People are the lifeblood of any business organization. It’s safe to say that a company would not reach its full potential without its people.
Naturally, one of the major goals of the leadership team is to motivate their best people to stay. And there are a lot of factors that make professionals want to stay with their employer for the long term.
We’ve compiled them in this handy guide, and each week we’ll be outlining the best steps you can take to sustain each factor.
FACTOR 2 – COMMUNICATION
Step 1: Keep your door open.
You’ve heard about having an “open door policy”. Yes, it’s effective. If your employees feel like it only takes a polite “hi” to open a conversation with you at your desk, it would help them be more open – whether with feedback, ideas, or important concerns.
Part of this gesture is trusting them to properly assess when you’re not available for a valid reason, such as when you’re speaking with someone over the phone about confidential information. Give them the benefit of the doubt; they’ll be able to know when to not interrupt you in most cases.
(BONUS! You can further avoid being interrupted when you’re not available by conducting your important tasks in specially designated “do not disturb” areas, such as private function rooms. This will allow you to keep your office open to everyone while being discreet about need-to-know business.)
Step 2: Diversify your feedback channels.
Not everyone communicates in the same way. Some prefer to speak, while others are more expressive through writing. Still others would just prefer to fill in a form or survey, whether in print or electronically.
Harness the wide range of feedback channels available today. You’re already keeping your door open for employees to talk to you face to face; welcome their reports, written letters, and emails as well. Have your IT team implement a ticketing system so feedback can also be submitted in electronic form. Keep feedback forms stocked everywhere so everyone can complement or give constructive suggestions regarding each other’s performance. And of course, have a system for centralizing all of it for easy review.
This will help you send a positive message to everyone in the organization: that you’ll listen to them, whatever their mode of expression may be.
Step 3: Genuinely listen to your people.
Look at your listening style. Are you the type of leader who actively discusses forth-and-back with your coworkers? Do you prefer to let them talk first as you nod and affirm that you understood, before sharing your response?
Whatever your listening style may be, use it to the fullest. It determines how you absorb your people’s feedback. Don’t try to be a type of listener you are not. Stick to your strengths, and you’ll be able to understand what the other person is saying without much difficulty. Whether you need to ask clarifying question, or repeat important points, or stay perfectly quiet while they talk, your unique listening style is your trusty tool.
And, listening properly means putting aside any distractions; it should be the only thing you’re doing when you’re having a legitimate conversation. It’s the least you can do to be present in all aspects when one of your fellow members in the organization invests time and some effort to be there to talk to you. Assure them that they made the right choice when they chose to speak to you instead of resorting to indirect ways of reaching out.
Step 4: Act on the feedback they provide.
When a discussion doesn’t translate to action, it’s just idle chatter. It’s a waste of time, effort, resources, and thinking power for everyone involved. The goal of any productive discussion is to spur action. When all the talking is done, it’s time to do something about everything that was discussed.
If you’re having the best conversations and discussions with your people, might as well make the best action plans based on them!
Don’t feel too pressured by this, though. Aside from pressing internal concerns such as harassment or unprofessional behavior (which are definitely urgent), these plans don’t all have to be immediate in terms of results. They can help initiate change gradually and consistently across a specific timeline. Just make sure that things that your people have shared with you will be acted upon in some capacity, so long as they are worth it.
So given all these points, it’ll be to the entire organization’s advantage to keep the communication flowing. Employees who feel that their voices matter will undoubtedly contribute better!
Tune in next week, as we rundown the things that you can do to make your people feel valued through creating a culture of productivity.