Want to improve productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention? Communication is paramount!
Communication is the most important component in creating and maintaining a great culture. Increasing transparency naturally creates an environment with less confusion and more focus on the work that’s being done.
Prioritise communications and aim to build a team based on trust and transparency which allows your team to thrive. Here are a few simple tips to help introduce a culture of communication.
Mix it up!
The efforts of any individual aren't always enough to keep up with a complex business landscape and excel as an organisation. Maximise on the skills and expertise of the whole team by bouncing ideas off your colleagues inside and outside of your usual working pattern.
Why not try inviting a colleague from a different function into your next brainstorm? This is a great way to bring a new perspective.
Mentor or buddy schemes are also a great way to gain new skills and understand more about the wider business, and encourage interdepartmental communication.
Daniel Coyle's book, "The Culture Code" references MIT professor Thomas Allen and his research findings that the most successful teams sit close to each other and can establish eye contact with each other regularly.
Plotted on a graph, the increase in interaction against proximity is known as the “Allen Curve”. “Closeness helps create efficiencies of connection” even with digital communication, with studies showing “we’re far more likely to text, email, and interact virtually with people who are physically close.”
Many studies since then have also highlighted the importance of physical proximity resulting in the end of colleagues being separated by cubicles and the rising popularity of open-plan offices. In the study by Allen, when colleagues are within 8 meters of each other, levels of communication go off the chart.
Organising an offsite, a celebratory lunch or after-work drinks creates an opportunity for employees to come together in a more informal setting. This gives them an opportunity to learn more about each other outside of their official duties and allow them to establish a deeper relationship. And would you believe it, stronger personal connections create more effective communication!
Bonus: A Gallup study found that having friends at the office boosts employee satisfaction by 50%, confirming that satisfied employees are more likely to remain in the company.
Offer opportunities for employees to speak up
Make sure that you’re having regular meetings. Let's not start packing out everyone's diaries with unnecessary meetings that distract them from their day to day duties or don't add value. However, regular meetings, 1 to 1s and All-Hands meetings with specific agendas and clear action points, are beneficial to those attending. Make sure you commit to these, especially if you are working remotely - particularly as I write this in March 2020 when thousands of people who wouldn't normally work from home have been asked to during the COVID-19 crisis.
Invest in technology by introducing a formal platform to collect feedback, such as an employee survey. They are a great way of understanding how your employees are feeling and are usually anonymous meaning that people can speak their mind without fear of judgment.
Tip: Employee surveys can be hugely beneficial to the business but don’t forget to implement changes as a result of your findings. 33 Talent's HR Consultancy team offer employee engagement surveys and workshops to help businesses engage and retain their teams. Get in touch with us via this link
…...And make it a safe environment to speak up
It’s great that employees can be 100% honest under the guise of an anonymous survey, but let your employees know that they can speak up at any time without judgment or blame.
It’s very common for employees to avoid voicing their opinions for fear of ruffling feathers but encouraging people to speak up is a great way to unlock innovation and creativity. Let them know that all feedback is useful and if they have ideas, there's no such thing as a bad idea!
Tip: consider the cultural and personality mix of your employees. Not everyone communicates in the same way so give a mix of opportunities to share opinions.
It’s a two-way street - be transparent
Do your employees know what is happening in your business? The strategy, the goals, and what are we all working towards? Sharing the company vision helps employees feel connected and keeps them engaged. Understanding what their efforts are contributing to can make them feel less like a cog in the works and more like an essential component in a well-oiled machine.
Bringing them on the journey with you will inspire them, empowering them to thrive!
So that’s it, it’s time to grab a coffee with Joyce from payroll, schedule that new business brainstorm with Phillip from marketing or offer your mentorship to the new intern.
Let's give feedback, voice your opinions and share ideas. Let’s celebrate wins and discuss how we can learn from our failures.
Be brave, be vulnerable, be honest. Be the advisor, be the mentor, be the friend. Be the expert!