What are the most effective ways to retain valued employees? Experts point to workplace culture, the quality of pay and benefits, and/or opportunities for advancement within the organisation.
All these are compelling elements, but what may be missing—and is perhaps just as significant a factor—is how well business leaders communicate with their teams. Ongoing internal communications help keep employees informed about company and industry news but also enable them to feel more comfortable speaking up on issues that affect their job performance.
Done correctly, business communications can clarify strategy and objectives, offset problems occurring within separate company silos, and promote teamwork throughout the organisation. The result is a win-win for everyone involved.
Here are tips for enhancing your own business communications efforts:
Focus on active listening.
Successful business leaders know how to inspire and motivate—an essential quality of leadership, regardless of industry. Just as importantly, they know that it takes more than hearing themselves talk. They know to listen well by:
- Maintaining eye contact
- Paying attention to what others are saying
- Observing how people express themselves through non-verbal cues and body language
As we have noted before, “You’ll become a better communicator precisely because other people feel like you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.”
Facilitate one-on-one conversations.
Attempting to interact with each employee individually may be impractical, but there’s certainly merit in scheduling as many one-on-one conversations as possible.
Such meetings demonstrate that you “value [employees] and are willing to connect with them more personally,” notes Forbes. Also, employees who might otherwise be reticent or detached “tend to be more open and share valuable information and feedback in private settings.”
Offer to answer any question.
In all-staff meetings or similar team gatherings, offer employees the opportunity to ask any question they want. (Questions regarding company finances and/or proprietary information can be answered in more general terms.) According to ProofHub, “Running a senior leadership AMA [Ask Me Anything] … is an effective way to learn what employees want to know, rather than what you think they should know.”
Allow for differing styles of communication.
While it’s impractical to adapt to every single employee’s preferred mode of communication, it’s certainly a good idea to learn as much as possible and then customise your approach to meet their needs. Pay close attention to the people and teams you address and always speak in terms that will resonate with them.
Make connections through recognition and reward.
Demonstrating appreciation for your workforce should already be at the top of every CEO’s or business leader’s priority list. Think about the hard work and long hours your team members put in on behalf of the business. Doesn’t it make sense that showing gratitude for their contributions might facilitate stronger communications and a better chance at gaining long-term employee retention?
Remember that showing personal appreciation (particularly on an individual level) can be powerful impactful and authentic. Small business owners have a huge opportunity to engage with employees this way. In other words, don’t just make an announcement, make a connection.
While these tips may seem cumbersome or time-consuming at first, communicating with employees and keeping them engaged in their work (and not seeking employment elsewhere) seems well worth the effort involved.