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5 Employee Communication Strategies Your Business Should Try
September 10, 2018
Employee-Communication-Strategies

5 Employee Communication Strategies Your Business Should Try

As a small business owner, you’re only as successful as your team. Due to this, when your team has trouble effectively communicating, your business ultimately suffers. Whether there are communication issues amongst your team members, or there’s frequent confusion based on your direction, you should make employee communication strategies a top priority.

Don’t let a lack of communication be the demise of your otherwise flourishing business. Use the five strategies in this post to get employees talking more, and to give yourself a chance to communicate with them regularly, too.

1. Host Quarterly All-Hands Meetings

These regularly scheduled meetings are perfect for communicating with your team. Most standard company-wide meetings are used to share updates on strategy, recognize hard-working employee, and let the entire company hear from C-level leaders like the CFO and CEO.

This type of meeting is important because it gives everyone a chance to fully grasp the company’s goals and see how their daily activities contribute to the overall success of the company. If you’ve never run a company-wide meeting, avoid these five common mistakes:

  • Don’t Bore Employees: Data is important, but you shouldn’t overwhelm your employees. Bring qualitative analysis to the meeting, as this will likely make it easier for your employees to pay attention (and understand what you’re trying to convey).
  • Avoid Wasting Time: Everyone is busy, especially you, so don’t try to fill the meeting with unnecessary information.
  • Steer Clear of Reprimanding Your Staff: Don’t use this as a chance to scold employees; this can affect company morale and will make your staff dread this type of meeting in the future.
  • Don’t Forget Remote Employees: Bring them in too, via video, and make sure you welcome and acknowledge them.
  • Fail to Listen to Input: This is the ideal time for employees to share ideas and feedback. Listen; don’t refuse to hear it.

2. Share Monthly Feedback

How often do you or your managers provide feedback to team members? This portion of management is critical to the personal and professional development of your employees —and the success of your business. If they don’t know that they’re doing something wrong, how can they fix it and improve?

To facilitate feedback, choose the medium of your choice. This can be done:

  • In-person, during monthly or quarterly meetings.
  • Daily or weekly, via team communication channels.
  • Any frequency with a feedback app or tool.
  • In weekly team meetings.

Whatever you do, build feedback into the culture of your business by making it a priority. Set a schedule based on the ideas above, or another option that works better, and then stick with it.

3. Plan Regular Small Group Brainstorming Sessions

The value of collaboration can’t be stated enough. Collaboration encourages innovation and creativity – two things that are intrinsically linked to success. In addition, collaboration leads to better team comradery, which may improve communication between team members.

While coloration is key, it doesn’t always come easily to everyone: “Collaboration is far from natural human behavior. In fact, the instinct to collaborate ranks behind other instincts, such as flight or fight,” suggests the guide, 3 Steps to Optimizing Team Collaboration.

The guide continues, “In spite of decades of education and experience, people still fail to collaborate. Developing a group of people into a team requires quite an investment. Even when each of the members is an amazing asset, teams may fail to collaborate.”

This doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen for your employees. Rather, you’ll need to make the effort to get teams collaborating more often. That’s why it’s important to plan and prioritize them.

For example, part of every new project kick-off could be a scheduled brainstorming session about the project. Team leads should also consider scheduling monthly brainstorming sessions; someone always needs help, feedback or ideas – and this is the format for sharing that information.

4. Use Real-Time Chat Tools

If you want employees to communicate more, make it easy for them to do so with a real-time chat tool. This serves as an easy, fast, and hassle-free way for employees to communicate.

Rather than inundate one another with endless emails and phone calls, employees can send each other quick notes via real-time chat. Not only does communication tools make employees more productive, according to a 2017 survey, but 49 percent of employees believe collaboration is improved with messaging software.

The key is finding the best platform for your business’ needs. Start by polling employees who may have used a messenger tool at one of their other jobs. Then assess features, pricing, and other benefits to choose the best option.

5. Send Internal Newsletters

Newsletters aren’t just effective for communicating with external customers; they’re also great for sharing insights, feedback, ideas and updates internally. A regularly-scheduled newsletter, like one that goes out quarterly or monthly, is an easy way to keep employees up-to-date on important company-wide announcements, even if you can’t hold regular in-person meetings.

This is especially helpful for companies with remote employees in different time zones. They feel part of the team, even if they’re rarely directly working in-person with a co-worker.

As you develop your newsletter, here are a few points to include when possible:

  • New hire profiles
  • Employee spotlights
  • Community outreach events
  • Internal policy changes
  • Company news coverage

Start Communicating Now

Don’t let poor communication be the demise of your business. Use these ideas to encourage innovation, be more accessible to your employees, and create an open culture where everyone is informed and involved.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a full-time writer and consultant. She's been featured on Forbes and has written for a wide variety of sites, including RetailNext, Virgin, Manta, StartupNation and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
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