Feeling the pinch?  Talk to your employees

STAFF satisfaction means better business performance.

Research clearly shows that when employee engagement is high within an organisation, the company will do better.

Engage for Success, a voluntary agency dedicated to championing the benefits of an engaged workforce, has linked high levels of engagement with productivity and says if the UK boosted its levels of engagement, this could mean a £25.8billion increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

If an employee is engaged, it means they have an emotional commitment to their organisation and may display a number of positive work attributes.

These could include feeling a sense of satisfaction in completing their job or a willingness to help their colleagues outside of their own role.

When times are tough economically, good staff morale becomes even more important.

Employees may experience restructuring, redundancies, cuts in benefits, they may be left with a tighter team to complete the same work or feel a sense of general instability.

So when organisations are feeling the pinch, how can they make sure their employees don’t?

Clear direction and communication from senior management is a must.

It’s more important for leadership to be visible at a difficult time than any other.

It’s better to be transparent and keep employees in the loop. Silence will only feed the rumour mill.

Keep your messages focused on the positives and on the future. Explain that getting your head down just now will help to bring the company out of this difficult time and in the long run will benefit all staff.

Think about the different ways you can communicate with employees.

In our personal lives we consume information in a variety of ways including online, in print, television and radio. People also want to receive messages through multiple channels at work.

You could hold regular town hall meetings or create vodcasts to share using e-mail.

Perhaps you could consider using a corporate social media tool such as Yammer to release information and generate discussions. Repetition works, so disseminate your messages on all of the channels at your disposal.

It’s important to not just talk, but also listen.

Communication is not a one-way street, so give staff the opportunity to raise concerns or give feedback.

This is the easiest way to find out whether your messages are inspiring employees, or if more needs to be done to weather the storm.

There are a number of ways to gather their valuable thoughts, including surveys, suggestion boxes or discussion forms.

When times are tight and resources are squeezed it can feel like a leap of faith to invest in communication activities, but pulling back on the function might be a false economy.

Communication should be steady and sustained, regardless of the climate.

It is the hard work of precious staff that will carry an organisation through fire and water; make sure they are with you.