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Why Does Communication Matter?

Posted by Insightlink on 02/10/15

Employee Engagement Begins with Communication

It’s well documented that how people feel towards their work will always impact their attitude toward their organization and their productivity levels. People rarely give their best to an organization they do not believe in. No wonder that the success, or failure, of any organization is determined largely by their own employees, which is why it matters so much if they are engaged or not. Amassing a team of people who demonstrate dedication and commitment begins with an organization’s commitment to investing in its employees, and true employee engagement begins with honesty and communication according to Mahan Tavakoli, a leader at Dale Carnegie Employee Training, who writes that the “Foundation for genuine employee engagement begins with extensive and effective communication… and the resulting behaviors show up in increased productivity, heightened innovation, and improved job satisfaction”.

Tavakoli addresses the importance of honest communication and its impact on employee engagement in his recent article titled ‘Honesty and Communication Drive Employee Engagement’: (excerpt follows here)

Why Engagement Matters

It takes more than financial incentives to connect a person with a company in a meaningful way. According to the 2013 Gallup State of the American Workplace report, organizations whose employees are engaged significantly outperform those with non-engaged workforces in key metrics including profitability, productivity, and customer ratings. The study also shows that engaged employees demonstrate a willingness to go above and beyond typical job expectations and responsibilities. Additionally, engaged employees demonstrate enhanced creativity and passion, decreased turnover, reduced accidents, and less absenteeism.

The Importance of Honest Communication

Today’s workforce is looking for more than financial rewards. MSW•ARS Research’s study, What Drives Communication and Why it Matters, conducted in conjunction with Dale Carnegie Training, cites three factors as key drivers of employee engagement:

. Satisfaction with the immediate supervisor. A supervisor who communicates openly and honestly with employees is more likely to have an engaged and productive team. Employees need their immediate supervisors to provide feedback on, show appreciation for, and offer encouragement to improve individual performance.

. Satisfaction with senior management. When leaders encourage open communication across all levels of the workforce, employees have increased levels of confidence that the company is being steered in the right direction.

. Pride in the organization. Communication is critical to developing an enterprise-wide understanding of and commitment to the organization’s philosophy, vision, and values.

Open and honest two-way communication is the common thread that runs through each of these key factors of employee engagement.

Communication Best Practices

Effective communication is important to employees, managers, senior leaders, and other stakeholders. Research shows that keeping employees informed with personal, relevant, and engaging communication gives companies a competitive edge and has direct results on the bottom line. These seven best practices can help increase open, honest, and effective two-way communication throughout the organization:

. Strategic internal communications plan: Marketing executives recognize the importance of a detailed plan that outlines specific messaging and tactics for communicating with customers and prospects. A clear and strategic internal communication strategy is the lifeblood of any company and the engine that drives employee engagement.
. Consistent two-way communication across all levels of the enterprise: Establishing a two-way flow of information fluidly and consistently carries information from the top to the bottom and then moves feedback from the bottom back up to the top. This reduces ambiguity of messages, eliminates inaccuracies that are inherent to the corporate grapevine, and empowers workforces with appropriate information that connects them with senior leadership.
. Frequency: There is no frequency standard for communication. Sent too frequently, messages are lost in a sea of information. When communication is too infrequent, employees may lose confidence that senior leadership is telling the full story. Make sure that communications are relevant and targeted to avoid unnecessarily contributing to information overload.
. Engaging messages: Great content starts with a clear goal and thorough understanding of the audience. While the core message should be consistent at every level, tailoring messaging and delivery to the appropriate audience is critical to accessibility and understanding.
. Robust communication channels: Make communications available to employees in a variety of ways, but always emphasize face-to-face communication. By offering employees a choice in how they access information, it creates a sense of empowerment and respect that immediately makes communications more engaging.
. Eliminate fear of repercussion: At the onset of an internal communications program, some employees may be wary of expressing themselves honestly, fearing for the security of their job if they disagree with a message from senior leadership. Therefore, it’s important for managers to establish a safe place where employees can voice their opinions without fear of how their honesty will affect their position.
. Measure, measure, measure: The only way to know if communication strategies are effective is to ask employees. Assess the success of an internal communication program during regular performance evaluations or through employee-satisfaction surveys. Are employees receiving communications too frequently or not often enough? Do they feel like leadership hears and values their opinions? Do they have suggestions for more effective communication channels?

Communication is a powerful tool that can have an enormous impact on the success of any organization. Effective communication can increase employee engagement, boost workplace productivity, and drive business growth. Conversely, poor communication can have damaging effects. Communication is a simple concept but perhaps one of the most challenging for businesses, especially when conflict arises. However, when leaders are consistently open and honest with their communication (regardless of the situation), they will gain credibility, respect, and employee trust while driving employee engagement and contributing to organizational success.

Original article here:

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