How to overcome problems and make communications a two-way street

So face time is a critical key to effective communication with employees?

It is critical to make time for regular one-on-one meetings, during which you offer your undivided attention. Individual employee meetings present a good opportunity to find out about your employees’ career goals, what they think needs to be improved within the company or situations that may be affecting their job performance. When people request an opportunity to meet with you, try to give them as much time as possible and remain completely engaged in the conversation. Taking telephone calls or allowing other disruptions will convey to the employee that you do not consider them and/or their concerns a priority.

Face time is the most preferred way to communicate. Newsletters, voice mail and e-mail are fine, but employees need face time. In general, employees that consider their employers to be effective communicators have higher morale, are more productive, are more loyal and have more faith in management.

Doesn’t this level of communication require a lot of patience?

Absolutely. Demonstrating patience is another key element of effective communication and is often easier said than done. When interacting with a staff member who doesn’t seem to comprehend something, try to work together toward a better understanding of the issue. What may seem obvious to you might not be so obvious to the person with whom you are speaking. Consider other ways of explaining the information.

How can the CEO or management encourage effective communication?

CEOs and management can drive effective communication by defining a clear line of sight between the employees and the company’s mission, vision and goals. Help your managers communicate the organization’s messages and they will in turn improve your employees’ communication. But, no matter how effective your managers are in driving and improving communication, employees still want to hear directly from the president and/or CEO, especially when it comes to important business messages. Bottom line, encourage and foster effective communication for all managers and employees, but make sure, as the president or CEO, that you are an effective communicator.

Amy Broadbent is the vice president of JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. Reach her at (412) 456-7250 or [email protected].