Hank Darlington 2016-08-05 03:43:48
Mastering employee communication Several times over the years I have stated your most important asset is your people. More important than warehouses full of inventory, more important than having the nicest showroom in town and even more important than your vendor partners, you only will be as good as your people are. Here’s another statement you’ve heard before. If you want to ensure your most important asset (your employees) is the very best, there are five things you must do. 1.Hire the best. 2.Train the best. 3.Motivate the best. 4.Communicate the best. 5.Compensate the best. Yes, this is easier said than done. But if top management will buy into this strategy and develop the plans and programs to make this happen, you can, and should, become the best showroom operation in your geographic area. I have written articles on all of the above “bests,” but this time I want to concentrate on communicating the best. I believe it’s an area that falls way short in many businesses. Managers and employees get so darned busy in the day-to-day happenings that good back-and-forth communication doesn’t get done — at least not as well as it should. The following suggestions would apply to not only the showroom side of your business, but to the entire business. Communicating with employees is essential to good people management. How and when you communicate with your staff has important implications for the health of your business and your employee-retention efforts. It’s a proven fact good employee communication is critical to managing the performance of both the business and your people. Maintaining open lines of communication will help enormously in other ways, such as motivating your staff, building your team and helping you deliver exceptional customer service. If you are a showroom manager, you need to ensure that your employees: 1.Are kept up to date with key information about the company, team, vendor partners, key projects, goals, training, etc. 2.Fully understanding the role they play within the team, the company and delivery of company strategy, goals and plans. 3.Are engaged with and are actively supportive of the team and company actions. 4.Are working at optimum efficiency and within company guidelines and tolerances. In order to achieve these goals, you must keep your employees/colleagues informed and engaged through regular and effective communications that are relevant and timely. Consider the many ways in which good employee communications can benefit your showroom business: 1.Communication enables better customer service. Only informed staff will be able to convey accurate information to your customers. 2.Communication permits clarity of purpose. The critical question many employees ask is, “Why am I here?” Every company encounters both planned and unplanned change. Your ability to successfully navigate change is directly linked to whether employees know your expectations and understand their connection to the company and its goals. 3.Communication enhances employee motivation and dedication to the company. Talking regularly with employees lets them know they are a valued part of the team. If you can demonstrate to your staff that you depend on their input, they will assume ownership of the company’s goals and eventual success. 4.Communication fosters teamwork. You want all team members to share the same ultimate goal. 5.Communication inspires productive staff input. Consider the wealth of information your staff may be privy to that you are not currently collecting. Any bit of feedback has the potential to make a huge difference in the success of your showroom’s bottom line. 6.Communication demonstrates integrity and honesty about you as a manager and your company. Staff who sense information is being kept from them will fill in the blanks with negative perceptions. In fact, not communicating with your staff is a sure way to breed mistrust. You’ll never be able to prevent rumors all together, but you can minimize them with an open information policy. THE BENEFITS OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION Engaged employees: If people are communicated to regularly and in an effective manner, they are much more engaged with the company/team and have a more positive attitude toward their work and their customers. Ensures consistency: If everyone understands what the company/team is trying to achieve and their role within it, you will get a much more consistent approach and less tendency for people to come up with their interpretation of what they think something means. Promotes two-way feedback: Regular and effective communications invite people to engage in discussion and provide two-way feedback between management, employees and teammates. This, in turn, promotes a culture of sharing ideas and knowledge, but also makes good things happen. Ensures compliance with regulatory bodies: Effective communications and training information ensures your employees are compliant with all regulatory requirements and are aware of all the company guidelines/policies and where to find them. Ensures common understanding of strategy and goals: Employees understand how their work fits into the bigger picture and what the team/ company as a whole is trying to achieve. Promotes a positive attitude toward change: Employees that are communicated to effectively about change respond more positively to it. Communication also can identify leaders within the company/team willing to help make the changes happen successfully. Remember, communication works both ways. It is not enough simply to tell your employees what you need from them. Managers must be available to listen to staff concerns and be prepared to act on the basis of what’s being said. Here are a few ideas to encourage employee communication in your showroom: 1.Hold regularly scheduled staff meetings. At our business, we did these every Friday morning from 8-9 a.m. There should be an agenda and a facilitator to keep the meetings on track. 2.Write at least weekly memos to your showroom staff members advising them on all points of interest. 3.Post thoughts, comments and notices on lunchroom bulletin boards. 4.Send information via intranet or email; invite questions or comments from staff. 5.Hold staff pizza nights, barbecues or other social events that will prompt informal communications and enhance teamwork. 6.Be religious about doing regularly scheduled job-performance reviews. Make these constructive and informative. 7.Maintain an overall open-door policy to the boss’s office. 8.Build comfort in being able to talk about what’s not working. Communication is an ongoing managerial responsibility and not something to save for the individual performance reviews. Make sure your employees understand your interest in their input. Encourage them to be honest and forthcoming about improvements they think the company can make and publicly reward staff members who make suggestions. Try putting some of these suggestions to work for you and I believe you’ll see a huge improvement in employee commitment and attitude. Communicating the best will help you become the best. Good selling!
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