A recent study conducted by Blessing White Research shows that on a global scale, four out of 10 workers are disengaged. This correlates with popular findings where many HR professionals are concerned that ‘employee engagement’ is considered the number one HR challenge in their experience. Studies shows that disengaged employees can have an impact on everything from customer service to sales, quality, productivity, retention and other critical business areas, as well as possibly affecting the morale of other employees within the organisation.
Communications is Key
The key to keeping employees engaged lies in communication and yet this is where many organisations stumble. While employees want guidelines from their supervisors, they also want to be heard and have their needs recognised. Missed business opportunities, delayed projects and failed initiatives can happen when employees stay silent about what they need.
It is not often that you see employees openly and outwardly conveying their messages directly to their supervisors, managers or directors. This is where the HR department can play a critical role by ensuring that communication flows in both directions through the establishment of processes and proper lines of communication. To do this, a culture of communication needs to be created.
It needs to be clear to employees that management doesn’t simply want to talk ‘to’ them but also wants to hear ‘from’ them. This is not an overnight process and takes time to develop.
One of the most effective ways to start this is to set up a schedule of informal meetings between management and employees of various levels and departments. Such meetings can be either a frequent 10 to 15 minutes catch up, or can also be in the form of more in-depth discussions every quarter where status or updates on the business operations of the organisation can be shared among the group.
To establish a culture of communication within any organisation, here are some of the key points that should be taken into account:
— Hearing and listening. Make sure everyone knows that they are safely on a two-way street to communication
— Being heard. The management’s method of communication can often be just as important as what they are saying
— Being understood and remembered. Keep it short and to the point.
— Establish a well-defined employee recognition and reward program.
— Lastly, it is essential to understand what is not being said.
While every organisation is different and has different requirements, think of your employees as your target market and consider what would be important to them when developing a communications plan.
Ninh The Dung is the team leader of Adecco Vietnam working out of their Hanoi office. For more information on Adecco, go to adecco.com.vn