Benefits of Good Employee Communications16/11/2020
Good communication matters at work because few jobs are solo acts. It takes communication to work on a team, and even people working alone have to report to their bosses. If you run a business, you have to tell employees what’s expected of them.
Bad communication leads to errors, failure and sometimes lawsuits. Effective communication helps prevent these errors.
Building a Team
Effective, honest communication can bind employees together. If the staff are talking with each other on the job, that’s a major step towards building a good team. Employees who look forward to talking with their colleagues are more enthused about coming to work.
Making Things Clear
Confusing instructions and unclear guidelines are bad for everyone. When communicating with employees, managers have to be clear about what they want and expect. That applies whether the communication is through meetings, instructions, performance reviews or employee handbooks. If workers understand their duties and responsibilities, everything flows more smoothly.
Managing Diversity in the Workforce
Good communication is even more important if the workforce is diverse. With a mix of races, nationalities, genders or faiths on the job, it’s easy for people to accidentally offend each other. If promotion and employee review rules aren’t clear, minority workers may feel they’ve been discriminated against.
Policies that clearly spell out how the company applies rewards and penalties can clear things up. Clear guidelines telling employees how to treat each other helps avoid unwanted conflict.
Dealing with Problems
Bad communication causes all sorts of problems. Two employees receive conflicting instructions. HR issues a warning without finding out what the real issues are. A supervisor doesn’t respond to questions or avoids discussing employee issues.
These are all examples of poor communication. Good communication skills can resolve the problems, or better yet prevent them from developing in the first place.
Surviving Difficult Situations
When the going gets tough, employees get nervous. Will they have a paycheck in six months? How long should they wait before jumping ship? Is the boss leveling with them about how bad things are?
If management fudges the facts or duck’s discussion, it can kill employees’ faith in the company. Talking honestly about the situation can strengthen their trust. The best companies don’t wait until disaster strikes to start communicating. If the company’s been honest and communicating effectively all along, they have a valuable reservoir of trust built up.
Types of Messages
The type of message sent is a major factor in choosing the appropriate communication channel.
Standard operating procedures
There are many ways to communicate policies and procedures staff meetings, employee orientation sessions and one-on-one coaching, for example but employee handbooks are still the best way to deliver a consistent message to all employees with respect to standard operating procedures.
General business updates
General organizational updates may be communicated through newsletters, e-mails or town hall meetings or in small group huddles.
Bankruptcy, downsizing and restructuring
Employers should use several different communications means to announce and update employees when an organization faces bankruptcy, a restructuring or a downsizing. Whether in regular briefings by top leaders through voice mail blasts, e-mail alerts or town hall meetings or in departmental or group meetings, the employer needs to keep employees apprised of whatever information may be necessary to keep the organization running smoothly. See Layoffs Require Communication, Compassion and Compliance.
Communication regarding employee benefits may greatly affect employees’ perceptions of the value of their compensation package and, moreover, the value of their employment with an organization. Accordingly, benefits communications should be planned carefully using means appropriate to the circumstances: printed messages, virtual or face-to-face meetings, one-on-one briefings, and so on. Major benefits changes such as a new carrier or new options require a more comprehensive approach than the one used for routine updates. See Make Your Benefits Website a Year-Round Hub
Emergencies such as those caused by weather, violent employee behaviors, natural catastrophes or terrorists require quick and effective communication to ensure the health and safety of employees and their families. A comprehensive disaster plan, complete with communication strategies and standard policies for dealing with emergencies, should be a requirement for all organizations.
Merger or acquisition
Communication issues with mergers and acquisitions are a high priority for HR professionals. HR professionals must consider how to communicate new benefits plans, new operating procedures, a new company culture, revised organizational charts and myriad other issues during mergers and acquisitions.
Organizations may find that some business functions are handled better through outsourcing. Communication is vital to explain the change and the rationale to employees, as well as in developing new strategies for communicating with the outsourced vendor.
Some communications come with legal constraints and/or guidelines that impact the message being delivered or how the employer delivers the information. For example, employers may face charges of unfair labor practices as a result of how it communicates to employees the company’s desire to remain union-free.