It’s well recognised that effective communication and employee involvement are huge motivators in the workplace. So, if you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to share this year’s successes with your team, along with your plans for 2017, now is a great time to do it.
Six top tips for effective employee communication (and avoiding the scenario in the picture!):
- Think about what it is that you want to achieve with your communication.
Do you want to thank employees for their hard work this year and motivate them to achieve more of the same next year?
Has business been tough and you need to set expectations about what lies ahead?
Do you have ideas for new products or services which you’d like to test out with your team and get their feedback on?
How do you want them to feel after the communication? Energised? Motivated? Involved in the business? Recognised for their efforts? Aware that things need to change?
- Think about the best format for your communication, whether that’s putting something on a notice board, sending an email, holding a team meeting, having individual chats, or arranging a ‘town hall’ style meeting with the whole business. If you’re simply trying to get across facts, such as annual sales figures, new projects, or new clients, then putting a poster on a well-used notice board, or sending an email may be enough. However, if you want to use the opportunity for two-way communication with staff, to engage and motivate them, or to deliver a difficult message, then face to face will be more effective.
- Whatever form your communication takes, keep it clear and concise. Prepare by making brief notes on the key messages you want to get across to your team and then use these to help prepare your written or verbal communication.
- Use the opportunity to make your leadership of the business visible, particularly if you don’t have day to day contact with employees. The culture of a company, and its subsequent performance, is set from the top. A face to face all-company meeting is a great opportunity to speak with employees and get across your message in person. If you are sending an email, write it as if you are speaking to your team in person.
- Use your communications to build a shared sense of purpose and ensure you provide the context to what you are saying. If it’s been a tough year, but your team have pulled out all the stops and maintained sales figures, then make sure that they know that you appreciate this by talking about the business environment as well as the sales themselves. Conversely, if sales are up, but it’s due to external factors and you know that next year may be harder, use the opportunity to set expectations and energise your staff towards next year’s goals.
- Finally, it’s often easy to forget to say a simple ‘thank you’ to employees, yet in a survey by Glassdoor careers site, where more than 2,000 people were asked what makes them work harder, 81% said they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. Furthermore, a study by researchers at the Universities of Pennsylvania and North Carolina demonstrated the effect of gratitude on effort which showed that showing gratitude more than doubled the response rate of participants in the experiment. (For more details on the study, check out this blog on ‘3 Proven Ways To Motivate Your Customer Service Team‘.) The study shows that saying thank you and showing your appreciation isn’t just a ‘nice thing to do’ that makes your staff feel good, it can have a tangible impact on the performance of your business.
So, whatever this year’s successes are, and however you choose to communicate them, don’t forget to thank the people that helped you achieve them – your employees!