Improving company communication
From transparency to engagement, fostering successful relationships with employees relies on good communication. — fizkes/Getty Images

Communication is the key to any successful relationship. This is especially true in business.

As a manager, it’s important to avoid conflict and maintain efficiency in the workplace. This can only be achieved through consistent communication with your team. Here are five smart strategies for communicating with your employees.

Be transparent

Transparency should be one of your top priorities as a business leader. While you don’t want to share every piece of bad news or impending drama, you also never want your employees to feel like they’re left in the dark.

Word often gets out and travels quickly, and avoidance is never a good idea with sensitive company information. Be sure to approach every difficult conversation with empathy and honesty (within your limits), and be open to any questions your employees might have.

Also, end every discussion by letting your team know you’re available for follow-up meetings or discussions should any issues or worries arise.

Schedule one-on-ones

No one employee is the same, but every employee is valuable. That being said, you’ll want to get to know each worker on a personal level by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with each of your key team members. Understand their strengths, weaknesses and passions, and don’t be afraid to ask if they have any concerns about the company or its management style.

By understanding what drives their work, as well as what hinders their performance, you can better accommodate your employees on an individual level. Encourage them to embrace their own skill set and interests, and really let their personalities shine. This will not only increase retention, but also make your workers feel more appreciated and loyal to your business. It’s crucial that you not only say but also prove how much you value and care for each and every one of them.

[Read: Employee Retention: How to Keep Your Best Employees Happy]

It’s important to avoid conflict and maintain efficiency in the workplace.

Host town halls

Town halls help to open a line of communication between executives and employees, and keep the whole team informed and engaged. Whether it’s once a month or once a quarter, you should gather workers from every level and share business results and initiatives.

Use these meetings to announce companywide news and projects, as well as any policy changes that may impact your staff. Your employees will appreciate being kept in the loop and will feel valued and acknowledged by leadership. For extra engagement, open the floor for questions at the end of the meeting, and even ask employees to “shout out” any specific teammate they think deserves praise that month.

Learn preferred communication channels

Not every employee wants to meet in your office once a week to chat about their performance or tasks; some prefer to converse over the phone, in a casual setting (like a coffee shop or lunch spot) or even online. While some discussions do warrant a traditional meeting, consider how you might switch up your environment or channel of communication for smaller discussions so each employee feels comfortable. In following this adaptive, situational leadership approach, you’ll find your workers will be more willing to talk freely and more involved in the conversation.

Engage, don’t preach

Don’t lecture your employees as if they’re clueless. While it’s easy to assume you know more than they do, you never want to approach them with that attitude. Instead, start an open discussion that encourages a dialogue.

Ask questions, listen to their opinions and show you’re interested in what they have to say. Perhaps they have a great idea they’d otherwise be too timid to share, or a question they’d feel uncomfortable asking. By engaging your workers and making them part of the conversation, you’ll help them feel more excited to open up.

It’s no shock that good communication is essential to a positive work culture. With these five strategies, you’ll keep your workers motivated, engaged and ⸺ most importantly ⸺ satisfied in their careers.

[Read: Inclusive Leadership: Being the Boss of Belonging]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 23, 2019