Sunday, March 19, 2006

Talk and listen to your employees

Effective internal communication in a organisation lead to increased profits and a satisfied workforce.

Employees are the lifeline of an organisation. Business leaders must realise that employees today are not merely the arms and legs that run the company. They are also its eyes and ears, and their opinions and feedback play a vital role to the growthn of an organisation.

Internal communication between employees and management that is effective, open and clear will lead to better performance, customer loyalty, increase in profits, better employee satisfaction ratios and staff retention. Whether big or small, an organisation's ability to reach its business goals depends on how well it engages, aligns and motivates its staff.

Effective internal communication involves engaging your employees at all levels. By communication the organisation's goals and including employees in overall business planning, organisations can harness a greter resource of knowledge towards effectively driving the day-to-day business operations.

All employees need to understand their role within the company, not just in terms of what the job they do, or how to do it, but the part they play in the big picture. They will then align themselves with the company's vision and direction.

Effective internal communication helps you get the message across to the right audience in an open and receptive environment so that it can be understood clearly. Approaching people when they are receptive or willing to talk can make your communication efforts easier and more successful.

Communication with employees can take many forms, such as meetings, personal phone calls, memos, group meetings, telephone conferences or video calls and personal letters.

Keeping your employees informed is a critical part of helping them find satisfaction in their jobs. At Fedex, for instance, regular video-conference calls and a dynamic intranet site that changes constantly, help keep employees informed. In addition, an open-door policy allows employees to reach any member of management and share their ideas.

Manages also place much emphasis on equipping Fedex employees with the most updated informationn and tools so that they can be empowered to make the right decisions and provide execellent service to customers.

Of course, communication is never one way. It is imperative for managers to listn to their employees and gain feedback from them.

Feedback is essential, as it helps organisatios undertand the issue from a different perspective. For example, feedback from employees who have constant exposure to customers is essential in identifying the needs or requirements for future service improvements.

Listening to your employees is an essential part of communication effectively with them. This helps employees feel like an essential part of the business, and responsible for its success.

By focusing on internal communications, business leaders can make a real difference to the success of their business, and have a positive effect on its results and perfomance. Working closely with employees, sharing information about the compa's goals and listening to their feedback or suggestions, will help you to develop a cohesive team that is as commited to achieving these goals as you are.

Improveing communications in your work place whether they are a team member, a team leader, a manager, or a remote worker is a collective task. Listening and sharing goes a very long way in ensuring the sucess of an organisation.

Article contributed by Mr. Ramesh Kumar Singam, managing director, FedEx Express, Singapore and Indonesia.


Nic said...

I think it's also important to say that listening to your employees really does mean listening. Not just pretending to listen long enough so that they feel they've been listened to. It isn't enough to simply make them feel that they're valued, you have to make sure they know it.

And this doesn't have to be in the form of grand gestures. Just walking over to their desk and saying "You did a really good job on such-and-such, it's really appreciated" can work wonders. Not only have you noticed the hard work they put in, you've taken the trouble to tell them as well.

And if your team is working on a stressful project, consider ordering in pizza for lunch or treating them to a meal somewhere. Things like this don't take any planning whatsoever but it really does help morale.

You might even consider introducing flexible working hours or a flexible benefits scheme, if you're considering providing incentives. I don't know about anyone else, but I like to be recognised as an individual, not just a faceless worker. Give your employees a choice as far as possible and they'll thank you for it.

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