When you communicate well with your employees, work relationships are generally hunky-dory. Good communication enables you to build good relationships with your staff. With good working relationships, any problems tend to get aired sooner rather than later, allowing you to nip potential problems in the bud. If you don’t bother putting in the effort to communicate with your employees, you could be hurting your business more than you think.
So, what is good communication? At its most basic level, communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. That can include email, text and chat applications. Clarity, mutual understanding, good listening skills and feedback are all essential for effective communication to happen. There also needs to be an effective mix of the medium used. Communication purely by email won’t help to build a healthy relationship; some face-to-face communication is essential.
Many leaders think they are good communicators. The fact is, many aren’t. It takes effort and intention to continually work on communication skills, but the end result is worth it. Here are 5 reasons why good communication will have a positive impact on your business.
1. Improve employee morale
Employee morale can go up or down according to a wide range of factors. Employee bonuses, winning a big client, great feedback from customers and employee recognition can all have a positive impact on morale. Equally, a freeze on pay increases, redundancies, or increased stress in the workplace can all drive morale down.
Good communication is a key driver for employee morale. Even not-so-good news can be felt less severely if delivered openly with compassion and kindness. Addressing employees fears starts with communication.
2. Increase employee productivity
Effective communication directly influences productivity. Proper communication and clear instructions are imperative for getting things done. Delays in work getting done or errors are often as a result of poor communication.
3. Increase employee loyalty
Communication has power. It has the power to inflict harm, and warm fuzzy feelings in equal measure. Communicate well and you will increase employee loyalty. Avoiding issues erodes employee confidence. Clear communication with an aptitude for listening, feeding back and taking action is imperative for building trust.
4. Turn employees into ambassadors
Most employees don’t care as much as you do about your company’s operations. They care more about how work affects them. To get your employees to care you have to use good communication to link their concerns with the company vision.
5. Reduce unnecessary mistakes
Sloppy or non-existent communication is a sure way to increase the likelihood of mistakes. People like to know what is expected of them, how to complete a task, and they need to know they are doing a good job. Failure to communicate effectively inevitably leads to more mistakes and this impacts on productivity, morale and employee self esteem.
3 simple ways to improve communication with your employees
There are lots of ways you can improve communication with your staff. Schedule regular meetings, reach out to shy employees, ask questions, celebrate achievements, and so forth. You get the idea. Here are our top 3 simple ways to improve communication with your employees.
1. Keep employees in the loop
Investment in software tools to encourage communication is one way of improving your level of engagement with your staff. Good HR software includes performance review and employee recognition features, as well as communication tools for company announcements. Keeping staff informed is a good way of making them feel like a part of the business. For businesses with shift workers, a tool for managing hours and communicating with staff, such as the Planday employee scheduling software not only takes the headache out of scheduling it enables you to keep in touch with staff working irregular hours.
2. Always be approachable
Adopt a ‘my door is always open’ approach. Walls (metaphorically speaking) between employers and employees hinder good communication. Try to engage with your employees in social situations. Taking an employee out for lunch or taking the team to the pub from time to time can help break down stuffy barriers.
3. Listen to employees and act on what you hear
Listening is a key factor in building communication with your employees. When things aren’t working, you need to be able to hear their concerns. You should always be willing to act where appropriate. Obviously not every request is going to be good for business, but you should be able to explain why you aren’t changing something. Do nothing and employees will stop feeding back to you if they feel you’re not listening.