The Importance of Two-way Communication

Posted Apr 10th, 2015 in For Employers

Make sure you can approach your employees and that your employees can approach you

As the boss, you’re always busy dealing with this and that. It’s important to remember that one of your main responsibilities is your employees. Your employees look to you on a daily basis for leadership and guidance and you need to be there for them. Your staff expects that you will assign them tasks, give feedback and bring concerns to their attention as they arise. Ok, ok… so you already knew all that and that’s expected, but did you know your employees expect more conversation than just that?!

It can be impossibly challenging for employees to work for someone they know nothing about or who chooses to share so little. Full-time and even part-time staff spends significant amounts of time together and naturally we learn things about each other when we share our personal stories. What if you worked with someone who never did that? Some of us have.

During my first bout in post-secondary school, I worked a part-time job for a manager who rarely even greeted the staff and certainly never said goodbye. This person would come, do the job and leave quicker than the force of gravity. While working together, no conversations ever took place, ever; even despite my efforts. I never really learned anything about this person except the fact that they truly disliked speaking to the staff.

Over time, more and more employees started to complain that it was if we were all ‘walking on egg shells’, a feeling none of us enjoyed. Even our daily/weekly team huddles became extinct and most of us were unaware of any corporate news that should have been passed down from management. It was an awkward and unappealing scenario to say the least. So, why have I told you all about this? My intentions are simple – realize you MUST talk to your staff and not always about work. Share some comedic relief, a story, an accomplishment… ANYTHING! Make sure you come off as personable and approachable!

The moral of this story is to treat your staff like a family! They are there for you when you need them and you need to be there for them when they need you! Making sure you acknowledge each staff member is critical as well, no one should feel left out or unappreciated! It was during that particular part-time job that I noticed the most staff turnover. Every month 2-3 employees would quit, often giving no notice. The common answer was that they were ‘sick of it’, sick of being ignored and sick of being treated like their opinions or suggestions didn’t matter, so they left.

It took me some time, but I left too! It wasn’t until I moved on and found new jobs where the staff was well integrated and worked as a family unit, not as individuals! The power of communication is undeniable – make sure there is always open 2-way communication with your employees and don’t forget to let them know that they are a valued asset.

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.” – Richard Branson