With disparate teams and more of us working from home, one of the most common challenges we are hearing from managers is how to communicate effectively with their teams.
We look at 10 ways to ensure you are doing it right.
1. Be clear and concise.
Unclear and verbose communications will lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Use plain language, keep it simple and clearly outline expectations.
2. Be visible and set the tone at the top.
CEOs and senior leaders need to set the tone. Good leaders are always visible, accessible and need to be seen to be leading the communications. Make sure there is an understanding that there’s a correlation between strategic employee communication and the achievement of organizational goals.
3. Ask what communication is needed.
You need to understand how and what communication your employees’ need as you may need to communicate differently with different audiences. Especially now some may be in the office and some working from home. Survey your employee base regularly and ask if they’re getting the information they need.
4. The omnichannel approach - using all available 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. Also, be sure that your message is consistent across all these channels.
5. ‘No surprises’ - Notify employees first.
When you prioritise your communications, always think of your internal people first. Your employees shouldn’t be surprised by something they see on social media or in a press release, they should hear it from the organization first. This helps them feel respected and valued.
6. Actions speak louder than words.
Do what you say you’re going to do. Otherwise, you undermine your credibility and employees are less likely to believe or take future communications seriously.
7. 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 on how to communicate and provide the necessary tools needed to succeed.
If managers are expected to help explain a complicated change within the organization (for example with the pension plan), you need to provide the talking points and resources such as handouts or a link to the content on an internal website.
8. Communicate regularly.
Be systematic and strategic. Create an editorial calendar with regular dates for communicating with your employees, whether it’s via newsletter, email, or a scheduled meeting.
9. Measure effectiveness.
Set communication objectives and assess whether you have met them. Ask employees if the organization has communicated its strategy well.
Do they understand how their day-to-day activities roll up to help the organization meet its goals?
10. Facilitate two-way conversations.
One-way communication is a thing of the past. Employees who feel listened to have enhanced feelings of trust.
There are many ways to facilitate two-way communication including face-to-face meetings, interactive video interviews, employee surveys, Q&A features on the company intranet, and suggestion boxes.
Employees significantly influence the outcome of any project. If you communicate strategically and with purpose, you’re more likely to see all your employees working to a common purpose, toward shared organizational goals.
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