Communication with employees is vital for any successful operation. Whether you have one part-time worker or employ a team of hundreds, employees need to have clear direction.
Communication starts at the top. Leaders need to create the system and process to encourage open communication, establish goals and vision, and leverage technology to create streamlined ways to communicate with teams.
All too often companies lose track of their combined visions. Departments and employees focus on their individual goals and they can slightly shift from what the company wants to accomplish.
In the book “Traction", author Gino Wickman talks about making goals that your employees can “see”. It’s not about making charts, but instead telling the story of what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to do this together as a company.
Set aside some time and work with your leadership team and ask about your company goals. You might be surprised that everyone has very different answers. Work with your team and develop SMART goals for the year, 3-years, and a 10-year vision.
Meet with your staff and make sure everyone knows their part and buys-in to the vision. Yes, the first step is knowing what your company goal is - but what good does that do if no one buys in? Kickoff meetings and a special off-site conference can be utilized to get your team excited. Clear vision and excitement can create that boost in enthusiasm and engagement.
This was written on whiteboard in a company training. It’s not a radio station. It’s an important acronym for all employees.
What’s In It For Me
Even if your employees buy in to the company goal, it all comes down to how it helps them. Although a companywide meeting can communicate the overall goals and benefits for the team, having one on one meetings with employees and asking about their personal goals is important for buy in.
Individualized questions and conversations with your employees can bridge the gap and ensure that their micro goals help the overall company goals.
Open communication between employees and management is extremely important.
Once an employee loses the ability to ask questions or talk freely with management, they will create their own expectations and set their own guidelines.
Encourage employees to reach out to management, established co-workers, and leadership when they are unsure of goals, tasks, or situations. Promoting open lines of communication will help keep employees motivated and clear that they are doing what is expected.
Open communication is not the same as having an open door policy.
Open communication is setting up systems to gauge your employee’s engagement, problems, and understanding of their tasks. These can be done with scheduled one to one meetings, small group settings that foster question and answers, or surveys online.
Don’t be scared to check in by an email or a team messenger app. Leaders that ask employees questions about their tasks and goals show they are interested and want to make sure their employees succeed.
Keeping your employees informed should be easier than ever. Technology has made it possible to send a quick message via Slack or Teams, allowing you to reach all employees, individual departments, or even one single employer.
Applications on mobile phones allow users to choose when they want notifications, helping companies keep a work/life balance. Leaders can send a message and not worry about disturbing someone’s night. Read receipts help communicate, with frequent prompting, if an employee saw a message. If you establish a system, you no longer have to reply “done” or “read” to every little message. Save time and energy by using the latest technology.
Since early 2020, the adoption of video messaging has helped employees talk directly with teams without having to find a meeting space. Zoom, Teams, and WebX are popular video conferencing tools that allow you to have one on one meetings or group sessions. A quick 15-minute meeting no longer requires you to drive across town or wait outside someone’s office for them to be ready. A simple email prompt can alert you when the meeting is ready.
Scheduling meetings has never been easier. Applications like Calendly allow users to create personalized schedules that they can share with other team members. Leaders should set up specific times each month for open meetings and share with their employees.
How often should you get your entire team together? Every team is different and the pace for each job varies, but you should meet or have scheduled communication with leadership or management weekly.
A lot can change during the course of seven days, especially when everyone is asked to carry out specific tasks. These meetings should be scheduled with the intent to update on progress and communicate clearly next steps or obstacles.
Meetings that should be emails - should be emails.
Do not frustrate your team by having meetings just to “have meetings”. Make sure there is a purpose. Be clear, concise, and it doesn’t have to be a set amount of time. Have an agenda and stick to it.
Have an opportunity to ask questions and allow your team to communicate any issues or struggles they have. This might not be the time to brainstorm and fix the problem, but communicating weekly allows you and your team a way to get any struggles (or positive news) out.
Celebrate the wins weekly. Encourage open communication about struggles weekly.
Getting the team together is a great way to review progress, roll out new initiatives, and foster collaboration and communication between team members.
Regardless of the size of your team, leadership can efficiently communicate in group meetings. If held regularly, companies can establish check points for when they can bring the teams together to re-energize.
Most individuals need to refocus after 90 days. This is not just for work related tasks, but nearly every goal an individual tries to accomplish.
Having quarterly meetings allows management and front line employees to get on the same page and realign their goals.
Meetings don’t always have to be large corporate gatherings. Retreats and company picnics can also help with communication. These outings can be a great way for employees to connect with management or leadership, allowing for easier communication in the future.
We go to the web to find information about everything we do in life. Employees are also using the web to find out information about their job - how to accomplish tasks or best strategies. Leverage your internal networks to be information hubs to keep your employees informed.
Big and small companies can take advantage of web portals, creating private websites with required company usernames. Management or leadership can post and publish news, events, or trainings. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo allow for private or unlisted videos, allowing for easy and affordable ways to share videos with the team. Programs like Loom and Zoom allow you to record and capture videos of your screen or meetings, making trainings and walkthroughs easier than ever.
Popular message programs like Slack or Discord can operate as hubs for internal communication, allowing you to setup individual channels for employees and groups.
Although the methods of communication will change in time, the importance of staying in alignment with your team will always be a top priority.
Informed employees understand the company vision, feel engaged and will ask appropriate questions to ensure they are doing their best. Open communication will help management understand employee struggles, creating trust and eventual loyalty.
Developing strong lines of communication with management and front line employees will ensure your goals are in alignment and realized.