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Treating your employee-focused communications differently than your external communications is paramount to being able to connect with the very people who make your company great. Here are five reasons, why employee communications is important for you and your company’s overall success.

1. Connect your employees with the company’s mission

When you create a conversation with your employee population, it creates a sense of belonging and team for each individual. Your employees want to hear from you. They want to be a part of the overall mission. And especially with the millennial population of your workforce, they want to feel connected to a bigger goal/impact.

When you treat employee communications as its own function – with a matching strategy and tactical elements, it is the easiest and most efficient way to bring your employees “on-board” and buy-in to the future of your organization. Stop looking for ways to convince your employees to be a part of the mission, and start allowing them to feel a part of your mission.

2. Keep your employees engaged

How many times have you heard or spoken about how important “employee engagement” is for the success and productivity of your organization? Your HR team has likely invested millions of dollars in gauging the overall engagement scores year after year.

But what has been done to keep your employees engaged? Often times, we come up with various ways to increase engagement – from the small changes to big sweeping changes, in the hopes of having a more engaged workforce.

The first thing, the main thing, that impacts engagement is communications.

When employees feel they are getting the information they need to do their job, hearing about the company’s overall mission and goals, feel connected to a greater objective, feel like they are being treated as trusted human beings – they feel engaged.

There is nothing worse you can do for your employee engagement measurements, than to ignore the importance of honest, open and transparent communications to your employee population. Start there, first.

3. Retain your key talent

Your key talent is likely leaving because they can’t stand their manager, feel under-utilized or don’t feel like trusted or valued team members. These three things are at the core, easy to overcome – but it starts with employee communications.

I remember sitting in several Prep-Talent Management discussions, being told by senior leaders in HR, not to tell key talent they are… key talent. Keep it a secret. We don’t want anyone to feel singled out (or in). Let’s just keep this information between us and make the needed updates behind the scenes.

But let’s be clear – every single “key talent” employee I’ve spoken to and left the organization, indicated that they didn’t feel valued and were going somewhere else to feel recognized as the talent they are.

This is a huge gap in your overall retention strategy: communicate with your top talent, that they are indeed valued, their efforts are being recognized, trust them with the information that you consider them as top performers, and over-communicate your plans. Making this simple change, one of transparency – will greatly impact your most valuable employees (which in turn, will positively impact your business).

4. It’s a differentiator for your Total Rewards package

In a competitive marketplace like we have today, creating differentiators for your organization can be the difference between landing your ideal candidate, or having them choose someone else. Your employee communications strategy can be a significant differentiator for you.

When you look at the Total Rewards you offer, the benefits and perks themselves are just a small piece of the puzzle. More important though, is how you are talking about these items. How are you sharing your overall Total Rewards package information with candidates and your current employees? What are your utilization numbers? How are you truly using these are “rewards” instead of just creating them and hoping people find them?

In the business world, this is called the “post and pray” method – putting something amazing out there and hoping that your ideal audience stumbles upon it and recognizes it as being awesome. That doesn’t work in business and it’s not going to work for your Total Rewards.

Spending time understanding how your employee population communicates, wants to communicate, shares information with each other, and so on – allows you to get into the minds of your team. Once you’re there, you can share the Total Rewards you’ve created for them and get a deeper sense of engagement and belonging from the people you’re trying to reach.

5. Proactively provides information, stopping potentially damaging rumors

One of the complaints I hear from HR teams everywhere, is the darn rumor mill that continues on-loop, without any end in sight. Regardless if the rumors are true or false, the fact that your employees are filling in the blanks in your company’s story, is dangerous and damaging.

If you are able to proactively provide information and details about what’s actually going on with your company, even if it’s not great news, will vastly change the conversation for your employees. Instead of having to fill-in-the-blanks due to lack of information or details, the truth will take its place.

This is a huge hurdle for many companies – being more transparent, even in down-times, is not something that happens naturally. But if you commit to doing just that, not only will you feel lighter with fewer “secrets” being bandied about, you will once and for all, end the rumor mill and regain the trust of your employees.