Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rounding Up the Troops

1 of my favorite shows on TV is Undercover Boss on CBS.

The head of a big company goes undercover to discover what goes on behind the scenes of her/his company and discovers the good, bad & ugly.

If you have more than 75 employees in your company, you probably don't know everything you should know. Drew wrote about this recently:

How do you communicate with your team?

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 08:50 AM PDT

…How’s your employee communication?

We’ve talked before about the importance of recognizing your employees as a very important audience for your business. You need them to all be pulling in the same direction. But like any audience — you have to decide what are your key messages to them — and how do you deliver them. Over and over. They’ll need some repetition so the key points can really sink in.

Employee communication is probably an area that every team leader or boss could improve. (think I’m wrong — ask your team!) I’m curious — how do you communicate with your team (or how does your boss communicate with you?)

Have you tried any of these?

Ask Them

GOOD — Employee surveys: Don’t even bother asking their opinion, if you aren’t going to act on what you learn. The good news about employee surveys is that the anonymity is likely to get you feedback that’s more candid. And if you have a big crew, it’s probably the only way to get a fair representation.

BETTER — A scheduled chat: What, if instead of the formal survey, you carved out a set time every week and you, throughout the course of the year, met with everyone individually and picked their brain a little, while sharing your vision and thoughts?

Tell Them

GOOD — An all staff meeting: The plus of this is that everyone hears the same message and can ask questions, watch other’s reactions and participate as a group. The down side of this is — someone always misses the meeting and if you have multiple locations across multiple time zones — tough to coordinate.

BETTER — Regular messages from leadership: Whether it’s an internal intranet/blog, a monthly video from the CEO, a weekly wrap up e-mail from the team leader — I think in this case, frequency wins. If your team knows they’re going to hear from you on a regular basis, they’ll be more confident that they’re in the know.

Bonus points to you if you give them feedback avenues. Which is the perfect segue to…

Listen to Them

GOOD — The tried and true suggestion box: Whether you literally have suggestion boxes throughout the office or you use an electronic version, giving your employees a chance to speak up/out with ideas, questions, concerns etc. is a good start. But some pumps need priming.

BETTER — Involve them: Are there some big financial goals you want to hit? Put together a task force and ask them to help you create the plan. Need ideas for holiday gifts for clients — pull together 3-4 people and give them the assignment. Want to improve your recruiting efforts? Why not put together a blend of young/old, new/seasoned employees and ask them why they took the job, what they love about the job and how you could improve the working conditions, etc.

Everyone works better and harder when they believe they are contributing. So the best way to listen is to ask…and then implement!

This is one of my personal goals — to get better and better at being plugged into what my employees are thinking, doing, wondering about and tapping their insights to make MMG an even better place to work and do business with.

How about you? Do you do any of the above? Have any other suggestions to share?

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