It was George Bernard Shaw who said that the biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has happened. We always like to think that we are communicating as we should, telling those we think need to know the things we want them to know. All too often we become immersed in what we are doing and omit to share information with others.
Possibly this is nowhere more true than in the field of industry. When we employ people we want them to do a job for us, and when they fail to do what we want and expect them to do, and when we want and expect them to do it, we assume the failing is with the employee. Seldom do we consider that the blame may lie with ourselves, or even simply with the system.
Bad communication between employer and employee works to the detriment of both. When workers become demoralised their incentive to go the extra mile for the firm disappears. When employees receive no news of how the company is faring human nature sometimes invites them to make up their own. Before we know it there is an “us” and “them” situation and each spends too much valuable time trying to get one over on the other. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Bring Your Workforce on Board
As a rule of thumb it is usually a good idea to keep your workforce in the picture with what’s going on unless there is a very good reason not to. Making them feel involved in the company induces a sense of belonging and a desire to work that little bit harder to help it to prosper. Similarly it is wise to be every bit as keen to reward good work as it is to chastise poor effort. Once again human nature kicks in, and employees who feel valued also feel motivated to work harder and to be more productive. It always pays to motivate your employees.
By contrast when a hostile environment is allowed to develop productivity tends to drop, and for a whole host of reasons. Lack of inspiration, no sense of belonging, resentment – all of these things tell an employee that the bare minimum effort is good enough because there is nothing to be gained from working any harder. Absenteeism increases, as does the turnover of staff. Good people leave, and not so good people join – as your company by now has a reputation of not being a good place to be working. The whole process is a slippery slope to failure and insolvency.
Share Your Vision
There is every incentive for employers to take a more enlightened and constructive approach to developing good employee relations. Study after study has shown that strong morale in the workplace and high productivity go hand in hand. Having a line of communication, whether to a shop steward or just to an unofficial spokesperson in the workplace (and there’s always one) ensures that channels remain open and dialogue is maintained for the good of everybody.