A lot of verbiage is spent on what makes for good employee communication. Many people put a lot of time into thinking about the “hows” to do employee communication. But you need to think about the “outcomes” of your communication. Before we get to outcomes however, let’s review some of the building blocks of employee communication.
Eryn Travis, writing in Employee Communication Strategies, says that “effective communication is far more than dumping information and hoping for the best. The best employee communication strategy is a multilayered and two-way approach…” Her suggestions for effective communication include:
- Don’t assume you know the best way to communicate with your employees. Investigate and ask how employees want to be communicated with. Don’t assume you know their motivation or comprehension levels.
- Choose the right tools. This may mean multiple tools depending on the diversity of employees you have in the company. Texting is appropriate for some messages and some groups but not all. Not everyone reads posted notices or pays attention to emails. So understand your demography.
- Communicate with some empathy. Listen intently and solicit feedback. This may help you identify with employees and increase your chances of true communication.
A key part of your communication plan however is understanding what outcomes you want to achieve. Steph Beer at Stepwise wrote a piece about communication in general. It is called A New Information Hierarchy for the Facebook/Twitter Era but I think what she has to say about outcomes is relevant to employee communication. She said the desired outcomes of a communication campaign are:
- Increased trust
- Deeper relationships
- Behavior change
- Commercial success
As I said, she was talking in terms of business success, but I think these outcomes are equally relevant to dealing with employees. So before you start out on an employee communication campaign keep these outcomes in mind and define what they mean for your organization.
In the words of Eryn Travis, “effective communication is far more than dumping information and hoping for the best.”