Businesses typically put a great deal of time and resources into customer communications, from elaborate public relations plans to customer surveys. But when it comes to internal communications—those formal and informal means by which employers communicate with workers—communication is often taken for granted. Employees have a critical impact on the outcome of every project as well as the overall success of your business. Unfortunately, it’s easy for an organization’s leaders to fumble the ball when attempting to improve employee communications.
In this post we’ll explore the first five things employees wish you know about communicating with them. A later post will cover the second five.
1. BE CONCISE
Employees don’t like walking away wondering exactly what you meant or how your commentary fits into the project they just asked you about. When it comes to performance expectations, changes in job roles, project deadlines, or other critical information, save the flowery phrasing for your annual address and tell your employees exactly what you expect and what they can expect.
2. UNDERSTAND YOUR EMPLOYEES
You probably spend a lot of time segmenting your customers in order to target your communications. The same should hold true for your employees. Upper level managers have different communication needs and interests than administrative staff, for example. Even within closer work groups, you will find you can fine-tune communication using messaging most likely to elicit a positive response.
3. BE TIMELY
Few successful business leaders would think about delaying their response to an important customer, yet those same managers think nothing about puffing off an employee who is waiting for an answer. Whether you are delaying a decision on a salary request or need to provide feedback on a project’s milestone, give the task the priority it deserves.
4. BE CONSISTENT
There are not many things more frustrating to an employee than inconsistency from supervisors. Put a standard process in place, take notes when you meet with employees so you can recall what you said previously, and stay consistent on your messaging. You can’t give effective direction and oversight if your responses change with your mood. Employees would rather you stay consistent, even if they don’t always agree with you.
5. IDENTIFY VALUE
Depending on the employee’s role, it can sometimes be a challenge to understand how their part in a project can impact the outcome. By identifying the value of each phase of a multi-step project, you help to identify the value of each project milestone without focusing too heavily on what may be a small role for any individual employee.
Watch our blog for Part Two – five more great tips – coming soon!