Employee communication professionals can create more effective strategies when they understand these seven laws of employee communication.
- Unless it is believed, a message has no worth. Credibility must be established first to serve as a foundation for all employee communication. Many messages are doomed from the get go because of credibility gaps between organizational leaders and employees.
- Everything an organization does sends a message. Pay and benefits, policies and procedures, rewards and recognition and the unwritten rules all send messages to employees about what the organization really values. An organization’s “do” must align with its “say.”
- What is important isn’t always interesting. Our job as employee communicators is to help employees filter and prioritize the messages they receive so they know what is important.
- Rumors are created to fill communication voids. Sometimes silence speaks loudly. Employee communicators need to fill voids with valid information even if it is just to let employees know that management is aware of a problem and is working on a solution.
- Internal and external communication overlap. Employees are informal ambassadors with customers and in the community so internal messaging should align with external strategies. Likewise, because employees see external sources, such sources are defacto employee communications and external messaging should align with internal strategies. Every internal communication must be written as if it will be read by external sources and visa versa.
- When action is needed, winning hearts is more important than winning minds. Logic makes us think but it is emotion that makes us take action.
- There are costs associated with communicating, but there are costs associated with not communicating as well. Lost productivity, poor task compliance, turnover and absenteeism are the price organizations pay for not communicating. Employee communicators must seek cost-effective and creative solutions to solve the complex communication challenges their organizations face.
We can’t change these laws of employee communication but we can learn to leverage them to our advantage.
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