you are interested and will consider everything said to you. If suggestions cannot be implemented, make sure employees know they have been genuinely considered and the reasons why they are not implemented are fully communicated.
Is it prepared in advance?
Obviously this may not apply to ad hoc discussion about work or personal chat, but where there is important information to be communicated, it’s vital to consider in advance how this should be done. Think about what needs to be communicated, what questions are likely to be asked, and plan in advance what you are going to say/what written information you are going to give.
Is it clear, concise and relevant?
Again this comes down to planning. If you have some key points that need communicating, this information should be provided in a concise way so that employees will go away having received (and understood) those key messages. You should avoid ‘waffling’, digressing or giving too much detail as you may find key messages get buried/clouded.
Similarly, depending on who you are talking to, different levels of detail may be required. Don’t give loads of information which is irrelevant to the employee/s in question – some may need an overview/key facts, whereas others may need more detail, depending on their role.
Are you communicating it in the right way?
There are a variety of methods of communicating with staff, and which you choose will depend on a number of factors – how many people you need to communicate it to and who they are/where they are based, and what the subject matter is.
Don’t automatically use the same communication method or forum for everything, just take some time to consider how best to communicate key information first. Think about confidentiality issues, the best environment to communicate in, and likely responses or reactions and how to deal with these.
If you’d like to find out more about good employee communication, do get in touch.