Human Resources

Build Your Culture of Communication

By Denise Blasevick

In yesterday’s Advisor, guest columnist Denise Blasevick discussed fostering a culture of open communication among employees and presented the first two of her five tips for doing so. Today Blasevick presents the rest of her tips.

3. Ask for anonymous suggestions. Remember the old suggestion box? It tends to get utilized at first, but then employees often forget about it. Instead, implement an electronic system that prompts people on a weekly basis to make anonymous suggestions. That reminds people that they are empowered to provide ideas for improvement, or at least to bring subjects to management’s attention that they might not otherwise feel comfortable addressing.

4. Act on feedback. Put a system in place to acknowledge, digest, and act on all of the feedback you are going to be receiving. People will only take the time to participate if they see it translate into meaningful results. That doesn’t mean every idea will result in change, but every idea should be heard.

5. Discover their dreams. When people join an organization, they hear all about the company vision. But that’s a very one-sided communication if we don’t hear about their dreams as well. Ask each employee to create a personal vision board that will then hang in their workspace so they can be reminded of their own dreams and others can learn more about them. After all, the more we know about each other, the better we can communicate. Employees may even be able to help one another achieve some of those dreams.

Once you have opened up the communication floodgates, you may be surprised at how many insightful comments and new ideas you receive. You will also hear some things that you don’t like, so brace yourself.

Remember that people were making these same negative observations about your organization before—you just weren’t hearing them. So when something stings, don’t sulk. Instead, congratulate yourself for having achieved a culture of open communication. Then enlist your team to figure out how to fix whatever is wrong!

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