Communication is king. In the workplace, communication is the process of exchanging information, both verbal and non-verbal within the organization. An organization may consist of employees from different cultures and backgrounds which can make effective communication harder to accomplish and more important than ever before.
No matter the size of the organization, or the background of employees, effective leaders must be strong communicators to inspire and lead their teams. Check out these expert tips and strategies that will keep your communication efforts on point.
“Communication is the real work of leadership.” – Nitin Nohria – Dean, Harvard Business School
Use your Brand to communicate to Employees
- Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. Your brand is your promise and identity. Make sure that the work environment matches your brand. This non-verbal communication will speak volumes to employees.
- Define your Corporate Culture. Corporate Culture is the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Communicate your culture with employees often. Employee engagement is enhanced greatly when employees identify with their company’s culture.
Feedback should be regular and ongoing
- Positive feedback and constructive criticism helps everyone. Especially if it is followed up with suggestions for improvement.
- Provide feedback in a timely manner. Don’t ambush employees at review time. The time to communicate information is when the employee has time to make changes.
- Provide resources necessary to for employees to make changes/improvements.
- Recognize that certain terms may be offensive and derogatory. Stop using them.
- Similarly, be sensitive to how words are perceived.
- Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements to communicate without triggering a defensive response. For example, a boss telling an employee “You didn’t do this project correctly” lends very differently than “I was hoping to see this project handled in a different way.”
- Use the Sandwich Approach when delivering constructive feedback. The sandwich approach starts and ends with positive feedback with the negative feedback in the middle. For example, I like how you ran that seminar. I’d like to see more detail when discussing the financials but I’m sure you can add it in for the next presentation.
The most important piece of employee communication is listening. Active listening skills include:
- Seeking to understand
- Being non-judgmental
- Offering undivided attention
- Avoiding interruptions and effectively using silence and non-verbal gestures.
Lastly, encourage ample opportunities for employees to speak and share their concerns or issues. Many of our clients have an open-door policy which invites feedback. Other clients use effective tools such as frequent meetings and employee surveys.
For additional information or help setting up clear, consistent communication practices for leaders and employees, contact us at ZM Ventures.