Skip to main content

Why do employee communications matter?

Jane Darlington, a director at Stitch – a Deloitte business, explores the role powerful and effective employee communications can play in driving engagement, building trust and changing behaviours.

The case for building employee engagement has never been stronger. Findings from a BUPA survey in 2018 indicate that a quarter of UK workers have already quit a job due to lack of trust. And while the world can sometimes seem to be clouded by mistrust and misinformation, the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found it was business (and not NGOs, government or the media) that was the most trusted institution, with a 61% trust level globally.

Put simply, employees need to, and want to, feel connected to the business they work for – now more than ever before. They want to know it has a meaningful purpose, to know they are working for an organisation that is ethical and honest, and has a positive impact upon the world.

Communications have a vital role to play in how an employee feels about the business they work for. Good communications can drive talent attraction and retention, build a positive company culture, encourage loyalty, commitment and improve performance.

You don’t have to be a listed multi-national business to communicate effectively with your people. All businesses, no matter what their size or what they do, have the potential to reap positive benefits from communicating in a transparent, meaningful, and well-thought through way.

What we need to communicate to our employees has changed

There are some hot topics out there that your people will want to know you are taking seriously. From your future of work policy, to how you support staff wellbeing, employees want to know you have it in hand.

For office workers particularly, the past two years have transformed the way we work. Change across all aspects of the employee experience needs to be communicated and people reassured and supported. How best should we communicate say, a new flexible working policy or updated cyber security and safety protocols? How should we effectively introduce new mental health or wellbeing initiatives, or announce changes to pay and reward programmes?

How to communicate in a way that really sings

Whatever campaign you’re creating, you’re going to want to ensure it does the job you want it to. To make that happen, try following this advice:

  1. Listen to your employees. Speak to your people, understand what their concerns are, and how to respond effectively.
  2. Ditch the jargon. Technical language can be confusing and could turn people off. Be simple and concise.
  3. Create messaging that packs a punch. Develop a storytelling narrative or ‘theme’ to make your communications stand out.
  4. Push the boundaries Don’t be afraid to try something new – refreshed formats, visual approaches and messaging can all help to get your communications noticed.
  5. Appeal to all learning styles. We all learn and digest information differently so use a variety of channels and formats so people can access content in the way they prefer.
  6. Get your leaders involved. Without senior ownership your communications can lack credibility. Use those leaders as a figurehead for your campaign – this will help your employees buy into your message.
  7. Be transparent. Employees value honesty. Talking about the challenges and risks ahead will help to build trust.
  8. Make your communications memorable. Particularly during times of change, there is so much email traffic and ‘noise’. So to really stand out, your communications need to be creative, striking and have a strong idea behind them.
Where to start?

First you need to tackle those big questions. Ask yourself, what (am I saying), why (am I saying it), who (am I saying it to) and how (do I say it).

Knowing the answer to these questions will help shape your communication plan. Then of course, bring in the experts. If you need advice on regulation you pull in a lawyer, if you need financial advice you see an accountant. Talk to your marketing team, your internal or corporate communications or brand agency and they will help you shape your approach, create ideas, facilitate the production and delivery of those all-important employee communications. Communications which truly matter.

How we can help

If you need support landing any aspect of your employee communications, my colleagues and I at Stitch would love to hear from you. Drop me a line at and together we can create an employee experience which attracts, recruits and retains your most valuable asset: your people.