One of the worst errors business owners make is failing to keep their employees informed about what’s going on with their company. Many owners may think that employees don’t need to know every detail and would like to run more of a cloak and dagger operation. Good leaders understand that keeping followers in the dark helps no one and only breeds misinformation, rumors and discontent. Keeping your employees up to speed reinforces their trust in you, which is why it’s essential to have good workplace communication.
Keep Your Employees in The Loop
Imagine waiting at a bus terminal for your bus that’s 30 minutes late. You and everyone else there is confused about what’s going on; you’ve called the bus company and they’ve reported no changes; and the bus monitors aren’t showing any delays. An angry mob is gathering now, waiting for answers or for their bus to show up. A simple announcement by the bus company that the bus had broken down would’ve likely alleviated a lot of anger in that situation, but it’s too late now.
You are your employees’ bus ride and your company is the terminal. If you don’t communicate regularly with them, you lose their trust and risk stirring up an angry mob. Be proactive in your communication efforts. All your employees want the answers to these four fundamental questions:
- Where are we going?
- What are we doing to get there?
- How can I contribute?
- What’s in it for me?
Your employees don’t appreciate being blindsided and may think your decisions are random, arbitrary and lacking clear thought if you are reactive instead of proactive when informing them.
How Communicating Helps
1. Build Morale: Employees appreciate regular communication from management. Without it, many will feel like a rudderless ship stranded in the middle of the ocean. Failing to communicate effectively may lead to confusion and frustration among your workers.
2. Understanding Roles and Importance: If an employee is unsure of what’s going on at his or her business, how can he or she be productive? Regular communication allows you to constantly set priorities so employees can be working on what they need to, rather than wasting precious time on unessential tasks.
3. Improve Employee Retention: When employees are fully engaged in their work, they’re more likely to find it enjoyable and worthwhile. A lack of engagement may cause them to check out mentally and, sooner or later, check out completely. Effective employee communication keeps your employees engaged and vested in the company’s success. When your employees know where they’re going, why it’s important and what they’re role is, they will be much more satisfied and productive.
What You Can Do to Improve Workplace Communication
Once you’ve realized the importance of keeping your employees informed about your company’s current events, the next step is figuring out how to most effectively communicate with them. Due to a lack of time or expertise, many business owners are unsure of how to improve the lines of communication in the workplace. We’ve compiled a list of steps you can take to help in this department.
1. Respond to employee questions promptly and honestly: The longer you let a question go unanswered, more and more anxiety and uncertainty will build. Your employees are bound to have questions about any number of things. Be as honest and as prompt as possible when answering them.
3. Consider starting a monthly company newsletter: If you don’t have time to constantly keep your employees up to date on everything, a monthly newsletter may be helpful. This will give you a chance to make important announcements and let your employees remain up to date with the most significant corporate events.
2. Don’t maintain a closed-door policy: If you always have your door closed, your staff will assume that you are always unavailable. This will eventually build a divide between you and your workers, creating a sort of ivory tower effect.
4. Utilize email blasts to spread news: An alternative to newsletters is to use email blasts to keep employees in the loop. It’s very easy to do and a lot less involved than designing a newsletter. There are even ways to track who is and isn’t opening the emails you send.
5. Don’t undervalue the importance of face-to-face interaction: Though there’s nothing wrong with communicating via email, things can be lost in the translation. Genuine, face-to-face meetings are still very important. Meeting with your employees in person to discuss news about the company will demonstrate that you think their input is valuable.
Show your workers that you consider their service and ideas essential by keeping them in the loop about your business. Many of them see their future tied to your company’s future, so ambiguity about your business turns into ambiguity about their careers. TPG HR Services USA works with companies around the U.S. in assisting with employee relations and communications. We have multiple services to make the communication process easier and more effective. Call 732-917-6000 to learn more.