Communication is one of the most important aspects of work culture, and this has accelerated in a post-Covid world. At People Matters L&D Conference last month, Esther Heredia, Director-GM India, Africa and MEA, goFLUENT and Bidisha Banerjee, Group HR, SVP, Talent, Culture, Employer Branding, Welspun Group in a fireside chat talked about the role of effective communication and its impact on employee engagement, retention, and business growth and resources.
The objective of effective communication and language is to keep people engaged, and feel connected, wanted, and heard. It has a huge impact on employee engagement, retention, and eventually on business growth and resources. However, sometimes companies follow a ‘one size fits all context’ which is detrimental to creating a sense of belongingness among the employees. A recent LinkedIn report also highlighted that communication is the most in-demand skill, requested for and required by organisations.
Ways to develop the feeling of belonging among employees
It is important to figure out how to eliminate feelings of being the outsider among diverse employees within the organisation, said Bidisha. “In view of diversity within India, companies, and leaders must take care of communication. And, it must start right from issuing the appointment letter to the onboarding session and welcoming gesture. People must feel included from the day they step in.”
Getting everyone on board is crucial to create a sense of belonging and it cannot be overlooked. However, most often organisations make the mistake of not involving everybody in their DEI and belonging conversation, Bidisha said. “It has been observed that companies discuss DEI with CHRO, CXO, and women managers and forget to involve others as well. Companies must not forget that everyone represents an organisation. Communication and language are core of DEI.”
Agreeing with Bidisha, Esther too emphasised having effective communication to make employees feel wanted, included, and heard. “There is a direct correlation between communication, belonging and business impact,” said Esther.
How to identify people who feel that they belong
Responding to a question on how to identify people who feel that they belong, Bidisha said that they are collaborative, they come up with solutions and do not throw the problems. They take more people along and they pass on that culture.
According to her, communication is no longer limited to CHRO and CXO folks. Business leaders too should ensure that their employees are heard and feel included as it has a direct impact on business. “Cultivating a sense of belonging among employees definitely has a very huge impact on DEI strategy and policies,” she added.
Adding to the point, Esther said that people who feel engaged and valued at their workplace turn out to be the brand ambassador of the company. They project a great image of the company. “Valued and engaged people are vital to address talent retention in an organisation,” Esther added.
People must be encouraged to share ideas
People must be encouraged to share ideas, and suggestions during the company meeting. “Seniors talking more than people across levels leads to a dip in creativity and subsequently the business and revenue. Leaders must ensure everyone’s participation,” Bidisha added.
Referring to a study report, Bidisha said that those who feel psychologically safe are least likely to leave their employer as compared to those who are least cared. “Psychological safety articulated and expressed through language has a direct impact on business growth and revenue,” Bidisha explained.
Bidisha also called for an increased focus on communication skills at educational institutes to boost students’ confidence to speak so that when they join the workforce they should feel confident, not shy or scared. It is time for L&D leaders, companies and partners to accept that there is a huge problem of communication within an organisation that is costing billions of dollars.
On how Welspun is unlocking the crucial skill that is definitely going to boost the potential of their employees, Bidisha said that a scalable solution is needed to address the issue. “Realising that communication is going to be a game changer, Welspun has initiated a democratised learning process for its employees, " Bidisha said.