Communicating Effectively With Employees – Really!
Why is communicating effectively such a problem in companies today, and with individual managers and their employees? It is the most basic skill. The #1 thing CEO’s say got them to the top is their ability to communicate effectively. What do you think the #1 thing employees say needs to improve in their company? Communication! Really, there is a huge gap in perception. This is a major reason for employee disengagement.
Employee Engagement Surveys Fail
We came across a company that had poor communication as their top issue on employee engagement surveys, for five years in a row. Did anything change-no? The company and managers tried a little of this and a little of that but nothing stuck as they would readily swerve to more tangible priorities. So why bother with the survey? It almost seems in many cases, that when a person becomes a CEO or manager they hide. It’s like they become ghosts in the organization. Everyone is afraid of them, employees have heard stories but they never see them, unless there is a problems and then all hell breaks loose.
One company we started consulting with, the employees almost to the person said, “Get him out of his office. He keeps the door shut and sends out inflammatory emails all day.” In another company a manager said her boss stayed in the office all day and only came out to yell at people. She said she had asked him one day if he would hold a meeting. Her boss responded by saying, “I don’t have time for that touchy-feely stuff.”
5 Quick Fire Ways for Communicating Effectively
It isn’t that hard to communicate with your team. What does it take? Some time, oh yes, the precious time. Here are some straight shooting methods:
- Hold a weekly staff meeting-actually let others talk.
- Meet one on one for coaching sessions with each person-yes, it will take time away from another inflammatory email.
- Praise people in the organization-leaders can say nice things, too.
- Track goal progress on a dashboard-employees actually perform better if they know the goals. I am not kidding here.
- Interact with people throughout the day in person, on the phone, or through email if you are separated by distance. Leadership engagement leads to employee engagement.
Too many managers want to dictate and tell. They want to be center stage rather than listen to, and problem-solve with employees.
Are you committed?
It also takes a commitment to improve. The Management Derailment Study by Hogan Assessments found that 50% of managers fail in their jobs. The primary reason is the lack of people skills. Dr. Daniel Goleman at Harvard calls this Emotional Intelligence. A manager that wants to win the hearts and minds of his team must be trained and educated in such skills as listening, dealing with conflict, handling personal emotions, and giving and receiving feedback.
We all know that communication breaks down in many relationships at home. Look at the divorce rate and domestic violence statistics. The workplace is no different. The same people occupy both situations. The only way to fix it is to invest the time and effort. If you care you will do it with empathy. As some personal relationships need a counselor to solve the problems, in some work relationships managers may need a coach to help them change behavior and attitudes. Otherwise, nothing changes; employees have the same problems with the company and more importantly you, if you are the manager. Team morale and performance will suffer. Communicating effectively leads to 47% better return to shareholders according to a Wyatt Study.
It’s up to you. It always is and will be. Be a student of the game. Research shows that those leaders who are communicating effectively, achieve the highest performance levels with their teams. Why not YOU?
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