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70% of Employees Don't Feel Engaged; Internal Communication Can Help

July 24, 2014

By: Terri Williams

You want to improve the job satisfaction rates at your organization, but you can’t afford to give everyone a substantial raise or send all of the employees on an all-expense paid week-long cruise.

The good news is, you don’t have to go to these lengths to make your employees happier to work for your company – although, if you have the financial means to do so, by all means, please do.

However, you can actually improve job satisfaction rates by doing something quite simple. Just improve your company’s internal communications. This may not seem like a big deal to you – but remember, that you know what’s going on. For your employees, who only know what you tell them, internal communications are very important.

2013 Gallup Survey discovered that 70% of workers don’t feel engaged on their jobs and don’t feel satisfied. As a result, they’re unproductive when they’re at work, and more likely to call in sick because they don’t feel like going to work. This can cost American companies over $550 billion in lost revenue every year.

The 2014 Employee Communications Satisfaction Survey reveals that the way companies communicate with their employees directly affects work fulfillment and employee engagement. In fact, 65% of the study’s respondents stated that the way in which their employer communicates with them impacts their job satisfaction.

Why is it so difficult for organizations to effectively communicate within their organizations?

1) Lack of a formal communication system.

Communication can’t be done sporadically. For example, you walked by the break room and shared some information with the workers in there, but then you didn’t tell anyone else. Are you expecting those employees to then tell other employees?  If so, that’s a bad plan. First of all, they’re assuming that if you told them, you are also telling everyone else. Second, it’s really not their job to disseminate information. The problem with sporadically sharing information is that you can’t remember whom you told. When some employees are “in the know” and others aren’t, it creates the impression – whether true or not – of favoritism.

2) Busyness.

Sometimes organizations are so busy putting out fires and going from one crisis to another that they don’t feel that they have time to stop and share information with the employees. However, to the employees, this just sounds like an excuse to avoid communicating.

3) Lack of respect for employee input.

Sometimes, leaders don’t share information because they don’t think that the employees can understand what is going on, and don’t feel that they can contribute anything to solve the problem. In this instance, the company has an adult-child relationship with its employees, which is never a good idea in an organization full of adults.

4) Concerns about creating chaos.

If the company is experiencing serious problems, it may not want to sound an alarm because of fears that employees may respond erratically. In other words, if they think the ship is sinking, they may jump and swim to the competitor. Failing to share information only fuels rumors, so it’s best to be honest with your employees.

How can your company improve internal communication, job satisfaction rates and engagement?

Meetings: Depending on the size of the organization, there should be full staff meetings at least once a month to celebrate victories, discuss potential problems, and give employees an open forum. This reinforces the theory that communication is important. Managers should have at least a 5-minute conversation with each employee once a week, even if it’s just in passing, and should meet one-on-one with employees once a month.

Reports: Employees should complete weekly status reports to their supervisors. These reports should outline what they’re doing, what they plan to do, and if they’re having any problems. However, this plan will only work if the managers actually read the status reports.

Electronic Communication: Email is useful for documenting meetings and providing details. However, it is only effective if all employees have equal access to desktops, laptops, smart phones, or other ways to read these messages in a timely manner.

Internal communication requires a consistent commitment of time, an effective plan of action, and a desire for transparency. The benefits of having satisfied and engaged workers, which in turn leads to increased productivity levels, far outweigh any objections or perceived inconveniences.

Terri Williams

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her business, education, and lifestyle articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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