Communication is king - so make sure you're getting it right
Inadequate and ineffective employee communications can be your worst enemy when it comes to employee motivation. It can result in high staff attrition rates, reduced customer satisfaction, and falling productivity.
When it comes to employee motivation, employee communications are your best friend. Not only do they have a positive impact on employee motivation, but they also improve employee happiness and loyalty - because effective communications contribute to employees feeling trusted and respected. Organisations that treat people with respect and trust are significantly more successful than those that don't - it's just common sense, really!
Let's take a look at five ways effective communication in the workplace improves employee motivation. Are there any areas where you could improve?
Workplaces need effective relationships between colleagues, managers and departments in order to be successful. Effective communication between employees at all levels strengthens relationships and ensures everyone is on the same page. This creates a positive working environment, and improves employee motivation and productivity.
To be effective when it comes to building and strengthening relationships, communication needs to be transparent and precise. Clarity is also crucial, because unclear communication can lead to expectations not being met, relationships being spoiled, and a breakdown of trust. All of this can result in demotivated employees.
Innovation and creativity
Internal communication drives collaboration - when communication and information flows freely and openly between colleagues and those in other departments, it inspires efforts to collaborate, improves knowledge sharing, and gives employees access to other peoples’ skills that might help them do their job better. An internal social media platform that allows people to connect is a great way to encourage collaboration - tools such as Slack, Trello, Basecamp and good ol' Google Docs are really effective for this.
Recognise that innovation doesn't always come from the top, either. Encouraging employees to submit useful ideas themselves helps your company thrive and take advantage of new opportunities. Formalised employee ideas schemes generate hundreds of business improvement ideas, and feedback is an essential tool - but many companies fail to offer a well-structured means to submit ideas that will be taken seriously by decision makers. An employee ideas scheme which includes status updates and feedback is an excellent way to encourage idea generation, recognising the impact every individual can make to your business and improving employee motivation.
Giving employees an opportunity to get involved in making decisions has a significant positive effect on employee motivation. Studies tell us that managers who engage their employees in decision-making and problem-solving within day-to-day operations have more satisfied employees, with higher levels of productivity as their reward.
Involving employees in decision-making by explaining the issue and asking for their thoughts and ideas demonstrates to employees that their perspective and opinions are valued, and it can lead to solutions managers might not have considered. However, managers need to ensure that they are providing meaningful opportunities for employees to participate in decision-making, rather than just paying lip service to it, or they could find that they're having the opposite impact to what they were hoping for.
Employees like to know what is happening within their organisation, so it's vital that employers have effective communication channels that reach all their employees. Sharing information with employees ensures that everyone is on the same page, and shares the same understanding of the company goals and vision.
Employers should share all appropriate information with employees unless it's confidential - but care needs to be taken to avoid bombarding employees with information and contributing to information overload.
Career and personal development
It's well-known that career development opportunities are a significant contributor to employee motivation - if people know there's nowhere to go, why bother trying? Effective communication and between employees and managers, and between managers and HR, helps managers and employees identify opportunities for career and personal development within the organisation.
Managers, employees and HR professionals need to work together to develop training programmes that improve employees’ skills and knowledge, whether that's identifying secondment opportunities, training courses, or assigning a mentor.
HR professionals and managers need to understand the critical role communication in the workplace plays in employee motivation, and help facilitate better employee communications at all levels.
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