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All talk and no action – Why engagement with communication is vital in the workplace

All talk and no action

In our communication assessment quiz, we focus on four key areas. One of these is how well your team are likely to engage with communications in the workplace. We are all bombarded with communication vying for our attention, so it is vital that your team know which messages matter most because when they don’t, the consequences are very real.

Why engagement with communication matters

There is a wonderful saying attributed to Oscar Wilde that says:

‘The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.’

When you work in an organisation with multiple departments who all want to communicate with you during the working day, it can feel as if the number of emails is increasing to meet the needs of the increasing number of people who want to send an email. Add into this mix the noise of external contacts, and it can be very difficult to find the right message in all the conflicting sources.

We have a tendency to shrug our shoulders at this chaos of communication and put it down to an unavoidable fact of the modern workplace. We just accept that we could be missing something useful or even vital to our day because it is just the way things are. I even occasionally hear the dreaded phrase, ‘If it was important, someone would have come and told me about it’.

What we are actually saying here is that we are not engaging with the communications we receive. It is all coming in because we acknowledge it’s there, but we don’t know which bits matter. This is a strange phenomenon that you simply wouldn’t accept in any other area. Your management team would be very quick to respond to the workforce ignoring urgent orders or not picking up a ringing telephone, for example. Yet clients often tell us that they have a workforce that is disengaged, doesn’t react appropriately to, or even totally misses important information.

Engaging effectively with communications has many benefits, and without it, you are potentially missing out on:

  • Improved productivity – This is probably the top of the list of frustrations for a business where there is a problem with engagement.
  • Improved efficiency – It goes without saying that efficient communication is a core aspect of an efficient business.
  • Improved customer service – The customer may not directly see the internal problem with communication, but they certainly feel it in delays, confusion, mixed messages and delayed order fulfilment.

While these are the most visible results of a communication issue in a business, there are some other equally worrying ones.

Employees work better and report higher levels of job satisfaction when they are clear on what is required of them and when it is needed. The company values and your employer brand also matter, and as Gen Z workers, who are generally considered to be more attuned to values and ethics, establish themselves in the workplace, it is important these are seen. When teams are engaging with the right messages, remote working becomes less remote, and the community ethos that you want to develop in your business is enhanced. Without that engagement, you are running the risk of contributing to employee stress levels, frustration, and even potentially lowering your staff retention rates. In the current economy, the last thing you need is disengaged employees or key workers becoming so disenchanted that they look for a new job elsewhere.

The communication and engagement problem assessment

While most businesses recognise the symptoms of their team not engaging with communications, resolving the problem is more difficult. It’s one of those scenarios where everyone has the problem, but nobody seems to have the solution.

So, the first thing we suggest is you take our quiz (there is a link below); it will only take a few minutes. At the end, you will be given a full, individual report on what is and isn’t working in your organisation. Communication and engagement are a big part of this. The quiz will look at your current situation and then suggest options to help employees engage.

There is an important message in that last sentence. What you are looking to do is not force the employees to engage; that simply won’t work. You want to encourage them to recognise the need to engage. The solution is simple in essence but needs a little thought and, usually, a few system changes to put into action. It is as simple as this…

If you want your team to engage properly with communications, make sure they are getting the information…

  • How they want to receive it
  • When it is best for them to receive it
  • In a way that is easy for them to access.

If, for example, a new employee is faced with all the payslips, paperwork, messages from HR, messages from managers, new colleagues and a thousand other demands on their attention, you can see how important information can be lost.

Taking the quiz will identify ways that you could alleviate this mishmash of communication. In this case, it may be much better if items such as payslips and contracts can be accessed through a secure portal when required. Perhaps you also need to add a secure delivery option so that the sender knows their information has been acted upon.

The first step to resolving any problem is to recognise the root cause. You will find our communication quiz invaluable as a tool for identifying where you may have an issue, and even better, it may reassure you that everything is great in your organisation.

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