Communicate with Care

In the 21st century, people use many devices and apps to get news and information. But that’s not necessarily how people get the scoop when it comes to their work lives. According to a recent study, 79% of American workers receive most of their company news in perhaps a surprising way — through the grapevine.

On one hand, it’s usually a positive when your employees are constantly communicating with each other, and for this reason the grapevine serves an important organizational purpose. But, should your employees receive most of their information this way?  Or, is it best to disseminate information through multiple company-run systems/methods?

The biggest issue the grapevine presents is that it can easily skew or completely change crucial information, leading to many of your employees having different perceptions of what is actually going on. When you rely on this method as a primary means to communicate news, you’re basically playing a high-stakes game of “Telephone.”

Fortunately, there are a multitude of tools you can deploy to keep your employees in the know. If the majority of your team members are in an office with access to a computer, you are probably already using email.  But, as communication evolves, this method is losing favor and considered outdated by some.  Some businesses utilize communication and engagement apps, such as Slack, Yammer, Basecamp, or GroupMe as efficient ways to not just provide updates but also collaborate, foster relationships and further bolster a team atmosphere.

With the influx of Millennials (and now Generation Z) in the workforce, it will become increasingly necessary for employers to add other mechanisms of communication, such as apps and also text messaging as a viable method of communicating to their employees. At first, this may seem too informal, but younger employees generally appreciate and respond positively to this type of informal and convenient information flow.

Even with these apps and technological tools at your disposal, the most effective way of sending an official message is still the old-fashioned in-person (aided by technology if employees are geographically dispersed) meeting. This enables a two-way stream of communication and feedback, as well as question and answer sessions that help everyone get on the same page and ultimately leads to higher levels of engagement.  Google, for example, hosts an All Hands/Town Hall meeting every week, where senior leaders provide highlights and take the opportunity to respond to employee questions.

It’s still important to encourage your employees to talk amongst themselves and develop a rapport with each of their colleagues. However, making sure you leave nothing to chance when it comes to sharing vital company information is even more important. If you aren’t familiar with the digital services that can help make your life easier, dive right in and start modernizing your office’s communication. And, don’t forget that the visible leadership that is demonstrated in face-to-face meetings is key to inspiring and motivating your employees!


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