Effective communication is central to a company’s internal functioning. Cross-information is a common complaint from employees as well as team leaders, and can have a negative effect on morale. A unified team is important for clients and shareholders, too.
If workplace harmony has been an issue for you recently, consider taking these approaches:
Using an “open door policy”
Make yourself available to employees whenever possible, encouraging them to share their thoughts and concerns without fear of criticism. If you can’t resolve an issue yourself, find someone who can. The important thing is to make this kind of sharing part of an ordinary workday.
Being part of the team
Instead of waiting for everyone to come to you, take an active interest in what your employees are doing—their projects, obstacles, and aspirations within the company. Be an active, visible part of the company you help lead. Sometimes, this can mean going beyond the hierarchical structure many businesses have in place.
It’s especially important that employees are properly directed if their concern is of a sensitive nature. Examples of this may include safety concerns, disagreements, or even workplace misconduct. Ensuring that employees feel comfortable when they share concerns, no matter how big or small, is a crucial first step towards good communication.
Improving communication infrastructure
Examine the communication channels that you currently have.
- Do people in your company know where to go and who to talk to when they have questions? How many departments would an employee have to go through before they found the right one?
- Are employees informed about new developments within the company? Are major changes put down in writing, such as new policies or projects, or are you relying on word of mouth to get the news out? As a company grows, so does the importance of written communication.
If your company doesn’t have clear channels for employees to ask questions, raise concerns, or otherwise make their voices heard, they might not make an effort to find them. No one likes being given the runaround, especially when they’re busy.
Keeping it open
Good communication requires regular, active participation from everyone, not just leaders. But the time and effort is always well spent.