When communication breaks down in business, your bottom line suffers and your reputation can, too. Poor internal communication is often at the root of business failures – from product recalls to under-resourcing promotions.
By learning and practicing better communication within your business, you can easily avoid the pitfalls that come with waiting until after an issue has occurred. Soliciting employee feedback early on and exploring new avenues for promoting conversations across departments are the means to achieving overall better internal communication.
Some of the most pervasive communication problems that organizations face are noted below, along with tips on how to solve or avoid them.
Establish Company Goals
A clear purpose is the glue that holds your workforce together. If your employees are asking themselves what they are doing at work then you are failing to provide the necessary motivation needed for them to attend the office each morning and rally around the common goals of your business.
Ask yourself and your leaders to answer some basic questions to find your company mission and vision:
- Who are you?
- What’s your primary motivation at work?
- What does your business stand for?
- Why should any of your employees feel motivated to come and work for you?
Refine the answers into no more than 2 – 3 short, high-impact sentences that can be easily understood by every employee in your office. This will help everyone to unite around the common cause of your organization.
Encourage Commitment From Day One
When new people join your organization, are they introduced to colleagues and taken through an induction process that explains their role, responsibilities and the resources available for achieving their targets? If not, you’re setting yourself up for a communication failure and also indicating that you don’t care about the progress of new hires.
To make the most of your employees’ abilities, it is essential that they understand company culture, core operations, protocols, best practices, and what resources are available to them to support their work. The easiest way to do this is through a short induction program. The added benefit is you will elicit strong commitment from new recruits on day one of their career with you.
Point Them in the Right Direction
You will never achieve great communication throughout your business if people don’t know who to communicate with and when. Employee directories, team meetings and planned collaboration sessions will assist staff to know when and who to speak to, in order to meet challenges and work together cohesively.
Communication is a two-way street and open door policies encourage staff to share concerns, ideas and thoughts about projects and policies. The power of the collective minds you employ will always outweigh even the smartest of leaders so it’s important to give employees a safe and easily accessible space for sharing ideas or concerns.
A company wiki, document repository, or communication and project management software will encourage efficiency and stop different departments from creating the same work over and over. Don’t be mistaken by seeing these resources as static, either. Encourage staff to continually add to FAQ documents and process libraries as they learn. They will be able to teach important skills and ideas to others if the resources are provided and encouragement to do so is given.
Get Out of the Office
Genuine relationships are built on a variety of experiences that are not all found in a work environment. Take some time out to do something fun as a team. This will allow people to get to know each other on a deeper level. The shared experience of doing something not work-related will have the added benefit of transporting positive energy into the workplace, making for a happier and more close-knit team.
Great communication begins with you. The next time you take a break from your desk, make eye contact with your team, begin a conversation, and get everyone talking to each other. Great communication is the basis for success in any business vertical.
Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.
- 3 in every 5 employees wish to get more frequent praises on their work.
- More than half of workers (51%) are contemplating on leaving their current jobs.
- The percentage of engaged employees is measly, amounting to only 13% worldwide.
- In average, 7 out of 10 employees wish to spend more time with their superiors.
Not to mention the expected 20% increase in sales for businesses with highly engaged employees, the benefits of employee engagement is indeed massive – both on financial and personal standpoints.
Meanwhile, poor employee engagement stemming from low workplace morale is detrimental for every business. It drives turnover costs, and hamper with overall productivity and efficiency metrics. The working atmosphere isn’t conducive, and everyone’s not performing to their full potential.
As a manager or business owner, you’re the first influencer of morale in your workplace. You set the culture, and devise ways to make work more fulfilling.
But as bona fide human beings, you’re bound to make some mistakes too, even without noticing it at times. Below are five clear red flags regarding employee morale that you should abstain from:
This comes 4th in the list of Kim Bhasin, a senior reporter from The Huffington Post. Kim believes that “when you micromanage an employee, you’re telling them that you don’t trust their abilities.”
Carrying out tasks is of utmost importance for employees, but you don’t have to bug them every single minute for updates and work reminders. It’s an absolute mockery of their independence and competence.
Instead of frequently second guessing their work, an acceptable practice is to ask them to send progress reports at least once or twice for the day. If you have revisions and suggestions to make, I’m pretty sure your collaboration platforms at work will enable you to give insights to the employee even remotely.
Even if the pay and benefits are competitive, an employee may be discouraged to come to work if they sense substantial mistrust from you.
- Subtle or direct jabs at their credibility
At times, you use criticisms and hope employees will receive it as a challenge, instead of a personal tirade.
Even if your intentions are good, you can’t expect all employees to be receptive to that approach.
When having hard talks with employees, never EVER bring out their credibility. Here are few statements that provoke employees:
“Sometimes I wonder if you’re really an MIT alum.”
“Guess I have to dig up your records.”
By uttering these words, you’re showing the door to an employee. Those heart wrenching remarks will reverberate in an employee’s mind every day and before he goes to sleep. It’ll be forever embedded in his memory.
Why not go for a more challenging and supportive approach?
“You’re way better than this.”
“Your monthly performance is terrible, but I’m willing to give you the ropes.”
Build employees, instead of obliterating them.
- Dealing with employees publicly
No employee would want to be embarrassed in front of his colleagues. For instance, have you made it a habit to sit alongside your employee’s desk? Perhaps your voice still echoes on his neighboring workmates while you’re lecturing him.
This may lead to a great deal of shame for the employee, since you exposed his weak points to almost every member of the team. Others will be wary of your attitude too.
The best avenue for discussion is still in the four corners of your personal office or other isolated areas nearby. This way, you’ll have a more open discussion as the employee won’t get distracted from any audience but you.
You may also want to reduce those occasions you give high heaps of praise to an employee publicly. If you do it inconsistently, others will think that you play favorites.
- Inadequate personal support
Majority of small businesses today are done in this setting: employees work at the principal place of office, while employers monitor them remotely.
If you’re just appearing personally to hand them their paychecks, you’re doing it wrong.
As per Chron contributor George N. Root III, “both the boss and employee need to commit to the concept of teamwork […]”
However, that concept can be impaired if you always hide in the shadows. Employees need to feel that their concerns are being catered by a real human. It boosts team synergy because they’re seeing something who takes charge with daily operations.
There’s just lots of communication barrier in online communication, so put a premium in live interactions with your men too.
When you inject a new hire to your team simply because that person’s a family member of yours, you’re dispersing an uncompetitive aura in the workplace.
If you approved someone who lacks the requisite skills incumbent in his position, what would prevent your employees from thinking that the person will climb up the ranks effortlessly?
This not only result to lost productivity from the person you erroneously hired, but also lack of engagement brought upon by perceived injustice.
Chron suggests to “support a committee approach to interviewing before a candidate can be hired.”
As a wrap-up, employee morale and engagement are responses. It’s reflective of the values, beliefs, and practices you instilled in the workplace as a leader. By shying away from the above mentioned practices, you can expect to bolster your team’s confidence on you and the employment opportunities you provide.
Lester Corey teaches Literature in Yale University. Most people think that teaching is the only thing he does for a living, but little do they know that he also writer essays for writingpaper.org every night.