Category All, Best Practices Employee Communication Basics: Benefits, Methods and Best Practices Learn the biggest benefits, most popular methods and best practices of successful employee communication to use in your company. October 19, 2020 By Sara Ana Cemazar Employee communication is the staple of a healthy workplace. An effective communication between management and employees, as well as between employees themselves, is essential for keeping workplaces informed and engaged. Moreover, it is especially important to keep employee communication at its highest level during this pandemic when a lot of employees work from home. 💬 This article will help you understand the basics of employee communication: its benefits, methods and best practices. But before we start, get these 16 questions employees use to evaluate their employers. How Employee Communication is Changing The world of work is constantly changing, and we see a shift to employee-driven workplaces. This means that employers are finally realizing that employees are at the core of their businesses. Therefore, companies are implementing best practices from multiple areas to keep their employees productive and satisfied. One of these areas is employee communication, which is embedded in your employees’ journey from its start to its end. Employee communication now tries to mirror the communication trends worldwide, including usage of social networks and facilitation of two-way communication on multiple platforms. Employees are becoming more empowered to speak up to their management and share information in a more liberate way. Luckily, breaking out of these hierarchical patterns has many benefits for companies, too. 💬 Of course, the current world situation has heavily influenced the employee communication trends. See our workplace communication plan to help you successfully communicate with your employees during pandemic. So, how do we define employee communications? Simply put, employee communication comprehends all the communication that goes on between employees and management and between employees themselves. It is important to highlight that employee communication includes not only information that management shares with employees, but also vice versa. The Benefits of Effective Employee Communication When employee communication is effective, it has many benefits. However, these benefits are sometimes hard to grasp since their effect is not directly observable in most cases. For example, it is hard to measure how exactly employee communication impacts your employees’ happiness, but we know that 86% of employees think that workplace failures are caused by ineffective communication and lack of collaboration. Here are some of the main benefits of employee communication. Employee productivity increases McKinsey research shows than when employees are connected, productivity grows by 25%. Since your employees’ work is often interconnected with their peers, it is no surprise that effective communication and collaboration methods are crucial for productivity and employee motivation. Moreover, employees rely on effective communication tools that enable them to stay connected. Company policy compliance The world pandemic has changed the state of employee safety immensely. Almost all companies in the world had to change their company policies for workplace behavior, attendance and health preserving measures to keep their employees safe. As the updates on frequent hand sanitation, wearing masks or working from home had to be communicated fast, companies with effective employee communication channels found it easier to keep their employees informed and safe. 💬 According to Perceptyx, when employees who found their company’s communication about COVID-19 poor, only 30% of them believed their employers #1 concern is their health. In comparison, 96% of those who were satisfied with the communication regarding COVID-19 thought their companies really do put their health first. Employee innovation Here is an interesting statistic: 45% of employees agree that overcoming the middle management “permafrost” layer is one of the top challenges companies face to successfully innovate. However, if best employee communication practices are implemented, employees have a way to break traditional hierarchy and reach those in charge to push their innovative ideas. Employee collaboration 28% of professionals say that poor communication is the number one reason for failing projects. This is no surprise, since project completion often relies on properly aligning all team members’ work. As projects are often dynamic, employee communication is the key for agility and successful cooperation. Improved company culture It probably does not surprise you that effective employee communication is the key to open and collaborative company culture. This kind of culture is especially important when employees work remote and rarely see each other face to face. In fact, remote workers say that communication is one of their biggest struggles. Of course, effective employee communication also contributes to the overall employee experience, which is a composite measure that indicates your employee turnover rate, team profitability and more. Employee Communication Methods There are multiple ways you can communicate with your employees. However, not employee communication methods are equally effective, and neither does every mode of communication suit every company. It is important to explore your options, experiment with different methods and rely on data you collect. Here are some established ways of employee communication. Email Even though 26% of employees think that emails kill their productivity and only one third of emails are actually opened, email remains a common employee communication tool. As younger generations prefer communicating in other ways, email is still preferred by 74% of adults as method of commercial communication. A good way to reach more of your employees and ensure their read your emails is to not overcrowd their inbox and personalize. Therefore, you need to target your audience and use personalization techniques to catch your employees’ attention – just like a marketing pro. This is where our employee communication platform Nurture comes in. Check out how it can help you keep your workplace informed, connected and aligned. Keep your workplace informed with Nurture. Read more Intranet Astonishing 31% of employees report never participating in their company’s Intranet, which proves it is a poor way to get information out. Intranet is usually complex and heavy-duty and does not bode well with new technologies that facilitate more leaner user experience. Live meetings Of course, live meetings are a great way of employee communication. However, they are only supplementary way of communicating and as we have seen during pandemic, they are not always possible. Live meetings are usually great way for groups of less than 10, and they are most efficient with there is a clear agenda. On-line meetings Naturally, on-line meetings became very popular during times of increased work from home. They are the next best thing to live communication as they include both video and sound. This type of employee communication is desirable, but on-line meetings are also more efficient with less participants and with clear agenda. Also, it is best to keep camera turned on whenever you can. Employee surveys Employee surveys are a great way to find out what your employees think or how they feel. However, since employee communication should go in both directions, management is expected to respond to issues raised in surveys. Following up employee survey results has significant impacts on employee engagement. Social media As social media is changing the way we communicate worldwide, it also impacts employee communications. Companies are using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to communicate company updates with employees or to share useful resources. However, every company should establish Social Media Policy in order to regulate rules of communication and exclude possibility of negative comments or rude behavior. 💬 Interesting fact: 81% of Millennials ideal working environment includes top-notch technology over perks and benefits. Read more on how to give great employee experience to Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace. Employee communication apps Apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams are successfully mirroring their non-professional counterparts – WhatsApp and Viber – and are enabling fast and easy communication among employees. These apps are easy to set up and use but are mostly used for less formal communication and used together with email as a mean of more “official” communication. Collaboration tools When working on a project, many teams still use email or other traditional communication methods. However, employee collaboration tools like BoardFlo enable employees to collaborate on projects as they happen. This Kanban-style solution enhances project-oriented communication for everybody involved. Employee Communication Best Practices There are several practices that have proven to give best results when it comes to effectiveness of employee communication. Once again, it is important to notice that the same style and method of communication does not fit all companies. It is important to keep experimenting and adjusting your communications to your audience – your employees. Here are some of best employee communication practices. 1. Mobile experience It is sad that only 9% of companies use mobile phones and apps as communication channels, even though 85% of employees use more than one device to communicate at work. Most of web traffic comes from mobile phones, and it is crucial to enable employees to receive and send messages as they would in their private lives – through their mobile phones. 2. Leadership involvement When executives are involved in company’s communication strategy, employees deem them more credible. In fact, research shows that 81% of employees believe that CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead their companies. Therefore, try to explain to your leadership how they can easily boost employees’ morale by directly addressing them. 3. Using video Video is not only a great media tool, it is an excellent way to deliver information in a human way that resonates with your employees. Employee communications may seem overly formal, disengaging and passive. With video, you are giving your employees the next best thing to direct face-to-face communication. 💬 Propose to your senior leaders to make videos on company updates and important news once per month to increase trust in leadership and improve employees’ loyalty. 4. Don’t overcrowd inboxes As seen above, employees receive too many emails on daily basis and they do not read all of them. This is why it is important not to overcrowd your employees’ inboxes. You should decide which information is not important or engaging for your employees and omit it from your regular updating practice. 5. Make information available Instead of giving your employees too much information, make it easy for them to find information when they need it. Create a portal or webpage where your employees can find useful info on company updates, policies, videos from leadership, guidelines for certain procedures and more. Moreover, research shows that almost 20% of business time is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively. This is why it is also useful to make learning resources available to facilitate informal employee training. 6. Target your audience All your employees do not need to know everything that is going on in your company – and this goes in line with reducing the number of emails you send to your employees. However, it is vital to know how to segment and target your audience. Maybe you need to send some info to managers only, or maybe only employees in a certain region will have use of certain info. 7. Social Media Policy To regulate how your employees interact on your social media channels, it is vital to create and make everyone aware of social media policy. Try to reduce the possibility of foul language, bullying and negativity. However, you should allow for constructive feedback and showcase your open communication culture. 8. Enable managers to communicate with their employees The most important step for successful employee communication is to have good manager-employee relationship. Hierarchical silos is hard to break as it is, but without engaged managers, your efforts to improve the state of employee communication could be fruitless. Employees need to rely on their direct managers, so you need to incite your managers to always be in touch with their teams. Once again, employee surveys are just one tool to make team communications better. Other practices include regular employee feedback and employee recognition practices. To summarize, employee communication is a complex issue that depends on multitude of factors. However, this should not discourage you to experiment and introduce new modes of communication in your company, since employee communication landscape is changing at a fast pace. Successful employee communication is a vital part of employee experience. Get in touch with us to see how we help companies provide excellent employee experience every step of the way.