According to a recent Dale Carnegie research study, 70 percent of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership are not fully engaged in their work. Employees have high expectations for their leadership, and when those expectations are not met, the effect ripples throughout the organization. Unengaged employees coast through each workday, lag in productivity and distract those co-workers who are engaged.
When employees disengage, they disrupt an organization’s productivity. Left unchecked, their disengagement can spread to co-workers. Simply put, leadership cannot afford the effects of low employee engagement, but finding the time to assess, address and correct this problem is challenging.
Is Your Workplace Communication Effective?
Consider whether communication problems could be the source of your organization’s engagement issue. A whopping 86 percent of executives and employees cited problems with collaboration and communication as the source of workplace failures. Creating an environment for effective communication supports increased employee engagement, which leads to increased productivity.
So, better communication = a better bottom line, but how do we get there? What does better communication look like?
First, it's important to assess your current communication practices and look for areas of improvement.
Workplace communication changes and evolves constantly. With email, telepresence, instant messaging and voice-to-text, communication mediums have come a long way from post-it notes.
Fostering Effective Workplace Communication
Start by combining effective practices with the way your organization communicates. First, consider frequency. How often do you communicate with your staff about projects, goals and other work-related topics? If you only touch base with staff members every 3-6 months to perform reviews, you may be contributing to poor employee engagement.
Leaders who regularly meet or touch base with their employees experience much higher productivity than those who do not. Regular meetings provide opportunities for employees to receive direction, speak about problems or issues and set goals. Likewise, it's important to ensure your staff has the tools and support to prioritize and execute their work.
Regularly checking in and holding your staff accountable does not always need to be face-to-face, it just needs to be consistent. If it’s more convenient (or realistic) to schedule a video chat, send the occasional email or IM, go with whatever medium works best for the given situation.
In "Improving Communication in Your Workplace Team," Jessical Miller-Merrell shares six strategies for doing just that. Among them, she advises that "the best way to drive communication, engagement and collaboration is with using the methods, mediums and channels your team prefers." She goes on to recommend that leadership embrace channels they might not otherwise use if it strengthens the communication and collaboration amoung their teams.
Lead By Example
Leading by example is the best way to inspire and engage your staff. After all, if they’re regularly exposed to your commitment and work ethic, most will follow suit. Consistent check-ins let you know who is and isn’t engaged, and creates a strong foundation to promote effective communication throughout your department or organization.
By providing your staff with the tools and support for effective communication, you’re laying the groundwork to increase productivity and improve your bottom line.