Develop & Maintain a Communication Strategy to Keep Your Workers Fully Engaged
Effective communication in the workplace is arguably the most important factor in the success of a company. Even so, many companies don’t take necessary steps to make sure their communication strategy is well-thought-out and flexible.
Here are eight suggestions to improve communication by taking down barriers that tend to exist in many businesses:
1. Create an environment of open communication where opinions are valued and not judged or punished.
In many cases, employees don’t communicate honest information to their superiors simply because they don’t want to disappoint them or show dissent. Push your employees to punch holes in the product and reward them for good ideas.
2. One thing many managers tend to do is give out a lot of work and expect employees to prioritize and deliver. This is generally a bad practice.
Employees don’t necessarily know what the priority is and it often leaves them overwhelmed. As a manager, think of a plan to get the work done without overloading those under your supervision.
3. Emotions can play a big role in efficiency and productivity.
Managers can’t necessarily control what happens to employees when they leave the office, but they can play a significant role in office morale. If employees are happy, they will be more productive. Be careful to not keep things in the office too casual or comfortable as this tends to make employees lazy, but do ensure that employees feel safe and have the tools to accomplish their goals.
4. Very often new employees find themselves having to learn their job, with the added barriers of trying to figure out what people are saying.
Using acronyms and slang may make things more efficient when speaking directions, but for a new employee, translating these can be a drag on productivity. Once employees become a little more familiar with these terms, using them is fine!
5. Employees have to be able to ask questions.
Employees – no matter their level of experience – should be able to ask questions without feeling like they are annoying their manager. Make sure the employee feels that their question was taken seriously and that it wasn’t in any way inappropriate to ask.
6. A big communication gap between managers and employees can occur with verbal instructions.
When possible, communicate via email, text message, post-it, or in some other written form. If something is time sensitive, include the time and date the instruction was given. This gives the employee something to refer to long after the manager is gone. It also helps the manager maintain accountability; if they know instructions were given to the employee, and a project doesn’t get completed, there is a clear understanding of where the problem lies.
7. It’s impossible to fix communication problems if you can’t recognize the problems as they happen.
Let employees know what kind of communication you expect from them. Set up a system where they will respond to you with certain information at certain times. Remember, the Manager/Employee relationship is just that; a relationship. Everyone communicates differently, and it is up to the manager to figure out those differences and work with them or change them.