Tag: communication

Employee Communication

Today’s pearls of wisdom about employee communication come from Peter Economy (not kidding) of Inc.com from his article 5 Ways to Get Your Employees to Speak Up.  Business is best served, meaning profit-wise, if the work environment is conducive to sharing thoughts and ideas.  It is not rocket science, but the plethora of articles and blogs on the value of good communication seem to indicate that there are more managers who just don’t seem to get it.  Mr. Economy’s rules:

  1. Make it safe to communicate.   Roughly translated – don’t make your employees feel like idiots when stating their ideas.  Quite possibly, they may have a good point.
  2. Create new approaches to communication.  This does not mean instituting new codes or introducing the concept of sign language.  Rather, establish new forums where employees can be made to feel comfortable speaking up.  Ever hear of a Town Hall Meeting?
  3. Encourage and reward honest and open dialogue.  Money is not necessary.  Sometimes just a heartfelt “thank you for thinking of the company” will do perfectly fine.
  4. Criticize constructively, not destructively.  See my point in rule #1.  Teach.  Don’t destroy.
  5. Build team communication.  Chances are that if you work hard on rules 1-4 then this will follow.

It’s possible that certain managers and business owners don’t want feedback.  That’s not ideal, but at least don’t ask for feedback and encourage open communication if you really don’t mean it.  Happy communicating!


The HR Experts for Small Business

HRInsights Weekly Lightbulb 04-05

This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb”  – The Distasteful Sandwich

This week’s HRI Lightbulb comes to us from Collette Carlson who has nifty advice wrapped in a food metaphor on providing negative feedback in a constructive manner.

The Distasteful Sandwich

by Collette Carlson

Have you been taught to “sandwich” constructive criticism be­­tween two positive statements?

Example: “Barb, you are a wonderful communicator, but the last three meetings you’ve dominated the conversation and even interrupted others while speaking. I’d appreciate you being more aware and giving others a chance to contribute. And by the way, your recent report outlining team goals was well-written.”

I think this is a distasteful way of delivering feedback and here’s why:

1.  ”But” is an eraser word. We all have been taught that anything that follows the word “but” negates everything said prior. The positive information gets discounted.

2.  The message doesn’t sound sincere. Since too many of us are familiar with this technique, it screams technique, which lowers trust and believability.

3.  It destroys the truth behind the positive messages. Most of us walk away from the “sandwiched” approach only hearing the critical feedback. We focus on the meat and completely miss the positive messages. It’s better to save the bread for another time to reinforce someone’s talents.

When you’re able to communicate effectively, you’ll see positive results — and sidestep some dangerous pitfalls.

What to do instead?

  1. Share the specific event, behavior or performance that concerns you.
  2. Explain how this creates a challenge.
  3. Ask for the desired behavior change.
  4. Be supportive and listen.

In the above example you would simply say, “Barb, the past three team meetings I’ve noticed you spoke the majority of the time and interrupted others. Others end up not contributing and we could be losing out on some great input. During our meeting later today, I’d like you to be more aware of your communication style and allow others the floor. I still want your input today. The team needs you and values your contribution. Can I support you in this in any way?”

You may think, “Hey, that was just an open-faced sandwich!” It was a sincere way to help Barb understand that she is valued. And the comment is also specific to the issue at hand.

Colette Carlson, MA is a funny and exciting Human Behavior Expert and author who motivates thousands worldwide revealing the power of Speaking Your Truth! Only by telling the truth on herself, combined with her hunger for personal development, was she able to overcome her own fears and addictions that kept her 50 lbs. overweight and making underwhelming choices. This led to her passion to share her wit and wisdom with others saving them time, money and sanity!  Visit Collette at www.speakyourtruth.com.

How Much Do Employees Need to Know?

Many of us have been with a company that seems disorganized.  The executive office doors are closed and the employees feel as though they’re being told to do things for reasons unknown to them.  The employees develop feelings of angst toward the company, become unmotivated and eventually decide to leave.  This seems to be a growing problem in the corporate world today with people wearing more hats and having more responsibilities.  They forget about something that can make or break their company: communication to employees.

When employers do not communicate to the employees what they are doing and why things are changing, people only assume the worst.  When employees assume the worst, rumors start which then turn into outrageous claims.  These claims start to worry everyone and then the entire body of employees is on edge and waiting for the news to drop that they’re all being fired.  If employers communicated why they are making changes or why they are cutting back on the budget, it would create a more consistent line of thinking throughout the organization.

For employees, it helps to see why something is changing.  Even if they don’t like it, it eliminates the fear of the worst.  And if they don’t like it, they can organize their thoughts on the issue to present in the open as opposed to having to fear for their jobs.  Open communication takes the pressure off of employees and lets them worry about their job. Even if it seems unnecessary, communication with employees also creates a sense of trust in that they feel their employer is being honest with them.

Unsolicited from the employees, this open transparency will create a uniform sense of purpose throughout the organization.  With everyone on the same page, everyone will have the same sense of urgency and a shared purpose.  With everyone on the same team fighting for the same purpose, the organization will grow.

Even if it seems unnecessary, communication with employees creates a sense of trust and consistency while eliminating rumors and assumptions that hurt the company.