Employees are the most valuable resource of any organization. Effective communication between managers and staff is essential to provide a positive and productive workplace. Having a culture that encourages all employees to openly provide feedback, ideas, suggestions, updates on projects or even ask for assistance is healthy for business.
Effective Communication Provides Value
Effective communication in all its forms (verbal, email, text) should be commonplace within your team and the organization as a whole. Additionally, “active listening” can provide you with a significant amount of valuable information. It can give you insights into issues with your work team, identify concerns before problems rise, or even tip-you-off to who may be at risk of leaving the organization. Additionally, you may learn what actions you could implement that may encourage your strong talent to remain with the business. You might also gain insights that will help you uncover work conflicts. Mark Whitten shares, “as leaders, it should go without saying the importance of listening to our employees.”
Since effective communication is key to business success, your ability as a manager to actively listen is critical. Below are a few suggestions to set the stage for a positive outcome:
- Create and maintain an environment where your employees feel safe, giving and receiving feedback. Everyone has a point of view and each deserves respect.
- Provide multiple vehicles where employees’ feedback can be captured. Consider a yearly culture/pulse survey which offers a confidential tool to gather information.
- Have an unstructured “open door policy” that encourages direct, informal and frequent interaction.
- Set the tone for sharing ideas at staff meetings. Consider presenting a business issue/problem to facilitate dialog among the team to brainstorm solutions.
- Listen without distractions or interruptions. Leave cell phones off.
- Thank employees for bringing their ideas and concerns to your attention. Advise them that you will take appropriate action.
In a competitive job market, it is critical to keep your strongest performers highly engaged. When you are open to hearing about things that are working well and things that need improvement, you demonstrate that the employee’s overall satisfaction is important to you. The employee receives confirmation that their insight and feedback is of value which will strengthen their commitment to the organization.
Listening is powerful!