Employee communication has come a long way since the age of plain text emails and memos pinned in the staff lounge. But in the digital age, coordinating effective communication can also come with a learning curve.
In the past, employee communication was a guessing game at best. Was your message received? Did your employees read the email? Will they know not to jam paper into the copy machine?
In the digital era, however, there are fewer excuses to be lagging on your employee communications. And yet, having more tools at our disposal can present its own challenges.
In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know in order to master your employee communications and keep employee engagement soaring.
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What is Employee Communication?
Broadly speaking, employee communication can be defined as the exchange of information, resources, ideas, and news among employees of a company.
Through face-to-face communication, virtual meetings, or digital messaging, employees are kept informed on key company updates.
And yet, the purpose of employee communication goes beyond this.
When it’s coordinated skillfully, employee communication brings people together and fosters a cohesive company culture. It introduces employees to unique opportunities and events that keep them engaged and motivated within their roles.
Likewise, effective employee communication delivers the resources that help employees do stellar work, while showing them how their efforts contribute to company success.
Employee Communication vs. Internal Communication: What’s the Difference?
Internal communication has long been focused on a company’s inner workings—major events, changes in management, contact wins, and new clients.
While these are all significant goals, the digital age has expanded the scope and focus of internal communications. The shift has made way for a more personal, interactive, and individualized form of engagement: employee communication.
At the heart of it, employee communication simply stands for the various ways in which organizations can communicate with employees.
In the digital era, this includes utilizing a range of asynchronous communication: new employee engagement software, intranets, social media, and different types of surveys. We’ll dive deeper throughout this post.
Why is employee communication important?
Employee communication is the driving force behind an engaged workforce. This is especially the case across remote teams and hybrid offices, where connecting to colleagues is only possible with the help of digital devices.
Keeping everyone informed on key matters while creating a sense of community can be tough in a virtual world. Effective employee communications can help merge the divide.
Here are just a few benefits of effective employee communication:
- Increased employee engagement.
- Strengthened workplace relationships.
- A more diverse workplace through inclusive communication.
- Improved digital employee experience.
- Greater innovation through idea sharing.
- More inter-departmental cooperation through improved team communication.
Goals of employee communication
Effective employee communication really has one goal: to forge and strengthen relationships with employees. The rest falls in line.
Think about it: a great relationship with your employees means they trust you. They’re interested in what you have to say, they feel confident expressing their concerns, and they’re okay to reach out when they need help.
Of course, to build strong relationships, your communications will need to engage employees first.
You’ll need to build credibility and position your communication channels as the go-to resources for all of your employee needs.
Types of Employee Communication
Employee communications come in all shapes and sizes. In order to develop tailored strategies for improving your messaging, you’ll need to understand the different types of employee communication.
The goal of any employee communication is to transport information, but we can make this more specific. Namely, we can categorize employee communications by the direction your information is being transported.
One-way employee communications
One-way employee communication is the straightforward transmission of information to your employees. Whether it is a new employee announcement or crisis communication like employee safety alerts, the goal of this type of employee communication is to inform your employees of things they need to know.
Augment your one-way employee communications using custom email lists created using ContactMonkey’s List Management feature. These lists integrate with your Human Resource Information System (HRIS) like Workday and ADP, as well as Azure Active Directory, so they’ll update automatically. Custom email lists help drive email engagement and reduce the number of irrelevant emails your employees receive.
Two-way employee communications
Two-way employee communication aims to transmit information and collect feedback from your employees. Internal communications like event invitations, employee surveys, and eNPS questions all require your employees to provide their input on the information they’ve received.
Employee Communication Audiences
Though it may seem counterintuitive, the audience for your employee communication can differ greatly and require specific considerations. Obviously your audience is “employees”, but businesses can have different kinds of employees that can benefit from a variety of employee communications.
In-office employee communication
Prior to 2020, in-office employees were probably the default internal communications audience in everyone’s minds. When your employees are all together within an office, you can prioritize face-to-face conversations and meetings over other kinds of communication.
But be wary: just because face-to-face communication for in-office employees may seem like the easiest method for employee communication doesn’t mean your employees automatically prefer it over other types of communication. As always, it’s helpful to determine the unique communication preferences of your employees via surveys and collecting employee feedback.
Remote employee communication
With the rise of remote work, employee communications can take many different forms to work best with your remote employees. Remote employees may prefer instantaneous communication platforms like Slack or Google Teams, or they may prefer communications they can engage with at their own pace, like email or employee newsletters.
Frontline employee communication
Frontline employees can be thought of as combination of remote and in-office employees. Although frontline employees may work at the same location, they may be dispersed and occupied with their tasks. Face-to-face communications may work in certain situations, other frontline employees may not have time for face-to-face conversations and meetings, instead opting for employee communications that they can engage with at their own pace.
Employee Communication Examples
One-way and two-way employee communications can take many forms, depending on how your business keeps in touch with its employees. These are a few examples of common employee communications.
Need ideas for your employee communications? Try using ContactMonkey’s OpenAI ChatGPT integration to generate email content based on prompts describing what you’d like to accomplish.
1. Traditional communication methods
Traditional communication is a top-down process. Managers or internal communicators send memos and plain text emails to staff in order to alert them to any updates.
When it comes to traditional methods, one-on-one meetings are another good example of internal communication.
There’s little room for engagement across these one-way communication streams. However, some prefer their simple and straightforward nature.
Email can be classified as both a traditional employee communication channel as well as a new-age approach. It all depends on how you use it and the email software that you have at your disposal.
In fact, the future of email looks promising. A majority of organizations around the globe still choose email because It’s reliable and effective. But it doesn’t have to be boring.
With an HTML email builder like ContactMonkey, you can turn trusty old-fashioned emails into visually dynamic digital news hubs:
Add videos and images, and create designated blocks for different email segments. You can also make your email into a two-way communication stream using drag-and-drop pulse surveys.
3. Cell phones and SMS
Mobile phones are no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ in the office. Nor are they simply a source of distraction.
With the popularity of cell phones, SMS employee communications can be a powerful internal communications channel for reaching your employees. Along with email, ContactMonkey lets you draft and send SMS text messages to your employees:
SMS helps you send important information to your employees quickly, as text messages are 95% likely to be opened in the first 10 minutes upon being received.
4. Employee social media
Employee Social Media is one of the newest tools to become available for employee communications. It comes in two forms: dedicated enterprise social media and popular social media networks repurposed for employee communications.
Dedicated internal social media platforms are closed social networks designed exclusively for internal use (think Yammer and Facebook Workplace).
On the other hand, using popular social media for employee communications would consist of having an Instagram or Twitter page dedicated to posting, streaming, and messaging about life at your company.
An Intranet is essentially a one-stop-shop for internal communication. By combining employee messaging, discussion forums, and company news boards, it allows employees to stay connected through a single platform.
An intranet and employee newsletters often go hand in hand, whereby one promotes the other in order to increase engagement on both.
Game-based communication can spark productivity levels and give employees an extra boost in morale and motivation. By combining work and play, you’ll encourage some friendly competition and boost collaboration across your workplace.
Gamification can be as straightforward as adding a trivia question at the end of your employee newsletter. Or it could consist of incorporating virtual games and escape room challenges into your next virtual town hall.
An easy idea for an employee podcast is setting up interviews with staff from various departments. You can call it “Humans of [COMPANY NAME]” and dedicate it to intimate conversations and engaging internal storytelling that authentically connects workers.
7 Employee Communication Best Practices
While most companies make a fuss about their external messaging, employee communications often fall on the back burner. But high-performing businesses know that their power is in their employees, and they invest in their employee communications accordingly.
We’ll break down 7 tips to help you build an effective employee communication strategy:
1. Keep it clear, concise, and straightforward
Overloading on corporate jargon will only create more confusion for your employees. Not to mention, it will make your communications feel cold and disinterested.
Use clear, simple language across your employee communications and keep sentences short. 20 words or less is the sweet spot.
2. Set the tone
Your communications need to evoke a tone and style that match your employer branding. If your company is a fast-paced startup, with open-concept office spaces, and a laid-back atmosphere, the tone of your communications should reflect this. It should be fun, lighthearted, and informal.
By connecting your tone to your company identity, employees can more clearly understand the link between employee communications and organizational goals and values.
3. Understand your employees
If you want to create content that truly resonates with your staff and that doesn’t simply fall into the ‘unread’ bucket, you need to understand your employees.
Step up communication across your company with our employee feedback examples.
4. Employ multiple channels
The workday can get hectic. Consider the fact that the average employee receives 121 emails daily. Needless to say, it’s easy for employee messages to fall through the cracks.
Taking advantage of multiple communications channels can help you sidestep this problem.
Distribute your communications thfrough a number of channels, like Slack and/or intranet boards alongside your employee emails. This way, you can ensure that your communications reach employees on time every time.
5. Use videos and graphics
Using visuals makes your communications much more compelling than text alone. By tapping into more of our senses, visuals allow for more powerful brand storytelling through sound, imagery, and animation.
In the end, this leads to a stronger emotional response from your readers. Not to mention, research shows that Gen-Z employees are much more likely to engage with content that features videos and GIFs.
6. Make your communications mobile-friendly
The modern workplace is constantly in motion. Not to mention, some employees, like frontline workers, hardly sit down at their desktop. So it’s imperative that your employee communications are mobile-responsive.
If you’ve ever opened a distorted email with a handful of broken links, you know what happens when communications aren’t optimized for mobile. It’s a mess.
With ContactMonkey’s responsive email templates, you can guarantee that every email looks the same when it reaches your employee as when you sent it.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to see which device your communications were opened on and inform your content strategy accordingly.
7. Measure the effectiveness of your employee communications
Employee communications is like internal marketing for your workplace. Much like external marketing, you need to create objectives and measure your progress.
With an internal communications software like ContactMonkey, you get in-depth email analytics on all of your employee messages.
From open rates, to reading time, and click-through-rate (CTR), ContactMonkey is your one-stop-shop for measuring your internal communications.
If your organization has internal or external regulations around email privacy, you can still gather email metrics using ContactMonkey’s anonymous email tracking while maintaining your employees’ privacy.
Looking for more resources to improve your employee communications? Check out our list of the best internal communications blogs and stay up to speed with the latest employee engagement trends and best practices.
Developing an Effective Employee Communication Strategy
How can you tell if following these best practices are actually improving communication at your business? Employee communication can feel difficult to measure, especially because your employees may have different communication preferences.
Employee communication audits use different metrics and benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of your internal communications. By conducting an employee communication audit on a recurring basis, you’ll be able to chart your progress and determine whether the initiatives you’re trying are actually working.
How to measure employee communication
Measuring employee engagement and employee communications is critical if you want to make improvements in the long run. But it can become a challenge if you don’t plan ahead. That’s why the best strategies are proactive.
Here are a few key steps to keep in mind:
- Set employee communication goals: without clear objectives for what you want to achieve, it’s hard to know where you’re headed or how you’re doing. Employee communications goals can include target open rates, clicks on embedded resources, or reading times.
- Use an email tracking software: if you want hard data on your internal messaging, you need to use effective employee communication tools from the start. Pick communications tools with automated email tracking to get insights on open rates, click-through-rate, read time, most popular clicks, and even when and where communications are opened. This will help you measure your communications instantaneously.
- Conduct regular pulse surveys: if you’re curious how your employee communications are doing, why not ask employees directly? Using a pulse survey tool, you can conduct quick and easy questionnaires right from your employee emails.
Optimize Your Employee Communication Strategy With ContactMonkey
Employee communication is the foundation of your business. When employees are informed and engaged, pretty much every area of your business will advance accordingly. For that reason, boosting your employee communications can be the most impactful thing you do to improve your overall employee engagement statistics.
Looking for an easy-to-use Internal Communications tool? With ContactMonkey, you can create, send, and track your internal communications. Boost employee engagement with stellar content customized for your audience.