Com­mu­ni­ca­tion with staff cru­cial

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

For busi­ness own­ers, reg­u­larly en­gag­ing with em­ploy­ees is im­per­a­tive.

If you are the boss, how can em­ploy­ees know what you are think­ing if you are not talk­ing to them? This works both ways.

Does fear of the un­known hold you back from com­mu­ni­cat­ing?

Fear could be from both the em­ployee and em­ployer as I will go into a bit fur­ther.

Re­cently two sce­nar­ios were a topic of con­ver­sa­tion, both of which were very dis­ap­point­ing.

In one in­stance an em­ployee gave no­tice af­ter seven years’ ser­vice.

One of the rea­sons for part­ing ways was that the em­ployee had be­come dis­sat­is­fied with their work brief and be­came bored.

Pos­si­bly fear held them back from bring­ing this up with man­age­ment.

More im­por­tantly man­age­ment should have had a sys­tem in place for reg­u­lar meet­ings with em­ploy­ees to coun­ter­act such sit­u­a­tions.

Sadly, this was the state­ment from the em­ployer: “What a shame, we had such great plans for you.”

This was the first in­stance in which this em­ployee had ever heard such words. So there it is again, an ‘un­spo­ken’ ex­pec­ta­tion.

Had the em­ployer met reg­u­larly with the em­ployee and ver­balised their plans the loyal em­ployee might well have stayed on in their role.

I’ll ad­mit they might still have left and there is the ‘fear’ fac­tor for an em­ployer.

Afraid to ask

Are you, as an em­ployer, too afraid to ask your staff how they are en­joy­ing their job?

Are you fear­ful they will say just what you don’t want to hear? But what if they don’t? What if it was just what they needed to hear to stay on?

In an­other in­stance, and just af­ter work­ing for about 12 months, an em­ployee based in a re­gional of­fice, with head of­fice in an­other lo­ca­tion, left em­ploy­ment be­cause their work ex­pec­ta­tions changed from how they were ini­tially em­ployed.

These changes came about with no com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the em­ployee – it was just ‘ex­pected’.

An­other ‘un­spo­ken’ ex­pec­ta­tion.

By all ac­counts this em­ployee was re­ceiv­ing great re­views from clients, so again, a valu­able em­ployee was lost.

So did the em­ployer have the con­ver­sa­tion: “How can we keep you?”

It might well have been a sim­ple fix and hence a valu­able em­ployee re­tained.

Don’t hide be­hind fear when it comes to en­gag­ing with your em­ploy­ees.

It is im­per­a­tive that you know whether they are happy.

Don’t just as­sume they are be­cause you might be left stranded when they de­cide to leave for no ap­par­ent rea­son – ex­cept that you hadn’t ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cated with them and al­lowed the op­por­tu­nity for open con­ver­sa­tion.

A con­fi­den­tial ques­tion­naire is a good way to start, and then talk­ing with your staff one-onone.

Group or team meet­ings are not the place to ask your staff if they are happy in their role as in­di­vid­u­als.

A per­sonal ap­proach is al­ways best. Make them reg­u­larly so your staff mem­bers get com­fort­able with them and in due course you will find they will use the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss all man­ner of things.

You will earn re­spect by keep­ing the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open.

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