We’ve come a long way from the days when long meetings lasting hours were the order of the day at the workplace.
Today, meetings that bring most of if not the entire workforce together are still important. But the pace and way of conducting business have changed so much over the last decade that it becomes imperative to adopt new communication approaches to send messages across to your employees and keep core agendas at the front of their mind.
More and more employees prefer to work away from the office today and, still, a good percentage of employees are contracted to work remotely. For the average person in a leadership position who is used to communicating with employees certain way, this presents a challenge. Random face to face meetings become impossible and even regular departmental meetings where everyone is expected to show up can be a hard sell.
The biggest fear for anyone in management has to do with a disengaged workforce. And knowing you cannot always turn to proven, traditional ways to communicate with your employees can be a little disheartening. But it shouldn’t be because the same technological advances that have made it possible to conduct business anywhere can be harnessed to boost communication and engagement with the workforce.
Here is how to enhance your communication for more productive and engaged employees.
Use a workplace app
Nearly everybody uses a smartphone today. You may not be able to get all your employee in one room for an important discussion, but you can get them all to view the latest update on their smartphones.
Create a company app that supports things like a dashboard, employee interaction, and file exchange. Such an app provides your employees with a direct connection to the workplace no matter where they may be.
The app shouldn’t be another rigid platform with restrictions and layers of bureaucracy. It should be a fun place for interaction and support. With a great app, employees will turn to it first thing on waking up, just like they do with email and social networks.
Ensure the app supports push notifications as this is the only way to get employees to see the newest communication you’re sending across.
It would be great if your app supported video so you can quickly upload a short video anytime you want to send an important message across. Studies show that, at 45% preference rate, the video is the most preferred mode of communication among employees, beating popular channels like social media posts and news articles.
So next time you’re tempted to write a lengthy news update on your employee web or social media pages, you may want to rethink that and post a video instead.
Make it Fun with GIFs, Emojis, and Memes
This approach may seem extreme to the traditional mind but the reality of our lives today is that GIFs, memes, and emojis are part of our daily interactions. Adopt them as part of your internal communication, and you’ll have a more attentive workforce.
What’s even more encouraging is that making use of these modern tools breaks down the barriers that may have made employees view the company and its leadership in a certain way.
Complex details will stick better if there’s a funny GIF to communicate the point. It’s easier for employees to remember certain aspects if a hilarious meme was used. They’ll probably save these images in their gallery and the more they see them, the more the message gets ingrained in them.
Make Physical Meetings Count
Face to face meetings is still crucial for the organization. Regardless of how digitized your communication may be, you still need the occasional in-person meeting with your team. But don’t just call for a meeting because your calendar says you’re scheduled to hold a meeting this week. Or because you feel it has been a while since you made your voice heard.
If people are sacrificing their time to spend an hour or two in a conference room with you, you should make it worth their time. Don’t discuss things you could have quickly passed across via email, a memo or a messaging service. Save the meeting for the essential stuff.
By the time your employees are leaving the meeting, they should feel the impact and be glad they showed up, not be agitated they wasted so much time getting drilled about the same old agendas.
Use Visual Reminders
Visual reminders are important in helping the message sink. Use them liberally during meetings and make digitized versions that can be downloaded as wallpaper or stickers. You can have these reminders displayed in the workplace mobile app, company website or social media pages.
Just don’t format them to pop up on pages frequently as this can be irritating rather than having a positive effect.
Encourage Employees to Create Content
Employees are more receptive to content that comes from a fellow employee as opposed to a brand/company message. While they may not respond to brand communication, they respond more and better and widely share such peer-originated content.
Take advantage of this to provide a platform where employees feel they have a voice and are valued. Have a forum for employees to share their experiences but structure it in such a way that it’s not overdone. Otherwise, it loses meaning and impact.
For instance, five employee stories a day or even week is a bit too much, but one incredible employee story a month or an exceptional employee experience every six months will catch their attention.
At the same time, support and encourage horizontal, peer-to-peer communication. Employees are more open to interacting with peers and give feedback more freely this way. Having more horizontal communication ensures brand messages are passed across quickly and takes the burden of keeping constant touch off your shoulders.
Clear, engaging communication is key to workplace success. Take advantage of technology to keep the communication lines open between management and the workforce so that employees never have to feel out of place.