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Housing : November 2008
Building Your Business in the loop You can ensure your business and staff are empowered through informed communication. Y ou may have only two or three employees and have numerous conversations with them throughout the day yet you still hear the words, ‘I didn’t know about that!’ Yes, it’s frustrating, but who’s to blame: you, for questionable communication skills, or your employee, for not paying attention? The simple fact is that people accept and retain information in many different ways but there are simple and effective methods of conveying information and keeping everyone in the loop. Decode external communications Help your staff to make the connection between general information on a company level and the specific impact it will have on their work. If your supplier changes delivery times or specifications, don’t expect that your staff will automatically grasp the implications or – if the information is delivered in written form – even read it. There are simple and effective methods of conveying information and keeping everyone in the loop Technology has made it easier to distribute information – just think of how the emails accumulate when you’re out of the office for a day or so. But at the same time it’s also made it impersonal and in many cases easy to ignore. 108 Team briefings Teambriefings can be an effective way of spreading important information because it automatically creates a focused environment where staff have to stop work. Talking to staff about the information and what it means for the business and to them as individuals will also help foster a positive office environment. Responsibility and accountability Each individual needs to realise that it’s in their interests to be well informed. In order to cope well with any changes in the work environment people need to have contact with the issues. That means they can help themselves by reading the information that comes their way and asking questions in team meetings if they need clarification. Remind your staff of this and highlight the importance of being a contributor. Add value to the information you gather We are all bombarded with information every day – be it advertising or company-specific news – so why not borrow a strategy from the marketers and ‘cut through’with your key messages to staff? Emphasise the key information, and think about what will strike a chord with them. Just like an advertiser, you are trying to get their attention amidst all the other messages. If all else fails If someone still insists that they didn’t know about an important issue because you didn’t tell them, you may need to tactfully reject this. After all, if you can point to a range of different communications that have been sent out, whether this has been electronically, via the telephone or in an office meeting, their complaint will be baseless. Passive observers and those who opt out completely can only expect their issues to be overlooked. These strategies will help ensure that your staff have the information they need to perform their roles successfully, giving you a workplace of informed and empowered staff who will be an enormous asset to your business. H