Diana Mackie, FundingGates
In an office where everyone is able to effectively communicate, things runs a lot smoother. Your employees will be more productive if they understand what you want and expect the first time around, and you’ll be able to avoid those somewhat awkward conversations where you must critique or correct their work. To improve employee happiness and productivity (not to mention the benefits to your sanity!) try these 8 tips for effective employee communication.
1. Follow up with an email.
The most impactful thing you can do to ensure everyone understands the outcome of the conversation or meeting you just had is to follow up with a summary email. It can be hard to remember all 6 of the proposed tasks from a verbal conversation, and an email follow up will ensure that you expectations and timeline are understood.
2. Leave your door open
Your employees are bound to have questions from time to time, but they may charge ahead if they feel they cannot approach you. Whether you’d prefer your employees to reach out to you via email or “walk in” office conversations, let your employees know you’re happily available to them for questions or assistance. You’re the boss because you succeed and earned your way to the top, it would be a waste if you didn’t share some of your insights with your employees- and it will save time if they come to you before they tackle a task incorrectly. This can be vital when it comes to sales endeavors, you often times only get one shot to make a sale!
3. Stick to the essentials
Before presenting a project to your employees, or presenting a single task, write out what you plan to say. Trim any and all extra “fat” to prevent information overload. If you employees feel you’re going on and on and the information isn’t important or relevant, they’ll start to tune you out. Explaining tasks and projects in an efficient manner benefits everyone- your employees will remain engaged and you’ll avoid wasting precious workday time.
4. Hold targeted meetings
In the same vein, try to keep your meetings and conversations targeted. Conversations are most successful when they are direct, specific, and applicable. Not all departments need to be briefed on what the other is up to, so hold separate meetings to increase the engagement level of participants. You will be better at describing different projects when you’re speaking just to the applicable team members- and this is a great opportunity to use humor! Slip in industry-specific joke just to keep things friendly and to better hold the attention of your employees.
5. Include personal details
When addressing your employee, especially when giving them a task, try to add a personal touch. Even if it’s just ensuring you use the person’s name, your conversation will come off less like a robot issuing orders, and more like a friendly conversation between two co-workers. Be sure to include a complimentative statement, like how well they handled the last task, or how much you admire their mastery of Excel. This will motivate the employee to complete the task up to your high standards- in a good way!
6. Be real about bad news
Bad news is simply a part of life. Be open about the missed deadlines or goals with your employees. If they are more aware of the company’s ups and downs, they’ll feel more like they are apart of the team. Hold a brainstorming session and ask your employees to explore with you what went wrong, what could have gone better, and what things you all could do differently in the future. Most importantly, do not wait or delay in discussing bad news- rumors fly and employees will likely get more upset or stressed that way. Use corrective action notices to maintain consist feedback in delivering bad news.
7. Connect the task to the goal
Instead of simply asking your employees to complete a task or make an improvement, connect that request to the big picture, end-goal to really drive home the idea. This will help add to your employee’s motivation to do the task correctly, and well.
When you turn in your expense reports on time (task), I am able to complete the necessary paperwork to ensure all employees get compensated as quickly as possible (the goal).
8. Encourage respect
Never forget the age old adage, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You are the boss, so you’re setting the standard. Don’t gossip, be respectful and polite, don’t interrupt, and keep things calm.