Communication is the cornerstone of an engaged workforce. Research suggests a direct connection between engaged employees and a variety of performance outcomes, including productivity, profitability, reduced turnover, and customer experience. But still, one of the most difficult challenges for any organisation today is to find ways to effectively speak to its employees.
Boosting employee engagement is often at the forefront of HR and management initiatives, which often leads to countless surveys, meetings, reward schemes and other new programmes. At Clarity International, we believe that the simplest way to increase engagement is sometimes overlooked – it starts with the day-to-day communication.
Food for thought
An effective communication strategy has a direct effect on staff productivity and retention, but there’s more to it than that. If done with care, it can boost your entire operation, if not, you’ll be left running in circles and putting out fires.
This week, we’ll look at how communication is like having an incredible experience at your favourite restaurant. And just like a five-star meal, communication is more than just the sum of its parts.
Just like recipes, effective communication requires a different mix of ingredients. That’s because every organisation’s culture is different and it will set the tone and the way in which the messages are delivered. It will grow and develop as the people grow and become increasingly engaged, but there are some common ingredients that need to be in the mix every time.
Communicating for engagement requires a clear, consistent message with the appropriate level of information, openness and honesty with an authentic tone, clearly defined goals, purpose and direction, and an element of clarity, transparency, measurement and accountability.
These ingredients may seem straightforward and obvious, but far too often organisations get so focused on the business side of things that they forget the human connection that needs to happen regularly for employees to truly get engaged.
Why do Michelin-starred chefs have people lined up down the street and reservations booked for months in advance? Cooking technique and reviews are a part of it, but they’ve reached that point because they’ve spent the time understanding how to sharpen their skills to offer customers the best experience possible.
As business leaders, it’s important that we take time to reflect on what we’re doing, what works (or doesn’t) and why, and what our end goal is for an improved communications strategy. Open communication with your entire team, from the sous-chef to the dishwasher, is essential! When possible, this is best done in person.
Word of mouth
We often hear the expression, “we eat with our eyes first”. The best chefs and ingredients in the world can’t just throw things on a plate and hope that it’s appreciated and understood.
Some of the greatest workplace communication problems can sprout from simple misunderstandings; ideas thrown together carelessly. How you’re choosing to wrap up your message is where things get really interesting, and exciting.
At Clarity International, we specialise in creating customised SharePoint platforms for companies of all sizes. When done right, these platforms can enhance and enrich employee experience by providing a social network through which they can connect, share, and learn within an organisation.
On the side
Add-ons for providing quizzes, surveys, and games can further boost workplace sentiment while Yammer is a great social tool for enhancing employee engagement. Customised tools can measure the impact through different, more enhanced analytic processes, and may provide a far better understanding on how each message is perceived.
When communication is flattened via the company’s social network, employees gain a greater sense of company-wide projects and goals. They feel more like they have a stake in the company’s success. They see how their actions benefit the whole. And they feel more empowered to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the discussion.
in vino veritas [there is truth in wine]
Like in any relationship, without successful communication, it just won’t work. More than that, staff appreciate communication that is honest and sincere.
If you want employees to see a long-term future with your company or deliver their best performance every day, make them a part of shaping this future. Bringing employees on board when making decisions about the company’s future helps strengthen your relationship with each one of them. Making internal knowledge easily available via documentation on your social intranet is a great way to keep communication flowing. Since most companies work from a specific set of internal knowledge, there’s usually already a built-in training program at your disposal. And, you do have a well-structured induction and mandatory training program, right?
How sweet it is…
Companies pour time and money into ensuring their external communications are managed as efficiently as possible — without putting as much thought into improving workplace communication at an internal level.
But, just as public relations and marketing are important for the way the external world perceives you, so too is employee communication when it comes to ensuring your team is functional and productive.