HR Strategy | By Scott Schulte,

4 Keys to Better Employee Communication

Effective communication is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. Throw in diverse workforces, remote teams, and the sheer number of communication platforms available and it can seem almost impossible.

If you’re feeling like your messages aren’t getting through, you’re not alone. Here are some key reasons why things are so complicated, and a few strategies to help.

Generational Differences

Your workforce may include 20-somethings just starting out, 60-somethings planning for retirement, and every possible combination in between.

Communication preferences are as varied as your team, and with rapidly changing technology, it can be hard to keep up with who wants what. Reaching your audience requires diversity in your message and a range of communication styles.

Key takeaway: Different populations absorb and react to information differently. One generation’s email is another generation’s text.

Multiple Learning Styles and Backgrounds

Because we all learn differently, we all need to be communicated with in different ways. Some people learn best by seeing, some by listening, and some through interaction. When it comes to communication techniques, one size does not fit all.

Diversity plays a key role here as well. Many companies are now embracing groups that may have previously felt left out, which is great! But this requires putting some extra thought into your communication approaches. You’ll want to be sensitive to group dynamics, and very careful with the words you choose and the messages you send.

Key takeaway: No one way of communicating is best for everyone in your group. You’ll need a variety of messaging tactics— and a healthy dose of sensitivity. Choose your words and methods carefully.

Competition for Attention

We are constantly being bombarded with messages: e-mail, phone calls, texting, video, social media, and maybe even a stray piece of mail every now and then. Admit it. It’s tiring just reading this list!

Getting your message through the clutter is becoming harder and harder. You’ll have to find new ways to make your message stand out. More importantly, you’ll need to make it directly relevant to your audience in order to make the shortlist of communications that actually get some attention.

Key takeaway: Make your messages direct, relevant and clear. Use subject lines to your advantage. Let your employees know how you plan to communicate with them and then follow through.

Lack of Time

Businesses are leaner than ever, and we’re all trying to do more with less. Sometimes much less. Perhaps ridiculously less. The reality is that we are rarely able to slow down enough to communicate effectively. To get your desired message to the right people, you have to make it a priority.

Key takeaway: Design your communication strategy so everyone knows what to expect. Then, take the time to communicate thoughtfully and with purpose.

Better communication is possible

Recognizing your unique challenges and making sure your communications are purposeful, strategic, and well-designed will take an investment of time. But it will pay off in the long run.

If you don’t have to constantly repeat, recap, and follow up on your messages or deal with constant mishaps and misunderstandings, you just might end up with a few spare minutes in your day.

And that’s something we can all get behind.

 

Running into challenges with employee communications? We’ve got answers. At Sonus Benefits, we help clients all over the Midwest identify organizational challenges and put customized solutions in place. Our goal is to take your business where you want it to go.