14 Communication Strategies to Connect and Build Influence With Employees

Keeping employees consistent connected to the mission and values of the organization means building a supportive work environment.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Newsweek Expert Forum

The key to creating a supportive work environment lies in how well the leaders of the organization communicate with their employees. Clear and consistent communication is essential to ensuring employees feel a sense of belonging and are fully connected to the mission of the organization, but communication can no longer be one-sided and reserved for those at the top.

Changing how they communicate to better accommodate employees and their needs will allow leaders to build and maintain long-term relationships with the people in their organizations. To help, the members of Newsweek Expert Forum share communications strategies leaders should consider adopting if they want to resonate more with employees and build influence.

1. Talk Less and Listen More

Silence truly is golden when building a solid relationship with your employees. At its core, employees want to be seen, heard and feel as if they belong. Listen to what is being said and not being said when you're asking for feedback or working to develop solutions that will positively impact the business. Repeat back what you heard to ensure you're not missing anything. - Joyel Crawford, Crawford Leadership Strategies, LLC

2. Include Employees in the Conversation

I believe it is important to include every level of employee in the conversation. Everyone on the team should understand how the business operates and how each member contributes to the success of the business. The way we respect and communicate with our employees can give them a sense of equity that can be very powerful. - Kelly Ann Winget, Alternative Wealth Partners

3. Maintain a Consistent Cadence of Communication

Communicate with a consistent cadence, whether it's every Monday, the 15th of each month, once a month on the first Monday, etc. It doesn't really matter when as long as your team members can come to expect it from you on a certain time frame and in a similar manner. For the ambitious, try to commit to sending a 500-word communication to the company every Monday. - Brendan P. Keegan, Merchants Fleet

4. Lean More Into Technology

Utilize technology to share important information and get feedback. For example, frequently record a "state of affairs" message and allow employees to comment and share their questions. Then, in the next video, address any concerns raised and the steps you're taking in response. In the absence of frequent communication, trust erodes and rumors ensue, negatively impacting a leader's effectiveness. - Carol Parker Walsh, Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC

5. Implement an Open-Door Policy

Make it clear to your employees that their voices are being heard. Having an open-door policy and making employees comfortable with disagreeing or expressing their feelings toward a decision that was made will always help grow a positive culture within your organization. - Chris Davis, Revcarto

6. Identify the Values of Your Employees

A strategy leaders can adopt to resonate with employees is to identify their employees' values. What do your employees' core values mean to them? What evidence do they have that they are living their personal values? Did they inherit a value that's passed down from someone in their family or from their culture? When the personal values of leaders align with their employees', leaders build influence. - Barbara Rubel, Griefwork Center, Inc.

7. Conduct Regular One-on-One Reviews

The power of well-orchestrated, regular one-on-one reviews is often neglected. Make these a priority and use them to get feedback as well as learn what makes your team members tick, including their values, goals and challenges. If you don't know these, how do you expect to motivate, engage and retain them? - Gergo Vari, Lensa

8. Don't Be Afraid of Difficult Conversations

One particular communication strategy that is extraordinarily effective is to have difficult conversations with employees frequently. Openly addressing how past grievances have been managed and getting their feedback on how to better manage them going forward is a meaningful way to show that issues raised are acted upon. This is a powerful way to build trust and gain influence for leaders. - Vipp Jaswal, Interpersonal Intelligence Advisory

9. Look to Your Network for Advice

Utilize your professional network. You should be getting practical advice as your focus. Your network can distill skills and strategies into actionable tips. This can be in the form of collaborative groups, mentorships or informal chats. The key is to set clear goals with whomever you are talking to. Sometimes an hour-long chat can be more productive than a three-month certificate program. - Ivan Ravlich, Hypernet Labs

10. Take a Planned Walk Around the Office

It's easy to inadvertently build a wall around yourself as a leader since you likely only collaborate with other leaders. Use "management by wandering around" to connect with employees. It's not an aimless walk around the office, but a planned, authentic strategy for communicating and engaging people. Ask what they need to do their jobs well and then follow up with actions that directly help them. - Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

11. Host Zoom Meetings

With the pandemic still a serious matter, I believe hosting special Zoom video meetings with your staff is a great idea. It's a chance to be personable, talk about things that are concerning to both employer and employees, give recognition to others for exceptional work and provide a relaxed atmosphere to discuss important matters. - Christopher Davenport, AutoParts4Less

12. Build Trusting Relationships

Building trust with employees is the key to being a great communicator, but trust begins with you as a leader. If you trust yourself, you will have an easier time trusting others—and they, you. Why? If you know how you'll respond in the face of expected or unexpected situations, given your internal compass, others can better anticipate and trust what you do and say from your congruent self. - April Margulies, Trust Relations

13. Craft Clear and Concise Emails

Writing effective emails may be the most important communication tool a leader has. An email from a leader must be clear, concise and should enable team members to execute their tasks without the need for clarification or follow-up emails. An effective email begins with a subject line and the proper addressees, ending with a message or directions that your team clearly understands. - Matt Drayton, Drayton Communications LLC

14. Make Communication a Priority

Effective leaders make communication a priority, not only to ensure key ideas and messages are shared, but also to build relationships. Take time to celebrate successes, milestones and other individual accomplishments with direct reports and even those whom don't report to you. Make a quick call, text, chat or leave voicemails to help team members feel more comfortable, recognized and appreciated. - Jacob Kupietzky, HCT Executive Interim Management & Consulting

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
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