APA Center for Organizational Excellence: The Role of Communication

Resources for Employers

The Role of Communication

Communication plays a key role in the success of any workplace program or policy and serves as the foundation for all five types of psychologically healthy workplace practices. Communication about workplace practices helps achieve the desired outcomes for the employee and the organization in a variety of ways:

  • Bottom-up communication (from employees to management) provides information about employee needs, values, perceptions and opinions. This helps organizations select and tailor their programs and policies to meet the specific needs of their employees.
  • Top-down communication (from management to employees) can increase utilization of specific workplace programs by making employees aware of their availability, clearly explaining how to access and use the services, and demonstrating that management supports and values the programs.

Examples of communication strategies that can help make your workplace programs successful include:

  • Providing regular, on-going opportunities for employees to provide feedback to management. Communication vehicles may include employee surveys, suggestion boxes, town hall meetings, individual or small group meeting with managers, and an organizational culture that supports open, two-way communication.
  • Making the goals and actions of the organization and senior leadership clear to workers by communicating key activities, issues and developments to employees and developing policies that facilitate transparency and openness.
  • Assessing the needs of employees and involving them in the development and implementation of psychologically healthy workplace practices.
  • Using multiple channels (for example, print and electronic communications, orientation and trainings, staff meetings and public addresses) to communicate the importance of a psychologically healthy workplace to employees.
  • Leading by example, by encouraging key organizational leaders to regularly participate in psychologically healthy workplace activities in ways that are visible to employees.
  • Communicating information about the outcomes and success of specific psychologically healthy workplace practices to all members of the organization.

"The most gratifying aspect of this award is the validation by outside experts who visit your workplace and conclude that routine practices are conducive to a psychologically positive environment. There is an enormous satisfaction in being told you are doing a lot of things right!"

Beth Taylerson
Human Resource Director
The Herald, Rock Hill, SC