A Guide to Communicating with Employees in a Small Business

Good communication with employees is an essential part of a well-run business. Read up on some vital tips here

A Guide to Communicating with Employees in a Small Business

Good communication with employees is a crucial part of any successful business, and yet so many business owners get it wrong. One of the most common complaints employees have about their place of work is poor communication. Many feel their views go ignored, they are not let in to information about where the company is going, and they are not given sufficient instructions to do their job properly.

If you communicate poorly with your employees, this can lead to lower morale and productivity; and by not giving your employees some essential information about their job you could even break the law.

This article is intended as an overview of communication in your business. First, we cover what information you should be providing your employees with as a matter of course; including the information you are legally obliged to provide and other communication you should deliver as a matter of good practice.

What information am I legally obliged to communicate to my employees?

Before looking at information you should communicate as a matter of good practice, make sure you have covered the basics and given your employees the info they are legally entitled to. This includes:

  • Written terms and conditions: You must give employees a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment (covering things like hours, pay and holiday) within two months of them starting their job.
  • Pay slips: All your staff must receive itemised pay slips.
  • Redundancy: If you plan to make staff redundant, you must consult with them individually – and if you plan to lay off more than 20 people, you must meet with their representatives as well.
  • Notice periods: If you dismiss an employee for a reason other than their conduct, you must give them a period of notice (or pay in lieu of notice) and if they ask to know why, you must give them the reasons in writing.
  • Information and consultation agreements: If you have more than 50 staff, you must also set up an information and consultation agreement, in which you must notify and consult on any changes likely to affect their jobs.


What information is it good practice to communicate to my employees?

As well as the legal requirements outlined above, there is some information that it is essential to communicate if you want your employees to do their jobs properly:

  • Training and technical instructions: Ensure all staff are trained in how to do their jobs properly and provide them with any information they need to carry out tasks, like operating manuals or document templates.
  • Policies and procedures: Employees can hardly be expected to comply with company policy if they don’t know what it is.
  • Clear job descriptions: It sounds obvious but an all-too-often complaint from employees is that they don’t know what is expected of them.
  • How to use filing systems: Make your hard-copy and digital filing system easy to use so staff can easily find the information they are looking for.
  • Recognition of success: Notable achievements above and beyond what you normally expect should be recognised publicly to boost the individual employee’s motivation and hopefully increase morale throughout your company.
  • Change: More generally, you should always tell employees when change is coming and how it will affect how they do their jobs.
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