The rumour spread like a virus: the production department was going to lay off half the workforce and replace them with a batch of shiny new robots built in New Jersey.
Of course it wasn’t true. But by the time management found out what was happening, senior engineers were already submitting their resumes and cover letters to the competition. Some had already lined up interviews.
Effective communication to employees can help prevent rumours and misunderstandings from turning into business crises.
It’s funny how communicating effectively at the workplace can get so challenging in an age of instant global communication. But when employees are polled about what they would like to see improved at work, the answer is almost invariably communication.
Are you noticing any of the following issues in your company?
- Increased gossip and rumours
- Unclear roles
- High employee sick rates and/or turnover
- Unhappy customers
Communication problems may be at the source of these issues.
Here are some great ways for employers to increase communication to their staff:
- Hold regular staff meetings – Regular all-employee meetings with a consistent agenda ensures that employees hear company information first-hand, without it being filtered through other staff first.
- Schedule one-on-one meetings with employees – While group staff meetings are great, employees should also have the opportunity to have regular discussions with their managers, one-on-one, at least once a month. This is an opportunity for the employee to discuss any concerns they have and for the manager to share feedback and offer support.
- Create an employee-only area on your company website or develop an intranet site – Use technology to your advantage. Creating a place where the company can post employee-relevant information, company goals, policies and procedures, etc. is a good way to ensure that information is readily available to employees when they need it.
- Develop an employee notice board – Use an old-school approach that can be very effective. Create a staff bulletin board in the lunchroom or common area where the company can post new information – company goals, announcements, upcoming events, project status, media coverage, etc. Make sure the board is maintained and updated regularly.
- Use email communication effectively – Email is a great way to communicate with employees, if done properly. Keep broadcast emails to all employees brief and relevant. Use email to share great news with all staff. Reserve negative feedback and emotional or potentially conflict-inducing communication for face-to-face or phone conversations – tone is very easily misinterpreted in email correspondence. And, be careful with the Reply All function – there’s nothing worse than receiving a long chain of back and forth emails on an issue that’s not relevant to you.
Keeping information flowing at a workplace helps to:
- Improve morale
- Increase employee retention
- Ensure employees are effective and productive
- Improve customer satisfaction.
Clear communication at work can be the difference between a struggling company and a thriving organization.
Copyright 2008 Clear HR Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.