Successful communication with staff members is essential to the realization of any company or business. At the most basic level, communicating with employees will enable staff to fully understand what they need to and what is required of them. And at the highest level, effective communication means increased employee engagement, productivity, and ultimately profit for the company and for its staff.
Although companies may have communications strategies already in place, human nature will prove that we can always do better. What must be noted is that improving communication strategies doesn’t mean having to force yourself to be an extrovert if you’re not. Rather, communicating with employees is more about respect, openness, trust and appreciation.
Here are some of the ways you can successful communicate with employees:
1. Schedule non-transactional conversations.
Add non-transactional conversations in your calendar. Aside from the usual weekly meetings with the group, spend 15 minutes per day (if you have the time) to have non-transational conversations with staff members.
Non-transactional conversations are exchanges with employees that are not held for a particular reason such as asking a staff member to do something. The reason why non-transactional conversations are important is that it creates a culture of open communication in the workplace. This dynamism allows employees to feel courageous enough to give ideas and speak their minds.
2. Reflect and evaluate yourself.
Communicating with employees doesn’t only entail pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of others, it also means having to do a self-evaluation. Assessing yourself helps you get a handle on the characteristics that you have, and therefore, how you interact with others. For example, someone who is confident and dominant might be able to run a focused meeting, but if he or she is too dominant, he or she might have a tendency to take over the meeting and discourage input from other members of the team.
3. Sharpen your message.
While you may have a lot of things you want to say when communicating with employees, remember that people typically only remember three to five points from any interaction; therefore, make sure to keep your message short and sharp. People simply don’t have the time nor the patience to go through long emails or to listen to long speeches. Say the things that are most important and most relevant to the team.
4. Create formal feedback tools, and show appreciation for feedback.
Employee surveys and commentary should always be appreciated. These tools aid in improving the business as well as the work processes in the company. If necessary, ensure anonymity so that employees are unafraid of speaking up.
5. Check the attitude of management.
Employees are more likely to keep their mouths shut if they believe that management isn’t open to new ideas and the company discourages openness. Even if the discouragement or even hostility is subtle, some staff members won’t dare speak up, while others would rather seek employment elsewhere.
A recent study actually showed that if staff members have a negative view of the attitude of management, any kind of feedback tool will be deemed futile when it comes to creating a good relationship between employer and employee.
6. Recognize and appreciate good work.
While some managers and employers tend to look at the negative more than the positive, criticism won’t make for happy and productive employees. Learn how to balance the good with the bad, the criticisms with the compliments. When you see an employee doing his or her job well or putting in a lot of effort to get a task done, celebrate this. Acknowledge and appreciate his or her good work.