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The Truth? Your employees <i>can</i> handle it, so just communicate with them, already.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The biggest challenge in communicating with employees today isnot coping with a culturally diverse work force, overcoming theimpersonalization of e-mail or battling information overload to getyour message across. Instead, it's getting employees to trustyou and offer ideas for improving the business.

It was one of Tory Johnson's eight employees who firstsuggested expanding New York City-based Women For HireLLC to the West Coast in 2004. "It wasn't a case whereI said, 'We are going to expand and I want you to figure outwhat the best cities are,'" says Johnson, 34, founder andCEO of the $2 million career-fair organizer. "Someone came tome and said, 'Here's what I think, and here's why.'We did it, and it's been a huge growth opportunity forus."

While Johnson gives the employee credit for the suggestion, shesays that her efforts to create a workplace where bottom-upcommunication is encouraged laid the groundwork. And it takes morethan a memo, she says. She starts with the hiring process, askingcandidates to describe an occasion when they disagreed with aco-worker or a boss, rejecting those who demur in favor ofoutspoken types.

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