Great communication – Saving time, moving your business forward


Small adjustments for big impacts

A bi-weekly publication

Written by Joy Kuhns

Published 4 July 2023 | 2 min read

It’s no surprise that it’s hard to find and keep staff.  How can communication help? You may think “I have no time to talk, let alone listen!” Consider the fact that good communication can help you build a great culture, where people want to work and do their best for you.   
The seasonally-adjusted employment rate is 3.4% (Statistics NZ) and staff turnover costs range from one month to over a year’s salary (dependent upon the position). The following article discusses building employee engagement and social capital through communication, as a way to have success in attracting and retaining staff. 

Links between communication, culture and engagement 

Known research on Millennials (currently aged 19-41) supports the notion that they are the most likely to voice their expectations (which benefit all employees). They want ongoing engagement with their employer, and easily switch employers when they are dissatisfied. One of the hardest areas to attract and retain staff is in health care and yet, per Deloitte, there are some things that can be done.  One of these is “creating an open culture of engagement and shared values”, with effective communication being one of the levers. 

Building social capital: A leaders’ role through listening and inclusion 

Hargreaves et al (2022) states that effective communication creates an environment where knowledge is shared well, and social capital is built (assuming that promises are delivered or renegotiated). They also state: “research has found that in a typical meeting, an average of three people do 70% of the talking”. Listening well allows you to notice who is not participating and to find ways to include them. 
Some people also, may need some time to digest information, and so be sure to allow some time for the staff to come back with ideas at a later time (such as within the next day). 

A reminder on my smallest grandson’s tee-shirt – Copy that, Roger! 

Effect in getting things done and keeping your staff:

Effective listening contributes to people wanting to be at work, having an understanding of what is expected in their job and these contribute to enhanced performance (Itzchakov, G et al, 2022).   There is also some evidence that this leads to less burnout, which in turn leads to fewer staff thinking about leaving the organisation.   
Staying ahead: Different viewpoints for agility in a tough economic climate:  
“Without high degrees of social capital, you don’t get the vigour of debate and exchange that hard problems demand. Creativity requires a climate of safety, but without social capital, no one will risk the fresh thought, the unpredictable idea, the testing questions... the best thinking partners don’t confirm your opinions but build on them.” (Hargreaves, C. 2022).  

Quick tips:

Involving the staff through great communication
adapted from Plaza et al (2022):

Set goals, check in, give feedback, repeat important messages Ask clarifying questions, assume positive intent
Schedule meetings - one-to-one, cross-functional, town hall Praise in public, criticize in private
Consider alternative views Ask: who else needs to be included?

Choosing one of these actions will have a direct effect on building a great culture where your staff want to be at work and do their best, saving you time, money and worry. 


Deloitte (n.d.) Time to care. Securing a future for the hospital workforce in Europe

Hargreaves, Christopher, Clarke, Andy ORCID: 0000-0003-4291-9851 and Lester, Karl Robert (2022) Microsoft Teams and team performance in the COVID-19 pandemic within an NHS Trust Community Service in North-West England. Team Performance Management.
Itzchakov, G; Weinstein, N; Cheshin, A. (2022). Learning to listen: Downstream effects of listening training on employees’ relatedness, burnout, and turnover intentions.  HRM 2022; 1-16.

Plaza, C.H; Windon, S; Robotham, D. (2022). Effective Communication in the Workplace (2022, July 5).
Statistics New Zealand (2023, May 3). Unemployment rate remains at 3.4%.
Weinstein, N; Itzchakov, G; Leagate, N. (2022, 07 January). The motivational value of listening during intimate and difficult conversations.

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