Unless your business operates solely by computers or is a one-person show, you know that the time and money you invest in your employees can be considerable. Even the mere act of recruiting and interviewing—the dating phase, if you will—can be a long and costly process. In fact, many aspects of your relationship with your employees is like a marriage. At the very least, hiring an employee is the beginning of a relationship.
If you would, take a moment and think about your relationship with your spouse or significant other. If you’re in a happy relationship (and I really hope you are), chances are you have shared goals and ambitions, as well as an undying commitment to each other’s success and well-being. If this is the case, how do you nurture this relationship? There are many possible answers to this question, but one answer I would not expect to see is by keeping your partner in the dark in all things, insisting that you alone have all the answers, and keeping the relationship one-sided.
Employment Relationship 101
Let me ask you, on what does the length and value of the relationship with your employees depend? Most people automatically answer “pay” as the primary factor for determining a positive employment relationship. However, compensation is only one element of the relationship that motivates and engages employees to do their very best work for your company. We have all known people who wouldn’t leave a job they hated (and as a result don’t do very well) just because they liked their paycheck. These are not the positive energetic employees you need to be successful. Recent research by Aon Hewitt found that the employment relationship is made up of a variety of factors which, when communicated well to employees, can directly result in better company performance.
Communication Protects Your Investment
Newlyweds are often given advice about the importance of honest, frequent, and open two-way communication in a happy marriage. The same is true for employees. Your company has a lot to offer employees, such as expert leadership, exciting company strategy, competitive benefits, training and career advancement opportunities, community volunteerism, and holiday parties. Unless employees know about these benefits, these investments won’t be a factor in motivating productivity. What’s worse, when information is not available, employees fill the emptiness with their worst fears, manifesting themselves as anxious rumors. This is a big drain on your employees’ daily productivity, chips away at their trust in you, and is the cause a great deal of undesired attrition as the relationship is annulled. Good communications can help you get the most out of the time, effort, and money you invest in your employees, enable their productivity, and help move them from worry to work.
- 1. More is not necessarily better – Before sending a lot of emails and hanging more posters, make sure you know what type of communication and which communication channels your employees want and value.
- 2. Listen as much as you talk – The definition of communication is an exchange of information between sender and receiver. To know that your messages are being heard and understood, provide efficient ways for employees to ask questions and send feedback.
- 3. Start with the end in mind – To ensure your communications have impact, make sure you know the desired outcome and primary purpose of all communications before you start writing.