In the age of remote working, communication within your organisation is more crucial than ever. While working from home and hybrid working structures have huge advantages, it’s important to recognise that not always having a centralised work hub can sometimes lead to some vital messages being missed, or even a sense of community lacking.

Of course, returning to five days a week in the office won’t necessarily solve this! Even if your team are working together every day, communication breakdown can still occur as a result of teams being siloed, meaning that teams or individuals can still feel separate from the rest of the organisation.

And, as illustrated in our most groundbreaking report yet, The Economic Value Study, a breakdown in communication can lead to feelings of isolation, drops in productivity and an overwhelming lack of appreciation felt by employees, as HR initiatives fail to have their intended impact and employee engagement becomes an uphill battle.

Discover the direct correlation between employee enagement and business  success and identify the key HR levers and solutions that drive this growth. Read Report

Understanding what your employees need

With the launch of the Economic Value Study, our engagement experts applied their findings on employee needs to Maslow’s famous ‘hierarchy of needs’. The result is an adapted model that sets out five different levels of employee needs to define the total employee experience (EX).

And it comes as no surprise that communication is right at the heart of the pyramid. In our Total Employee Experience Pyramid, Maslow’s ‘social’ need aligns to ‘Communication, Culture and Connection’ for modern workforces. 

You can map your employee benefits onto Maslow's hierarchy of needs triangle and see direct correlations. Appreciation satisfies self-actualization.

To fulfil the highest possible version of themselves, people need to feel like they are being communicated with openly and honestly. This is the way to bring a workforce together, to keep them motivated and organised, and to make them see themselves as part of something larger than the individual.

Strong communication is one of the cornerstones of a successful business. If a business leader or HR team fails to see this, they risk creating a ‘communication gap’ which can have serious consequences for the organisation.

Why the communication gap is so important

Through our Economic Value Study, we discovered that only 12% of organisations place communications in their top three HR priorities. This poses a huge risk to businesses who want to get the best out of their employees.

Our study found that while all businesses need to place importance on their internal communications, frontline organisations in particular cannot afford to ignore it.

One of our clients, a healthcare organisation, said: “Our employees are spread across the country, so it’s hard to connect them to the company and keep them engaged in our strategies and mission.”

This demonstrates one of the most basic requirements of internal communication – keeping your workforce informed about your top-line objectives. Without this, your team can start to lose both direction and motivation.

Another healthcare organisation we work with said that lacking proper internal communication has led to “confusion and misunderstanding”, demonstrating that a communication gap can have negative consequences, both in terms of top-level aspects like employee motivation, and lower-level issues like deadlines being missed.

How to bridge the communication gap

It’s important to create a sense of community in your workplace, allowing your team to satisfy their ‘love and belonging’ needs on Maslow’s hierarchy. 

A workforce that feels valued and a sense of belonging within their organisation will naturally be more collaborative, hold a higher expectation of themselves and their peers, and demonstrate more creativity. 

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The easiest way to foster this sense of community and belonging is by using a simple communications platform. Reward Gateway’s internal communications platform is a perfect example of a central hub that allows business leaders to convey information to their team in a timely manner and through an easy-to-use system.

By ensuring you have a well-oiled internal communication system in place, you can focus on your company’s primary mission, safe in the knowledge that your team feels connected to this mission.

Don't neglect the rest of the pyramid!

We’ve talked about the importance of internal communications in this blog because, frankly, the discovery that only 12% of HR teams say communications are in their top three priorities concerned us! That’s why we want to inform business leaders of a potentially huge problem in their organisation that can be solved easily with our communications platform.

This doesn’t mean ‘social’ is the most important part of the hierarchy of needs. True, it’s a hierarchy, which suggests the top need is the most vital, but our research found that all the employee needs have to be fulfilled in order to get the most out of your workforce.

A successful business or team leader will make sure every one of their team's needs are being met – right from their self-actualisation needs being satisfied by regular and meaningful appreciation, down to their physiological needs being addressed through your employee benefits program

Speak to one of your team today to take the first step in bridging the employee communication gap.

Talk to an Engagement Consultant »

Nebel Crowhurst

Nebel Crowhurst is the Chief People Officer at Reward Gateway, delivering a People Strategy that supports overall success and helps RGers thrive. She also maintains a blog called Dream Big : Believe Bigger and loves to read in her spare time.

Chief People Officer

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