With the advent of modern communication technology, there has been a significant transformation on people’s expectation for transparency, access to information, and knowledge. Organizations are continuously trying to keep up, and in many cases, catch up.
The success of any business depends greatly on the efficacy of the workforce, and the workforce can give its best only if there are effective communication strategies in place.
Though it is now much easier to communicate frequently through smart online platforms, organizations often ignore and forget the essential role in strengthening the workforce by building trust.
“Business leaders should never underestimate the importance of team communication, and the implication this has on building trust.”
It is undoubtedly vital for all employees to have clarity on the objectives, values, and mission of the company. However, it’s important to go a step further to help people become aware of their own as well as their colleague’s ideas and plans on how to carry forward plans to achieve those objectives.
Even if a team leader efficiently delegates roles and responsibilities to employees, any communication breakdown can crucially hamper progress.
As a leader, one must cautiously observe the engagement level of teams in order to keep the energy of excitement in the workplace going. It is essential to understand that a disengaged employee can adversely affect the productivity of the entire workplace.
You don’t solve the problem by firing the disengaged employee, you solve it by getting to the root cause of the issue: lack of intimacy and trust.
Leaders are responsible for diligently taking care of their team and developing open and frequent communication channels within the workforce.
“Communication, with the intention to build trust, is the main KEY to employee engagement.”
Seven Ways to a Better Communication Channel
A proper communication channel ensures enhanced support for your team. Here are some ways to better communicate and increase engagement in the workplace:
Have personal interactions — A closed-door suggests physical as well as psychological hindrance in the workplace. Get rid of these barriers, encourage one-on-one interactions with employees, and openly discuss your needs and expectations. Clarity on a project’s demands, their exact role and responsibility will enable you to gain their trust and provide them sufficient preparation time to maximize their potential.
Embrace constructive feedback — Feedback on projects is a natural and significant form of communication as long as it is bi-lateral. Most often leaders deliver one-way dialogues in the form of feedback and ignore employees’ comments and concerns. Listening to your employees will help you gauge their pertinent issues and come up with constructive solutions. This way, removing obstructions on the path to success becomes a joint effort.
Reward and recognition — Showing appreciation for your team encourages motivation and exhibits that you care and respect them. Celebrating their ideas, thanking a team member for competently finishing a project and expressing gratitude on small occasions is the most productive way of increasing engagement. When employees feel valued, they deliver their best on every project. The other thing you can do is to encourage peer-to-peer recognition.
Reinforce team spirit — If there is one certain thing you want to focus on, it is that teams get along well with each other. This will ensure that they communicate better. Team building activities positively impact the productivity and morale of the company. Employees communicate more openly outside of a work environment and build stronger relationships. As a leader, create such opportunities through team lunches, group meetings, outdoor activities like fitness sessions or interdepartmental sports challenges. In the age of Covid-19 stay at home orders, many of these activities can still be accomplished virtually.
Use spare time actively — Team bonding is the best way to open communication channels. Trivial activities like employees taking coffee breaks together at different times are prevalent. You can actively use break times for informal meetings and discussions by encouraging the entire team to take a break at the same time. This enables free and open conversation and allow them to catch up on projects and exchange ideas. Again, these are more challenging to accomplish due to Covid-19 stay at home orders but can still be accomplished using technology tools.
Training as a team — Training does indeed take time and money, but proactively training the team with communications skill courses will significantly improve the quality of their overall work. Even taking part in team psychological sessions will help them open up about their workplace concerns and build a stronger bond between you and them. Using check ins and circle up times to just express each other’s feelings, can do wonders to build intimacy and open communication.
Use appropriate communication channels — As a leader, it’s best to handle every project in a way that requires and reflects the most effective communication channel. For a project that demands a hands-on approach, encourage face-to-face meetings to interact and engage. On the other hand, for projects that require team members to be in multiple places or when face-to-face isn’t possible, invest in crucial online systems and collaborative applications for productivity.
“The end goal isn’t really about communication per se, it is about showing true care and building intimacy, which translates into mutual trust.”
With evolving technology and new communication channels, you can stay on top of any problems that arise and competently encourage team interaction and communication.
If you observe carefully, you will find that there is, in fact, no secret to increasing employee engagement in the workplace.
All you need to do as a leader is to simply care and respect your employees. You do this by cultivating an open environment where they can honestly convey their concerns on areas that need improvement, or the changes that need to be made for the workplace to be more efficient and productive.
You then take the ideas and concerns shared, and you do something about it. You take action to make the necessary adjustments, even if you don’t fully personally agree, because in the end it’s not about you — it’s about the collective team.
“A great leader chooses commitment before ego by putting the needs of the team first.”