COMMUNICATION: BREAKING DOWN INTERNAL WALLS
Communicating with your employees…
Something that once seemed so simple can become a challenge for business owners with a growing business. When you had a small business, with a tiny team, and a manageable number of clients communication was simple. Staying on top of what your employees were working on, how they felt, and even what they were up to at the weekend. You may even have looked back on previous jobs and thought ‘why did my employer never talk to me like I do with my team? It’s so much easier’.
The harsh reality is that the bigger your business grows, the harder communication becomes. Something you used to take for granted can soon become the downfall of your human resources. As a business owner it’s important to take back the reins and begin asking the right questions to get the most out of your employees.
Do you understand what your employees are doing?
If you all too often find yourself thinking ‘what on earth are they doing?’ chances are something needs to change. You do not need to micromanage every little task (see knowing when to let go). But you should be aware of the projects/clients each employee deals with, and whether the tasks that occupy their time are part of their job description. If the tasks are being done by the wrong people, or have developed as the business grows it might be time to re-evaluate roles. Otherwise you risk agitated and overworked employees, or team members who aren’t pulling their weight.
Do they understand what you are doing?
Communication is a two way thing. If your employees are aware of what your business aims are, and the steps to get there, it will be easier to gain support when making changes. Keeping your employees in the dark won’t do you any favours. Whether you’re altering job roles, recruiting or restructuring you need to explain why. Including your employees in big HR decisions will not only put them at ease, but their input can help identify weak points you’re not aware of.
Are they frustrated?
When you’re a business owner you have things which need to be done, and employee requests come second. You may have promised a pay review, 12 months later you still haven’t got round to it and the employee in question is struggling to pay their bills, and considering finding another job. Although you’re doing what is needed to keep your business running and staff in their jobs, not making time to listen to employees concerns can lead to dissatisfaction and frustration.
Are they struggling?
Sometimes employees struggle, the workload is too much to cope with, or they just haven’t been trained since taking on a new client. If support can be provided and issues easily resolved you might think ‘why didn’t they just come to me and tell me?’. They may be embarrassed to admit that they’re finding the job hard, or scared that they’ll lose their job if they tell you. Where small business owners regularly ask ‘how’s the workload, are you managing ok?’ as your business grows the boss/employee divide grows too.
Where communication used to be intuitive and obvious the bigger your business grows the more structure and planning is required. Employees need to know that they’re listened to. That channels are in place through which they can put forward concerns, and turn to when things begin to fall apart. Having a proper structure and process is key – developing these may seem overwhelming and time consuming but they’ll save you from future HR problems.
If communication in your business is letting you down it’s worth taking time to make changes. If you’re finding it hard to handle issues, are low on time, or just need guidance we’re happy to help you out.
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We love working with a variety of businesses and business owners – whether new on your business journey or well established. We are HR experts who love nothing more than helping you get the people stuff right – whether supporting an existing HR team or working on a project by project basis.
Give us a call on: 01243 717693 or message us directly