Before we get into the depth of what employee communication is all about and its significance in the workplace, let’s understand the term with a simple example.

It’s 10:30 AM on a Thursday, and George Lyons, a hard-working and super-productive sales executive, is preparing for an important meeting with a potential prospect.

As a high-flier millennial, George is stressed over an email he received from the prospect, inquiring about a feature she wanted and how that will be the ultimate deciding factor for the product purchase. Reading this, George immediately sends a message to the product manager, asking to confirm the possibility of the feature to persuade a sale.

George’s email chimes, and he checks his phone a few minutes before meeting the potential prospect. The email turns out to be a company newsletter with a subject line: Upcoming Office Event. Well, not the kind of response he was impatiently waiting for, and now, he’s frustrated.

Little did he know that the newsletter also included the announcement of the feature (which the prospect was inquiring about) as one of the key elements of the upcoming release.

If only he had read the newsletter properly, or even better, if George’s company had a workplace intranet that could keep him aware of the significant product feature updates, he would have easily impressed the prospect rather than leaving her disappointed during the meeting.

From an organizational or business perspective, this example teaches five crucial lessons:

  • 👉 Lesson #1: Effective employee communication is vital
  • 👉 Lesson #2: Poor communication can negatively impact a company’s growth
  • 👉 Lesson #3: Communicating major updates across the company is vital
  • 👉 Lesson #4: Having a robust people engagement platform is more important than ever
  • 👉 Lesson #5: Besides missed sales opportunities, ineffective or poor employee communication can wreak havoc on multiple aspects of a business, which includes employee engagement levels, employee turnover rate, customer service, project delivery deadline, litigation cost, and shareholder returns.

Today, the seamlessness of employee communication in the workplace dictates how operations occur and the tangible impact on RoI. Effective communication is the foundation of an engaged workforce, and let’s understand this in detail with some interesting examples.

What is Employee Communication

Employee communication simply means sharing ideas, feelings, and information between employees and employers of a company.

Before the pandemic, employees relied on real-time collaboration and synchronous communication with their peers. But this isn’t the case anymore.

Since remote working environments are here to stay, there’s a dire need for employers to:

Employee communication is vital for a business’s success. It is the ‘glue’ that holds a company together. An effective communication strategy helps improve employee productivity, employee engagement, and workplace collaboration. All of these build a strong company culture.

How you communicate your company’s vision, values, and strategies directly impacts your employees' feelings about your company.

Now that you have understood the basics of employee communication, let’s know the types and their importance with some interesting examples.

What are the Types of Employee Communication

From an organizational standpoint, the main objective of ‘communication’ is to ensure successful functioning. No matter what channel it is, business communications happen either internally or externally.

Speaking of internal and external communications, should you consider them as two different entities? Yes. Because they have distinct goals, deliver messages to various audiences, and support the business in multiple ways.

But should they work independently? Absolutely not, because they both have to align the efforts and ensure that their messages are straightforward and unified.

While both types of communications are essential for a company’s growth, the difference between them is the environment in which they happen.


Internal vs. External Communication: The Key Differences

Parameter

Internal Communication

External Communication 


Objective

When the exchange of opinions, suggestions, facts, and information occurs within the members of an organization, then the communication is internal.

When the exchange of information occurs between a company and an entity or a person from any other external environment, then the communication is external.

Participants

The parties involved in internal communications are employers and employees.

The parties involved in external communications are suppliers, customers, dealers, shareholders, or investors.

Classification

Internal communication can be:


  • Horizontal: ​​The communication happens between individuals of the same level in the company’s hierarchy

  • Vertical: The communication happens between employees but on various hierarchical levels such as upward (from employees to leaders/managers) or downward (from leaders/managers to employees)

External communication can be:


  • Formal: Creating a suitable company image through reports, newsletters, presentations, web pages, or press releases

  • Informal: Occurs in a way that organizations cannot regulate it directly.

Form

Both formal and informal

Mostly formal

Frequency

The frequency of internal communications is higher.

The frequency of external communications is lower than internal.

Mode

Emails, chats, announcements, surveys, seminars, presentations, meetings, audio/video calls, training, and workshops.

Social media posts, advertisements, press releases, print, client meetings, and television.

Key Benefits

Effective internal communication benefits an organization in various ways:

  • Motivates employees

  • Fosters a happier workplace

  • Increases employee productivity

  • Makes attaining goals easier

  • Reduces internal conflicts

  • Enables faster decision making

  • Improves HR practices

  • Aligns different departments

  • Builds employee trust

  • Increases transparency

Effective external communication benefits an organization in various ways:

  • Foster new relationships with other companies

  • Showcase a collective front of your company

  • Promote your organization

  • Decrease the chances of mistakes

  • Help spread the word about your brand

  • Provide information about products & services to consumers

What is Effective and Ineffective Employee Communication

Communication is the true essence of life. We send and receive millions of messages every day, both verbally and nonverbally. Be it the president making an important speech, a teacher taking a class, or a business promoting its product, communication has immense power to change society, culture, and people's lives.

Effective communication creates positive connections between people, whereas ineffective communication creates confusion, conflict, low morale, and frustration. Let's understand this in detail.

Signs of Effective and Ineffective Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication

Ineffective communication

  • Regular & consistent communication

  • Use of good vocabulary

  • Two-way communication

  • Open and clear communication

  • Friendlier atmosphere

  • Jargon-free discussions

  • Brief and to-the-point talks

  • Consistent messages

  • Recognizable employer brand

  • Alignment with the company’s vision, mission, values, and culture

  • Improper tone of voice 

  • Inappropriate word choice

  • Increase in misunderstandings

  • Damaged work relationships

  • Distrust among employees

  • Increase in hostility and anger

  • Decrease in productivity

  • Low employee engagement levels

  • Delay in getting the work done

  • Misalignment with the company’s vision, mission, values, and culture

What is effective employee communication in the workplace

Good communication in the workplace isn't just about preventing potential conflicts (although that's a key advantage). Effective communication plays a crucial role in building solid relationships, team effectiveness, employee engagement, and business profitability. The secret to effective communication in the workplace is not just about communication. It's about understanding.

Here's an outline of what effective communication looks like in a workplace:

1. Effective conflict management

  • Conveying information clearly to avoid misinterpretation that can lead to conflicts.
  • Having policies in place that outline how conflicts can be reported and managed.
  • Equipping employees and leaders to deal with conflicts through regular training.

2. Enhanced employee engagement

  • Communicate your values and vision for everyone to know and align with them.
  • Setting clear job expectations so everyone is working towards a shared goal.
  • Creating an environment that fosters collaboration and healthy workplace relationships.

3. Inclusive workplace culture

  • Involving employees in every decision and soliciting their opinions.
  • Sharing the right message, at the right time through the right channel.
  • Cultivating a culture of open conversation where employees are free to share their thoughts and ideas.

4. Better employee and customer experience

  • Providing employees with an experience that is on par with your customer experience.
  • Seeking employee feedback and acting on it to make them feel heard and valued.
  • Communicating and emphasizing the need for listening to and acting on customer feedback.

Bring your workforce together on a common platform. Use a tool that has robust features to address multiple problems at once—one that streamlines your communications, engages your employees, improves productivity, and aligns with your company values.

Book a Demo

What is ineffective employee communication in the workplace

While it takes time and effort to establish effective employee communication, ineffective employee communication grows like an unnecessary weed when no attention is given.

Ineffective employee communication stems from a poorly aligned strategy, a failure to execute the strategy, using the wrong communication vehicle, bad timing, and even nuances such as word choice or tone of voice. Its impact increases the chances for misunderstandings, damages relationships, breaks trust and increases anger and hostility.

Here's an outline of what ineffective communication looks like in a workplace:

1. No or poor communication strategy

When an organization doesn’t take the time to create an effective communication strategy or fails to drive it correctly, it can harm the business negatively. In fact, it’s a domino effect of poor morale, frustrating communication, higher absenteeism, and lower productivity, which leads to higher employee turnover and smaller business profits.

2. Bad communication practices

An organization that does not fix bad communication practices like improper tone and use of negative language may instead come across as a brand that promotes such practices. Not only does it create serious workplace conflicts and aggression but also unhappiness and stress. Employees may just feel defeated overall.

3. Poor collaboration

An organization that does not foster peer and cross-team collaboration suffers from information silos and hampered innovation. When organizations obstruct open communication and collaboration, they stifle efficiency besides innovation. Working in silos has a corrosive effect on the workplace culture too. It breeds conflicts, distrust, and resentment. Instant messaging and emails just aren’t enough to enable employees to work productively and cross-functionally.

4. Poor customer relations

An organization that does not invest in good employee communication and relations could suffer from poor customer relations because employees may be transferring the same poor experience (they receive at work) to their customers. Not just that, employees who don’t have proper guidance from the top management or are locked out of dialogues about their day-to-day task struggles are less likely to know the ways to satisfy customers.

Conclusion

Remember that the whole point here is to turn your company into a thriving community internally and externally. Accentuating the company culture allows your employees to experience what the company stands for and aligns them with the company vision.

Start with the processes mentioned above and follow through. Listen as carefully as you speak, as employers often miss hints that may be said in jest.

When your entire company begins to operate as one unit, you have a powerful force the industry must reckon with. Utilize all the arrows in your quiver (or add more) to ensure this happens.

Bring your company together on a common forum

A social intranet platform to foster internal communication and engage employees.

Employee Communication
Redefine Workplace Intranet to Bring your Digital Workplace to Life.
Learn how

Mary Madhavi Reddy

Mary Madhavi Reddy LinkedIn

Mary is a content marketer with 20 years of experience. Her career spans GE Money, Google, and some growth-stage startups. At Empuls, she handles product messaging and positioning.