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3 Characteristics of Effective Employee Communication

By Julianne Harrison | 2-min read

It should be no surprise that the way people work is evolving, due to an increasingly dispersed workforce, a proliferation of non-desk workers, the rise of Millennials (and soon Generation Z), and the explosion of workplace technology. On top of this, the way people consume information, in and outside of their work lives, is also changing. Combined, these trends demand a new recipe for effective employee communication. With over 600 customers, who leverage our software to further their employee communication, we’ve seen a lot of different approaches. Here are three characteristics that the most successful efforts have in common:

  1. They provide a payoff for the employee early on.

First impressions make a difference, and creating a valuable experience for employees early on can significantly impact communication effectiveness over time. You need to create content that has the audience leaning in to engage. This could mean beginning a campaign with an inspiring message that creates an emotional connection with the employee, or it could be a clear statement of what the employee stands to gain from the initiative or program at hand. Employees who get a good feeling up front are going to be more motivated to give their attention or take an action later on.

  1. They’re ongoing.

Whether the goal of your communication is to drive better decision making about compensation, stimulate more frequent check-ins between managers and employees, or ensure that workers internalize and live out your organization’s mission and values, ongoing communication has the best chance of getting you there. One-and-done communication may reach employees, but the message will rarely stick with them for very long. Continual reinforcement and strategic repetition have proven to be hallmarks of effective communication. Successful communicators promote their message over time to keep it top-of-mind and ensure information is retained.

  1. They’re dynamic.

Just because employee communication is ongoing doesn’t mean that it should be static, or something that you set and forget. Strong communicators plan their campaigns in short increments. For example, they may start the few weeks or months using best practices and data about their workforce’s preferences, schedule times to measure how things are going, and make changes based on what they learn, improving the effectiveness of the campaign. Even if a campaign performs strongly in the beginning, it’s likely that changes will be needed down the line, as anything that stays the same for too long can quickly fade into background noise in today’s over-stimulated world.

Tip: Frequency is your friend and helps you learn and iterate more quickly. If you adopt a new communication approach but only send messages monthly, it’s going to take a lot longer to know if it’s working than if you’re communicating on a weekly basis.

While other factors come into play—like policies and norms within your company or influences outside your company— these three guidelines provide a solid foundation for success to seed and grow your efforts. Provide an ongoing, versatile, and valuable stream of information to employees, and watch their engagement with your programs increase. For more tips, check out this ebook on building an employee communication campaign.