Posts Tagged ‘Two-way communication’

Are You Communicating Effectively?

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

How your organization communicates is a good indicator of how well your business is performing. With statistics revealing that the majority of American workers are dissatisfied with their current positions, companies cannot afford to make communication errors.Talk

Businesses that communicate effectively reap many benefits. Employees perform quality work and complete assignments by deadline. If a problem occurs, workers address it immediately to diffuse the situation. Communicating effectively provides managers with more time because they do not have to repeat explanations or micromanage to help their employees finalize tasks. Additionally, turnover is reduced and companies’ bottom lines increase.

Organizations that lack effective communication put themselves at risk for many negative scenarios. Inadequately explaining a project can lead to missed deadlines, poor client service or lost business deals. Pitiable communication skills can cause employee frustration, which can lead to a decrease in productivity or an increase in employee turnover.

Because the number of unhappy workers is growing steadily, it is important for companies to evaluate their current communication practices. Below are a few strategies to help your organization communicate effectively:

  • Start with Management:
    • Managers have multiple responsibilities. In addition to their own assignments, they relay information and projects to their subordinates. Problems occur quickly when managers are not communicating their requests effectively.
    • Employees should not have to guess what their managers expect them to accomplish. Expectations should be communicated clearly and repeated if necessary. Creating an action plan with specific timelines, employee roles and final due dates will eliminate the probability that staff members misunderstand assignments.
  • Encourage Open Communication:
    • No one wins when there is only one line of communication at an organization. Employees do not perform at their full potential when their managers are only allowed to give feedback. Encourage all staff members to ask questions, discuss concerns or suggest ways to problem solve often.
    • Management and senior leadership should try to uncover any communication concerns employees might have. Company leadership also should ensure that employees do not feel as though revealing unfavorable information could jeopardize their positions. Anonymous employee opinion surveys can serve as an option to find answers to assessing your current communication style.
  • Listen and Respect:
    • In addition to allowing employees of all levels to express their opinions on company decisions or policies, it is also important to actively listen to their concerns or suggestions.
    • Do not talk over them or dismiss their viewpoints. All employees, including management and senior leaders, should respect the opinions of their colleagues. Before passing judgment on an idea or concern, take time to understand why they are addressing the issue.

Following these guidelines will help your organization create a positive work environment. With these strategies in place, workers will be happier and take greater pride in their work, which will increase productivity. Relationships on every level will also improve—managers to subordinates, coworkers to coworkers, and employees to clients.

For more information on utilizing effective communication techniques, please contact CAI’s Advice & Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Aaron Friedman

4 Keys To Success as an HR Professional

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Regardless of company size, an effective HR function is an essential factor in business success. As a strategic management partner and an employee advocate and mentor, the HR professional is in a position to help promote the business, the opportunities for employees and his or her own success by implementing the following:

1.  Positive Two-Way Communication

Excellent communication with employees can make a company great—or break the company when communication is poor. People like to work for management teams who are open and transparent, and the more potential there is for that communication to be a two-way street, the better. Sharing information and business goals with employees builds trust and cooperation among the ranks.

Suggestion boxes, email, company newsletters and open meetings between management and employees are all time-tested communication strategies that work. Make yourself accessible and be involved, and you will be a more successful communicator.

2.  Fair and Objective Performance Reviews

Implementing an objective employee performance review system will go a long ways toward establishing a foundation for career paths, raises and pay structure. To motivate employees, link top performance with bonuses or raises on a merit basis. Often a gift or public recognition of an employee’s accomplishments is as effective as money.

To ensure fairness for performance reviews, alert people ahead of the actual scheduled review if their performance is below par, and give them opportunities to correct the situation. Periodic feedback meetings also help, as does a cross-functional review by more than one manager. Satisfied employees who trust that they are being managed fairly are more productive than unhappy, resentful employees.

3.  Non-Monetary Benefits and Perks

Sweeten the pot with non-monetary benefits and perks, such as tuition reimbursement, flexible schedules, free parking or health club memberships. Perks and unusual benefits are an area where you can come up with creative ideas that will help attract and retain employees. (This topic is discussed more thoroughly in our previous blog.)

4. Improving The Bottom Line

You will become a company hero if you can use your knowledge as an HR professional to come up with ways to:

  • Reduce expenses for employee benefits such as medical plans or 401K
  • Improve recruiting, hiring and training practices and save costs
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Streamline and ensure compliance processes with federal or other regulatory agencies, such as OSHA

For additional information about how you can ensure your success as an HR pro, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: (UB) Sean R

Nurture Your Top Talent

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

A recent study by Sylvia Hewlett of the Center for Work-Life Policy revealed that 64 percent of surveyed employees were considering leaving their current job, while 24 percent are actively seeking employment elsewhere.  As businesses begin to recover from layoffs, consolidations and decreased earnings, 73 percent of employees surveyed still feel discouraged, and 64 percent feel a lack of motivation in their current jobs.

The recession has prevented most employers from being able to dedicate tangible funding toward compensation increases and improved benefits for employees, which has led high-performing employees to look for new opportunities.  Without exhausting the precious funds needed to sustain the business through these difficult times, employers must find new ways to engage their high performers and keep them motivated.

Here are three no-cost suggestions:

  • Create an atmosphere of clear, two-way communication. Start with company-wide meetings and then split into the department level, or even the team level, to continue the meeting.  In these smaller groups, employees are more likely to speak up if they have a suggestion, comment or criticism.  Make sure their voices are heard so they always feel that they are an important part of the overall organization.
  • Instead of money, offer time. Flexible work schedules, including working from home and exercise breaks during the day, can boost productivity without breaking the bank.
  • Seek ways to create career opportunities. As organizations and departments consolidate, there will be opportunities for remaining team members to assume cross-functional roles and stretch for new assignments.  Look for those opportunities to train employees with direct, hands-on experience.

Now is the time to find creative ways to nurture your top talent and make their engagement a priority.  Reward their contributions so both the organization and the individual employees will be successful.  If you have questions regarding this opportunity to encourage your top performers, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: ICMA Photos