Halloween is around right the corner. Fiends and monsters will be roaming everywhere, but the real scare is closer than you think. Don’t make communication into a horror story.
Just like goblins and vampires, communication can be daunting. Communicators and IC professionals tackle corporate comms at every turn but do not always end up victorious.
Mistakes and bad habits can easily develop along the way. But, when your communication efforts start to take you down the long, dark road into the woods, it may be time to turn back.
You may not be the wicked witch, but these disturbing communications practices are terrible enough to give your staff goosebumps. Put up the “caution” sign before it’s too late. Or risk having your employees run out faster than if zombies were chasing them.
Stop spooking your staff today by avoiding these six communication mishaps:
1. The Undead Communications — too many emails
Too often are staff overwhelmed by old comms methods that just won’t die. Email has been a standard for as long as any of us can remember – and it is still going strong now. The problem is, it’s going a little too strong.
In the workplace, email is used for everything. It plays the role of a messenger, chat platform, sends out invitations, you name it. However, as popular as email is, bombarding your staff with messages and threads that rise from the dead is overwhelming.
The average employee spends 28% of their workweek managing e-mail and checks his or her email 36 times an hour. While it is good to inform your employees consistently, clutter will eventually take a toll on the mind, emotions, and productivity of employees.
Drop the email surplus by more than half. It’s true some emails might contain crucial information that everyone needs to know. But, there are more forms of communication worth exploring. Consider alternate communication channels like Slack, Yammer or any other social communication tool.
2. The Silence of the Comms — not enough communication
While overcommunication can be disadvantageous, lack of communication lies on the other side of the coin. Both extremes are grave, but no communication at all is detrimental to both your employees and your company’s reputation.
21% of employees feel they are kept in the dark while only 4% feel that they are trusted to make valuable contributions. No communication breeds employees that feel purposely left out. This then leads to suspicion as your employees begin to look for a way out.
Your intranet is the perfect medium to blog about oncoming news and let employees what to expect next.
Open and honest transparency is desired and deserved by all of your employees. And in this world of digital comms where every moment it broadcasted, it’s better to share more than less.
3. Talking in circles — the horrors of corporate speak
Your employees want more than infrequent communications. Tribe’s national research determined that 72% of employees of large companies want to hear directly from management. Over 84% of them say they don’t hear from corporate management enough.
In large companies we often see leadership making an effort to engage employees. However, these dreadful communications fail due to the horrors of corporate speak.
Avoid the legalese. Talk to your staff like they’re humans. Talking at someone one creates a distance that can only lead to unsatisfaction. Your staff wants to feel part of the team.
Try to tone down the technical jargon. Consider things like tone and cadence. It’s not what you say but how you say it and putting on a front is not the way to get what you want — engagement.
4. Isolated victims — silos
How can any force be united if everyone is getting different messages? Leaving people in the dark is siloed behavior and leads to disjointed company culture. It also serves to lower a company’s overall productivity.
Is it because we do more emailing, commenting and sharing than we do communicating in real life about our jobs? Over one-third of employees report not having strong relationships at work.
Teamwork is key. Separations can unintentionally (or purposely) be created between teams and departments. It is crucial that your employees do not feel their knowledge is being controlled or limited in favor of another.
Create a smooth flow of information, moving from one department to the next. About 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important,” yet only 18% of employees get communication evaluations at their performance reviews.
Breaking down these silos means that your employees receive the necessary communications and avoid the terrors of isolation and secrecy.
A social intranet equipped with a People Directory breaks down silos. Employee profiles enable users to find colleagues by job title, department, or expertise and connect instantly with social tools.
5. Buried information — can’t find information and there’s no way out
No matter how committed you are, searching up and down the same paths for simple information can be a nightmare. Communicators often miss the direct connection between accessibility and productivity.
When information, policies and required forms are scattered, your staff is hindered. Those who cannot find anything cannot fulfill the criteria of their role.
Increasing the rate of productivity in your employees can be done by making their jobs easier.
You want your employees to feel secure and in the know when it comes to important messages.
Via intranet, staff will receive increased search abilities, and employees can collaborate within real-time, regardless of location. Employees can find and search for relevant information more quickly with intranet software; they can respond to problems faster and do their jobs better.
6. Seeing is believing — All words no visual
We already know that it is hard to keep employees engaged. But is this due to the low attention span of the work generations?
Words alone don’t make the cut in this day. In fact, 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video. (MWP Digital Media)
Regardless of the reason, companies cannot deny the benefit of adding video to their communications plan. According to LinkedIn, 60% of people prefer video over reading text.
Disregarding doing this effective strategy means you’re neglecting to receive a large percentage of available attention. Do not do your comms a disservice. Instead, companies must take advantage of the rise in popularity of these multimedia practices.
Even in this era, 56% of communicators still struggle to keep employees engaged and informed. Communication doesn’t need to be a morbid experience. Save your staff from a spine-chilling comms with these tips.