Not Sure How to Communicate to Employees? Try a Company Podcast or Monthly Breakfast.
Struggling to communicate at work? You're not the only one.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We have all been in a position where we have not been able to communicate our feelings or thoughts effectively. Whether it is telling your boss you do not like her idea, or informing your superior that you need a day off to go to the dentist, communication can be a difficult and sometimes underrated process in the workplace.
Related: Want Your Team to Collaborate More? The Answer Is Surprisingly Simple.
According to Wrike's Work Management Report, 46 percent of employees rarely or never leave a meeting knowing what they are supposed to do next. What this means for companies across the globe is that the workplace has been, and still is, in a state of communication crisis. With the rise of social media, technology and the millennial mindset in the work environment, people are having a hard time working their way around how to effectively communicate and engage with their workforce.
How can you improve the way you communicate in the workplace?
1. Take time to review.
We've all heard before how important feedback is when it comes to effective communication in the workplace, and it is undeniably true; research shows that 98 percent of employees will fail to be engaged when managers give little or no feedback. However, reviewing is more than just simply telling your employees what they are doing wrong and expecting them to dramatically change. Rather, it provides an opportunity for managers and leaders to guide their employees, recognize their strengths and build upon their weaknesses.
Do not wait for the quarterly or yearly reviews to assess your colleagues; when you see something that your employees are struggling with or an aspect of their work you are not happy with, nip the problem in the bud. Whether it is formal one-on-one meetings or a more casual talk-and-walk around the office building, ensure that you are specific in your feedback about their performance and the areas for potential development. It is crucial to remember to end these sessions on a positive note; after all, you want to assist, inspire and motivate your employees, not leave a negative and lasting impression that could drive them away.
Related: Meaningful Conversations Will Keep Your Clients Coming Back for More
2. Get the right tools.
Ever been in a position where you have been assigned a project, but you have no idea where to start or just simply do not have the tools to realize it? Research shows that employees spend 20 percent of the time looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues for help. What this means is that employees are having to hurdle over communication barriers before even attempting the task in question, not only wasting time but making the workplace more difficult and stressful for your colleagues.
Now's the time to embrace technology and be innovative. With 67 million Americans listening to podcasts monthly, the workplace needs to adapt to this current trend. Create internal podcasts on how to find or use some of your company's systems. This will enable your employees to easily and instantly access assistance on how to use certain tools and new processes within the office, without wasting needless amounts of time running through old emails or getting bored with reading a long-winded, 50-page manual.
Related: The Biggest Communication Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
3. Appreciate your talent.
As H. Jackson Brown, Jr. once said: "Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated." It may seem obvious, but people like to know that the work they do is important and that they are a valuable asset within the company's bigger picture. Arrange an end of the month breakfast to celebrate your employees' achievements, discuss the challenges that you have faced as a company and assign clear goals for the month ahead. This will not only ensure that you are all on the same page, but most importantly, if your employees feel as though they are contributing to a vision, one where they are active participants and not simply cogs in a machine, this will create a much more collaborative, inclusive and driven company culture.
Why does communication matter?
Numerous studies show that simply implementing effective communication strategies can improve employee productivity, prevent miscommunication problems among a diverse workforce, increase employee satisfaction and have a positive effect on absenteeism and poor turnover rates. Whether your company is creating podcasts, organizing face-to-face reviews or arranging celebratory breakfasts, every strategy provides an opportunity for your workplace to become more connected and inclusive. After all, the key to any successful business is clear communication among its people, clients and departments, so why should it be put on the back burner?
Related Video: How to Communicate to Employees as Your Company Scales