A 2015 survey indicates that more than half of all employees feel like they are not happy at work. It gets worse –61% said that they felt like they didn’t know their company’s mission.
- 57% don’t feel like they’re recognised for their progress.
- 53% don’t feel recognised for their achievements.
- 60% don’t feel like they receive timely feedback from their managers.
These numbers boil down to the one that can cost your business a lot of money: 50.4% of the respondents didn’t think they would be in the same job a year later from the survey’s date. Since a new employee can cost up to $3,500 in hiring costs, a high employee turnaround rate can spell disaster for a small or medium-sized business’ bottom line.
The costs of poor communication
In essence the above numbers tell us that employees desire more communication. They want to feel involved in their company, and that they want their company to be involved in their own personal endeavours and growth. When those needs aren’t being met, they’ll look elsewhere.
The lack of communication doesn’t just lead to a lack of information. Employees will fill in spaces with their best guesses, and these best guesses can become destructive habits. No employee is going to be pleased to get no proper feedback during a workflow only to get hammered after they turn in their work for doing something wrong.
Additionally, when employees don’t know the overall picture, when they don’t have an idea of their business’ big-picture goals, they’re going to feel like their work is being sent off into a void as opposed to their helping build something big.
Improve communication to boost productivity
So what can your business do to avoid the above pitfalls?
Our goal is create trust between you, the big boss, and your team. We want your employees to feel that they’re contributing to a whole and that they’re not going to be bushwhacked with unfair criticisms born from a lack of feedback.
First, build communication right into your schedule.
Don’t make it a random check-up; instead, have reliable and regular scheduled meetings. Remember though that these meetings are for feedback, not for micro-managing, which can be suffocating. Check to see if the employees need anything to make their job easier. Ask if they are clear on how their workflow should proceed. Make sure your employees feel comfortable coming to you if they feel like they don’t understand what’s expected of them.
Second, fit the right person to the right job. Tricking people into thinking you’re hiring them for one job only to switch them into a different position is a sure-fire way to build resentment.
Third, your employees should benefit if the company benefits.
A lot of businesses have suffered in the past few years thanks to the economic downturn. Employees understood that belts had to be tightened.
However, if your business is on the way back up make sure you’re returning employees to their previous pay and benefit levels. They’re not going to like seeing the company bouncing back while they have to keep their own belts tightened, especially after they helped the company weather the tough times.
Fourth, hold a consistent line when it comes to both rewards and critiques. Playing favourites is a sure way to build distrust.
Fifth, make sure your managers understand that they are there to help make their team’s jobs easier. Their goal is to enable the employees under their care, not to micromanage and criticise. A scheduled meeting between the manager and their team members can go a long way to making this happen.
Finally, do your own part to enable your employees to get their work done. They want to do good work for you, but they’re going to feel like you don’t care about their contributions if, for example, you don’t hustle to repair or replace faulty equipment. Slim down or cut out pointless report-filling that can cut into the employee’s productivity and focus your energy (or that of your managers) into making it as easy as possible for your people to get their work done.
Good communication = a healthier bottom line
When employees feel like they can concentrate all of their energy into doing good work instead of looking over their shoulder for the HR axe, they’re going to be far more productive.
Not only does this save you the costs of hiring new people lost to dissatisfaction, it’s also a lure to bring stellar employees in to smaller businesses that can’t afford to pay as much as their bigger competitors.