Good communication is a central theme in all successful organizations. Whereas in the past employees had to almost fear managers, now it’s a lot different. For example, managers of the past often sat in their offices as a far-away figure, now managers practice open-door policies and they often work side-by-side with other employees. While managers used to make all of the decisions in the past and their ideas were the only ones that mattered, now they delegate decisions, give employees more autonomy and they embrace their ideas. Manager and employee communication has changed significantly. Companies like Google show that it’s best to have a transparent, open-door policy with employees. Who wouldn’t want to be as successful as Google? And yet, there’s always something to be improved.
How do you promote and build a healthy communicative environment in your business? Here’s how:
Embody it as a manager
When it comes to communication, employees will look to you, as the manager, for guidance and inspiration – the way you behave is of paramount importance. If a manager is open and encourages great communication practices, the chances are that staff will respond in kind. Similarly, if the manager is a closed book, then you cannot rightly expect employs to open up to you – it simply doesn’t work like that.
“Embrace good communications practices and embody them every day in the course of carrying out your role, and your employees will feel inspired to do the same,” advises Marina Butler, a communications blogger at
Boomessays and Revieweal.
Promote an open-door policy
As part of an open management style, make sure that your employees understand that your door is always open. This may sound like a cliché, and even uttering those words may make you feel a little corny (here’s a tip – say it in a different way!) but this needs to exist if a communicative environment is to prevail. Your employees need to understand very well that they can come to you with whatever the issue is and they can understand that they will get the support they need. That is imperative.
Act on what is said, and never punish
And this point is crucial: make sure what is said in those open-door meetings is acted upon (if it is necessary to do so) and that there are never recriminations for anything that is talked about. Instead find a way to work through whatever the issue is, and extend this to all elements of your communications practice.
Operate an open culture
Employees will always respond to the prevailing organizational culture, so if they feel the environment is not conducive to effective feedback, however that may be, then they are likely to shut down. It is therefore vital that the environment you instill is one of open communication processes (which are part of your business procedures) that are opening followed and acted upon. Part of this will be ensuring that there are little or no recriminations for employees who do speak their mind, but obviously this has to be encouraged to be given in a constructive and respectful way: equally you don’t want everyone piling in with their two cents worth in a way which becomes anarchic. You do want everyone’s feedback, it just needs to be delivered in line with organized company practices, which need to be established.
Employ clear communications policies
This point has already been touched upon, but an open environment needs to be built on top of policies, procedures and practices that support it. These also need to exist so that all management and staff understand where the line should be drawn, and what the established process is if an employee or manager oversteps that line. This is just best-practice.
Encourage two-way feedback
One barrier to effective communication practices in organizations is that there is no instilled culture of staff providing feedback to management. There may be performance review cycles, but this only involves feedback from manager to employee. It is therefore vital that this feedback starts to go both ways, and is performed in an environment where the employee is encouraged to do so.
“Build two-way feedback in as a familiar aspect of the review process and very soon the employee will begin to feel much more comfortable in opening up to you as a manager, and this will manifest outside of the review cycle too, in everyday work situations, which is exactly what you are looking for,” says Adam Trenton, a journalist at Assignment Help and Essayroo.
Encourage team communication
Team building exercises may seem a little unnecessary, but they are so popular because they are great fun and they work. Naturally a team will include different personalities and characters who engage in different ways, but where this is invaluable in that it builds communication outside of the normal work environment (where obviously you want to bring it back to), in an unfamiliar setting where employees need to lean on each other in order to get the task done. It breeds confidence in each other and encourages that all important dialogue that is a major aspect of every successful team.
Technology is certainly there to improve employee communication. For example, instant messaging is beneficial for communication and it feels almost informal, friendly. Social media is also very helpful as a way to communicate with employees. Featuring some of your best employees there can be a good way to praise them or motivate other employees. You can also improve overall morale by simply posting images of your team. All in all, technology does improve means of communication and on a more informal level as well, which improves the trust.
Outside of these official team building exercises its good to encourage more naturally occurring practices that can form a part of the culture within the team, such as sharing a cake for somebody’s birthday, or just taking half an hour to have a coffee as a team once a week or how often it may be. These little gestures make a huge difference.