How to avoid the 96%
“A house divided against itself cannot stand” Abraham Lincoln.
This statement is powerful in many contexts, and strongly applies to the ever so common lack of communication in the workplace. We believe that – a workplace divided against itself cannot stand.
It’s no surprise that communication is a major contributing factor to an effective workplace, and though the common worker is aware of this notion, why then is inadequate communication within the work environment so prevalent? We must do more to create a culture of open dialogue. Good or bad, a lot more needs to be said.
In a study conducted by salesforce in 2012, it was found that “86% of executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the main source of workplace failures”, and since, that number has risen to 96%.
So, what does this mean? What must we do to create a culture of open dialogue? We must normalize feedback, normalize speaking about general goals. What is everyone doing, how are we going on about it? What are we doing well, what requires improvement? How are we measuring success and what must we do as a collective to improve areas of weakness?
Here are a few approaches to help you improve your everyday-communication in the workplace.
Anonymous surveys – If starting the conversation is the essence of the problem, an anonymous survey might get the ball rolling. An anonymous survey provides employees with a safe platform to share what they otherwise feel they can’t say. Although, simply offering a survey isn’t enough as 52% [of employers] fail to take any action as a result of feedback, and 27% of managers don’t bother to review survey results at all. You must consult the reviews and act on them, otherwise you are contributing to the lack of effective communication but also, wasting valuable time. This method makes it possible to regularly asses your staff’s overall happiness and level of engagement. This easily opens the dialogue affirming trust and reminds everyone that their opinions are valuable and encouraged.
Instil trust in your team – The group of people you are working with are there due to their merit. For that reason, it’s important to trust them as much as possible. Autonomy not only breeds results, but creativity, innovation and job satisfaction. With this independence, individuals may feel as though they have more control over their job, generating a sense of purpose and a greater investment in the bigger picture.
According to Inc magazine, Atlas Container Crop., a manufacture of shipping materials based out of Maryland, provides their employees the necessary information to then vote on major issues shaping the company (i.e. Disciplinary policies, bonuses, health insurance… etc.). This company takes it a step further and provides access to any member of the company to freely view sales, costs and profits at employee meetings. Though this may not be realistic for all environments, a level of transparency is still possible. A transparent workplace is respected by employees, and ultimately conducive to open dialogue.
Staff meetings, with a purpose – Ensure everyone is in-the-know! Have a round table discussion where everyone can provide an update of progress, obstacles and expected completion date for tasks at hand. This only requires a couple minutes and greatly contributes to creating a sense of open communication.
Every work environment is different, but what is common is the importance of a barrier-free environment where open dialogue is encouraged. Though this change may take time, with the support and leadership of top management, it is something that will truly enhance the everyday work environment.