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Employee motivation is critical to maintaining productivity, and business owners need to understand that communication plays a critical role in keeping their teams engaged. A workplace operates on the relationships between employees and company leadership – and clear communication helps to strengthen those relationships. In fact, in a recent study by the Association for Talent Development, 83% of respondents said communication is the most important skill area related to managerial success.

Content and information are a business staple, but the simplest mistake or oversite can lead to employee dissatisfaction. Add to this the avalanche of content people are bombarded with in their business and personal lives, and companies looking to communicate more effectively with their employees face an uphill battle.

Create a Motivational Environment

One of the keys to facilitating effective communication is to ensure that all content, and the methods used to distribute it, are designed to motivate. Speaking openly about your business to your employees and encouraging them to express what’s on their minds will go a long way towards creating a motivational environment in your workplace. When people understand that you value honest communication, they are far more likely to trust and respect you and appreciate your value as a leader.

Unless it is confidential, commit to sharing information that employees consider vital such as a shift in the company’s business focus or planned changes in the workforce. This not only makes employees feel included, it also helps combat rumors that can lead to decreased morale.

Transparency also gives employees and managers in different departments greater clarity and provides more opportunities for them to communicate with each other. When staff feel comfortable enough to bring up issues related to their jobs or co-workers, it allows leadership to address and resolve small problems before they become major headaches.

By including employee engagement in your content strategy, you are more likely to avoid the pitfall of simply pushing out information without a clear purpose. Here are six keys to creating content that will not only reach, but motivate, your team.

1 – Clarify Your Message
Whether it’s during a meeting, making a formal presentation, or offering feedback in a one-on-one conversation, you need to have a specific objective in mind every time you communicate. As simple as this seems, it is surprising how often business leaders start to craft the message before they have clarified what it is they want to convey.

Ask yourself what information you need to communicate. Are you announcing a new hire, launching a product or service, or celebrating a big customer win? Then consider the objective you are looking to achieve and how you want your message to be received. Do you want your team to feel excited, challenged, or motivated? Clarifying your intention and objective will inform your content and help prevent your message from being ambiguous.

2 – Define Your Audience
The next step is to determine who needs to receive the message. You also want to be sure your intended audience understands what is being conveyed and what you want them to do as a result.

Depending on their roles in the organization, some employees may need to know more than others. It’s also important to understand how different audiences will access the message to ensure you can deliver it in the right format and use an appropriate communication channel. If you don’t know enough about how to reach your audience, invest time in researching the options so you will know how best to share the content.

3 – Focus on Format
Technology has expanded the options for communicating content in a format that is appropriate for the audience. Ask yourself how your audience might like to receive the information, and think beyond the tried-and-true company email or memo. The goal is to express your message effectively, which means you need to get and keep your staff’s attention.

The best format for your content may be one that combines words and images. Consider creating an infographic, discussion guide, poster, or even a short video. Keep in mind that you need to balance the importance of the content and the format you choose to communicate it. If the message is critical to the future of your business, choose a format that will give it the clarity it requires.

4 – Choose a Distribution Method
While creating compelling content is critical to motivating employees, the message will be meaningless if it fails to reach its target audience. While it may require considerable administrative effort, it is crucial that you deliver your communications in a timely and appropriate way.

Work with your IT team to make sure your distribution platforms are up to date and functioning properly. Verify the integrity of your electronic distribution lists and decide how employees without email or access to computers will receive the message. If your business employs remote staff, you may need to find ways to connect with them that go beyond email, such as video conferencing or a shared workplace platform.

5 – Invite Employees to Contribute
Take advantage of your employees’ passion for your company and the work they do to motivate them to contribute to internal company communications. Whether it’s a staff newsletter or updates to your policy manual, encouraging employees from a variety of departments to contribute will bring a fresh perspective to the content and help pinpoint the information that is most important to convey.

When soliciting team participation, position the project as an opportunity for professional development as well as a chance to support to the company’s growth by creating content that will connect with and engage their colleagues.

6 – Measure Outcomes
Business owners who are committed to improving communication need to monitor and evaluate how effective they are at getting the right message across. The means assessing whether the communication was delivered properly and if the audience took the desired action as a result.

Rather than looking at whether or not they opened an email or clicked a link, focus on outcomes that will indicate if the audience engaged with the content and internalized the message. Did they share it, comment on it, discuss or debate it? When measuring your communication, ask if the content was something you would want to interact with as an employee. The answer will help ensure that future content achieves its purpose.

Creating content that instills motivation is not always easy, but it’s essential to keeping employees happy. Motivation drives people to work harder and contributes to overall job satisfaction – which means greater retention and productivity for your business.

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