Why communication should be at the heart of your employee engagement and retention strategies
Various studies have shown that poor communication is at the core of dissatisfaction in a current role, and that a feeling of disconnection is a major reason for high employee turnover levels. Other studies have shown that effective communication leads to better employee engagement and retention. Such studies include:
- In 2014, a survey from About.com found that the three top reasons people dislike their jobs are communication related
- A Willis Towers Watson study concluded that organizations that communicate effectively produce a 47% higher return to shareholders than those that communicate poorly
- Watson Wyatt found that organizations that communicate effectively are more than 50% more likely to report employee turnover levels below industry averages
The financial cost of poor communication is high, too. According to a report published on HRDQ, an organization with 100 employees spends an average of 17 hours per week clarifying their employee communications, at an annual cost of more than $500,000.
What does effective communication look like in the 21st century?
Communication is a basic human need. Within business, communication is the key to engaging employees and leading change effectively. The question is, what are the most effective communication techniques today?
Despite technological advances, many companies rely heavily on email as their primary method of internal communication. Though email is a useful communication channel, it can lead to employees spending all their time reading company updates, replying to requests from co-workers, and confirming the details of new tasks that they have been assigned. Disorganized employees may find that important emails become lost in the flood of emails streaming into an already crowded inbox.
While email is still an essential tool of communication in business, technology has given us a huge array of communication technology that is underutilized in most organizations. Employed effectively, these technologies help in employee engagement and retention strategies by enabling employees to communicate in their preferred methods, and by giving them a real sense of connection.
Video conferencing, project management applications, instant messengers and cloud-based storage provides a diverse and effective set of communication tools that can help employee engagement.
How effective communication empowers employee engagement and retention strategies
An innovative approach to communicating with employees utilizes technology to its full advantage, without overloading technology on employees. Modern technology should help to streamline communication, improve certainty of message, and provide direction for job tasks.
Using technology should aid in training, project management, staying in touch with company news, etc. However, overreliance on technology can make workplaces feel cold and clinical. Therefore, it is important to choose the right tools to achieve your communication goals, and ensure that there are policies and procedures in place to ensure technology is used to enhance and streamline communication, increase collaboration, and improve connectedness.
Communication to engage remote employees
Technology has enabled organizations to build remote teams, hire the best talent, and allow employees to work more from home. Project management and scheduling tolls enable employees more flexibility, and keep tasks on track.
Cloud storage allows files to be shared and accessed globally, and edited in real time.
Video conferencing tools allow teams to meet, and managers to communicate with individuals when needed – and where needed. This encourages collaboration and ensures that employees feel connected. Good strategies include scheduling regular one-to-ones and encouraging collaboration.
Using technology effectively in remote teams gives a greater sense of connection, provides opportunity for improved collaboration, and helps individual members recognize their value to the team.
Communication to improve transparency
Technology increases the options to improve transparency within an organization. Notice boards can be set in company intranets to share important news and messages, garner ideas and viewpoints, and increase interaction between different departments and teams.
Managers can use broadcast systems to recognize good performance and results. Where more transparency is deemed necessary, technology can be used to share information with whom it is needed in real time, in a similar way to how contact lists can be segmented in email marketing systems such as Infusionsoft.
This transparency helps employees to feel more engaged with the big picture, and confirms their role and responsibility within the organization.
Mapping out career paths
The best and most talented employees want to grow. Communication technology can help here, too. Mapping out an employee’s career path, and linking it to the achievement of milestones and goals, and then providing opportunities to develop via eLearning tools, digital libraries, internal and external courses, and collaboration and project management opportunities, enables an employee to engage with their career interactively and progress at a pace that suits them.
In such a way, technology enables you to show you care for an employee, while simultaneously providing opportunities for self-development.
Improving your communication by using technology more effectively is a key employee engagement and retention strategy in the modern marketplace. It helps to improve transparency, empowers employees with opportunities for self-development, and enables collaboration that connects remote employees to the big picture.
While you may have good reason why your organization is reliant on older communication technology, by onboarding new technology with innovative employee engagement and retention strategies, you should improve productivity and reduce staff turnover.
As Willis Towers Watson concluded in its 2013-14 Change and Communication ROI Study, companies that employ effective communications are three and half times more likely to significantly outperform competitors whose communications are not effective.
Contact Forward Focus today to discover how to develop and embed effective leadership communication and interpersonal skills, and ensure that your leaders and managers are fully prepared to inspire and motivate to improve employee engagement and retention.