How to Keep the Lines of Communication Open with Your Employees

Communication: a necessary skill in the workplace (and life in general) that few ever truly master. Whether it’s between company and customer, peers, or employees and management, navigating relationships requires an ability to understand when and how to express your ideas and emotions thoughtfully.

To do just that, everyone in a company must first feel comfortable enough to speak their mind. If you create an environment that only values the opinions of a few, then those few are exactly who you’ll hear from. And, in turn, you’ll operate inefficiently with an incomplete understanding of your organizational health.

Lack of alignment around a common vision impacts employee satisfaction, employee satisfaction impacts productivity, and productivity impacts your ability to grow as a business. Keep all three working in tandem with the following strategies for maintaining open lines of communication.

Survey for Feedback Regularly

You’d be surprised how much you can learn from asking the right questions. With everything leadership is managing at any given time, this is something that can quickly be forgotten. After all, it seems much easier to keep pushing forward—to do, do, do—than to stop, reevaluate, and implement better processes from the ground up.

This is why it’s good practice to solicit feedback from your employees on a regular basis. Set up quarterly company-wide surveys that allow you to gather insights around “people metrics”. You may not be able to logistically act on every suggestion made but making space for the potential to is a step in the right direction.

Host Open Office Hours

Not every piece of feedback can wait for a quarterly survey email. For example, maybe someone is uncomfortable working with certain personalities on their team. Or they’re operating under unique stressors and change.

For personnel matters, HR staff should make themselves readily available. However, if you outsource those services or want to address thoughts on the business more broadly with your employees immediately, block dedicated time for open office hours on your calendar. Creating a direct line of conversation to higher ups can be a great way to make everyone feel more valued and heard.

Be Aware of Your Tone

Most of the time, communication isn’t just what you say but how you say it. Management should be hyper-aware of how they come across to those they’re responsible for leading.

If you do a lot of talking with no action, your words will fail to build trust. If you speak without empathy, your words will fail to hold meaning. Every conversation and speech given doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you’re speaking authentically with your audience in mind.

By Staples Canada

July 20, 2020

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