Communication strategies within organizations are evolving alongside technological innovation. But however advanced these tools may be, effective communication still ranks high among the list of non-negotiable leadership skills. The obvious benefit of this is the successful and consistent exchange of valuable information. It is also a critical step in building trust and engagement among employees.
Every organization has a vision. When the goals are too vague or poorly communicated, employees feel disconnected. An example from ClearCompany CEO Andre Lavoie is to increase sales — an objective that lacks specific details and instructions. How will a sales professional grow their sales? What is the timeline? And more importantly, how does it align with an employee’s own personal and career goals?
Constant communication, then, is not enough. It also has to be clear to be effective. Leaders need to highlight the overall objectives of the company. They also need to outline employees’ specific roles in achieving them. Identify how their work adds value or solves specific issues, as doing so can help employees find more meaning in what they do.
In clearly defining each and every one’s contributions to the bigger picture, you can maintain trust and employee engagement more effectively.
“Our staff has praised the increased communications level Workmates delivers. We use it to communicate important project matters and give staff specific ‘kudos’ or even recognize their birthdays. More importantly, we use Workmates to clarify important project details that needed rapid dissemination among the entire team.”
Competitive salaries and employee perks are important, but so are intangible benefits. Other than communication and access to leadership, a Deloitte study found employee recognition has a big effect on company culture. When given prompt recognition for their efforts and hard work, employees feel connected and engaged with the organization. This cultural practice also increases the level of trust between the organization and its workforce by increasing employees’ confidence.
Fortunately, employee recognition isn’t hard to put in practice. Try nominating someone to be the ‘Employee of the Month’. Give shout-outs to individual and team achievements. Or, simply thank employees personally for their continuous efforts. All of these can have a profound effect on employee engagement.
Feedback should always be a two-way street. Management needs to hear from its employees on factors that require their input, too. These matters include workplace culture, environment, and roles. For instance, one of our ‘Four Tips That Can Help Improve Your Staff’s Productivity’ is to improve workplace conditions, which can be difficult to assess from a managerial standpoint. Talk to your employees to gain insight on what works best for them. This can help you create an environment in which they can truly feel safe, comfortable, and productive.
At the same time, employees need to hear feedback from their supervisors. Rather than pinpointing their mistakes, focus on constructive information regarding their job. Discuss how they can further improve in their role and how you can help them develop their potential. This can be done through one-on-one consultations or employee surveys.
Effective communication and management also entails understanding what keeps them motivated. While you may have a sense of work-related factors, like peer-to-peer relationships, there can be many other factors at play that you might need to dig into. Some examples are events in their personal lives, mental health issues, and even financial problems.
The fact of the matter is, there are many things going on in your employees' lives that can affect their work, and these may not always be immediately obvious. For example, money matters, which we like to think of as a private concern, do have a direct impact on an employee’s ability to perform. In fact, Marcus details that financial stress can manifest through a variety of symptoms that range from depression to high blood pressure. Financial coach Elisabeth Donati explains that it has to do with how money controls many factors in our lives, such as our ability to pay for basic needs. An inability to do so can increase stress, which can eventually take away from our ability to do well at work.
These factors — personal finance, relationships, and more — are important to understanding work performance and engagement in general. However, these may be difficult to recognize, which is why effective communication is crucial. Check in with your employees from time to time to see how you can help. You may be able to connect them with professionals who can help address their needs, like therapists or financial consultants. The goal is to keep the communication lines open and develop trust.
When all of these components have been established, your company can create meaningful and long-lasting relationships rooted in trust. HR Zone highlights trust as a key component of employee engagement, as this makes team members feel motivated to help the company reach its overall goals. Nobody wants to work for someone they don’t trust. All of the efforts mentioned above can contribute to greater trust shared between leaders and their employees, and it starts with practicing effective communication and management, which are key to employee retention.
Author: Rhiane Jem