This factsheet last updated in July 2014.
Why does communication with employees matter?
This factsheet looks at internal rather than external communication (for example, with customers, investors or other stakeholders). It may be helpful to read it in conjunction with our factsheet on ‘employee voice’ which covers the history of employee involvement, the mechanisms of two-way communications, and its potential benefits. Our factsheets on employee engagement and employer branding are also relevant.
Effective internal communications is a central means to achieving business outcomes and something for which the whole organisation is responsible. It supports the smooth running of organisations, successful change programmes and good leadership on vision, strategy and values.
It is also a critical aspect of employee engagement, which in turn, promotes better performance, employee retention and well-being. Employees are more engaged when information flows freely and they are aware of organisational activities and management decisions that affect their jobs.
Poor communication, on the other hand, acts as a barrier to employee engagement. Despite the need for communication to be high up the agenda in the organisation, our successive Employee Outlook surveys have shown that only around one in ten employees feels fully informed about what is happening in their organisation.
The challenges around effective organisational communication lie across all areas of the system. In a time of unprecedented change and complexity, leaders struggle to communicate with clarity and authenticity about where the organisation is going and the impact on employees. Equally, managers who have often been promoted due to their technical competence lack the comfort and confidence to communicate often or well enough with teams. Moreover, employees who have grown accustomed to personalised, on-demand content in their private lives have high expectations about these standards being met at work. Existing tools, such as intranets, have grown unwieldy and content-heavy over time rather than being designed around employee usability.
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