Speaking clearly and honestly is key to interacting with employees at any time, and especially during times of change. Communicate effectively and you’ll have a happier, more motivated staff.
So often, we worry only about what we say to our clients and how they perceive us. But if our staff are uncertain, unhappy, or uninformed, this is bound to reflect poorly when they interact with the rest of the world, whether officially or unofficially. Our employees can be our best brand ambassadors – if we ensure that they feel that the company they work for is worthy of praise.
Here’s the ‘lucky 7’ list for how to keep on top of things (while also keeping your ear to the ground).
Create a culture of regular communication if you haven’t already done so. The more your employees are used to hearing from you in a consistently meaningful way, the more likely they’ll be to respect what you have to say, and approach the message positively.
Pick the perfect platform if you want to be heard. Don’t use print media if your employees are all email people, and don’t use email if they’re never near a computer. They won’t hear you if you’re shouting from far way. Speaking of shouting – a face-to-face chat goes a long way to reassure, and it creates a great impression. So take the time to make them feel valued.
Tell them what they need AND want to know because both are equally important. Fulfil your legal obligations, and then add in whatever will set their minds at ease, or make them feel more included.
Don’t take your time – do choose the right time (which is never the last minute). When you communicate depends on the content. If you need them to be relaxed before they see your message, send it on a Friday. If you have a deadline that they need to meet, send it well in advance. An employer who never demands impossible feats unnecessarily is an employer who is well on the way to being respected.
Don’t dither – simplify and stick to what is essential. Cut out jargon wherever possible, and respect their time by getting straight to the point. After all, you want them to be busy with their jobs, not with reading endless and random messages, from you or anybody else.
Always be appropriate – because if you pitch it wrong, you’ve lost them. If you’re about to tell them something that might be a little frightening, try to be sensitive about it. If it’s complicated, be reassuring. If it’s boring… well, try to make it less so.
Listen – and let them be heard – and take their feedback into consideration. Communication is, as the cliché goes, a two-way street. If they see that things change according to their suggestions, they’ll definitely be more willing to hear you in future. So make a point of showing them that they have the power to alter things, even if only in small ways to start.
In conclusion, the operative word in the phrase ‘human resources’ is definitely the word ‘human’. First and foremost, your staff members are all people, with inherent worth and individual preferences. Their value to your company, as employees, is always a far-off second inside their own minds. But when they are respected and treated as valuable for who they are as well as for their contributions, they are sure to give their utmost as employees: willingly and with a smile.