Business owners and CEOs should never forget that their employees are a key constituency in the organization. Just as forthright, transparent communication with customers is of paramount importance, so, too, is the need to share information as much as is judiciously possible.
When there’s a lack of effective communication, we often see a closed, incommunicative culture where employees rely on gossip and rumor to assess a company’s status—and, discouraged by a lack of shared information, they frequently opt to find a new job elsewhere.
The good news is that modern technology has significantly improved the range of tools for effective internal communication. Businesses that leverage these resources often see a higher degree of engagement and productivity among their teams, and greater alignment with their corporate culture.
Here are three communication tools and action steps to help you achieve these key goals with your employees:
1. Survey Employees to Find Out What They’re Thinking
A wide range of digital survey templates are available online. It won’t be difficult to find one or more that work well within your unique company culture.
Just as importantly, it’s necessary to structure your survey questions in ways that promote greater participation and the kind of data that helps measure employee engagement (or lack thereof). According to Forbes, employee survey best practices include:
- Keep your questions simple and to the point.
- Offer a small “token of appreciation” (i.e., gift card) to incentivize employees to participate.
- Assess and release the survey results as soon as possible.
- Act on the survey findings.
Surveys conducted properly offer business leaders “a glimpse into the true pulse of your organization today and serve as a guide” in future planning.
2. Tap into the Power of Mobile Communication Apps
Communication/collaboration apps, just like all the other apps your employees upload to their mobile devices, can be of great help in improving internal communications. Different apps offer different benefits, including:
- Creating message threads for particular departments or projects.
- Delivering private messages.
- Scheduling calls and meetings.
- Tracking progress on key initiatives.
- Assigning tasks and monitoring compliance with project deadlines.
- Establishing message boards where team members can discuss and act on tasks and documents.
Just make sure that whatever apps you offer to employees are easy to use and deliver on their promise. That helps ensure greater participation among team members.
3. Share the Thoughts of Leadership Through a CEO Blog
There’s often a distance in communication between front-line and other employees and the CEO/business owner and his or her executive team. That distance can be significantly lessened when business leaders actively share their thinking on topics of interest to employees. One of the most effective communication tools in this area is a CEO or business owner blog.
Blog posts don’t have to be long, drawn-out messages. Once you determine the appropriate topic—relating to employee engagement, improved customer service, announcing a new companywide initiative, etc.—take time to share your thoughts in clear, precise language in a blog post. (If you lack the time or particular skills to write the post yourself, look to your marketing department or a freelance resource to assist.)
What’s most important is generating fresh content on a regular basis, so employees come to anticipate a regular “look inside” what leadership is thinking. This can go a long way towards overcoming employee disengagement or wondering where the organization is headed next.
Leveraging digital resources to better communicate with employees is a highly worthwhile objective. When employees “get” that you want to share information in a meaningful way, you’re likely to see a spike in morale and retention.