Effective employee communication is at the heart of business success. Without an internal communication strategy, employees feel untethered from company culture, leadership, and each other. Employee communication best practices help you keep your employees engaged, informed, and connected.
A type of corporate communication, employee communication is your way to level-set the workforce, keeping everyone aware of important developments and in tune with important company experiences.
Check out our list of employee communication best practices so you can improve the employee experience by delivering the right information when people need it most.
Create an Employee Communication Strategy 📅
At a basic level, a successful employee communication strategy should provide clear information about the company’s mission, vision, and values, as well as any changes that may be taking place within the company.
Perhaps you’re implementing a new learning management system, for example. You’ll lean on your communication strategy to inform employees about the change and connect it back to some element of the business strategy. From there, you can take a more targeted approach to communicating the benefits of the new software and helping employees learn to use it themselves.
It's important to make sure that communication is timely, consistent, and tailored to the individual needs of teams or job roles. Deskless workers, like those working on the floor in the hospitality or service industry, for example, don’t always have access to a full-blown suite of communication tools. But they do typically have access to their smartphones. For these employees, mobile-first delivery is critical to their success.
Every internal comms strategy is different because every business is different. Consider what’s most important to prioritize in your internal communication plan. Look to your values first — if one of your values is transparency, for example, then it’s important to develop communication standards that prioritize transparency.
Develop a Communication Tree 🌲
Consistency is key to effective internal communication, and shared expectations about the types of communication employees receive every day help them know what to prioritize. Outlining the best use cases for each of your internal communication channels through a communication tree brings greater clarity to workplace interactions.
Like a decision tree, a communication tree helps employees make better decisions. A communication tree outlines when to use which communication channels and whether to communicate synchronously or asynchronously, depending on the urgency of the message.
Synchronous communication via phone call might be preferable for a business-threatening emergency, for example, while employees with non-urgent questions can reach out asynchronously via Slack or another employee communication platform.
Outline expectations for planned synchronous communication, too, such as check-in meetings between managers and team members. You might encourage managers to schedule video check-ins once a week to discuss workloads and surface problems, while effective asynchronous communication throughout the week keeps the work flowing smoothly and minimizes the need for emergency synchronous meetings.
Feed People Content in Small Doses 🥄
Micro-communication refers to sending and receiving information in short bursts, usually via text, email, or other digital message platforms. Through micro-communication, you can quickly and easily share updates, ideas, and feedback with team members, helping to keep everyone informed and on the same page.
Micro-communication is a trending internal communication best practice because it enables employees to absorb important information at their own pace, helping them process the content more effectively.
Use workflow management software to trigger relevant communications at pre-scheduled times or as employees unlock them. If you’re acquiring another company, for instance, you might use pre-scheduled micro-lessons to help new employees acclimate to your work environment and culture. You also can design custom learning journeys, letting employees unlock relevant industry news or career-based content for each learning goal they accomplish.
Foster Connection From the Start 🏁
Connection, or the bond formed through shared meaningful interests and experiences, is foundational to effective employee communication. A sense of shared mission, values, and goals sets the stage for understanding each other better.
Facilitate intentional connections before a new hire’s first day, and build connection into your internal communication framework. Experiencing meaningful moments enriches the employee experience and improves employee communication outcomes, since team members who feel connected are more likely to engage with important messaging.
Stress the importance of connection in employee-facing materials, and back up your statements with opportunities for employees to get to know each other and the organization better. Encourage team members to engage with each other face-to-face (in person or via videoconferencing for remote workers), and facilitate conversations relevant to company culture.
Support Two-Way Communication ↔️
Two-way communication between employees and the business helps employees remain informed and engaged while generating feedback for management. This approach increases the likelihood that employees feel valued and believe their perspectives are important to company decision-making.
Surveys give team members the chance to share their experiences and perspectives safely and anonymously. But surveys aren’t the only way to gather employee feedback.
Empower employees to share ideas with their colleagues, managers, and upper leadership. You might host focus groups or set up formal channels for employees to leave anonymous feedback and suggestions, for example. Or you could encourage less formal conversations in one-on-ones with managers, who can share what they hear with HR and leadership.
However you solicit and collect feedback, make sure employees know how to access those channels and that they can use them to open a dialog without fear of repercussions. Communicate how important it is for leadership to hear directly from the workforce.
Augment Connection With Tech 🧰
Look for employee communication software that helps employees find what they need, when they need it, from where to go for info on company changes or how to share feedback with colleagues or managers.
First, consider the priorities you outlined in your internal communications strategy. If transparency is important in your culture, find a high-visibility tool for delivering company-wide information.
Next, rank the features you need in order of importance. If 75% of your workforce is deskless, for example, then push notifications or instant messaging capabilities are not negotiable.
Finally, think about usability: the platform should be easy to understand and plug into the tools you already use every day.
Taking the time to invest in employee communication best practices is a great way to help foster a positive workplace. With the right approach, you can create an atmosphere where everyone feels heard and respected.
Want to create better human connections at work? Get a free demo of Enboarder to find out how we can support you.