3 Employee Communications Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Posted by Cathy Reilly

A successful employee communications strategy can mean the difference between employees who come to work every day just to do their jobs and employees who care about the organization’s mission.


Leaders and their management teams can boost performance and inspire greater engagement by keeping open lines of communication and providing encouragement at every level of the organization. Unfortunately, many organizations seem to be falling behind in this measure.

In a recent Interact/Harris Poll survey, 91 percent of employees suggested that their leaders’ communication styles hurt their effectiveness. The good news? There’s a lot to learn from the mistakes leaders are making.

Here are the three of the biggest complaints from employees about their leaders’ communication styles and tips on how to avoid making similar mistakes in your employee communications strategy:

1. Not recognizing employee achievements.

A whopping 63 percent of respondents said that failure to recognize achievements is their biggest complaint about their leaders. When you think about your organization, do you have a culture of recognition?

Employees want to know that the work they do is making a positive impact on the organization [click to tweet]. Even something as simple as a thank you from a manager clearly lets an employee know they are appreciated. A verbal thank you works well, but a written thank you via email or handwritten note can be extremely powerful since they can be read over and over again by the employee and it shows the manager took the time for this gesture. Presenting an employee-of-the-week award to someone whose work made an impact is another way to show they made a difference. Not only does it demonstrate that the organization cares about its employees, but it helps employees stay engaged and motivated.

After all, if people are recognizing your work, isn’t it more exciting to actually get things done?

Create an employee communications strategy that encourages a culture of recognition and appreciation from the very beginning. Whether you create your own “awards” program or decide to start using an online employee recognition system like Kudos or WooBoard, get everyone involved in the process from Day One.

2. Not giving clear directions.

When it comes to getting an assignment, receiving clear directions from a leader is a must, right? Well, according to 57 percent of employees, their leaders aren’t delivering. It’s not just leaders that can fall behind here, though -- organizations often fail to have a clear employee communications strategy that keeps everyone in the loop.

Often times, organizations neglect to communicate organizational values, long-term goals, and organizational measures of success with employees. This creates a wall between the organization and its employees, which lowers engagement and keeps employees from building a deeper, more loyal connection to the organization.

The solution? Nurture a transparent employee communications strategy from Day One.

When employees first start, they are open books, ready to learn everything they can about the organization. Building an orientation and onboarding process that shares what the organization values, how it determines success, and what it plans to achieve in the future can help employees understand how they fit into the bigger picture.

After Day One, your employee communications strategy must continue to be as transparent as possible. Yes, there are some things you won’t be able to share with every employee in your organization. But the more proactive you are about giving your employees a clear direction of where the organization is headed, the more likely you are to receive feedback that can make a difference.

3. Not having time to meet with employees.

Whether you’re a CEO, a team leader, or an HR professional, meeting with the people you’re in charge of is an important part of leading from the front. Still, 52 percent of employees feel they don’t get enough access to their leaders, which makes communication difficult.

From an organizational standpoint, making time to hear feedback from your employees is key. The more free-flowing your employee communications strategy is, the easier it will be to recognize healthy and unhealthy trends, missed business opportunities, problem areas or top performers, or emerging talents in your organization.

One easy way to achieve a more effective two-way employee communications strategy is with a combination of quarterly employee satisfaction surveys and a live employee satisfaction portal on your internal website. The surveys will act as quarterly benchmarks for upper management to assess things like engagement, while a live portal will allow HR team members to address or elevate any employee issues that may affect the organization in the meantime.

In the end, organizations that focus on recognizing employee achievements, clearly communicate the direction of the organization at every level, and put the pieces in place for a two-way employee communications strategy will set the stage for higher employee engagement and the increased productivity that comes with it.

What do you to make your employee communications strategy more engaging? How do you recognize your employees’ achievements?

Topics: Recruiting & Hiring

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