The biggest issue with communication has always been the illusion that it has taken place. Unfortunately, the stark reality is that your workforce is made up of people who don’t listen and don’t communicate very well. Limited attention spans and distraction mean that even the most important advice, instruction or actions go through one ear and out the other.
Furthermore, common knowledge tells us that north of 90% of communication is non-verbal. In the times of COVID-19, almost all communication is entirely online. These issues paint a rather difficult picture for managers to communicate to their workforce in a meaningful way. However, the solution is simple and accessible; overcommunication.
Overcommunication does not mean bombarding your workforce. Rather, managers must ensure that what they are communicating follows the 3 Multis; multi-modal, multi-dimensional, multiple times.
It’s an age-old idea that humans learn things through receiving and interpreting messages in different ways. It’s only natural that we carry this across to the workforce. All employees are likely to see around 5000 pieces of information a day, and even though your email on the release date for a new product or a change in a process might be top ranked, it will still be cluttered by the thousands of other distracting information both business and personal. The solution is simple; convey your message in different ways. Email, push notification, personal communication and internal social media are ways to communicate in an effective way.
Employees generally want to know the ‘why’ behind what the company does. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, managers must be constantly communicating to their workforce what they want them to be doing, but also why. Simon Sinek’s pivotal ‘Start with Why’ movement showed us that people are more easily called to action, accountable and loyal if they understand why someone is asking or telling them to do, be or say something. Leaders must be responsible for garnering this kind of relationship with their workforce through over-communicating. Multi-dimensional communication creates these various touchpoints which will engage employees, improve productivity and make managing easier.
A cleverly crafted multi-modal and multi-dimensional message will only go so far without tasteful repetition. It’s no news that people are more likely to remember messages they receive multiple times and so managers must actively over-communicate with their workforce more than once. Although there is a thin line between over-communication and genuine bombardment, managers need to be more willing to send that second of third message to make sure that their casual employees feel compelled to the company’s ‘why’, build relationships and provide recognition that the employees are important in the company and should know what, and why, things are happening.
What does this mean for organisations with a casual workforce?
The gig economy requires leaders not only to apply but amplify these three rules. Organisations with casual workforces juggle more communication issues since casual workers are more likely to feel lonely and disengaged, which can vastly affect employee wellbeing and business performance. Leaders of casual workforces must actively use the 3 multis:
- Use technology to make communication multi-modal, multi-dimensional and reach out multiple times. Technology is the pathway to fast, reliable and meaningful communication for workforces with casual employees, multiple locations or working-from-home arrangements.
- Ensure leaders are conscious that casual workers fall through the cracks of company-wide communication very easily. We’ve all seen how easily employees can feel disconnected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response and how leaders have had to increase communication to achieve a regular business pace. For leaders of casual workforces, multi-modal, multii-dimensional and multiple communications must be pillars of day-to-day operations into the future.
- Leaders need to create a two-way feedback loop where employees can discuss how communication works for them. All workers, especially casuals, should consistently receive, absorb and act on your communication. If there are any cultural, personal or organisational blockages to information, leaders need to be all over it.
Humanforce has been observing and shaping management of the contingent and mobile workers for almost two decades. Constant development of software and effective communication with our partners and clients means we’re always ahead of the curve. Our in-app communication strategies have made significant and measurable changes to how organisations communicate, and more importantly, overcommunicate.
Interested in how your leaders can provide multi-modal and multi-dimensional communication to ensure positive employee and customer experiences? Find out more here.