a child communicating
Employee Benefits

Your Company’s Secret Sauce…Employee Communication

Mark Fitzgibbons
Mark Fitzgibbons
Communication Director, Employee Benefits

“When I grow up, I want to create employee communications!” said no child. Ever.

I’ve used this line a few times with family and friends with minimal success. The (intended) joke is that it’s not a career people know much about, let alone aspire to. But this function has become critical for any organization employing humans in the 21st century.

Traditionally, business leaders might have thought employee communication and engagement required only a steady stream of motivational messages and reminders about employee benefit deadlines. Not anymore!

Internal Communication Impacts Your Employee Engagement

Employee satisfaction — and dissatisfaction — have become a very big deal. Some recent examples: Boeing, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Since we spend so much of our time working, employee communication plays a vital role. It adds meaning to that time and effort. Each employee in your organization makes a conscious decision to come to work each day…to invest (or not invest) their energy in advancing the business.

If you do not treat them like important stakeholders, some day they will decide to report in somewhere else. And it’s important to remember that the organization’s bottom line doesn’t ascend by itself — your people drive your results, one way or the other.

Business leaders now know they need to pay attention to employee satisfaction. And while the annual satisfaction survey can be a powerful tool to get a handle on employee sentiment and surfacing issues, surveys alone don’t do the job.

Internal communication is not just about issues management. Day in and day out, it helps to create a sense of ownership and camaraderie among workers — making sure they have a clear sense of where the organization is going and how their work fits into that.

Building an Internal Communication Strategy that Works

Done well, internal communication ensures that every employee:

  • has the information they need to do their job
  • has a good sense of where the organization is going
  • feels like they are owners of the organization’s culture

Employee communication accomplishes all of these things through content delivered timely through all the right channels.

For example: A significant public announcement should be timed so that employees hear about it first from a knowledgeable company representative at virtually the same time as the world hears.

When sudden changes occur, the first thing to do is organize team meetings with executives where Q&A is open and candid.

Of course, most employee communication isn’t about those big moments. Your communication team must think strategically about how to inform, probe, and respond to people and teams across the organization, facilitating events and advocating for tools that ensure information flow and two-way communication.

You want to know every team is operating from the same set of core values, facts, and metrics.

One ongoing task is watching out for perceptions, concerns, and rumors that bubble up internally via discussion lists, Slack channels, or intranet forums. The role of employee communication in this instance is not to respond or resolve in the moment, but to counsel executives to reach out personally (off-channel!) to mitigate damage, defuse bad information, and seek solutions.

Despite my introduction, employee communication can no longer be a punchline. The key to running an organization with productive, happy employees who are creating positive results is to get your internal communication right.

Do you need help creating an internal communication strategy? Holmes Murphy is here to help! Don’t wait until you are in the middle of a major situation, reach out today.

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