What Are the Different Types of Employee Communication?
Whether you’re making shift changes, sending an emergency alert, or simply messaging about an upcoming company event, employee alerts are a critical part of companies functioning on a daily basis. The fact is, when employee communication is done well, it offers a slew of benefits like happier employees, increased productivity, higher retention, and more. But when it’s done poorly, there can be misunderstandings, frustration, turnover, and disengagement among employees.
So what’s the best way to ensure that all of your employees have access to effective employee communication? In today’s digital world, there are a lot of options on the market. Find out about some of the most popular types of communication and which is most effective for non-desk employees.
What Is Employee Communication?
Employee communication occurs any time there is relaying of information between an employee and someone within the management, HR, or leadership team of an organization. It can take several forms, like:
- Vertical Communication: This form of communication occurs when employees at different levels communicate, like managers with employees or vice versa.
- Horizontal Communication: This form of communication occurs when employees at the same level communicate with one another, like co-workers discussing a new assignment.
- Downward Communication: This form of communication occurs when managers or company leaders communicate to employees of an organization.
- Upward communication: This form of communication occurs when employees communicate with their managers or company leaders.
Often, the message that’s being shared will dictate what form of communication is most appropriate. Topics like company announcements, onboarding, scheduling, call offs, and benefits enrollment are all common employee communication examples.
What Are the Different Types of Workplace Communication?
There are a few ways to categorize the different types of communication in the workplace, including the method of delivery and the types of communication tools used to deliver a message. Let’s take a brief look at each of these.
Internal Employee Communication Methods
There are four common ways to communicate in the workplace:
- Verbal: This method is all about communicating by spoken word or sign language. Traditionally, this took place in person or on the phone, but online conferencing tools offer additional options for video messaging.
- Non-Verbal: Non-verbal communication includes the different gestures, body language, and facial expressions we convey day in and day out. For managers and HR representatives, a keen understanding of your non-verbal cues—and how they might be interpreted—is important to effective communication.
- Written: Written communication involves spreading the word by writing a message down. This might include email, text messages, flyers, newsletters, websites, and more. Because written communication can’t rely on non-verbal cues, it’s important to ensure what you’ve written has the right tone.
- Visual: This type of communication uses pictures and images to convey meaning. For example, videos and infographics can be a great way to communicate in an engaging way, especially for training or onboarding purposes.
Types of Internal Communication Tools
Today’s modern businesses require modern, digital solutions to deliver the most effective communication to employees. Three of the most popular internal communication platforms include:
Apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and WhatsApp are popular messaging platforms. To use them, employees create an account and download an application straight to their desktop or mobile device. Once installed, they can access one-on-one and group messaging capabilities. While these platforms can work well in office settings, they bring significant disadvantages for businesses with non-desk employees. Because a lot of non-desk employees don’t have a company computer—they’re required to download an app on their personal device. And, for non-desk employees who don’t own a smartphone, these apps won’t work at all.
Email has been a go-to for both internal and external employee communication for quite awhile. It’s convenient, it allows you to attach files, and you can send group messages in bulk. But for businesses with non-desk employees, it presents some issues. Many non-desk employees don’t have access to a company email address, and less tech-savvy employees may not have a personal email address at all. Email also relies on WiFi or cellular data, something that’s not always available—especially at a job site. And, there’s the ever-present issue with open rates. Only about 20% of emails get read, which means your employees could be missing out on critical information.
SMS Text Messaging
Finally, there’s text messaging. Most of us use texting in our daily lives, so it’s something many workers are accustomed to. You and your employees can simply text back and forth in a format they’re familiar with, without the need for an app, email address, or an unlimited data plan. Because of this, text messages are a great way to communicate with non-desk employees who may not be around a computer, a WiFi signal, or have unlimited data. All your employee needs is a cell phone that can send and receive SMS messages. And with Yourco, HR and Managers have access to a web application attached to a dedicated company texting number, which allows you to mass text your employees without creating a group chat.
Yourco: Employee Communication Made Easy
- Send two-way communication between HR staff, managers, and employees
- Manage employee communications in a web application on a desktop computer, laptop, or cell phone
- Save and log conversations for historical employee communication records
- Build stronger relationships with your employees.