Team Members cannot be expected to excel in their roles and responsibilities without proper guidance and knowledge.
It has been said the strongest relationships are built on a foundation of communication. As such, it should come as no surprise that myriad Research Institutes, including one of the three companies I founded, have found a strong positive correlation between communication and employee engagement.
When managers establish a culture of open and honest dialogue among their team members, the percentage of Actively Engaged individuals rises. Since engagement is overwhelmingly linked to positive business outcomes, it is important to utilize the various best practices for communication success.
Discourse between supervisors and their direct reports allows for a greater understanding of not only issues employees are struggling with, but also the positive aspects of employees’ jobs.
For example, when supervisors are aware of what tasks individuals feel are most enjoyable, they are more likely to assign projects based on workers’ preferences. In doing so, team members will be more engaged in these projects, thus increasing the likelihood they perform their duties to the best of their abilities.
Communication also affords managers the opportunity to easily present changes that have been made as a direct result of dialogue among staff. Awareness of the modifications reflecting team members’ opinions will contribute to employees’ perceptions that leadership cares about and listens to them. Everyone wants to feel as though they matter, so when employees recognize their opinions making a difference, they will likely be more actively engaged in the culture.
Additionally, communication can help in employee branding, or the overall perception the employee has about his or her experience working within and at the organization. Furthermore, employee branding reflects how well the organization’s vision and strategy are engrained into the psyche of the employee.
Simply put. great employees want to know what’s going on. They want to know where the organization is going and how their individual contribution can help it get there. Making the mission of the organization clear to team members and highlighting their contribution to that mission will contribute to more positive branding among employees.
In addition, information is a key source of learning for team members. But unless the information is well-organized, it can become a burden for employees, and not a benefit. Thus, in order for you to effectively and consistently deliver information to team members, it is imperative that you create standardization for: disseminating information, promoting leadership best practices, creating policies and procedures, mapping workflows and operations, employee onboarding, and ongoing team member training.
Examining the results of poor communication with team members provides more than enough motivation for adopting the aforementioned communication best practices. Ineffective communication leads to: operational errors and inconsistencies, customer complaints, damage to your brand image, and team member confusion and bewilderment, which ultimately results in lower productivity and profitability.
To Help You And Your Managers In This Regard, Here Are 5 Leadership Best Practices for Communication With Team Members:
- Encourage Employees to Be Vocal
One best practice your managers can utilize to enhance communication involves encouraging employees to be vocal. As such, leaders should make themselves available to employees. When dialogue occurs between supervisors and their team members, active listening should be the norm.
Encourage employees to ask questions and seek clarification for anything they do not understand. When employees realize managers want to talk to them and answer questions, they will be more willing to ask. Misunderstandings will decrease, and engagement will rise.
Managers should also consider how to present each of their messages in the most clear, informative, and interesting way, thus encouraging employees to listen. Information and updates will be more valuable when presented frequently and concisely, such as after staff meetings.
With constant communication, employees will not be overwhelmed by a sudden influx of new information and will be better able to understand the messages presented. Regular meetings and check-ins should be established as well to keep the dialogue flowing.
- Leverage The Strongest And Most Effective Channel: Your Managers’ Direct Communication To Employees
My last company, HR Solutions, was the first to discover that the #1 preferred source for employees to receive information was from their manager. Moreover, we were the first to reveal that there is a disconnect between the method by which employees receive information and the way they would like to receive information. Specifically, only 35 percent of respondents receive information about the organization directly from their managers or supervisors, whereas 52 percent choose this option when asked how they would prefer to receive information.
Thus, it is important to recognize this disconnect and work to bridge the communication gap.
- Promote Honesty & Accountability
Another best practice to enhance Communication includes being honest and accountable. Managers and leadership should make sure they are always truthful when speaking with employees. They should hold themselves responsible for promises made. Do not make promises that cannot be kept.
If an issue arises preventing execution, inform employees as soon as possible, and present an alternative to resolve this issue. Otherwise, employees’ trust in management will suffer, causing a dip in engagement levels.
- Utilize Performance Reviews
Team member performance can also be utilized as a best practice in communication. HR Solutions’ Research Institute uncovered that only 5 percent of performance reviews in North America include active conversations about engagement.
Thus, with all the discussion about engagement and its positive effects on organizations, reviews are exceptional opportunities to evaluate each individual’s engagement level.
More specifically, during performance meetings, managers and employees can determine each team member’s particular drivers and detractors of engagement. Leaders can then leave the meetings with an idea of how to improve engagement levels among employees, creating a significantly more actively engaged, productive, and profitable organization.
- Convey Strategy & Mission
Finally, it is vital to clearly convey the strategy and mission to employees, as this is the fourth most impactful driver of engagement. Managers often simply state the values of an organization, either in an employee’s initial training or on postings throughout the office, rather than precisely articulating and explaining the strategy and mission.
As such, employees frequently overlook the organization’s true meaning and values. Misunderstandings and incomplete knowledge about an organization may result, making it hard for team members to establish an emotional connection with the organization. Furthermore, managers regularly fail to communicate exactly how each employee and his or her job contributes to the strategic big picture.
Articulating the value each employee brings to the organization will keep employees engaged. Everyone wants to feel as though they have a purpose. When employees recognize they are contributing to an organization’s success, they will likely exert more effort toward achieving goals within the organization.
If managers clearly communicate to each team member exactly what role he or she plays in the strategic outcomes of the organization, employee engagement will increase.
In summary, open, honest, and effective communication should become the “new normal” for any organization striving to achieve world-class business outcomes. We know that the communication best practices above will help you and your managers on your journey to such stellar status and results.