Forward-thinking organisations must continuously seek to improve communication between managers and employees. This should be a frictionless, two-way interaction between these parties in order to facilitate engaging and productive information sharing.
This article explores why internal communication between management and employees is so important and how you can adjust your processes to improve the way that these stakeholders interact.
The importance of effective communication between managers and employees
More than half of communication professionals in research by Social Chorus think that employee alignment with organisational and strategic changes and prevention of misinformation is leadership’s top priority.
In order to successfully deliver these messages, you must have strong internal communications channels in place. These lines of communication should not just dictate news from the top. Rather, it should engage and listen to staff members so they feel valued and heard in the workplace.
Management can better steer the company forward if they understand what the situation is like on the ground. Employees deal with the current processes and procedures every day and so are best placed to stop potential problems and instigate innovative solutions. Only by listening as well as talking internally can management take advantage of this.
Stacey Burke, writing for Forbes, extolls the virtues of employee engagement but warns that it is more difficult to achieve in the current environment, where working from home is ever more prevalent. Burke says:
Maintaining the morale of your workforce is crucial for both capitalising on their skills and retaining top talent. As many of us have permanently switched from working in-person to remote employment, we have learned that even the closest teams can grow apart and miscommunicate when deprived of regular face-to-face interaction.
This is why all organisations must consider how best to improve this key element of internal communications.
Before you start: Assess your current internal communication strategy
Ahead of changing your strategy for internal comms, look at where you are with your current plan:
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How close did you come to meeting your goals? Are the goals still relevant? What do you want to achieve with your strategy?
Look at the different aspects of your internal comms policy and work out what has been effective and what hasn’t. Try to analyse the reasons for the outcomes and whether there is anything to do to make your channels more engaging.
Seek out measurable data to understand where your engagement is working and where it isn’t. This includes page views on your intranet, comments on internal social media channels, numbers of attendees at company town halls and similar.
Survey your employees and ask them how they feel about the current state of communications in the organisation. Ask them for practical solutions to streamline the internal communications processes in the future.
How to improve communication between managers and employees
Lead by example
Management sets the tone for an organisation, so you should lead by example in terms of internal communications. Be seen to broadcast important information widely and encourage employees to respond and give feedback. This public endorsement of two-way conversations shows employees that you are serious about instilling internal comms best practices in the organisation.
It is also important to maintain the dialogue and be seen to do so. It is not enough to welcome feedback. You also have to respond and act upon it. Even if you don’t agree with the suggestions that an employee makes, you must explain why and give clear business reasons. This type of engagement helps employees understand that you will take their points of view seriously.
When leaders interact, employee trust is heightened.
Sharing news and information, no matter whether it is positive or negative, is a part of the transparency that underlines a strong internal communications policy. It is very easy to share the good news, but it can be challenging to discuss the bad ones.
However, rumours and doubts lead to uncertainty and a drop in morale, as employees worry about the events occurring within the company. By not communicating the negatives, you allow doubts to creep into the workplace, which can stifle productivity and lead to employees seeking opportunities elsewhere.
You should foster an environment whereby employees know that they are kept in the loop, and that means that they will take even more pride in the positives because they know you are honest and transparent with them and that there is no spin being added to the news.
Focus on company culture
Transparency feeds into your company culture, which in turn informs the success or otherwise of internal communications. In a company with a culture of openness, communication flows more easily between all parties.
By promoting this type of environment where everyone has a right to speak and where you value all opinions, you make all stakeholders more open to conversing and less afraid of being punished for escalating problems. This is also known as a “speak-up culture”, and it is invaluable for keeping channels open and being able to adjust processes and strategies in an agile manner.
Maintain regular contact
In a remote working environment, it is important to check in regularly with your team. You don’t want engagement between the parties to stop, but this is a real possibility unless you make an effort to touch base. This isn’t exclusively a remote issue, though, as large organisations sometimes find it a challenge in their physical workplaces, too.
Sending a message, booking a weekly face-to-face meeting or contacting the team through any other means on occasion reminds them of the communication channels they can use. It keeps the conversation going so that employees understand what is expected of them and management knows what is happening on the ground.
You should make sure you pass all the important news. In addition to this, regular contact could just be a simple message to ask if employees need anything to help them with their work, for example.
Foster a team mentality
The sense of belonging and of being valued within the group is one of the drivers of good, engaging communication. This is facilitated by fostering a team mentality amongst your employees. Here is what you can do to achieve this:
- Celebrate your employees’ successes. When they achieve something inside or outside of work, share it on your avenues of communication.
- Always deal with internal stakeholders in a respectful manner, both in terms of language and actions.
- Mark personal occasions, such as birthdays and work anniversaries, with celebratory internal messages.
- Organise a work retreat or day away. Spending time together will strengthen the bonds that make internal communication more effective and productive.
Build a digital workplace
Using digital tools to maintain contact between colleagues and management is an effective way to foster good internal communication in the physical office, the remote office or the hybrid workspace.
Your digital communication outlets could come in any form; it could be an internal newsletter that you send around weekly or monthly, or it could be a digital workplace platform where all the relevant news and information is stored.
Utilising webinars as an internal communication tool is also a great way to pass on updates and important information. You can organise meetings, training sessions and online events that both office-based and remote staff can attend whilst offering all participants the same experience and the same opportunity to ask questions and interact. You can also archive the proceedings for future reference or viewing.
Company Webcast provides a professional, secure and engaging platform for internal comms. Using our innovative peer-to-peer technology, we mitigate the issues surrounding many employees maxing out your bandwidth to watch the same broadcast, allowing you to impart your message with no interruptions or IT headaches.
What are the six qualities of good communicators?
Good communicators share many traits in common. Here are the skills and qualities they usually possess:
- Good communicators are honest. People appreciate being told the truth, even if it is challenging to hear.
- They are proactive about communicating.
- They ask good questions because communication is a two-way street.
- They listen to not just the words but the meaning as well.
- Concise language is another skill they possess. It is essential to keep the interest of the audience and put across the message clearly.
- They are reliable and trustworthy.
How should managers talk to employees?
Managers should be open, honest and respectful in the way they talk to employees. This kind of communication is liable to elicit the most favourable response from an employee and means that they feel comfortable being honest and open in return.
How can you improve poor communication skills?
Listening to others helps you pick up on more effective communication skills, as does the process of asking questions. This way, you gain an understanding of how the other person communicates and can adjust your style accordingly to meet theirs. Fitting your communication style to your audience is key to delivering your message correctly.
Internal workplace communication is essential to team building and productivity. It helps you understand the challenges at play and their potential solutions. To improve communication between managers and employees, you should keep in constant contact with employees, encourage speaking up, lead by example, be open and explore solutions to communicate in a manner that best fits your team.
With remote working being such an important part of life now, using video streaming to keep in touch with employees is an innovative solution to improving internal comms. Company Webcast provides professional webcasting capabilities that offer interactive features to keep your employees engaged with your messaging. You can request a free demo for your company today.