There are different corporate cultures in the United Kingdom. Some are lax places where employees and managers are free to speak their mind and converse about different topics. The employees are able to express their opinions, even when they believe the supervisor may be wrong.
There are other workplaces where this type of communication is not allowed. The manager acts as the superior of the staff, making decisions and not asking for any input. It has been found in study after study that an office with open communication fosters employee empowerment and decreases employee turnover.
Individuals want to be heard at work, and want to believe that their opinions matter. If they have to suppress their voices for fear of being reprimanded by the boss, they will usually become tired of it, seeking employment elsewhere.
If you want to promote more open communication in your workplace, start with these steps.
Ask For It – The easiest and most effective way to create a space with open communication is to ask your employees to communicate with you. This can be done in a multitude of ways, starting with direct questions. When you are deciding on the best course of action to take with a project, ask your subordinates for their opinions. If you want them to give feedback on an idea you had, engage them in a conversation. When previously not asked to participate in a discussion, your team members will need to be encouraged to voice their opinions before they feel comfortable enough to start a discourse on their own.
Create An Open Door Policy – It is very beneficial to allow your staff to voice their questions or concerns in a timely manner. Certain supervisors have their employees wait until a staff meeting to get access to them. However, after a few hours or a few days, the individual will likely forget what he or she wanted to bring up. This could have been in innovative idea or a timely matter that could have benefited the team. Therefore, a great idea to improve open communication is to create an open door policy where you staff feels comfortable to walk in and speak to you at any time.
Start A Conversation – The trick to true open communication is to create a mix of personal and professional topics. In order to feel at ease to say what’s on their minds, your staff members should feel comfortable with you. In order to do that, you should connect with them on a personal level. Start a conversation about families, recent holidays, or weekend plans to engage your subordinates in a discussion. The freer and more relaxed they feel at the office, the more excited and dedicated they will be about coming to work and being productive.
Once you establish open communication as part of your corporate culture, you will see how many advantages that will bring with it.
Your employees will feel more relaxed and comfortable to speak to you, which will promote transparency at the workplace. Without being afraid of being reprimanded, they will likely ask more questions and bring up issues, which can prevent problems from escalating.
Also, you will likely notice more dedication to work, as individuals will feel valued and appreciated when they are able to exercise their voice.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 18 May, 2015
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