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If your organization is suffering from a lack of employee engagement, it is likely that your leaders aren’t effectively using the most basic of leadership abilities. Gallup workplace surveys regularly find that poor communication is a root cause of disengagement in the workplace.
In this article, you’ll learn how to design organizational behaviors to enable effective communication and encourage employee engagement.
It can be a challenge to uncover a lack of employee engagement. A 2014 Gallup survey found that only 33% of employees in the United States felt engaged at work. With as many as two-thirds of your employees feeling disengaged, the symptoms could remain hidden. However, there are some warning signs that an organization should watch for. These include:
Where these factors are abnormally different in individual teams or departments to an organization’s average, this is a good indication that there could be a breakdown in communication between the manager and his or her team.
The 2014 Gallup survey found that an organization with a disengaged workforce suffers on all fronts. It found the difference between top-quartile and bottom-quartile companies when measured by employee engagement as follows:
Knowing the connection between communication and engagement, these numbers are motivation enough for organizations to tackle poor communication practices in the workplace.
Communication in the workplace is vital to operating excellence. Leaders communicate goals, values, beliefs, and operational messages. As much as 90% of a manager’s time is spent communicating with employees, suppliers, customers, and colleagues. In some work environments, miscommunication can be fatal.
So, poor communication can lead to accidents at work, and ensuing lawsuits, too. But it also leads to disengagement of employees, and the associated disadvantages as outlined above. In Gallup’s State of the American Manager report, research shows that as much as 70% of the variance in employee engagement is the fault of the employee’s manager. Given that so much of a manager’s time is spent communicating, it follows that communication is the pivot that can rebalance organizational behavior and redress disengagement. And Gallup finds this to be true, with consistent communication directly linked to higher engagement.
Communication within an organization falls into three main categories:
Organizations without a communication standard, or where managers ignore those standards, are most at risk of a disengaged workforce.
Whether communication is made in person, by email, in printed formats, or by instant messenging or Skype, or some other means, the aim must be to build relationships with workers, achieve consensus, and maintain employee engagement.
It’s essential that you have a policy in place that promotes the organizational behaviors required to ensure. So, what might such a policy look like, and what behaviors might you need to enable?
Be open and honest with all communications, and encourage people to be likewise in a transparent environment. This helps build trust. Enable the communication culture by:
Whenever you communicate, ensure that the communication channel used is effective for purpose. Some messages may be best transmitted by email, while others are best made in person. In addition:
The most important ability in communication technique is listening. When leaders do all the talking, employees switch off. Instead:
Effective communication is key to employee engagement. In this regard, there can be no doubt that communication is pivotal in increasing an organization’s value. Engaged employees are happier in their work, and more productive.
Contact Primeast today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed effective personal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers, supervisors, and employees.
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