As an employer, you invest big bucks in attracting (and retaining) the best talent in the workforce.
This involves offering competitive salaries, a desirable company culture and choice benefits. However, no matter how top-notch your benefits may be, they’ll be a fruitless endeavor if your employees don’t know how to utilize them.
In today’s digital world, employees are bombarded with messaging about everything from their next meeting, to their kid’s soccer practice, to seemingly relentless spam; it’s important to make sure your messaging cuts through the clutter. In order to make sure your employees are getting the most out of your company’s benefits, you’ll need a comprehensive internal communication strategy. Here’s what to consider when strategizing your employee communication for 2018.
Research is your friend.
Employee research is the first and most important step in any communication plan. Begin with an employee survey to find out preferred methods of communication and to take the overall temperature of the employee pool. How are they feeling about what’s going on in the company? Do they feel they are being treated well? 93 percent of employees want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual. In order to ensure your voice is heard, you first need to listen to your employees. An employee survey is your first step to effective communication and productive, happy employees.
Who are you communicating to?
We are in a unique workforce where four generations, and in many cases five, are working together in offices. Baby boomers, and those who came before them, are remaining active workers for longer, while the first members of Generation Z are beginning their careers. With this combination of workers comes differing communication preferences. While it’s important to keep this in mind when crafting your communication strategy, now is the time to toss your generational stereotypes aside. We generally associate them with social media and constant connection, but millennials and Generation Z have actually shown a preference for in-person contact over email. There is plenty of existing research on generational preferences; however, this is where your primary research will come in handy while creating your strategy, as well.
When does strategic communication matter?
Timing is everything when it comes to employee communication. In fact, surveys have found that 68 percent of employees said that the frequency of communications by their employer directly impacts their job satisfaction. That means that you, as the employer, need to find the right balance by coordinating a communication effort that covers everything you want your employees to know — without peppering them with unwanted notifications or overwhelming amounts of information.
What are you communicating?
Whether you are breaking bad news to your employees or sharing improvements to benefits, clear communication is critical. When spreading the word about difficult changes, it’s important to explain why you as the employer are making these changes — without sugarcoating. While it can be tempting to fall into the role of “internal publicist” when sensitive changes arise, remember that employees can see through attempts to obscure the truth — and it can end with feelings of resentment.
How are you going to measure your success?
It all circles back to research. Face-to-face interviews, surveys and focus groups can be used to gauge how well your messages were received — or if they were received at all. Take a look at which employees got what message and what resonated with them. Did they feel overwhelmed or were they left wanting more? Not only will your wrap-up research ensure your messages were digested, but it will guide you on future communication endeavors, too.
No matter how daunting the task may seem, the benefits of a carefully planned strategy will become apparent in no time. Stick to your plan and keep your messages consistent. If you get it right, you’ll see happier employees and a healthier company.