Have you ever worked for a company where employees say “communication is awesome here”? Maybe, but in my experience it’s not very often.
The trend I see in most organisations is a lack of attention to companywide communication. Getting the message out to the workforce seems to be avoided or lack the attention it needs to be done effectively.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Based on my experience with a wide range of manufacturing companies I have 10 ideas that I would like to share with you that I have found to be the most effective. These ideas will help you build better workplace relationships and break down the barriers to effective workplace communication.
2. Continuous Improvement Meetings – Improvement teams should be at the heart of any business on a lean journey. The focus for the meetings should be to work together as a team to solve problems and improve performance. In my experience these meetings are key to sustaining momentum with improving performance and should be held on a weekly basis without exception.
3. Weekly Team Briefings – Meet up with your team once per week (best with same day, same time every week) to share news that may affect them, such as, current performance, customer feedback, changes in department/company, good news, things on the horizon, etc. 10 minutes once per week and everyone is up to speed on all events that may affect them.
4. Employee Newsletter – Either monthly or quarterly (depending on how much content you have to share),the best newsletters we have seen have been very personal and employee focused. This is an opportunity to show your team how much you care. Make it ‘for them’ by asking what they would like to be included.
5. Communication Ambassadors – Choose a range of people from various functions to act as ambassadors for communication. Preferably people with good communication skills that are well respected members of the team. Their role is to ensure communication channels remain open and to work with teams where improvements are needed.
6. Visual Management – When change is coming/in progress share what is happening via the notice boards, TV screens and canteen tables. Put up posters, have TV screens with images/graphics loaded up and populate menu stands on the canteen tables. Use every opportunity to communicate with the whole workforce all around the building.
7. Ask the MD – For the brave MD… pull up a chair in a different department each week and allow the team to ask open questions for 15 minutes. Let them ask anything… yes anything! And be honest. This shows the whole plant that you are genuine and you care.
8. Coffee Chats – Invite a person/small group into your office once per week to discuss, how they are feeling/any concerns/ any question they have. This is very intimate and will also enable you to get to know your team better. Warning! This is not an opportunity to talk about yourself.
9. Plant Improvement Days – This is a big investment but can pay back some even greater rewards. Close the plant for a day and spend the day focused on improvement. Have lots of different forums and agendas around the plant and get everyone immersed in discussing improvement and solving problems.
10. Informal Gatherings – Christmas parties, family fun days, day at the races, sharing hobbies, plant open days, celebrating success days, team building days, etc. There are so many different platforms that could help to build relationships and improve communication. The majority of people enjoy meeting informally and will talk about some of the funnies for weeks on end.
Using these methods to improve communication and break down some of the barriers with your team will typically bring the following benefits:
· Higher levels of employee engagement
· A positive work environment
· A trusting environment to work in
· Better workplace relationships
· Improved morale
· Happier employees
· Higher levels of productivity
· Teamwork and helping each other becomes the norm
· More improvement ideas
· Higher staff retention levels
Have I missed anything? Feel free to add your own workplace communication ideas to the comments below.