For companies looking to gain an edge any way possible, improving employees communication is an underrated place to start. In fact, creating effective communication practices can make companies 4.5 times more likely to have engaged employees and 20 percent more like to reduce employee turnover.

Here are three ways you can improve internal communication in your company right now:

1. Listen and then act.

Too many employees feel that they aren’t heard by management. Even worse, when management gets wise and pays lip service to listening to their employee’s suggestions for change, but then don’t act on them. In a survey of CFOs, 41 percent said a lack of communication between staff and management is the most common mistake companies make.

Instead of the same old top down approach, schedule opportunities for employees to voice their concerns and ideas for growth. For example, NASA holds a virtual executive summit that allows their administrator to connect with employees all over the United States at once. Anonymous surveys and in person group meetings can also be an effective means of improving employee communication. The place where managements falls short is implementing the insights and suggestions they glean from these events. When management implements these ideas, it creates a sense of trust and openness among employees because they know their voices are heard and valued.

2. Remove employee communication silos.

A recent case study by the consulting firm McKinsey found that traditional company organizations can often hinder the way employees communicate, sometimes even shutting departments off from each other.

For example, the Dutch bank ABN AMRO went through some massive changes on the heels of the banking crisis and a merger with Fortis. They discovered that one of their departments had no cohesive approach to discovering and solving problems. Employees were actually finding problems customers were having on the social web instead of their own internal tools. Realizing that different departments needed to work together to recognize and solve these issues, they created a “social chain” which spanned different silos like IT, customer service, and operations. To ensure employees used this new framework, they discouraged face-to-face meetings and email.

3. Implement a social communication platform for internal employee communications.

In order to improve internal communications, organizations should implement a social collaboration solution that gives employees access to a single platform for communication. Mobile communication platforms like Beekeeper allow employees to keep up with everything happening in the company in real time, as well as make it easier to communicate with teams out in the field or without access to a PC.

By giving your employees new channels with which to communicate and be heard, you can increase employee engagement, productivity, and ultimately, profits with very little capital investment. As Sir Richard Branson has said, “Whatever industry a company is in, its employees are its biggest competitive advantage.” It’s time we starting investing in our employees more wisely.

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