Not everyone is a natural born communicator. Some people have it, some don’t. But when it comes to business, there just isn’t room for second guessing capabilities in this field. Research continually indicates that effective communication is one of the key drivers of economic efficiency. Companies with engaged employees see 147% higher earnings per share than their competitor [1.Is Lack of Employee Engagement Dragging Down Your Financial Performance? Business2Community.com].
But what has this got to do with leadership? If I tell you that a whopping 80% of disengaged employees are dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor[2.Dale Carnegie] it might just make you sit up and read this blogpost.
So, how do you go about communicating with a workforce that’s so disparate across divisions the very thought gives you a headache? Here’s our rundown of what makes an effective communicator - and engaging leader (and no, micro-managing isn't one of them):
1. Cultivate and communicate the company’s purpose
Engagement happens when employees clearly understand how their efforts lead to the bigger picture. It’s widely recognised that brands that have the strongest sense of purpose are also the most profitable[3.Havas Media’s 2015 Meaningful Brands Survey].
2. Maintain frequency of communication
Keeping communication consistent is essential for employee engagement - and retaining talent. Reportedly 68% of employees say the frequency of communication by their employer directly impacts job satisfaction, as well as, the methods they use to communicate (62%)[4.EMPLOYEEapp® Survey – Part II Results: Frequency and Method of Employer-to-Employee].
3. Reward and recognise employee achievements
Recognition and reward are vital components of employee engagement. A staggering 82% of employees who felt motivated in 2015 received some form of reward or recognition[5.Employee Benefits: 24% felt motivated at work in 2015].
4. Be honest and transparent
The most effective and inspirational leaders promote a two-way transparent culture. Reportedly, more than half of employees say communication and honesty are two factors that contribute to their engagement on the job[5. Honesty and communication drive employee engagement; Training]. Yet approximately three-quarters of people say their companies failed to deliver in these two key areas [6. Honesty and communication drive employee engagement; Training].
5. Listen to your employees ideas
We’re not talking about paying lip service; it’s about being switched on in the same way as you would with a customer or client. A whopping 56% of employees believe their line manager’s respect for their ideas is essential to engagement and job satisfaction[7. SHRM Survey Shows Jump in Employees’ Satisfaction with Work].
This list is by no means exhausted, but it should hopefully bring some insight on how leadership communication sets engagement levels and the workplace culture of the organisation. As the old saying goes “You are what you do, not what you say you'll do” [9. C.G. Jung].