Seven ways to improve employee communication

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Written by Gemma Hart on 25 June 2021 in Features
Features

During challenging times communication is crucial to success; here, Gemma Hart offers practical solutions.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it numerous challenges, not least of all remote working. As lockdown hit, thousands of businesses were forced to close their doors, sending employees home for the foreseeable future.

During any crisis, good communication is paramount. And, with remote working still fully underway for many businesses, employers are constantly looking for new ways to improve team communication and increase employee motivation during these challenging times.

Why employee communication is important

Effective communication is an essential business tool that can help increase productivity and develop fruitful relationships and further the success of your company. 

What’s more, regular communication also encourages employees to feel as if they are part of something bigger ultimately, motivating them to “act a lot more loyally to their place of work”. However, effective communication is a skill that many employers are currently struggling to master during this extended period of lockdown. So, we thought we’d try and help. 

Join us as we look at some of the key ways employers can communicate more effectively throughout the lockdown, helping shape a more motivated, happy, and better-driven workforce.

Commit to 10 minutes a day

Offices are busy places, with dozens of decisions being made every day. So, making time for team meetings can be tricky – a challenge only heightened with more people than ever before currently working from home.

Did you know that employees are 75% more likely to engage with video content than written?

One method that managers can use to improve employee communication is to set aside just 10 minutes a day for daily catch-up via video conferencing; simply schedule a meeting and chat regularly with your team on a daily or bi-daily basis. 

Dedicating just 10 minutes at the start of the day will help ensure everyone is on track with their tasks and allow you to discuss any problems. It’s a great way to start the day off in the right way and doesn’t always have to feel awkward. 

Plus, according to TED, famous for its signature talks, research has shown the average person cannot pay attention to a speaker for more than 10-18 minutes. That’s why at TED, meetings are kept to 18 minutes or less; shorter meetings mean better employee engagement and more time to focus on the day’s tasks.

Use communication apps

If you manage a large team of people, keeping in touch with everyone can feel like a daunting task. Scheduling meetings per person can often take up more time than you have available.

Many companies have been utilising the benefits of mobile and web applications in the bettering of their communication during the COVID-19 crisis. From well-known apps such as WhatsApp and Slack to Trello and Zapier, other communication-based applications like these can help you stay connected with your employees even when nobody’s in the office.

Company-wide newsletter updates

Did you know that 71% of employees feel they are missing out on company news? 

Remote working has increased this gap significantly, with many employees feeling more out of touch than ever. Therefore, when your employees aren’t in the office, it is important to reassure them they are still an essential part of the team. 

The best way to do this is through a company-wide newsletter, featuring that month’s news like new clients and success stories. It could even include praise/recognition for employees who have gone above and beyond during lockdown.

 

Company newsletters are a great way to keep employees in touch with what the company is doing as well as maintaining consistent and clear communication. In fact, surveys have shown that 85% of employees feel highly motivated when they receive regular news updates about the company.

Experiment with video content

Did you know that employees are 75% more likely to engage with video content than written? Therefore, if you want to improve your communication across the board, you should utilise this, communicating with employees in the way they interact with most.

“You can create all kinds of video content, from educational how-tos and instructional walk-throughs to narratives, vlogs, and in-depth instructional videos. This medium lets you get creative, connect with a wider audience and encourage social shares, all of which will help improve your brand visibility.” - Aaron Thomas, Managing Director of Hive19.

Video content is the key to engaging employees and increasing team communication. And, better yet, it gives you a chance to get creative!  

For example, why not create a few funny and entertaining videos that share the news of the week or discuss something topical. That way, you can also encourage employees to make and share their own videos and, ultimately, get people talking.

Utilising video content strategies via social channels can significantly impact the success of your business. In fact, The Holmes Report found that companies that prioritised improving their internal communication strategies were able to give their shareholders 47% higher returns. What’s more, one study from the McKinsey Global Institute found that employee productivity rose by as much as 25% when online social tools were used. So, if you aren’t using video content yet in your employee communications, you should be!

Invest budget in gifts

Employees have had to adjust to significant changes this year, from remote working to home-schooling, and managers should take the time to recognise this. Companies that value their employees should invest time and money in communicating their appreciation for hard work.

Acknowledging hard work has 74% of employees saying they would work harder, according to the Work Human Research Institute. It’s all well and good telling your employees what a great job they’ve done but showing them is even more powerful. So, why not invest some of your company’s budget in a few surprise gifts, meal deliveries, and vouchers to employees who could use a little encouragement? 

Sending a thoughtful gift in this way will highlight your gratitude and let your employees know they are being supported during these challenging times. 

Create a virtual water cooler

One of the things remote workers are missing the most while being away from the office is in-person chit-chat. After all, working from home can be incredibly isolating without any small talk to help break up the day.

It is estimated that around 80% of workers are currently “deskless” – either working remotely or always on the move. So, they are unable to participate in chats around the office, instead, having to rely on their mobile phone to stay connected with the rest of the team.

Even while working remotely, it is important to give your team a virtual venue to talk about non-work-related topics. Since it has to be virtual, consider setting up a Zoom room that is always open or a messaging platform specifically for non-work chat. 

That way, people can sign in and share their thoughts, funny anecdotes, or Netflix recommendations, to stay connected with the rest of the team.

Run competitions online

According to a study by Alive with Ideas, 93% of comms professionals say that creativity is important to internal communications, but only 6% believe it is being used to its full potential.

Sending a thoughtful gift in this way will highlight your gratitude and let your employees know they are being supported during these challenging times.

Just as you might hold team bonding events each month in-person, you can adapt these events for online during the coronavirus pandemic. 

There are a ton of ideas out there for online competitions, after all, from syncing smartphone quiz-based apps to recreating pub quizzes or trivia nights. Whatever you decide to do, games and competitions like these are a great way to connect with your team while all the in-person social restrictions are still in place.  

Communication inspires innovation

According to the Dynamic Signal Study, companies dedicated to internal communication see up to a 30% increase in employee engagement.

If you want your company to grow, innovation is essential. But it can only happen when employees feel they have the time and space to pursue fresh ideas. 

Some companies are dedicating 15% of the working day to new innovations and collaborations. When employees feel connected to the company and with each other, they feel freer to collaborate across teams, which can result in brand-new ideas being formed. 

Final thoughts

While the pandemic crisis may have uprooted many aspects of normal life and significantly disrupted communication channels, there are several proactive steps you can take to strengthen your office community.

With the right communication tools, your team will feel a lot more connected and motivated, regardless of the challenging times we currently find ourselves in. 

The key thing to remember is that your employees are your company’s best asset, so it’s important to show them they are supported. 

 

About the author

Gemma Hart is an education and career consultant and can be contacted at gemmahart1recruitment@gmail.com

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