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The workplace communication topics that engage employees the most

Only 20% of employees strongly agree their leaders communicate effectively — with ineffective communication costing organizations over $15,000 per employee per year.

  • Why it matters: Left underserved, employees are missing out on the context they need to stay aligned, stay on task, and get their work done.

Many comms leaders waste time, energy, and email space on updates that are wordy or disconnected from true team needs. But choosing the channels they reach staff more strategically, curating the mix of topics teams need more selectively, and formatting those details more clearly and efficiently can help.

The channel employees want leaders to use

More than 70% of employees say they’d prefer their leaders send vital internal updates by email — with email newsletters being the only communication method employees want to receive more of. 

Sharpening the way you use your email channel can increase open rates, boost employee engagement numbers, and raise retention rates. 

Make the most of email sends:

  • Set up a consistent cadence. When you deliver a high-value update, and readers become accustomed to when and where to expect it, they wait for it, look for it, and create a habit around engaging with it. The content of your update will dictate its frequency, but for most meaty updates — all-hands communication, department-level progress, and the like — weekly tends to be common.
  • Find the best send time. Yours will be unique, based on on things like organization size, industry, or location, but 2023 data shows early morning sends, across most org types, give you a greater shot at staff and stakeholders engaging with it in their inbox. 
  • Streamline sends. Reduce clutter by combining organization-wide sends where possible. It keeps eyes focused on what you want them to see without having it spread in different locations. 

In short: Email is still a dominant channel, even considering the vibrant mix of communication channels that organizations invest in. Listen to your readers. Meet them where they are. Then work to optimize the updates you deliver — things like topics and format — so every team can stay more aligned. 

Top topics for workplace communication

You can send all the messages you want through key channels, but if they don’t cover topics employees are interested in, your audience could slip into the 60% to 80% of people who scan — but don't read — what you write. Or worse, they fall into the bucket of those who never open at all.

Employees need updates that have an impact on them, their role, and getting their job done. And about 50% agree the two topics that are most critical to helping them do their job well are:

  1. Operational changes, like process, and policy updates. Individual contributors need clear, smart communications around changes in products, clientele, and processes. Keeping them informed creates a crucial layer of trust and transparency. 
  2. Organizational goals, plans, and new initiatives. Employees want to know what they are aiming for — and why. Give them the context they need to do their jobs by cascading that information up, down, and around your organization. 

The more you focus your workplace communications on these topics, the more likely you are to keep employees engaged and moving in the same direction. 

Making workplace communications more efficient

Getting your most important updates across from the start makes for a more informed and aligned workforce. But even if you send updates on the topics employees want using the channels they frequent, messages can get lost if they’re too long, boring, or irrelevant. 

Ensure communications actually get read:

  • Put important topics first. Don’t bury your key updates in thick paragraphs. Pull them out and put them forward so it’s the one thing your audience sees even if they don’t read anything else. 
  • Make use of formatting. Use strategic bolding, bullet points, and lists — like Smart Brevity does — to break up heavy text blocks that are hard on the eyes. 
  • Watch word count. Cut out the fluff by removing words, phrases, and sentences that don’t hold value or drive your communication forward. 

The bottom line: Effective communication comes down to sending updates that employees actually want to read — where they want to read them. But they also need to be formatted in a readable way so that readers can get in, get the info they need, and get back to work. 

Go deeper: Understand your employees communication styles to share better, more impactful updates

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