One important way for a company to engage their workers is by listening to them. Effectively communicating with your employees, however, involves more than just the way you talk to them.
Your message has a more powerful impact if you add a human touch to your communication methods. So, what are some of the best ways to add a human touch when communicating with your employees?
Create brand characters
To help make the internal communications at your company more personal, you can develop a brand character (often called an avatar). Avatars, often associated with particular campaigns, allow you to use more personable communication with your employees, as opposed to the more rigid and dull corporate speak.
Using an avatar can:
- Inject a little life, and fun, into your internal communication.
- Encourage employees to share their feedback freely.
- Make it easier to tell your employees negative news without coming across as threatening.
- Alleviate some of the initial fear, which can lead to employee resistance, when starting something new.
Visuals that clearly communicate what you want to say tend to stand out and have a greater impact on message retention than simple, written communications. Also, visualization is an effective way to present complex data so that your employees grasp it. Visuals can help communicate a message more powerfully than any written email or interoffice memo ever could.
When developing visuals to use in your communications, look for those that communicate what you have to say with as few words as possible. And make sure there is no room for mistaking your message for something else.
Channels of communication
The communication channels you use are just as important as the way you communicate. First, though, determine which channels your employees prefer, and then use them. In addition to in-person meetings, those can include interoffice memos; emails, the most common form of communication; chat tools, like Slack; and video-conferencing.
Not only should your internal teams have preferred communication channels at their disposal, they should also receive training on how to effectively communicate what they want to say. One of the biggest frustrations is the inability to convey an important message so that your audience understands it.
You can regularly involve your employees in training classes to help boost their confidence in effective communication.
Interactive workshops have become a normal part of many interoffice development plans, because they do work. Such workshops are not glorified meetings between workers and management. They are memorable, truly interactive, and engaging to ensure that the workshop’s content and message sticks with employees.
To create a memorable interactive workshop start by setting the mood. You can do this by using a different venue than your run-of-the-mill hotel conference room. Try holding the workshop outdoors or in a warehouse — anywhere that takes your team members out of their normal work mindset.
You also need to consider what the workshop requires and plan accordingly. Are supplies necessary? Is food involved? Then make sure to have those supplies ready.
Turning learning at work into a fun game that incorporates teamwork can make the whole experience truly engaging. By making learning fun, you do away with the stigma of work being boring and uninteresting.
A sense of play also helps break down the often restrictive nature that professional barriers imply on the relationship between worker and upper management.
You can also use Augmented Reality (AR) to give your communication efforts a more modern take that is both fun and interacts with the work environment. AR allows you to integrate content into an enjoyable interface that creates a seamless journey throughout the learning process. By making learning more interactive, you can ensure that a message or experience is more memorable.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
Machine learning, oddly enough, represents another tool you can use to help humanize your approach to communicating with your employees.
Using machine learning tools to analyze speech patterns, such as tone, pace, tension, and others, will help you understand how your communication is received by employees. And you will be able to develop more effective communication strategies.
You can even use Artificial Intelligence (AI) when analyzing expected behavior patterns. Simulating communications between you and your workers, AI applications allow you to see what behaviors arise out of your communication attempts, and then provide feedback that gives you the opportunity to adjust your communications in a more empathetic manner.
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Disruption as a communication tool
Disrupting the everyday flow of work at a company is a great way to get your employees’ attention and make your communications more effective.
A disrupting event will also stick in your employees’ minds for longer, making them more apt to remember a message attached, such as introducing a new direction you want to take the company.
When developing such a disruption, look for something that your employees cannot ignore. For example, using the campaign-specific avatars mentioned above to reveal new company strategies either online or in physical representations — anything to break through the everyday background noise of life in the office.
Most importantly, collect feedback from workers to see if your current communication strategies are working. And if they aren’t, adjust them so that they do work.
Using empathy when you communicate with your team is just one way of building a more effective manager/employee relationship. Using these tools to humanize your message can go a long way toward better workforce engagement.
Employees who feel like their bosses care for them and want to understand their viewpoint tend to be happier, more productive, and better engaged at work.