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Why is employee communication important?

We know that communication is important. But what is so special about employee communication? Today we want to explain why it is important, what forms of employee communication there are and what all this has to do with duty scheduling.

What is employee communication?

Employee communication or internal communication refers to the dissemination of information within a company as well as the dialog with employees and the exchange of information between employees. Employee communication includes both formal and informal communication. This doesn't sound new at first (and it isn't), but why is employee communication such an important topic?

Goals of employee communication

Employee communication is of course first and foremost important in order to distribute information of all kinds within the company in a structured manner. But it is also an incredibly important part of the working atmosphere. It can help to create a team spirit and a better working environment.

The classic goals of employee communication are the optimization of organizational processes, the dissemination of information and the exchange of information between employees. Employee communication is also an important tool for motivating and retaining employees.

In the best case scenario, good internal communication ensures greater employee commitment and better identification with the company's values and the company itself.

Principles of employee communication

In order to enable good employee communication, certain principles should be adhered to.

The first and most important principle is the reach of communication. If the current communication channels only reach half of the employees, even the best internal communication strategy is useless. It should be borne in mind, for example, that not all employees work at a traditional PC workstation or have their own telephone in the company. So-called "non-desk workers", such as factory workers, drivers in logistics companies, journeymen (or master craftsmen) in skilled trades and numerous occupational groups in the catering, hotel or retail sectors are often very difficult or only irregularly reachable by telephone or e-mail. In any case, a communication channel should be chosen that can reach the majority of employees.

In addition, important information should reach the recipients in real time if possible. For example, posting changes to the duty roster on the notice board when not all affected employees are in the company every day could lead to problems with duty planning.

Another principle of employee communication is transparency. When major changes are imminent, it is important to explain the context of the decisions made to employees. If employees cannot understand how and why decisions are made, it is much harder for them to identify with the company and stand behind the decisions.

Interaction is also an important component of holistic employee communication. If employees are involved in decision-making processes, this promotes self-determination and therefore increases employee satisfaction. Committed and satisfied employees ultimately have a positive impact on the company's success.

By the way: A shyftplan webinar on internal communication and employer branding recently took place. Watch the recording to find out how closely these two topics are linked.

What forms of employee communication are there? There are still analog forms of employee communication, such as the employee magazine or the bulletin board. Depending on the company and the type of information, these channels still have a right to exist, even if they do not reach all employees immediately. Forms of employee communication that involve personal contact are irreplaceable and should never be neglected. These include employee appraisals (such as feedback meetings), telephone calls, meetings and assemblies. Face-to-face communication can convey a sense of belonging and appreciation and promote exchange.

Digital forms of employee communication are often the ones with the greatest reach. These include emails, intranet, internal instant messaging, wikis and employee apps. Depending on the type of company, the information and the respective position, one of these channels may be best suited to disseminate information in real time, involve employees and encourage exchange.

Employee communication in duty scheduling

Employee communication in duty scheduling can take place at various levels.

The first stage, the basis so to speak, is the transmission of the current duty roster. This happens in very different ways in companies. From printed duty rosters on notice boards to emails with attached Excel spreadsheets (read here why these two variants may be problematic) to apps in which the duty rosters can be viewed on mobile devices. Apps offer the great advantage that they probably accompany most employees on their smartphones every day, wherever they go. This means that the duty rosters are always up-to-date and can be viewed from anywhere - a huge advantage in duty planning.

The next stage is the exchange of information about duty scheduling. This includes, for example, inquiring about or communicating the availability and absences of employees, which can also be done via a wide variety of channels. The most common channels here are telephone, email, mobile apps or the analog method of pen and paper. This is often an extremely time-consuming task for planners, as they are usually dependent on the availability and willingness of employees to respond and have to collect all the information they receive in this way somewhere and include it in their planning.

In the best case scenario, the employees themselves have the option of entering or storing their availabilities so that the planner can access them. The application is even better and easier for employees if this option is also cloud-based and mobile (range and real-time!).

At the highest level of employee communication in duty scheduling, the employees themselves are involved. Not only do employees independently enter their availability and absences, but they can also apply for shifts themselves and thus largely solve the duty planning independently. The most common and useful channels here are online tools and mobile apps.

Giving employees a voice is always a good idea, especially when it comes to shift planning. For many industries in which traditional working hours of 9:00-17:00 are rather atypical, duty scheduling also means external control when it comes to leisure activities. Those who work shifts have to plan their free time around the duty roster, and it is often difficult to plan well in advance. But this also poses challenges for planners: It is often almost impossible to take into account the shift requests of all employees.

Giving employees a platform to enter their availabilities, requests and absences, to which the planners have access, not only facilitates duty scheduling, but also creates transparency, involves employees in the planning process and thus also ensures greater self-determination and satisfaction among employees.

Find out how shyftplan revolutionized employee communication at SIEMENS in our whitepaper - download it now for free!