Communication is everything – Make sure it happens by having a communication plan.Effective leaders never leave this to chance

Companies spend billions of dollars on recruiting and interviewing, hoping they’ll hire the very best.

Every day, business owners face the challenge of having competitors find ways to lure their most valuable employees away or face losing great employees because of a disconnect with a manager.

That disconnect occurs due to a serious lack of communication between the manager and the employee. Recently, several manufacturing companies listed “Hiring Quality Staff” as their top challenge during a two-day Stages of Growth X-Ray workshop.

In recent Gallup research:

  • Employees whose managers hold regular meeting with them are nearly three times as likely to be engaged.
  • Managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone and electronic communication are the most successful in engaging employees.
  • Engaged employees report that when they leave a message for their manager, they receive a response within 24 hours.

Gallup also found employees valued communication from their managers about “what happens in their lives outside of work.” Neglecting to acknowledge and give praise for a job well done will make employees look somewhere else.

  • Tell your people what they’re doing well. Be sincere and be specific. They’ll be motivated to do more of it.
  • Everyone deserves commendation for something. When you learn to identify, recognise and praise those achievements, you bring out the best in people.

People leave managers, not companies; if a company is serious about keeping their best people they need to make sure they are giving them reasons to stay. In the two X-Rays we recently conducted, there was clearly a serious lack of communication, of even the most basic kind.

Mid-managers felt they didn’t understand the company’s direction, didn’t know how decisions were made and felt left out of conversations that impacted their projects, their clients and their direct reports. The leadership team was amazed at what the mid-managers didn’t know. In one of the X-Rays, creating a Communication Plan become their Top Initiative.

I believe this is a huge issue for companies and gets lost in the chaos of running a business.

Here are the steps of a Communication Plan .

Implement a 10-Step Company Communication Plan

  • #1: Determine what information needs to be communicated
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. For your company’s current stage of growth, what are your top 5 challenges?
    b. Who are your top 3 competitors and why?
    c. What is your Vision, Mission and Values?
    d. What is your growth strategy?
    e. How will each employee impact that strategy?
    f. Daily key indicators by division and by total company.

 

  • #2: Determine how that information will be communicated (email, formal memo, meetings, newsletter etc.)
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. NEVER allow negative information to be sent via email
    b. Reduce your communication via email and increase your communication with face-to-face meetings

 

  • #3: Design a program, such as one-on-one meetings between supervisors and direct reports, that encourages consistent and intentional communication with all employees
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. Managers should meet weekly with direct reports
    b. Encourage dialogue around 3 key areas: feedback, employee development, employee performance

 

  • #4: Develop a protocol in your company for ALL meetings – company meetings, team meetings, division meetings, one-on-one meetings
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. Weekly manager/employee meetings
    b. Monthly company meetings
    c. Weekly division meetings

 

  • #5: Determine what information needs to be transferred to other people in your company
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. Solutions to problems encountered
    b. Success stories
    c. Introduction of new employees
    d. Immediate change in critical key indicators
    e. Project updates with milestones met and missed
  • #6: Determine how you will capture and transfer that information
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. Customer Relationship Management and/or ERP solution
    b. Notes from meetings posted on intranet
    c. Newsletter
    d. Weekly email updates

 

  • #7: Determine what the CEO/Partners know that others need to know
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. Status of sales compared to projections
    b. Status of expenditures compared to projections
    c. Gross margin updates on all revenue groups compared to projections
    d. Successful new client acquisitions
    e. Competitor updates
    f. New opportunities

 

  • #8: Determine what Managers of the company know that others need to know
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. Project updates compared to projections
    b. Capacity planning, workload planning
    c. Division and department updates

 

  • #9: Determine what the Staff in your company know that others need to know
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. What is working and what isn’t working
    b. What their contacts are saying and responding to
    c. Success stories
    d. Solutions uncovered, problems solved

 

  • #10: Determine what individual Teams in your company know that others need to know
    People & Business Insights suggests:
    a. What worked and what didn’t work
    b. Project milestones
    c. Success stories
    d. Customer’s input

A company that is serious about intentional communications, sends a strong message to all employees that can far exceed the short-term effect of a salary increase, or a bonus check.

People want to understand what the company is doing and why and we all know that when there is a communication void, that void will be filled, and it will be filled with negative information.

The art of communication isn’t something that can’t be left to chance. Help your business owners see the power in intentional communications.

Your success. Our passion.

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