Communication with staff crucial
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.