Everyone talks about how important it is to communicate. Communication takes time. How do I know when, how and what to communicate with my team?
ACE answers: Communication is important for a variety of reasons. When done well, it can play a significant role in building employee commitment, motivation, a sense of belonging and a feeling that they are contributing to something they believe in. Transparent and inclusive communication practices also go a long way to building trust in leadership.
The goal of communication may vary, from simply sharing company-wide information, to involving others in decision making by asking for input, or conveying job specific information. Every form of communication carries with it several different messages, depending on both the words and the way it is delivered. Each one is an opportunity to let employees know they are valued and that their opinions and contributions matter. Being left out of a communication can send an even stronger message, and it’s not a good one.
Sharing Information: Sometimes this is very straightforward and non-controversial. When that’s the case, a written announcement might suffice. However, if there are likely to be questions or concerns, two-way communication in which everyone has a chance to hear one another’s views is preferred. This is particularly true when change is happening. It is often good practice to communicate with the team all together and follow up with individuals to make sure everyone is on board.
Getting input into decisions: Not every decision requires input from everyone, of course. However, when it is possible, this is the occasion for face-to-face (via Zoom in today’s environment) group meetings in which everyone affected can be a part of the process. Creating opportunities for input demonstrates respect and is often the source of valuable creative ideas. (Meetings should not be used for simply communicating information one-way when input or questions are not anticipated)
Job specific: Its rare these days that any one job does not impact many other jobs. Information regarding changes or issues in roles or practices needs to be communicated widely to anyone who will be affected. Ideally, there is opportunity for questions and interaction among everyone involved
In our opinion, it is far worse to ‘under’ communicate than ‘over’ communicate. It’s true that communication takes time. And in our current environment, it takes some thought and ingenuity to figure out the best way to do it. And it’s worth every bit of the time and effort that it takes.