Building Communication is Key

One of the most frequent topics that emerges during the course of my coaching relationships centers on motivation in the workforce. Leaders often ask me the key to

motivating employees they feel are lacking that much needed characteristic.

I firmly advocate the 80-20 rule when it comes to motivation (and, frankly every other organizational management issue). That is, 80 percent of the responsibility for positive motivation in the work force rests with management. It is up to the leaders in the organization to create a work environment that encourages a motivated workforce.

In my most recent post, I wrote about five important topics that are essential to building and maintaining positive morale and motivation within organizations; communication, feedback, recognition, growth and development and control. The common theme through all five of these areas is they all require great communication, which is the focus of today’s post.

While I continue to coach clients that management bears 80 percent of the responsibility for good communication, let me clearly state that communication is a two-way street. Many times I have seen employees who feel that management is entirely responsible for communicating with them, but those same employees feel no sense of responsibility for being proactive in their own communications with others in the workforce. That said, here are a few ways that organizations can foster great communication in ways that lead to a more positive and motivated workforce:

Keep employees in the loop. Be consistent about letting employees know about management decisions as soon as is feasible after they are made. The best rule of thumb here is to communicate more than you think is necessary.

Walk slowly through the halls. Leadership author John Maxwell advocates this technique as a most effective way to informally stay close to your employees. Be visible. Visit employees in their office or at their work station. Chat with them about workplace issue. Listen to their concerns. Ask them about their challenges. When I managed a large television station, I knew that I did my best administrative work in the mornings. I would spend as much of my time as possible early in the day at my desk. I tried to leave open time every afternoon to walk around and talk to employees. It kept me in touch and aware of what was happening within the organization.

Encourage and enact employees’ ideas. As smart as I like to think I am, I have come to understand that many of the best ideas in an organization come from everyday folks who spend their lives “working in the trenches.” All too often, management is guilty of issuing edicts that leave employees scratching their heads as to the questionable wisdom behind said decisions. Encouraging input and acting on the best ideas not only improves motivation, but is also good business.

Act on employees concerns. Good communication should keep you aware of concerns and complaints being felt by employees. Encourage a frank discussion of issues. Be open to thoughts with which you may disagree. Commit to a specific action and follow through with employees. Even when they are not fully satisfied with the outcome, the fact that you were straight with them and prompt in addressing their concerns will enhance your credibility in the minds of your employees.

Give shout outs. I mentioned this in my last post, but it is worth bringing up again. People like to be recognized, whether it is with a word of encouragement, a certificate, note, e-mail and praise in one of your social media post, a little praise will deliver big results.

If you are genuine in your commitment to good communication and in your concern for each individual employee with whom you interact, you will perpetuate positive energy that is sure to be infectious throughout the organization.