Companies that communicate retain more staff and increase job satisfaction for their employees. But ineffective communication can be worse than none at all. Here are six ways to communicate effectively within the organisation.

• Set clear expectations. If you hold a weekly communications meeting, then make sure there is an agenda that informs people about what you will communicate. People will know what is being covered and can save their questions for the appropriate time. It also ensures all topics are covered. Make sure items are varied, relevant and interesting so people look forward to these sessions.

• Ask people what they want to know. So often management will drive meetings based on what they want to tell employees, and not necessarily about what is on people’s minds. Turn this around and ask instead. Send out an anonymous survey or ask for emailed questions to a central address. Allow people to ask anything they want of management. You may be surprised at what people are concerned about. Communication is a two-way street, so be prepared to listen and then broadcast the most useful answers.

• Be clear and concise. People want to be communicated with, but do not need more than a summary most of the time. Cut meetings short if there is not much to share, and make sure they finish on time. Be specific, decisive and articulate about each topic. If people are speaking, do not allow them to monopolise and take over the meeting. Time is precious, so move things along. Make sure there is follow up to people who were involved. If decisions were made and actions were taken, ensure minutes are sent out promptly.

• Communicate in different ways. Face to face meetings are just the beginning. Conference calls are an effective way to get participants from global locations, and presentations can be seen onscreen over the web. Internal newsletters and intranet pages can also be ways of broadcasting communication. Some companies now use e-zines (electronic newsletters) which individuals can contribute to and subscribe to within the organisation. Again, allow feedback and suggestions for improvement.

• Take a risk. Some CEOs and executives have maintained a distance between themselves and employees, and have not revealed much of their personality. Others embrace communication as a part of their daily work. Some CEOs have started blogs as a way of communicating to employees and the world. The most high profile of these is the President of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz, but there are many others. Sun even has a blog policy acknowledging and allowing that people will communicate online. Accept that people will blog and your corporation stories will get online and you will get feedback. This type of communication will only accelerate with Gen Y employees. Use that information to improve the company and the risk will pay off.

• Be truthful and respect your audience. Your integrity is always on show when you speak and communicate something, even if it is not important news. People generally know something of what is going on in the company and just want the gaps filled in. Be sincere and respectful of the intelligence of your audience, whoever they are. People will see through half-truths and when the truth is revealed, your honesty is on the line. In these days of mass communication, transparency and integrity is valued in every organisation.

Effective communications can transform your company, so make it a central part of your corporate strategy.

Author's Bio: 

Joanna Penn is the author of “How to Enjoy Your Job”. Packed full of strategies, ideas and tips to help you enjoy your job and your life now!
Get your FREE e-workbook from