Posted by Robert Half on Friday, July 11, 2014 - 00:00 | Follow me
Here’s a riddle: Its lack is more demoralizing to employees than being micromanaged. Its presence is more valuable to employees than a raise. What is it? More than a riddle, the answer could improve your workplace.
According to an Accountemps survey, one-third of participating HR managers said that the lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale, with micromanaging coming in second. Conversely, more than one-third of managers said that communicating more effectively improves morale more than anything else, including raises, recognition programs and unexpected rewards.
That means providing effective communication in the workplace is your No. 1 duty as a manager. After all, your job is to create an environment where everyone does their best. Here’s how:
A communicative manager is an accessible manager. Never assume that employees will contact you to let you know about a problem or ask for your advice. Don’t hide behind email either: Not everyone will read or understand your message.
To provide more effective communication in the workplace, establish an open-door policy and make sure your staff is aware of it. If your schedule allows, post regular “office hours” so employees can talk with you face-to-face. Your staff will appreciate your willingness to speak with them directly.
But don’t stop there. Provide structured feedback to your employees on a regular basis. And get to know them as people instead of simply as workers. Build relationships with them by talking with them about interests outside work.
In the Accountemps survey, right behind lack of open communication and being micromanaged was “failure to recognize employee achievements” as having the most negative effect on morale.
Your employees want to feel valued by the organization for which they’re working hard. You may not think of giving praise as communication, but it is. Never underestimate the benefit of recognizing employees for a job well done.
Your communication skills are especially at play when you have to give employees bad news. Keep the tone professional when providing feedback to an employee whose work is suffering. Discuss specifically how expectations aren’t being met and work together on a plan for improvement.
Effective communication in the workplace also involves managing how your team interacts. This doesn’t mean that you restrict what employees can say. On the contrary, you can build a collaborative environment by encouraging free speech.
At the same time, keep in mind that a grapevine does exist in your office. That tangled mess can quickly grow out of control if it’s not managed properly. Address business communication issues when they arise by providing accurate information to all employees as soon as possible. Have a game plan for such times, and avoid obvious spin. Otherwise, you water the soil of a grapevine ripe for office rumors and low morale. Instead, provide a Q&A session, hold periodic group meetings and keep your information the solid truth.
Although many different problems impact employee morale, effective communication in the workplace is the primary key to combating them. Practice good communication skills with your employees and you’ll build a foundation for a healthy, happy office culture.
How do you provide effective communication in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section.
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