There's an often forgotten way to boost employee motivation, productivity and performance, and it won't cost your organization a dime. What is this management practice? Better communication between managers and employees.
Communication is a powerful and often-underutilized workplace tool. As I wrote in previous posts, it's key to building manager-employee trust and coaching for performance. Effective communication also increases employees' engagement with their jobs and the business. After all, an engaged and happy employee is more productive and performs better than one who is not.
A new study reinforces the importance of communication and suggests that performance may be taking a hit because not enough information is being shared - or sought - by managers. The consulting firm European Leaders surveyed 2,000 workers in June and found that 64% would work more efficiently if they were better motivated. Moreover, they also say that their overall performance would improve if senior management communicated more effectively.
Another set of answers revealed signs of no or poor communication. European Leaders found that 68% of respondents failed to understand their company's vision. Only 18 percent described their employer as a "good" company. It's not hard to see why these employees don't feel motivated. A number of studies have shown that motivation impacts performance and productivity
In addition, a large percentage of these workers believe strong management is key to maintaining motivation in the workplace. Managers, they say, must communicate passion and enthusiasm for the job - and challenge employees. The best managers, the respondents said, know how to motivate the workplace and make jobs more engaging. In short, they're great communicators.
"A seemingly negligible investment can get teams much closer to their full potential performance, resulting in a happier workforce and significant financial benefits,” says Ashley Ward, director of European Leaders. Managers, however, shouldn't only be talking. Effective communication also includes listening, observing and asking appropriate questions.
More than a third of respondents to the European Leaders survey said good managers should notice when a worker has talent that's not being put to use. At the same time, only 36% said their talents are being fully utilized on the job. Another 15% claimed they have skills from outside the job that could be put to use in the office - if the manager only asked.
"The fact that people want to be more involved in their work and their company shows they think about their employer’s business and care about how they’re managed," Ward says. Most employees want to perform at a high level and contribute to the greater good of the organization, but many aren't sure how best to do it.
An effective manager will not only ask questions, listen to answers and observe behaviours, but also use that information to help workers achieve their highest potential. At the very least, workers will get a much clearer sense of direction from their boss. Managers who communicate effectively with employees at a personal level also are more likely to discover previously unknown talents. Employees will feel more connected to their employer and, ultimately, more motivated, engaged and productive. It's a big payoff for a minimal investment.
Reference Leadership? What Leadership? Lack of Management Communication Is Holding Back UK Plc, Claims European Leaders
Leslie Allan is Managing Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd; a management consulting firm specializing in people and process capability. He has been assisting organizations improve their capability for over 20 years. Mr. Allan has contributed in various roles as manager, consultant and trainer within the manufacturing and service industries, both for public and private sector organizations.
Mr. Allan is a prolific writer on business issues, with many journal and web articles to his credit. He is also the author of five books on employee capability, training and change management. Mr. Allan currently serves as Divisional Council Member for the Australian Institute of Training and Development and is a member of the Australian Institute of Management, the Graduate Management Association of Australia and the American Society for Quality.
His company, Business Performance Pty Ltd, started life in 2003 and provides business and management consulting services globally. The company delivers coaching and consulting services in a range of business areas, from small business, leadership and management, strategic planning and organizational change to employee development and career coaching. All services are provided by highly experienced consultants specializing in their area of expertise.
From its website, Business Performance Pty Ltd also proudly supplies a wide selection of business and management software products designed to make managing organizations easier and more effective. Products featured include tools, templates and guides in the areas of training and employee development, project management, organizational change, career planning, and web development. All products can be purchased and downloaded easily from anywhere in the world from the Business Performance Pty Ltd website at www.businessperform.com.