Isn't a paycheque enough?
Many employers believe that delivering a paycheque is all they have to do to ensure that their employees are doing all the things the employer has hired them to do.
But is it?
There's a big difference between those employees who show up to work, sleepwalk through their shifts and leave the second the clock tells them it's time to go home, and those who are enthusiastic about their work, deliver great customer service and think about improvements or innovations to your business.
Studies over decades have shown that engaged employees -- those who give the extra 10 per cent, who are committed to their workplace -- deliver better results, take fewer sick days and stay with companies longer. Don't believe me? Here are 32 studies that show just that.
Communication is an important piece of employee engagement. HR Review cites it as being a top-five contributor to employee engagement.
Great communication reduces the need for the rumour mill and the negative environment that can create, decreases the stress of the unknown and lets staff know what the organization is trying to achieve. How can they help you get there if they have no idea what "there" is?
What makes for great communication?
- Commitment. Communication takes time and effort. Without management support, efforts aren't given the resources (human, financial and technological) so they sputter and fail.
- Clarity. Use clear language that delivers unambiguous information. Don't use management- speak.
- Honesty. If you can't give information -- perhaps because a decision hasn't been made -- say so, but do speak about the issue to share what you can.
- Ability to input. One of the biggest stressors for employees is having no say over their work. Good communication requires listening and giving employees opportunities to share their experience and ideas.
- Consistency. This pairs with #1. Communicate regularly to keep the two-way communication going.
- Transparency. Let employees know what's happening (goal), how it's happening (process), why it's happening (the compelling reason), how it will impact them (changes to work, benefits, etc.) and what role they have to play in the outcome. Follow-up when you say you will.
- Recognition. Although this isn't specifically about communication, it is tied to it. You may not have a formal recognition program in place, but that doesn't stop you from recognizing good work and saying thank you. Team meetings are a good time for this. However you choose to recognize your employees, make sure that you're walking the talk. There is nothing as demoralizing as the disconnect between what is said (think: corporate value statements) and what is done (rewarding or promoting those who do not demonstrate corporate values). When you recognize great behaviour, you're sending a strong signal that clearly aligns behaviour and goals.
There are other factors that go into employee engagement, but if you nail communication, you will have demonstrated to your employees that they really are your most important assets.
Have you had a job where employee communication excelled? What was that experience like?