[HR.com] Power Of Effective Communication In Employee Engagement

This story was originally published on HR.com. Read on their site here. 

Though the pace of hiring has slowed compared to last year, American employers keep adding jobs to the labor market, and unemployment remains historically low. This is good news for the national economy, but it also means that as an employer, you should be hyper-focused on your recruitment and retention strategies to ensure you attract and keep the quality team members your business needs to thrive.

In truth, recruiting and retaining the right talent is always crucial, regardless of the labor situation. The key to creating a working environment where your employees grow, contribute, and feel valued — one that helps you rank as an employer of choice — comes down to one thing: good communication. Without it, any perks and benefits you might introduce fall flat. As an employer, you need to find out what your employees want and need by asking the right questions, establishing mechanisms for feedback, encouraging open honest discussions, and active listening.  

Company Culture Sets the Tone

Employees don’t always feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with employers, but company culture can create an environment in which feedback flows more freely. If the rise of tech giants like Google and Facebook taught us anything, it’s that culture matters, and an employee engagement strategy should be one of its pillars. Outline clearly what that means in your company’s culture, statement, book, or manifesto. By being transparent and thoughtful, using inclusive language, and celebrating individual differences you can better encourage employees to share honestly. 

It's crucial that your organization’s leaders lead by example. Set up a monthly All Hands where executives can share important company updates and field questions in real time to encourage two-way communication. At iSeatz, we’ve even implemented Culture Roundtables (an initiative that arose from employee feedback), during which team members can express their views on company culture directly. If your company is fully remote or has a hybrid workforce and multiple offices, make sure to broadcast news and updates that impact the team across your company’s internal communication channels to foster inclusivity. When good communication starts at the top and is encouraged through formal inclusive structures, it permeates all branches of the organization and becomes part of a company’s DNA. This enables you to build a stronger, more cohesive workforce. 

Collecting, Analyzing, and Acting on Employee Feedback

Of course, building a successful employment engagement strategy hinges on intentionality. How do employees provide feedback? When? What do you do with it? How do you resolve and overcome disagreements?

HR professionals have a vital role to play in creating the mechanisms necessary to foster effective communication within the organizational setting. There should be formal, varied, and scheduled ways to provide and cultivate feedback. This is particularly important for remote work environments where there are fewer opportunities for informal chats around the office. 

Schedule regular one-on-one and team check-ins with employees to discuss their experiences and gather feedback. But don’t count solely on these “live” sessions. You’ll have better results if you enable both real-time and asynchronous feedback, as well as the ability to be anonymous. The type of information you get from different types of feedback sessions will likely be different based on the employees’ comfort level. For instance, in a live session you might be able to glean more nuance thanks to the conversational nature of the interaction, whereas with async and anonymous feedback, employees might be more open to discussing more sensitive matters. Send out surveys with open-ended questions to get a better understanding of the challenges facing your workforce and what can be done to meet them. 

Always-on Communication

As an important part of your employment engagement strategy, feedback shouldn’t be a one-and-done situation. Managers should take the time to recognize employees who actively provide feedback by highlighting their contributions and even rewarding them for their input. Employees or new hires who are reticent to participate in this kind of activity will be encouraged to do so when they see how appreciated employee feedback truly is. 

Ultimately, the best way to show employees that their thoughts and experiences are important is by being transparent about how that feedback is being evaluated. Track and share key feedback metrics, such as the number of suggestions received, satisfaction ratings, and the percentage of feedback implemented. At iSeatz, we have created internal tools as well as invested in software that helps with analyzing these metrics and makes our employee communication a data-driven process, which provides transparency and visibility into the feedback loop. This shows that the organization not only listens to employee input but acts on it. 

While any company will have a hierarchy and corporate structure, building a company culture that fosters open communication and creates opportunities for collaboration helps employees feel like they’re part of the team rather than on the sidelines. To engage and hold on to your workforce, employers and HR professionals must always consider the value that communication brings to the table or risk losing their best employees to those companies that do.

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You can also learn more about iSeatz by reaching out to marketing@iseatz.com.

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