communication is a two way street…

So your company has rolled out a communications plan, something to the effect of: we will have a company wide meeting quarterly where executives will get up and talk about where we are going, we will have monthly reports sent to the CEO about what we are doing, we will have yearly reviews for merit increases, oh and we will recognize one person every quarter that has done outstanding work. There you go a communication plan!

Ok now lets take a step back and really think this thing through, what kind of communication plan is that? Not much of one if you ask me. I have seen this time and time again where the only communication is top down. Promoting culture, company values and mission statements, our success stories, and our failures. These are great things to share, and very important things to share. Upper management should be as transparent as possible and let employees know why they are there, what they are working for, and what the successes are as much as possible.

But I often think that sometimes we forget that communication is a two-way street. And all too often HR departments allow this top-down only communication plan go into effect. In fact, HR usually writes these terrible plans! Organizations need to understand that all people want is to be heard. We want to know that someone is listening and that our opinions are valued. A suggestions box or an email address where you can email your ideas and suggestions is not going to cut it either. You need to offer your employees several outlets for communication. Having an internal community where employees can chat, share blogs, and get to know each other on a more personal level fosters a sense of community, collaboration, fellowship! Using your email, having open door policies, even boxes for snail mail are great ways to let employees know that there is an avenue for communication for everyone.

If you have an organization that values its employees and their opinions, where co-workers value each other, then people can be collaborative, cross functional collaboration, its not just a buzz word or phrase! Isn’t that what you want? If all of your employees value one another and work together across the cubicles you will have a well oiled machine. Happy workers are productive workers, and that’show to get retentionand ROI. So go ahead, listen to your employees, let them do the talking for once, you may be surprised at just how brilliant your work force is!

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