Allstaff Services, Inc. has been in the staffing business for 55 years, which means we have seen both good and bad employee/employer relationships. The key to any good relationship, inside or outside the workplace, is clear communication. When expectations go unmet or lack of clarity creates frustration, the environment in the office begins to break down and employee performance suffers. While the employee is responsible for his or her own communication skills, the employer is often the one who needs to take leadership in this arena.
Here is a scenario for you—John is going about his workday when he realizes he overlooked a very important detail in a client’s portfolio. There is still time to fix the problem, but he needs your managerial help to do it. He contemplates broaching the subject with you, but the last time he made a mistake, you got angry and told him if he “Ever missed a detail like that again, he might get himself fired.” As a result, John is stressed and nervous about his job security. Not only that, he might not reach out to get help from the one person who can assist him, because he is afraid to speak to you.
We aren’t saying it’s easy to develop effective communication with your employees, but it’s worth it. Here are a few pointers we’ve seen successfully applied in our many years of serving employers in the Scottsdale, Tempe, and Phoenix areas.
- Be approachable. Each and every manager will interpret this concept uniquely, but some overall rules still apply. Take interest in your employees. You don’t have to go very deep, but your employees are less likely to fear you if they think you care about them. Respond reasonably when an employee comes to you with a problem. If you “go off” on them, odds are they will not come back next time they need your help.
- Make time for your employees. If your office door is always shut or your employees rarely see you during the day, they may begin to think you are unapproachable. In an authentic way, let your employees know you are around if they ever have any questions or need to talk.
- Every error is an opportunity. If one of your employees is slipping in his/her performance, or a team of employees is falling short of their goals, it’s your responsibility to “right the ship.” But do so in a way that develops them as a worker and doesn’t degrade them. When you speak with them for the purpose of helping them grow in an area of weakness, first mention one or two of their strengths, or point out areas where they’ve succeeded. You are their leader, not their master.
- Don’t let frustration build. If something bothers you and you keep letting it go for months and months—even if it’s a little thing—odds are, you’re eventually going to explode. When there are areas you see for improvement, do your employees a favor and speak openly and honestly with them.
- Set clear expectations. Whether you’re communicating instructions for their overall job, or you’re clarifying directions for a specific task, employees will benefit from knowing what is expected. And make sure your staff knows they can come to you with any questions they may have.
- Be consistent. If you are very communicative one week about projects, goals and expectations and the next week your employees don’t hear a word from you, they are likely going to get confused. Creating consistency in your communication habits and style will allow your employees to settle into a routine and know what to expect from you.
By investing careful thought and effort into clear communication, you’ll make the job environment a place where your employees can succeed, which in turn means success for you and the company. In our next blog, we’ll talk about some ways in which employees can contribute to effective communication in the workplace. And when you’re looking for an employee to fill a position, think about using Allstaff Services, Inc. We’ve helped a lot of businesses find and hire the right person for the right position!