This is the third short article in a series designed to help you improve your profits.
I have worked for different types of employers, both large and small. I am sure you have heard people speak of how much they enjoy working for smaller companies because it is more like they are working together like a family, while in larger companies they are treated like a number in a book. There is one significant difference between the two, and that is in the way they communicate.
Proper communication within an organization can make members feel as if they are important, and when they feel important, they will often place a higher emphasis on producing for the company and helping to control cost.
When was the last time you walked out onto the production floor and asked someone how their family is doing? Yes, I know that there must be some distinction between friendship and a working relationship, especially between leaders and subordinates, but that does not mean that you can’t treat them like normal human beings. If you have noticed a downturn in productivity, or if you need to improve efficiency, try asking the workers in the area what they think the problem is, or what they think can be done to make things run more efficiently. Don’t simply call an engineer and expect everything to improve. In many cases, you requested and hired experienced workers. What is the point of doing so, if you refuse to listen to their experience?
Allow your employees to participate in the decision making process, even if you think you already have a solution, and they will begin to feel as if they are part owners in the company. You need employees to care about what they are doing. Drop by and say hello once in awhile, and your employees will begin to feel as if they are something more than just a number in the books to you, and they will produce.
Communicating with your employees is especially important if your organization is going through difficult times, or implementing organizational change. It is natural for people to reject change, but you will find them more accepting if you explain why the change is needed, how it will be implemented, and what the expected outcome will be. An organization undergoing hardship will benefit from keeping its employees informed on where the organization is headed.
An incredibly important part of saving dollars through communication is accomplished by making certain that the information passed both up and down the hierarchy is honest and complete. If you are in the position of upper management, you need honest communication from your middle and lower level leadership if you want to make your decisions based on accurate data.
Encourage your people to provide complete and honest communication. Too many times I have seen team leaders and managers communicate to their director what they think he will want to hear and not what is truly accurate. Some may do this out of fear, and others may do it in an effort to try to make themselves look good. One thing is certain, and that is without knowing you have problems, the problems will not be addressed. Working with or through issues can be far more costly than fixing them.
Talk to your people (and give them gifts from Toad Diaries as well), and more importantly, listen to what they have to say and you may find your productivity benefit, which in turn benefits your profit margin. Your cost is little more than the time it takes to say hello.