Many small business managers don't realize until it's too late just how important it is to maintain open channels of communication in the workplace. Don't wait until you find yourself contacting your employment agency to replace a valued employee who has moved on. Effective communication in the workplace is a crucial management skill that can make a world of difference for employee retention.
Communication in the workplace: skills assessment
To evaluate the quality of your workplace communication and identify areas where you could improve, ask yourself the following questions:
Are you accessible to your employees?
Managers should never assume that workers will contact them to ask for advice or alert them of a problem. Nor should managers feel confident that every message they send electronically will be clearly understood by the recipient. Instituting an open-door policy — and making staff aware of it — will encourage better communication in the workplace. This does not mean you have to be available at all times, of course. If your schedule permits, establish weekly "office hours" when employees can have face time with you. Your staff will appreciate your willingness to regularly set aside time for direct workplace communication.
How often do you meet one-on-one with your workers?
Appropriate, sincere praise for good work can make an enormous difference for staff retention efforts.
While an open-door policy will enhance workplace communication, some employees may worry that they will be bothering you with their questions or problems. Proactive outreach on your part can assure staff that you really do want to interact with them more frequently. One way to help ramp up communication with all employees is to provide constructive feedback to them more often. For instance, instead of holding only one performance review annually, consider scheduling more informal conferences every couple of months. By communicating more often with employees individually, you can adapt your management approach to the particular needs and personalities of each worker. This approach goes far toward enhancing the quality of communication in the workplace and promoting employee retention.
Do you praise employees as often as you should?
Hard-working professionals want to feel they are valued by the organization. They appreciate being recognized for a job well done. Appropriate, sincere praise for good work can make an enormous difference for staff retention efforts. Of course, recruitment or temporary staffing help from a specialized employment agency is always available to bridge the gap when a valued employee has left unexpectedly. But wouldn't you prefer not to wonder whether the employee left because the job felt unrewarding?
Do you help control the rumor mill?
Direct and honest communication from management is especially critical when an organization is going through alterations in structure or focus. Keeping your team updated often can relieve anxiety when such change is in the air. Keep workforce morale in positive territory by sharing information, and prevent rumors from spreading.
How an employment agency can help with employee retention
When small business owners improve their skill with communication in the workplace, they can frequently solve problems early on that, unattended, could lead to the loss of a trained employee with potential for success. For example, it's important for managers to be aware of whether employees are feeling overworked. One strategy to consider is keeping your staff right-sized by adding temporary staffing when your employees are experiencing increased workloads because of employee departures or changes in the volume of business. Specialized temporary staffing agencies can quickly line up reinforcements when workloads threaten to overwhelm your employees. Once your temporary help settles in, you may end up discovering that, with temp-to-hire employment solutions, your employment agency has just found you a valuable permanent employee.
Interested in how a relationship with an employment agency can help you solve employee retention problems? Explore what Robert Half can do to help.