What Employees Want: Better Communication in the Workplace

interviewResults from an October 2016 survey conducted by Survata shout it loud and clear: today’s employees want their companies to improve the way they communicate information.

With the number of complexities facing employees and their families – think FLSA and shifting overtime regulations, open enrollment options and changes to the ACA– they undoubtedly have a lot of questions. Although they increasingly look to their employers for answers, the survey finds that companies are struggling to provide the right communications, or at least to deliver it in the right way.

Of the 1,001 employees surveyed who work for a range of industries across the US, more than 70% said they want improved workplace communications and 80% responded that when an announcement goes out that they didn’t know about, they feel anxious, annoyed or uncertain. With companies focusing on a lot of great benefits, programs and perks, it’s a shame that the last mile of employee engagement – communication – is so broken. Why does this happen?

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With Millennials and Gen Z workers making up a larger share of today’s mobile, dispersed and diverse workforce, there’s only one way to get their attention: through engaging, personalized content that can be measured by reach and effectiveness. Based on Survata’s survey results, more than 80% of respondents felt the information received from HR is very or somewhat important, but the problem is most employees won’t take time to read long emails or look up information on the company Intranet. Apparently 54% still rely on the proverbial water cooler – their colleagues – to get the latest scoop. Yet we all know that such lines of communication can be unreliable and inconsistent.

Outdated, ignored and ineffective modes of communication means important decisions about health benefits, financial wellness, career management and more aren’t being discussed with family members or considered carefully. And when talent doesn’t feel informed and appreciated, it can have a negative impact on corporate culture.

Regardless of the composition of your workforce: W-2, 1099, full or part-time, these survey results underscore the need for more engaging communication methods – similar to the social, mobile and interactive tools employees use to communicate in their personal lives. HR teams and company executives can realize a demonstrable ROI on employee satisfaction and retention simply by leveraging a modernized communication platform to inform, inspire and engage their workforce.

So next time you have something important to tell your team, remember these survey findings. Anxious, annoyed and uncertain are not the emotional connections you want to be creating with your workers. Plan your employee communications strategy with the same rigor as you do your other business priorities and reap the rewards of a happier, more productive workforce.

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Pam Goncalves
Pam Goncalves is chief of staff at GuideSpark, which is leading the transformation of workplace communications. She can be reached at pgoncalves (at) guidespark (dot) com.

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