Written by Colin Wilson, Director
It might sound simple, but stepping away from your monitor and engaging in good, old-fashioned, face-to-face conversations with your employees is one of the best things you can do to grow your business. Despite the abundance of today’s communication technology – emails, text messages, Facebook messaging and other internal communication apps, we are all at risk of alienating our staff if we don’t start having meaningful and effective conversations with them.
We live in a fast-paced, competitive world, which creates myriad challenges for businesses managing staff. We have all experienced muddled communication or a lack of information in communication that has led to misunderstanding, confusion and often disengagement. The flow on effects can be damaging for any business, weakening relationships and creating a poor culture that brings staff morale down. Being time poor is an unfortunate reality of running a business, however if you don’t start effectively conversing with your staff, then expect a more stressful environment in your workplace.
Make the change this financial year and start having the right conversations with your staff. 5 essential conversations to start with are as follows:
- Ideas – We can all fall into the trap of thinking we know it all, so extracting ideas from your employees is a great way to build a strong rapport and nurture the future of your business.
- Delegate – Focus on up-skilling your staff to accelerate performance and ability. Employees who feel invested in are likely to work harder and show loyalty to your business.
- Thinking -Explore issues and risks affecting your staff. By instigating an open dialogue and encouraging staff to find creative solutions, this will help promote a culture of responsibility in your workplace.
- Feedback – Provide regular feedback to your employees. This demonstrates to your staff that you’re a mindful leader, who is invested in their progress, which in turn leads to business improvement.
- Meetings – Make sure your meetings are not a one-way conversation as you want to create partnerships.
As human beings we all want to be heard and we want to have meaningful conversations. A big failure of many business owners and managers is that they think by sending out communication via emails, texts and other indirect (if novel) platforms such as apps, this will improve the workplace and staff performance. My question is, does that create good conversations, or are you bogging your staff down through information overload? And of course you want a response from your staff, so you know that your communication has been read!
Leadership is about empowering staff and to be a good leader you must have effective conversations, especially around the 5 key elements above. Wherever possible, your conversations should link back to the vision, values and purpose of your business.
There are not enough open conversations in today’s workplaces; one-on-one discussions are quick or replaced with an email, and performance review and problem solving conversations are always deferred. The technology of today seems to have stopped the ingenuity of human ideas and debates. We want our staff on board to grow our business, and to do this we need their ideas for better business decisions and improvement.
Be an inspiration to your company and start the conversations with your staff that they want and deserve, so that they stay motivated to perform at their best. Plan your next 12 months and get your staff involved. Have an off-site think tank session that encourages great conversations, debates and ideas. Get your staff emotionally involved and make them feel like they are part of a winning team, rather than just doing a job.
Remember that technology is only going to advance, so make sure you get the balance right. It’s worth noting that some complacent or disengaged staff love to hide behind this communication technology, as you – their employer – can’t read their body language or see their reactions. Engaging in direct conversations prevents this from happening.
Don’t miss out on the HR Coach Research Institute White Paper “5 Effective Conversations at Work” released on the 1st July. To request this paper, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or to implement this model contact Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE to improve your communication and business meetings.