If life is a song, the lyrics are communication. Here are three steps to significantly improve workplace communication and ultimately empower employees.
1. Ensure Internal Information Is Accessible and Inspirational
Despite today’s technologically utopian environment, information is often times poorly organized and/or unavailable to employees. This can be particularly frustrating for newer employees. If your organization’s onboarding process does not include how to access information, add it. If there is no onboarding process, an employee’s direct manager or colleague must review this information with the new employee.
Albert Einstein once said, “If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.” Make information accessible via an intranet or even simply hung on a bulletin board in a common area—as long as employees know where to find the information, workflow and knowledge transfer will improve. Use communication vehicles such as a social media page or newsletter to inspire as well as to educate. Post inspiring quotes; recent success stories; customer testimonials; photos and brief bio’s of the employee of the month—anything that will inspire camaraderie and productivity, and ultimately help keep communication flowing.
2. Retreat and Recharge
Coordinating a retreat in which there is no work-related activity is an ideal way to establish camaraderie, encourage communication and improve teamwork. It’s unnecessary for bulky budgets—any activity from an obstacle course at a beach to an indoor tug-o-war will work wonders. Instead of focusing on work, employees focus on each other. After retreats, personal relationships are usually created or strengthened, and working relationships improve commensurately.
Too much work to complete or too many new findings to learn within an industry? Consider attending a professional conference. Team-building exercises that focus on learning can be just as fruitful as those that focus on non-work related activities. This is particularly important for reaching shy personality types. Team building activities, albeit a conference, are particularly effective with introverts because they are easily engaged. Bottom line—the more employees connect outside of the workplace, the more their overall communication will improve.
3. Obtain an Open-Door Policy
Often times, communication is blocked because employees feel uncomfortable and apprehensive about discussing tough topics with management. Every single hand that touches your organization is important—from the mailroom to the boardroom. It is important to know when and where protocol is not being followed, and better yet, which improvements can be made.
Instituting an open-door policy empowers employees to speak openly and honestly. By making management approachable, employees feel that their opinions and observations matter, so they are more apt to communicate. Open-door policies result in greater contributions to the organization because employees believe that they are valued and respected. Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principle #2 is ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation.’ Make sure to thank the employee for their courage and open communication.
Although taking these steps may be time-consuming, the future dividends are well worth the effort. Enroll in the Dale Carnegie Course for Effective Communications and Human Relations, and watch your verbal and non-verbal communication skills soar!