effective employee communicationsLast Friday we posted the article… FMLA: The 3 Most Commonly Asked Questions… which was Part 1 in our series on Human Resources and Benefits.  This week we continue that series focusing on employee communications.

Do you love your job?  If so, you’re part of the 45% of employed Americans currently satisfied with their work, according to a Conference Board study.  This means that the majority of those employed in America wake up dreading their day each morning. 

There are many reasons for job dissatisfaction, of course:  unsatisfactory job conditions, job-related stress, workplace politics, lack of potential career advancement, etc.  However, a major contributor to employee job dissatisfaction that’s often overlooked is the lack of consistent and meaningful communication from management.  Fortunately, developing an impactful communication model is easier than you might think. 

Businessweek put together some great tips and best practices for increasing employee morale and job satisfaction.  We thought we would share some of their advice.  Here are 10 ways to effectively communicate with your employees:

  1. Share your passion - Employees are attracted to business leaders who are genuinely excited about their business.  Many in leadership roles have a great passion for their work, but tend to hide it.  Share this enthusiasm!  It will become contagious. 
  2. Articulate a compelling vision – Employees feel as if they’re sailing on a rudderless ship when management fails to communicate their vision for the company.  By engaging employees in the company’s vision, you’ll create an employee base that’s excited for the future and one that looks forward to growing with the company.
  3. Explain Why before How – Making changes in your company?  Saying “Here’s what we’re going to do and here’s how you need to do it” without explaining why gives your employees the distinct impression they are nothing more than small cogs in a large machine.  Don’t treat them like children.  Employees desire to know why decisions are made.  Be honest and open with them.
  4. Invite participation – Businessweek sums this up by saying, “Good leaders are good listeners.  But great leaders go one step further; they actively solicit input from their employees.”  Want to make your employees feel valuable?  Ask them their opinions on company matters. 
  5. Speak in optimistic language – American philosophy William James once said, “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”  So it is in the workplace.  Creating a culture of optimism results in enthusiastic and productive employees.
  6. Commit to open and honest communication – When was the last time you proactively shared bad news with your employees?  Do it.  Good news or bad, open and honest communication with your employees makes them feel valued.  It goes a long way towards building a trusting relationship between employees and management.
  7. Share stories of extraordinary service – Ritz Carlton has become famous for its daily 15-minute staff meetings in which employees are encouraged to share ‘wow stories’, or stories of extraordinary service.  In an article by Carmine Gallo of Businessweek... Employee Motivation the Ritz-Carlton Way, he says, “these are true stories of employee heroics that go above and beyond conventional customer service.”  The result?  Employees are publicly honored for their work and are subsequently motivated to perform at the highest level. 
  8. Deliver praise – Employees who work hard and produce results become deflated when their performance goes unnoticed or unrecognized by their managers.  Go out of your way to provide feedback and when deserving, praise.  Your employees will flourish. 
  9. Take the time to encourage – Know your employees beyond the workplace.  Desire to understand what they’re passionate about – their families, hobbies, hopes and dreams.  By encouraging them in these areas, you create a meaningful connection between you and your employees.
  10. Walk, talk, and look like a leader – Command an image of professionalism.  Look the part.  Act the part.  Perhaps most importantly, speak the part.  Maintain eye contact with employees when you speak with them and when spoken to.  Eye contact indicates you care about the conversations you have with employees.  

Read the complete Businessweek article... Communicating More Effectively with Employees

What methods of communication have worked for you?