How you communicate is important, because communication is more than just an exchange of information. Your messages are only as significant as how well they are received.
That is why it is important to identify your key stakeholders in any communication exercise. One group that should be considered a priority is your internal stakeholders – the employees. They need to be clued in to your organisation’s news and announcements. They are the make-or-break stakeholders, who can ignite passion into your organization. They have the power to accomplish a great deal, especially when it comes to leaving a positive impact on external stakeholders.
Employees are the ones sharing updates on social media, a public forum that is accessible and unrestricted. They will be dealing with your customers: their positive – or negative – energy will leave lasting impressions on who they come into contact with.
In order for them to communicate well with external stakeholders, they need to first learn how to talk to each other and with manage. Management needs to set the example, because interpersonal skills are very important, especially with regards to how you speak to employees.
Listen to your employees
Is there an open channel of communication between employees and management? If not, is there a designated person or department that can liaise between the two? Most of the times, we will take listening for granted, but oftentimes that is exactly wherein the solution lies – in voiced comments, concerns and suggestions. Take time to reflect on what your employees are saying, and show them that you are listening by taking their comments to heart.
Empathize with employees
We all see the world different. It is the product of our upbringing, education and training. Think before you communicate. Is it possible that your message will be perceived in a negative – even if it’s just a handful of employees? Have you tried calling them in to run something by them, before you share it with the rest of the team? Think of how valued they will feel, when you take the time and effort to put yourself in their shoes.
Make their opinion count for something
Sometimes the best ideas come from the most unexpected places. What you can expect: employees will be more likely to share if they feel safe doing so. Hold open brainstorming sessions with employees from different departments, generate surveys that ask their opinion or conduct one on one informal interviews about a particular initiative before introducing it.
Engage employees. They want to feel that they matter, and that they have a voice. When employees feel valued, they in turn will add more value to your organization.