This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Improving rapport among your employees is a valuable strategy for enhancing engagement, and good communication plays a major role in that effort. It might seem odd to think that adults need help talking with their colleagues, but strong communication skills may not always come naturally. The office environment can play a part, especially if you have multiple locations. If your employees struggle to form interpersonal connections with one another, adopt these methods to foster positive dialogue.
Communication is key to problem-solving. Have you been relying mainly on meetings and email exchanges? Consider adopting a mix of public and private platforms so team members can contact each other in preferred ways, depending upon the situation. Of course, you’ll need to have a strong project management system that allows for the exchange of information about specific projects and tasks, but opens up even more avenues for co-workers to connect. If you do, you’ll be in good company. Twenty-eight percent of respondents to a Robert Half survey said instant-messaging platforms are their primary channel for communicating with colleagues. Apps such as Slack and Asana encourage informal interaction and can help employees bond across departments. If your team communications require greater security, setting up an intranet will provide a safer portal. You may even want to give employees a private blog or chat boards so they can expand their work networks and feel more connected to one another.
In her book, Radical Candor, author Kim Scott discusses how, through her experiences at Apple and Google, she developed a policy of challenging directly while caring personally. Scott says those two aspects are key to providing feedback that’s both honest and constructive. You can help your team do likewise, but only if you’re willing to pave a two-way street that encourages innovative ideas and respectful questioning.
Many employees don’t feel comfortable critiquing their colleagues’ performance, much less that of their managers. And to be honest, plenty of supervisors would rather not hear about their flaws. When you begin to ask for specific feedback and take responses into consideration, though, you’ll inevitably change the tone of your workplace. Start today by asking a direct report of how you can be a more helpful leader or how you can better support a specific project. As members of your team practice radical candor, they’ll improve their ability to solve problems as a group and reinforce trust among each other, both of which will contribute to greater engagement.
Is everyone on your team rowing in the same direction? Not necessarily, especially if people rarely hear from you about your companywide mission and goals. Simpplr’s State of the Intranet report found that two-thirds of leaders only communicate with their teams about company strategy or vision quarterly, or even less than that. The report posits that this relative lack of communication contributes to troubling worker-engagement rates, and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s hard for employees to stay engaged when they feel they’re being kept in the dark.
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