Just how important is internal communication to managing your workforce?
Extremely. When you stop to consider the idea, you’ll realize that nearly every aspect of workforce management – from morale and productivity, to attendance and compliance – is impacted by the quality of your communication.
You don’t have to take our word for it; research supports this idea. A study by Towers Watson has shown that, no matter what type of business they’re in, companies that communicate effectively are far more likely to report high levels of employee engagement and financial performance.
So if successful communication is so critical, why don’t more Middle Tennessee companies do a better job of it? Well, it’s easier said than done. But thankfully, you don’t have to be an extrovert, a nurturer or even have a specialized degree to improve communication within your company. Just use these highly effective habits and practices from Inc.com:
Create the right culture.
Give it to your employees straight. Be transparent and honest about the challenges your business faces – and even your company’s financials – to foster trust and help employees understand the risks you take. To create a proactive communication culture:
- Engage in informal, “nontransactional” conversations (conversations not directly related to a specific work request) with your employees every day.
- Meet in groups (either at the beginning or the end of the day) to discuss short-term goals, challenges or operating plans. Try adding a daily 10-minute “huddle” to get work teams talking more regularly and effectively.
- Offer occasional “lunch and learn” (working lunch) sessions for less formal company discussions – things like introducing new products and strategies, ad hoc training or most any other ancillary subject.
Make sure your employees are getting the message.
The ways in which you communicate are often just as important as the content itself. Use these strategies to make sure your message is heard:
- Sharpen your message. A typical employee remembers only three to five points from any communication – so keep yours short and sharp, especially when using e-mail and memos. Place your conclusions or main points at the top of written communications as bullet points.
- Recognize good work. If most of your communication is negative, employees will ignore what you say. Balance criticism with compliments. By thanking employees for their efforts and publicly recognizing their contributions, you’ll open their ears to everything you have to say.
- Understand the impact of unspoken signals. Use your body language to support your spoken message. In addition, choose the right location to deliver your message. Where you hold a meeting (i.e., your office vs. a conference room or an employee’s desk) can also affect the dynamics of your conversation.
- Follow up. When a message needs reinforcement, follow up afterward with a memo or note that recaps the main points.
Listen to your employees.
To be successful, communication must go both ways:
- Create formal feedback mechanisms. The people doing the real work of your company often have the best suggestions for improving it and are the first to see threats approaching. Establish a mechanism for anonymous input, such as a suggestion box or hotline to encourage feedback.
- Take feedback seriously. Although you don’t have to act on every suggestion, you should acknowledge contributions and reward good suggestions that save or make your company money.
At Wood Personnel, we know that successful staffing and placement starts with effective communication. Throughout all phases of our service process, we deliver positive results by connecting staff in all three offices to facilitate direct communication and immediate access to information.
Teamwork, individual expertise and a strong commitment to Middle Tennessee’s people and businesses enable Wood Personnel Services to help you reach your company’s most complex production and employment goals.