Employee Communication and the Bottom Line
Motivating employees is a real art. But it’s easier said than done. Employee communication and engagement are techniques that are cultivated over the lifetime of a career, and one strategy that I’ve found works almost universally is to show staff how their work affects the company’s bottom line.
That’s because employees really do want to know how their contributions are making a difference. Want proof? A recent survey from Robert Half Management Resources found just that: The majority of workers want to know how they affect their company’s bottom line.
Employee communication seems to be an area where managers could move the needle on making this connection: Less than half of the professionals surveyed said they always see the connection between their tasks and the firm’s performance, and 14 percent said they rarely or never see it. Managers need to help their teams understand how their roles fit into the company at large. Those who see the correlation between their work and the business’s performance feel a greater tie to the company and sharpen their decision-making skills — whether they personally touch a budget or are coming up with new ideas to help the organization.
It might be surprising to note the generational differences in the survey results. Of professionals 55 and older, 59 percent always see the connection between their work and the company’s bottom line, but for workers age 35 to 54 it’s only 38 percent.
“Employees who see the direct correlation between their contributions and company performance are more engaged, make better spending decisions, and can identify new ways to increase productivity and growth,” says Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “It is concerning that so many workers who are 35 to 54 – a group that often serves as managers and top executives – lack a complete understanding of how their responsibilities help their organization’s bottom line.”
Younger employees (age 18 to 34) were the most likely to want more insight into the effects of their contributions on the company’s bottom line, with 64 percent responding in the affirmative, compared to 46 percent of those 55 and older. “Millennials commonly crave insights on their performance and how it impacts the firm,” Hird adds. “Managers who do not have regular conversations with staff about how their work affects the company are missing a major opportunity to develop ideas for improving the business.”
Professionals who don’t understand the effect they have on the bottom line aren’t fully equipped to do their jobs well. They might feel more detached from the company, less incented to keep spending in check and innovate. Unmotivated employees can also have a detrimental effect on customer service and productivity. By showing employees the big picture, however, managers encourage autonomy and greater personal investment.
Make it part of your employee communication approach to explain to staff members how their work fits into the bigger picture, during both regular staff meetings and in one-on-ones. Their work could help the bottom line in how they shape their budgets or control their spending, or it could be about heightening awareness of the brand or creating great experiences with clients or customers.
Whatever their contribution, tell them how they make a difference. Share relevant benchmarks, whether it’s budget numbers, campaign results, or other quantifications of their work.
Make sure these milestones are clearly communicated to everyone on the team, especially before you start the next project or initiative. All too often, managers rush to put out the next fire with barely a nod to the work that’s been accomplished.
When you do give new assignments, show how they support the organization’s larger objectives. Tying initiatives to the company’s goals at the outset will provide your team members a clearer roadmap.
Good employee communication will help staff understand that when the company is doing well, they likely are, too.