How to Communicate With Your Small Business Employees [2021 Guide]

Last Updated on December 23, 2020

Communicating effectively with your employees can completely reshape your business by adding clarity to employee goals, improving productivity, building better relationships, and more. However, proper communication means more than a quick rundown on the new leads, or emailing a project brief. Solving the challenge of how to communicate with your employees involves rethinking your overall communication strategy and day-to-day process to ensure employees have the information and attention they need.

According to Smarp, 72% of employees don’t have a full understanding of their company’s strategy. An additional 74% feel that they’re missing out on company news. 

Improving the way your company communicates will help employees understand big-picture goals, and keep managers in the loop on challenges. The goal of your employee communication strategy should be to deliver timely information to your team, while helping them feel satisfied and engaged in their roles.

Unfortunately, the challenge of how to improve communication can’t be solved by simply sending more emails or memos. Instead, it requires a few process changes that will help everyone feel heard and empowered.

how to communicate with employees

How to Communicating Effectively With Employees: 10 Simple Tips

1. Check In With Employees Regularly and Hold 1:1 Meetings

First and foremost, establish a company culture where open communication is the bottom line. Checking in with employees will not only build a culture of trust and open communication, but can also help you identify problems before they become worse.

As a team leader, manager, executive, or business owner, you can only help solve a problem if you know about it. Checking in with employees is the best way to show employees that you’re invested in their day-to-day, and ready to roll up your sleeves, help them solve it, or get the right resources.

Your daily, weekly or bi-weekly check-in doesn’t need to be face-to-face. If your team is working from home or a different location, then this can also be a virtual check-in.

Weekly or monthly 1:1 meetings give you another opportunity to discuss progress at a larger scale. This meeting gives employees a chance to make requests, and manager the opportunity to give feedback.

2. Be Fully Transparent

If there’s one thing we learned about how to communicate with employees during a crisis like the pandemic, it’s that transparency is key. In any business, the employees are the most valuable asset. Your employee communication strategy should reflect that. 

Transparency helps create a more open, honest, and ultimately efficient work environment. When delivering important news or updates, be clear about how that impacts employees. 

In addition to keeping everyone on the same page, transparency also helps employees feel respected and valued.

3. Hold Monthly Meetings or Huddles to Discuss Goals and Roadmaps

It’s no secret that motivation leads to a stronger performance. One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is to keep them informed about progress. 

Monthly meetings or huddles give your small business an opportunity to inform all of your employees about the progress you’ve recently made, along with any upcoming goals that are the next priority. Unlike a team meeting, this gives your entire company insight into how other departments are making strides.

This can also be a great opportunity to recognize contributions from various team members, and demonstrate that hard work has its own rewards.

4. Always Give Employees the Opportunity to Clarify And Verify

The tasks you assign and information you give employees can seem simple and straightforward, but everyone interprets information differently. For this reason, you should always give employees the opportunity to clarify and verify. 

It can be easy to grow frustrated by employees who take the time to ask simple questions. However, remember that they’re doing so to get the job done correctly, not take your valuable time. 

Instead, encourage employees to clarify and verify anything that might have confused them. In the end, employees with a better understanding of goals and projects will have a stronger performance, and feel more confident in their work.

5. Don’t Just Assign Tasks—Explain the Reasoning Behind Them

Sure, your best employees can easily finish any tasks that you throw at them. But while explaining the reason behind certain tasks may take more time out of your day, it can ultimately lead to a better result. 

Explaining the reasoning behind certain projects and tasks—which may otherwise seem unimportant and tedious—gives your employees a better understanding of the difference it will make for your business.

If your team understands why certain projects are necessary, then they’ll be more motivated to complete them faster and more effectively. 

Describing the purpose of the task may also help the employee to uncover a better method or process for that task. 

6. Set Clear Expectations, Goals and Milestones

What is your team working toward? 

One of the best tips for how to communicate with your employees is to set clear expectations, goals and milestones.

When there are defined goals (which should be quantifiable), your expectations for your team are abundantly clear. This helps your team to see the bigger picture and stay motivated. It also allows them to take decisive steps toward the finish line.

By outlining milestones—or smaller stepping stones toward the finish line—you can help your team to understand their progress and plan next steps. Clearly communicating goals and milestones ensures that everyone is aligned on what is expected, and precisely what success looks like. 

Employee surveys can also help you find the best incentives for those who meet goals or hit milestones.

7. Keep An Open Door Policy (Even for Executives)

Holding monthly company meetings and daily team meetings is one of the best ways to improve communication in the workplace, but it may not check off every box. Employees will still encounter obstacles and issues in the course of their work day, which might require a more immediate response. 

For this reason, keeping an open door policy can help ensure management and employees are always able to connect. Having an open door—and routinely reminding employees—encourages them to discuss any issues that might arise, while also building trust. 

It also prevents employees from feeling uncomfortable about awkward or difficult issues. Without an open door policy, you could be missing the opportunity to connect with employees on a deeper level. Even senior leaders and executives can help more junior employees feel welcomed and enabled by taking this step.

8. Leverage Digital Communication Platforms to the Fullest Extent

When it comes to communicating effectively with your small business employees, it’s important not to forget the power of digital communication.

During the pandemic, digital communication enabled employees and managers to stay connected. But even while everyone’s in the office, communicating digitally can help save time and make things easier on everyone.

Individual conversations allow you to stay on the same page as your team for day-to-day tasks and projects, and group conversations help you quickly disseminate new updates without calling an in-person meeting. You can also easily share files, links, images and more.

When your team is one sale away from the next goal, communication platforms also help you keep everyone motivated. 

These are some of the most powerful online communication tools your team can use to stay in sync:

9. Hold Quarterly Reviews to Discuss Progress and Review Goals

Annual reviews are a great opportunity to have a formal discussion with employees about salary, job titles and responsibilities. However, you should also have a less formal check-in with employees every few months.

Quarterly reviews give you, as the business owner or manager, the chance to have an informal dialogue with employees about how things are going. If anything is working, then you can discuss why. If anything’s not working, you can discuss a plan to resolve that issue.

This is also a great opportunity to tell employees working toward goals about their progress, and what the next steps could look like for them. Your team will perform better when they know and understand what the next milestone, promotion or opportunity looks like.

10. Hold Regular (Or Daily) Meetings With Your Team

Small businesses move fast. With new projects and shifting priorities, it can be hard to accomplish everything you need to while keeping everyone on the same page. 

Regular team meetings help establish clear priorities and keep everyone aligned when it comes to new projects. Even short 10-minute meetings give you an opportunity to assign new tasks, identify challenges that might be holding other team members back, and shout out any recent accomplishments.

You can also use this as an opportunity to discuss potential changes or important decisions, and get feedback from the right stakeholders.

Start Growing Your Business With Improved Employee Communication

Improving employee communication in your small business won’t help you grow overnight. Instead, it takes dedication from everyone involved to improve workplace communication with more transparency and a fully open environment.

To see true returns from improved employee communications, you may need time, effort, money and expert advice. 

If you’re restructuring your business, a business line of credit can go a long way. With extra cash, you can cover all the costs of improving employee communication in your small business, like:

  • Hiring a consultant to help you establish new communication goals and restructure your calendar
  • Invest in new communication initiatives, including incentive programs
  • Utilize a digital chat application

And more—there are no restrictions about how you can spend the funds!

With a line of credit, you can put cash toward effective employee communication right away, and invest the rest of the cash toward other areas of growth! You’ll be able to draw cash as you need it, and only pay interest on what you take.

At National, you can find your financing options quickly and easily. After a 60-second application, you can complete the process by securely logging into your bank account in our bank-grade portal. 

You’ll receive your options in minutes, and be ready to accept funds in as little as a few hours! 

Ready to start improving employee communication? Apply now!

National Business Capital is the #1 FinTech marketplace offering small business loans and services. Harnessing the power of smart technology and even smarter people, we’ve streamlined the approval process to secure over $1 billion in financing for small business owners to date.

Our expert Business Financing Advisors work within our 75+ Lender Marketplace in real time to give you easy access to the best low-interest SBA loans, short and long-term loans and business lines of credit, as well as a full suite of revenue-driving business services.

We strengthen local communities one small business loan at a time. For every deal we fund, we donate 10 meals to Feeding America!

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About the Author, Matt Carrigan

Matt Carrigan is the Content Writer at National Business Capital & Services. He loves spending every day creating content to educate business owners across every industry about business growth strategies, and how they can access the funding they need!


Disclaimer: The information and insights in this article are provided for informational purposes only, and do not constitute financial, legal, tax, business or personal advise from National Business Capital and the author. Do no rely on this information as advice and please consult with your financial advisor, accountant and/or attorney before making any decisions. If you rely solely in this information it is at your own risk. The information is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge, but there maybe errors, omissions, or mistakes.