Getting your employees to speak up

Critical to your franchise’s success is not just receiving feedback from your clients, but from those you work most closely with – your employees. Therefore, as a manager it is important to encourage your team members to have honest conversations with you, and to promote the candid expression of opinions. This type of open environment may be cultivated by openly encouraging employees to speak directly with you, by providing opportunities for them to do so, and by making such scenarios routine and non-threatening. The result will hopefully be that your team members feel comfortable about broaching any topic with you, even potentially uncomfortable ones, which in turn ensures you have access to highly informative feedback on your performance.

Below are some tips on how this might be achieved.

Cultivate an open environment - This is often difficult because employees can often be accustomed to taking a conservative approach to communication around those in higher positions of authority. However, it is these same employees who are working in direct contact with clients and stakeholders, so are probably highly placed to understand firsthand the problems and possibilities for the company. Where employees are clamming up in meetings or avoiding questions, it’s important to understand why and attempt to bring them out of their shells. Encouraging openness in both group settings and individual conversations can pay dividends in terms of the feedback and ideas which may consequently unfold.

Provide options – Encouraging your employees to speak freely about issues in a group setting can allow these ideas to be heard by more than just yourself, and even be built on and adapted. However, it can also be helpful to initiate more one-on-one casual conversations also, to allow multiple avenues for people to express their views – particularly those who are a little more hesitant. Some people may feel uncomfortable in a public setting and fear they may say something unpopular. For this reason it may be an idea to informally approach individual employees rather than waiting for them to come to you – invite them to grab a coffee with you and ask for their feedback on a range of matters.

Make it routine – An overriding purpose of all of the above is to cultivate open communication as a matter of routine. In encouraging this, you may wish to dedicate time at the end of each weekly board meeting to flesh out any problems or queries. You may also wish you allocate the task of bringing forward concerns to a specific employee, and rotate this messenger role throughout the team week to week. This can convey a sense of ownership, while not overly burdening one single person every week. This process might also be applied in one-on-one meetings. By setting aside a few minutes at the end of each meeting and asking whether there are any additional issues you should be made aware of can also prompt people to speak freely.

Posted by George Tarbey on 29/10/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:


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