Effective employee communication is the key to satisfied staff members and retention at a business. Learn tips for better communication at your business.
Your small business works hard to make sure you hire the best candidates in your industry. Now, you need to retain those employees over time. The best way to ensure you maintain your employees for the long haul is to focus on successful communication strategies.
In this guide, we’ll cover four expert strategies that you can use to effectively communicate with your employees. These strategies include the following:
- Prioritize transparency
- Encourage compensation conversations
- Provide frequent feedback
- Set a regular time for discussion
Better communication with your employees creates an environment where employees feel more trusted and respected by the business. Let’s dive in to learn more about how you can improve your own strategies today.
1. Prioritize transparency
The first step to communication with anyone — from employees to significant others — is transparency and honesty. Any HR consultant would agree and encourage employers to increase the level of transparency in the office.
This doesn’t mean providing premature or confusing information to employees before final decisions have been reached among leadership. It’s the difference between withholding information from employees and communicating that something is under consideration.
For example, imagine a company is planning to move office locations. If the leadership says nothing, but the furniture starts disappearing, employees may notice something is up, and that’s how rumors begin. Even if a location hasn’t been decided upon just yet, the company leaders may tell staff members that there will be a move in the future and that a few different options are being considered.
Consider the ways that your company communicates already and the natural opportunities to make announcements to the entire team. For example, you might provide updates for the entire company using:
- Email: Quick, written updates will be most effective for regular announcements and small changes.
- Company meetings: If you have a weekly full company meeting, this allows you to add more detail to larger updates and to answer questions from the team.
- Skip level and management meetings: Companies with several levels of management might use management meetings to provide information to other company leaders. After that, leadership may use skip level meetings to communicate those changes to lower-level employees as well.
Transparency isn’t only for the leadership to consider. It’s also essential for your employees to be transparent with one another about work considerations. Encourage channels for open and frequent communication between employees and departments. In these situations, you should also make sure to provide training for employees to ensure they respect one another and handle sensitive topics appropriately.
2. Encourage compensation conversations
Many company leaders find it challenging to have open communication with their employees about compensation and benefits outside of formal performance review conversations. However, this is an important aspect of the job that employers and employees should feel comfortable bringing up whenever the need arises.
Use discretion to make sure you’re providing privacy to each employee about their financial information. Encourage one-on-one conversations between employees and leadership on the topic.
Then, in these conversations, employers should explain why the employee is paid the amount that they are — something that many companies fail to communicate properly.
In addition to providing reasoning, Astron Solutions’ guide to compensation consulting recommends explaining both indirect and direct compensation elements. For example, your leaders might explain to an employee the value of their:
- Benefits (health, dental, vision, 401K, etc.)
- Regular bonuses
- Paid time off
- Corporate philanthropy initiatives
- Company culture
Ensuring your employees understand these benefits can avoid dissatisfaction that stems from poor communication or misunderstanding. Proactively providing this information and rationale is much more effective in preventing dissatisfaction than trying to retroactively satisfy an unhappy employee.
3. Provide frequent feedback
Providing feedback is an essential part of employing your staff members. Feedback helps them perform to the best of their abilities and excel in their careers. More than that, employees want more feedback. According to one source, 65% of employees desire more feedback from their employers.
Train your managers to better communicate their feedback to employees. Effective feedback shares these qualities:
- It’s given in a semi- or completely private situation.
- It’s given in direct response to an action that the employee took.
- It explains the impact of the action taken.
- It provides a course forward for the employee.
Feedback is used to help employees develop their skills and ensure they’re on the right path in their jobs. It’s meant to be used as a course corrector rather than a disciplinary meeting. Cultivate a culture of frequent feedback at your company, encouraging your management staff to give both positive and constructive feedback to their staff members.
4. Set a regular time for discussion
In addition to ensuring conversations between management and staff members are productive and transparent, you should also make sure they happen on a regular basis.
Many companies wisely employ one-on-one meetings, setting aside time on a weekly basis for management to meet with each of their employees. This time should be structured so that it also remains productive and professional, maximizing the conversation. The time should be used to enable:
- Employees to update their manager on various projects. Employees can tell their managers about their projects and their progress on various activities, ensuring everyone is in the loop.
- Employees to ask questions of their managers. Employees may ask questions about the state of the business, their own career futures, and about day-to-day tasks or projects. If the manager can’t give a direct answer, they should be able to connect the employee to the person who can answer the question. For example, questions about coworker conflicts may be directed to the HR department.
- Managers to gauge employee engagement. If employees tend to feel disengaged, managers may be able to take action to improve their engagement over time. For example Double the Donation claims that corporate philanthropy programs provide a great way to engage your employees. Managers can also surface company culture events to the calendar to encourage them to bond with one another and engage that way.
Both employees and managers should prepare for these conversations, making them as productive as possible for both parties. Encourage them both to take notes, preferably in a shared document to prevent distractions via email, Slack, or other work projects.
Stronger communication for effective employee retention
Effective communication at your company is essential to ensuring your employees stay engaged and invested in your business. These tips provide opportunities to enhance your communication at your workplace and to retain more employees over time.