9 Steps to Improve Communication at Your Small Business

March 29th, 2017 Comments off
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Communication is one of the most essential business skills out there – but not all companies are great at communicating with employees. And that can breed distrust and effectively kill morale. One of the great things about running a small business is the ability to share news easily and efficiently. And with a smaller manager-to-employee relationship, it is easier to give employees individual time and attention. Take advantage of these elements. Here are some tips to improve internal communication at your small business.

  1. Hire with purpose. When hiring, look for candidates with good communication skills. This may be easier said than done. To evaluate a candidate’s communication skills, ask behavioral interview questions such as, “Tell me about a time you had a misunderstanding with a co-worker and how you resolved it.” By looking at past behavior, you can get a glimpse into how a prospective employee may act similarly in the future.
  2. Offer training. Not everyone is skilled at communication, and even those who are could use a brush up on their communication skills from time to time. Have an outside consultant come in and do a one-day workshop with your employees or find a local training program to send them to. Investing in training will not only turn them into better communicators, it will make them more loyal employees once they see that you are invested in their success.
  1. Check in once a day. According to recent Gallup research, employees who have the highest engagement levels at their company typically have some form of daily communication with their managers. Try to check in with your employees once a day, whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone or via email.
  1. Adopt an open-door policy. Having an open-door policy at your company encourage honest, open communication by letting employees come to you at any time with any challenges, concerns or ideas. Not only does this spur productive communication, it also enables you to keep a pulse on any potential problems and address them before they escalate.
  1. Schedule team-building activities. Team-building activities can improve the way individuals work with one another and communicate to solve problems. Not only are they great opportunities to learn, team-building exercises can be fun, acting as a much-needed break from the everyday grind. As a result, you’ll see higher morale and increased productivity, in addition to better communication overall.
  1. Send out regular email communication. Once a month, send out a newsletter (this could fall under the responsibility of one of your employees) to update employees on any company news and plans for what’s to come. This is also a great opportunity to share company wins and recognize individual employees for exceptional work. It’s also a great time to remind employees that they can always come to you or their managers with any questions or concerns.
  1. Be responsive. When employees do come to you with questions or concerns, make sure you respond to them as soon as possible (at least within 24 hours). If you take to long to respond – or don’t respond at all – it sends the message that you don’t truly care about them as employees and will start to look elsewhere for an employer who does.
  1. Hold ‘town forum’ meetings. Once a quarter, get the company together in a relaxed, open ‘town forum’ setting to update employees on the state of the company, discuss future plans, address challenges and celebrate company wins. During these meetings, encourage employees to ask questions, and take the time to address those questions thoughtfully and with candor.
  1. Err on the side of over communication. Leaders tend to overestimate how much they communicate with employees. (And even when they don’t, it is far better to over-communicate than under-communicate.) More often than not, however, employees feel as if they are not getting enough information. Feeling as if they are being kept in the dark can lead to distrust, which can take a toll on morale and affect productivity.

Take communication to the next level. Check out How to Be Candid at Work Without Being Disrespectful.

Empower 2015 Recap: 6 Ways to Strengthen Communication With the C-Suite

September 30th, 2015 Comments off
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One of the biggest challenges many HR professionals face is communicating effectively with their organization’s C-suite. This is especially true for those in health care, as the industry landscape continues to evolve, putting increased pressure on the workforce.

To explore this issue and discuss real solutions to overcoming it, CareerBuilder invited Dawn Rose, JD, PHR, executive director of the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, to moderate a panel of HR leaders at Empower 2015, CareerBuilder’s annual customer event.

The session, entitled “Opening the Lines of Communication Between Human Resources and the C-Suite,” included the following panelists:

Here are six takeaways from the session about how to better communicate with the C-suite, navigate the changing environment and become a more effective HR leader:

1. Build a culture of communication. When asked what their CEO does to reinforce the value of HR, a common theme was to build a strong culture based on communication. For example, the CEO of Brookdale Senior Living hosts town hall meetings with employees across its 1,160 communities as a way to connect with them. According to Swatzell, the further away you get from the “front lines,” the bigger the gap becomes between the C-suite and the rest of the organization, so you need to find a way to bridge that gap.

2. Become a subject matter expert. To get the attention of the C-suite, the HR team should be perceived as subject matter experts and constantly find ways to share their knowledge of the market with their senior leaders, according to Miron. While Miron notes she isn’t always confident that what she’s sending will resonate with the C-suite, it’s still important to take those risks.

3. Speak their language. HR managers are often dealing with a less than approachable C-suite, so in order to break through, Saavedra says they need to “learn to speak the language of the individual you’re going to be presenting what your needs are [to].” For example, he says that if you’re speaking to the CFO or the finance group, you must do your research and come to them with numbers, such as showing them how much it costs every time there is turnover. You’ll not only get their attention, but you’ll more effectively communicate with them, leading to better results.

4. Take a fully integrated approach to talent acquisition. During this time of rapid change in health care, recruiters must think ahead to how they’re going to approach recruiting for roles that are coming down the pike – or may not yet exist. At Presence Health, where they are doing a complete rebuild of their Centers of Excellence from a talent perspective, they are taking this opportunity to rethink not only how they recruit, but also whether they have the right programs in place from a retention and employee engagement perspective.

“What we’re doing differently is more of a fully integrated approach to talent and making sure that we think about all of the stages in the lifecycle and help make sure that we identify the right capabilities – and that we’re putting programs in place to not only bring people in but to really develop and keep them,” Sternburgh says.

5. Embrace the right technology. Technology has done much to advance medicine, but at the same time it can get in the way of the personal connection that’s so important to patient care. The key to finding the right balance is utilizing technology that’s right for your organization – whether it’s providing tablets to all of your caregivers or leveraging ratings-type websites to help boost your employer brand.

6. Be bold. Health care human resources is a tough business, and it can be easy to get discouraged or frustrated when you’re trying to move your initiatives forward within the organization. To overcome this, it’s important to stay connected to a purpose, Saavedra says. “Stay strong, be bold, and don’t give up on your ideas, even if they are met with silence. Be your best champion … and just push forward.”

Want the truth about what’s happening in health care recruitment today? Check out “Empower 2015 Recap: ‘The State of the Health Care Workforce’”.