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How to Communicate With Employees: An Essential Guide for Bosses

Anton Vdovin - Sep 21, 2017 5:04:08 PM

Communicating with the employees is one of the challenges of being a boss. After all, employees are considered the greatest asset of a company. Thus executives and managers are expected to exploit that asset and get the most out of them.

Most of the time, employees who don’t have an understanding of what the organization expects from them are unable to perform up to their potential. This is where communication between supervisors and employees comes in. Moreover, HR experts agree that majority of the issues that employees have, from attendance, performance, and morale, can be attributed to poor communication between them and their bosses.

Members of the management team down to unit heads will learn how to communicate with employees by heeding the following tips:

Create a Culture of Open Communication

It will be a lot easier for bosses to communicate with the staff if there is a culture of communication in the organization. It starts with the big boss, whether it’s the chairman or president. He or she should strive to be transparent and straightforward about the business, whether it’s about the financial performance of the firm or the challenges it faces.

There are several ways that bosses can create a culture of open communication within the firm. One technique is to schedule informal communication with the staff, like 15 minutes a day for a certain unit or department. The executive involved does not even have to talk about anything about the business. The purpose, after all, is to make the employees at ease when they are in front of their leader. This way, they will be more open to the bosses.

Eventually, town hall meetings can be done on a regular basis, like quarterly or twice a year. Town hall meetings have been proven effective in generating feedback from the employees. For a less formal atmosphere, lunch and learn gatherings can be conducted.

Crafting the Message

No matter how receptive the employees have become, everything goes to waste if the leaders are unable to communicate effectively to the staff. So the bosses should learn how to craft their message to their underlings. This is one of the surefire ways how to communicate with employees.

Bosses should understand that regardless of how gifted they are in speaking or writing, people would only remember three to five points from their speech or message. This underlines the need for them to keep the message short and sharp. This is particularly true if they are to deliver their message by e-mail or memo, as workers are notorious for their short attention span. Once they become bored with a long message, employees will instinctively delete the email or stop reading the memo.

If there is no way to cut down on the message, the speaker should keep his audience involved by giving them a compelling moment every few minutes, like a joke to keep them engaged.

Recognize the good work of your staff. This is one of the more often overlooked ways how to communicate with employees. Obviously, if their bosses’ messages are always negative, employees won’t dare listen to them the next time they meet.

Understand Unspoken Signals

Bosses should not only be great at preparing their messages, but they should be knowledgeable when it comes to unspoken signals. For example, body language says a lot about the thoughts of the employee. Slouching could mean that the worker isn’t as receptive as the boss would like him to be.

Even the way a boss holds a meeting can mean something to employees. Calling a subordinate into the office can mean that the leader is emphasizing hierarchy, affecting the dynamics of the conversation. On the other hand, visiting the employee in his cubicle could result to a more open discussion.

Listen to Employees

Another way how to communicate with employees is to listen to them. After all, effective communication is always a two-way street. Management can’t expect the workforce to listen to them if they do all the talking. Moreover, the employees who do the real work of the company are the ones who have the best inputs on how to improve operations, and are often the first to sense a danger approaching.

Business communicators can create formal feedback mechanisms like hotline or suggestion box. Employees tend to open up when they are not asked to reveal their identity.

Management should take the employees’ inputs seriously. Otherwise, the workforce will see everything that the management has done as fake or pretentious. But if there are employee suggestions that leadership cannot implement, the latter should be able to offer some explanation.

Business leaders should understand the role that communicating with the employees play in the achievement of organizational objectives. Reaching out and communicating with the personnel would go a long way towards ensuring the viability of the entire company.

Topics: Corporate Communication

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