Evolving Communication Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement
#evolve Magazine
January 12, 2023

To meet today’s business challenges, employers need communication strategies that will help reduce workplace stress and boost their workforce’s resiliency.

HR managers who want to improve their workplace engagement and improve employee satisfaction should consider bi-directional communication — an organizational communication strategy based on the back-and-forth between managers and employees.

Organizational communication is the flow of information in a company. Strong and frequent organizational communication has benefits: a 2019 study found that communication and job satisfaction were positively correlated, meaning that as communication improved, job satisfaction for employees generally increased as well.

Picture bi-directional communication as a two-way street in which employees and employers alike bring ideas to workplace policy and culture conversations. During this conversation, employers can ask: Has return to the office gone well? How is inflation affecting employees’ commuting or childcare costs? On the other hand, employees can share how the services and perks are important to them and their families, as well as ask about larger business goals and updates for the organization.

Embedding bi-directional communication into your organization’s culture may take many forms. It may look like offering an open-door policy during beginning-of-the-year planning or proactively asking employees to describe their perfect benefits package through a midyear survey. It won’t be a one-size-fits-all, but employers who are not rethinking how they foster bi-directional communication between employer and employees are potentially making decisions that can hurt their organizational culture and employees.

Employee Well-Being

Given the state of the world, employees are feeling very stressed and are highly interested in perks such as employee assistance programs (EAPs) and mental health support services. As an HR manager, you know you’ve prepared a thoughtful benefits package that can help employees get a jump-start on their resolutions. But do you know if your employees use those benefits to the fullest? Furthermore, do your employees even know everything available to them?

This is where bi-directional communication can help. Ask your employees about the benefits that they need and want and point them in the right direction (because you may already offer the benefits your people desire). If you build a one-stop shop for all human resources, it is easier for employees to tap into their benefits and easier for you, the HR manager, to boost your people’s work satisfaction.

Additionally, many employees have been bitten by the New Year’s Resolution bug and have renewed motivation to improve their physical activity and integrate more holistic wellness practices into their routines. Add on personal finance goals sparked by the pressures of inflation, or a resolution to learn (or re-learn) how to balance their work, personal life, and mental health, and they have a lot of important goals to achieve. Communicate the benefits package you’ve put together to help your employees achieve their goals in 2023. 

Facilitate Workplace Friendships

Communication and engagement are not just essential between an employer and its employees, they are essential among employees if a company is to develop a rich corporate culture.

Workplace friendships are a powerful thing, and they help maintain a positive company culture, boost morale and increase trust in one another. These friendships don’t have to just exist in the office breakrooms. Organizations must use mobile communications tools to engage employees that may not be able to connect around the water cooler.

Encourage comradery through digital and in-person spaces. For instance, create a message space where employees can share interests, such as a place to post photos of their pets or an app to encourage each other toward their workout goals. Interpersonal relationships are vital in establishing strong work satisfaction. One supporting study, by the Global Happiness Council, found strong interpersonal relationships have a significant effect on job satisfaction (even higher than pay).

When starting to facilitate workplace relationships, use what you already have. Start small and create a message channel to share fun news items or new recipes and create a virtual and in-person open-door policy for employee visits. Be proactive with your assistance and empathy to facilitate stronger bonds and mutual appreciation for one another — it should pay off in no time.

Engage the Whole Family

As an HR leader, you’ve chosen to offer a benefits package that is available to the whole family — so make sure to communicate these benefits to their dependents. You can go back to traditional paper mail or use their preferred modes of text messages, emails, or push notifications via your HR app to proactively engage the whole family.

Take the example of a parent who is caring for their child. In caring for and managing their child’s health, the parent may want to explore holistic wellness offerings for their child as well as themselves. Notifying your employees via push notification or text of their insurance, childcare, family leave, wellness coaching, and disease management programs that are built into your benefits is the first step in demonstrating employee appreciation.

No matter the case, starting wellness habits young sets a strong example of the value of caring for yourself — and people of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from wellness services, chronic disease management, and health coaching. Also, employers that devote themselves to employees’ families and actively promote mental health awareness have a greater impact on the overall engagement with benefits, which improves workplace satisfaction. 

Conscious, Consistent Communication

Maybe the headlines around layoffs, an economic slump, and war are worrying your people. As an HR manager, you can use appropriate communication channels to make an enormous impact on employee well-being — regardless of the state of the industry or company.

Conscious and consistent communication strategies that bring people together to celebrate big and small accomplishments, provide a space for creativity and counsel or connect about their favorite sports team’s latest victory are a few starting points toward building a solid company culture.

Realize it’s easy for updates from HR to get lost in the scores of emails and text messages employees receive daily. HR leaders can establish a separate channel and one-stop shop for all things HR, such as benefits and updates. Over time, you can establish separate channels for specific employee interests.

Engage with your people and their communities to demonstrate your commitment to their health and happiness. Start small and incorporate little check-ins with a new person every few weeks.

As you work communication into your daily routine and job responsibilities, you will gain a greater understanding of the true employee experience at your organization, and efficiently manage your human capital for a better tomorrow. 

Editor’s Note: Additional Content

For more information and resources related to this article see the pages below, which offer quick access to all WorldatWork content on these topics:

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