Effective communication is critical to help employers engage, develop and retain employees. But many employers — particularly small businesses — may not know which conversations are the most important, how best to start those conversations and how to ensure they’re productive. As benefit advisers increasingly counsel clients on a broad range of workforce management topics, here are eight key conversations advisers should recommend their clients have with every employee:

1) This is who we are. Ensuring employees understand a company’s values is a key step in attracting and retaining the right people to help a business succeed. These conversations should begin during the hiring process. Advisers should recommend that clients take the time to really think about and define their business values so they can clearly communicate them to potential recruits. For example, if innovation is important, employers must explain how the company fosters creativity (e.g., through brainstorming sessions or cross-functional team initiatives).

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