Effectively communicating with staff remains to be the most powerful cornerstone of a communications strategy. It goes beyond writing memos or sending e-mails. Effective communication builds trust and confidence from the employee and increases their loyalty and engagement levels. Effective employee communication is a strategic business advantage of companies as employees are kept informed and updated on company events and development.
Employees are the front lines between the company and customers, thus it is important that information is clearly delivered across the company and that employees are onboard with the company vision. This is critical for the outcome of any project. If the vision and purpose are clearly communicated, employees will work with a common purpose toward a shared goal.
In this regard, in order to create a successful organization, the workforce must be prioritized by regularly and effectively communicating with staff. Below are some ways on effectively communicating with staff:
1. Listen to your employees.
Making employees follow you will not work if it is only you who are speaking. Take the time and initiative to listen to what the employees think. Let them feel and know that their opinions matter, you might be surprised of the perspective they may bring. In addition, it is difficult to know what the staff is thinking about, so why not avoid possible misinterpretation and pay attention to their insights?
2. Practice face-to-face communication as often as possible.
With the many available communication tools to facilitate an efficient flow of communication among employees, nothing still beats personal interaction. Whether it is a promotion or negative news, people will still want to hear the information face-to-face rather than read them in print or hear from public media. Human interaction allows gestures and other body language which help further engage employees into sharing more of their opinions. It also helps ease tension on sensitive conversations or discussions which can elicit different beliefs from parties.
3. Allow yourself to be reached.
May it be in the work area or outside office, allow yourself to be reached by your employees. Make yourself accessible in social media, take time to answer Twitter or Facebook questions when applicable, and respond to suggestion boxes or suggestions via e-mail. You can initiate conversations through Q & A features on the intranet and tap into the collective opinion on a certain policy or campaign.
4. Say “thank you.”
“Thank you” are two most powerful words in a conversation. Nothing can be more engaging than letting people feel appreciated. When an employee receives a sincere expression of gratitude, his/her engagement levels soar inspiring him/her to maintain the work momentum.
5. Talk about your expectations and their expectations.
Establish your expectations from the beginning so there will be no wasted time in explaining company values and policies. However, ask their expectations also and let them know if this is applicable or not. Let them know the benefits and opportunities from the beginning and inform immediately should there be updates or changes in employee policies.
6. Get to know your people beyond the name and work responsibilities.
Time usually flies by fast in companies and hardly leaves time for social interaction outside office. Regardless of the busy schedule, take time to know your employees outside the office. You can either take them to lunch, coffee breaks, or on a bowling night. Depending on the collective interest of your team, try to unwind using sports, movies or art. Once you reach out to them beyond the work motive, the gap between you and your staff lessens and you will soon see happier and more productive employees.
7. Hold regular meeting updates.
Sometimes with the many responsibilities handled by the employees, it can be easy to get lost. Continuously monitor their activities and deliverables through regular meeting updates. Aside from face-to-face meetings, an online shared reporting tool will be perfect where your staff can input the status of their projects and related concerns when applicable. This will also let you know whether the employee is having difficulty completing their projects. Given a good reporting tool, you can identify the reason behind the difficulty and step up to address the concern.
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8. Let them enjoy their holidays and respect their leaves.
The only time communicating with staff is not advisable is during holidays (except when you want to extend holiday greetings) and leaves. Your employees are the backbone of the company and they work hard the entire year, one of the things you can give back is respect for their personal time. It can be that employees use their days off to attend to personal errands, unwind by traveling or simply to take a break. Unless your business will shut down without their response, try to control the urge to call them for work issues. Just make sure there is proper turnover prior to the employee’s holiday so work is not affected.