Effective communication strategies are the cornerstone of a successful business. Here are seven ways to foster cross-organizational communication.
It probably comes as no surprise that the most successful
businesses are made up of highly engaged employees. These top-performing
workforces share a relentless dedication to what’s in the best interest of
their employers. They’re committed, determined and consistently instrumental in
increasing their companies’ productivity.
Every business owner’s dream, right?
But what’s not so obvious is knowing what attracts these
MVPs in the first place. Even more important, what’s the best strategy for
keeping them once you hire them? Is it strong management? Money? Recognition?
Sure, those are all important factors. But according to
a Career Builder study of the best places to work, what truly sets the
most-coveted businesses apart from the rest is their commitment to effective
Whether you’re making a formal announcement about a
corporate reorganization or talking with your employees about their workloads,
how (and when) you communicate your message is vital.
So, how can you be sure you’re communicating with your
workforce effectively across the entire organization? Here are seven strategies
to help you foster employee engagement and impact your business’s success:
Keep it real
When delivering your message, be truthful and as complete as
transparent and let employees know if there are details you simply cannot
share due to confidentiality. Even if they don’t have all the pieces of the
puzzle, they’ll appreciate your honesty and likely be more supportive and, as a
result, more engaged.
Don’t wait until you have all the information to deliver a
message. There is never a vacuum in communication. If the message doesn’t come
from you directly, people will fill in the information gaps with rumors or
assumptions – which can lead to low morale, distrust and a lack of
productivity. Communication is a process. Share what you can as often as you can.
Focus on consistency
Align your messages
with your company’s mission, vision and
values. Sharing the “why” behind a decision or change in direction helps your
employees understand the reason behind the decision. This builds trust and a
strong team mentality.
Tailor your message
Make sure your message is meaningful to your workforce and
answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” This creates buy-in from your team and helps empower them to move forward with change more
easily. You’ll create a sense of ownership that motivates employees to get on board and do their part for the greater
good. Employees who feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves
will become your company’s biggest advocates.
Hearing something once is not enough. Everyone learns and processes information differently, so it’s critical that you communicate using diverse
channels. Company meetings and email may be more appropriate for delivering
formal messages, while small “town hall” meetings, social media, designated
chat rooms and your company’s intranet can provide an informal forum for
reinforcing communication. Remember, consistency across all channels is key.
Just as you use multiple channels to communicate your
message to employees, consider using those same channels to encourage feedback from them. It’s important that your employees feel
comfortable sharing their questions and concerns, so your organization’s
communication flow should be two-way – a dialogue, not a monologue. When you
encourage feedback and listen to what employees have to say, you send the
message to your employees that their opinions matter.
Empower your managers
Keep your middle managers in the loop from the start. They
are the voice of your organization, the messengers between upper management and
employees. By empowering them with
information and effective communication strategies, they will be better
equipped to deliver consistent messages to their teams and provide answers to
any questions that may come up.
In some cases, such as in a company reorganization, it can
be helpful to hold regular meetings with your middle management to update them
on developing changes.
You may want to provide them with talking points they can
readily share with their teams to ensure consistent messaging across
departments and to avoid the spread of miscommunication.
Here are some things to think about when creating talking
- What information are we ready to communicate now?
- What information cannot yet be shared?
- Which communication channels will we use (both formal and informal)?
- What questions can we anticipate that our employees will ask when they hear this message?
- What are the appropriate responses to those questions?
Engaged employees are committed and driven to make your
business a success. When you harness the power of communication through clear
and consistent messaging, you empower your entire workforce to do their best
work and take your business to the next level.
For more tips on how to implement effective communication
strategies that can inspire your workforce, download our free magazine: The Insperity guide to
leadership and management.