Effective employee communication helps to ensure alignment between management and employees. When you communicate effectively, it creates conditions for employees to feel valued and inspired to contribute to a shared purpose. This results in employees who are happier, productive, engaged and eager to participate in the success of the business.
When we look at the communications programs at the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, we see these common best practices:
1. Weekly or Bi-Weekly 1:1s
Even if the meetings are only 15 minutes long, research has shown that when employees have regular, quality contact with their managers, there is a significant positive impact on engagement.
According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, “employees who got little to no one-on-one time with their manager were more likely to be disengaged. On the flip side, those who get twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager relative to their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged.“
Effective managers use 1:1 time to get to know employees more deeply and understand them as whole people. They press for employees’ ideas to improve the business and seek to understand employees’ personal aspirations. These meetings are also a great place for managers to recognize employees’ contributions and connect their work with the greater purpose of the organization.
2. Daily Team Huddles
Getting the team together for a few minutes each day to talk about important things going on in the organization or department helps keep everyone on the same page. Many companies that conduct these use the same agenda each time so employees always know what to expect.
A great agenda might include:
- ‘Mission moments,’ a way for employees to understand how they share the mission with others
- A round-the-room update to capture progress towards goals or challenges
- A few moments to acknowledge the contributions of people on the team that are making a positive impact.
This meeting can also surface questions and provide an opportunity to involve team members in decisions, which we know has a significant positive impact on trust and engagement.
“We’ve found a strong link between management involving staff in decisions that impact them and positive employee experience,” explains Claire Murphy, Director of Customer Success at Great Place to Work®.
3. Quarterly Development Conversations
When employees feel valued and see a future path with a company, they are more likely to give their best effort at work and be fully committed to the role and organization.
“Feeling appreciated is more important for employee engagement than pay, benefits, time off, training, or celebrations,” said Lorena Martinez, a Consultant at Great Place to Work. This is what we found in our US workforce study on employee appreciation.
To foster this feeling of being valued, it’s important for managers to set aside time with each employee to learn about, plan and discuss their development aspirations and goals.
These quarterly development conversations create the optimal conditions for meaningful conversations that reflect an investment in their future and their success.
4. Monthly Town Hall Meetings
Having regular, planned town hall meetings with employees shows management’s commitment to effective employee communication.
These structured meetings enable employees to fully understand and engage with the direction, purpose and priorities of the organization.
The best town hall meetings provide space and opportunity for questions to be asked and updates to be shared, ensuring a flow of two-way communication across the organization.
Many companies have offices in multiple locations, which adds a degree of complexity to town hall meetings. For these companies, telecasting or recording the meetings, or rotating their location, ensures employees across all offices can remain engaged with the meetings and with executives.
5. Coffee With the CEO
To stay connected with the frontline employee experience, a CEO can meet with different groups of employees on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The CEO can learn firsthand about challenges and successes in the organization, as well as ideas for improvement. These intimate coffee meetings also aim to create a personal connection that endures long after the coffee, when employees return to their work and share the experience with other colleagues.
6. Mission Moments
We all want to be connected with something greater than ourselves. Dedicating time to sharing stories about how a company’s work is making a difference helps inspire and motivate employees to give their best.
Successful mission moments might include…
- Bringing customers on-site to explain how the company’s products or services helped them find success
- A panel of customers answering employee questions
- A Customer Success Manager sharing the experience of their account and representing the voice of the customer
Whether it’s a dedicated meeting or part of another meeting, this simple practice is important because it creates a human connection between the contributions employees make and the company’s mission.
7. Employee Rounding
Employees want to work with leaders that are approachable and willing to fight for their team.
Senior leaders who take the time to get to know employees, both within and outside of their functional areas, create several advantages for their companies:
- A deeper understanding of their employees’ and teams’ areas of pride and barriers to success
- A clearer picture of the organization and opportunities for improvement
- A more cohesive, trust-filled team
One of the essential employee communication strategies is an employee engagement survey. Great Place to Work’s employee survey solution is built on 30 years of research and used by every company on the Fortune 100 Best Companies list. Ask us about how we can help improve your employee experience today.
BY CLAIRE HASTWELL & LAURIE MINOTT