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Keeping an Open Line of Communication with Your Employees

Written by: Abby Rosenberger
October 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Effective communication is key to running a successful small business or startup. Small business owners, startup entrepreneurs, and human resources professionals typically wear many hats, including hiring and retention, payroll, employee satisfaction, and employee health benefits administration.

Maintaining an open line of communication between HR professionals and their employees is a key aspect of establishing trust, boosting morale, and fostering a positive relationships. Here are six tips for small businesses, startups, and HR on ensuring that your company and your employees have an open and honest line of communication.

1. Have an Open Door Policy

Welcome your employees to come to you for questions, support, expertise, and problem solving. By embracing this and keeping an open door for feedback, this reinforces that you take your employees’ concerns seriously. This, in turn, builds trust with your employees while keeping you abreast of your employees’ concerns.

2. Encourage Feedback

Ask for feedback regularly. This is especially vital when implementing a new program or project within your company. Ask employees whether they fully understood the message that was delivered. Encourage questions and concerns, and use the feedback to improve your strategies.

3. Find out What Works Best for Your Employees

Talk to your employees to find out what kinds of communication methods they prefer. Would your employees prefer to be emailed or talked to in person to address any concerns or questions they have. Find out whether they would prefer daily check ins, weekly newsletters, or monthly meetings to keep them informed of policy changes and new projects. Find out what your employees are most comfortable with and try to work their preferences in with your communication strategy.

4. Make Sure Your Employees Know Your Communication is Confidential

Helping employees with personal concerns, healthcare benefits, HR policies, and procedures requires a great degree of trust between employee and employer. It is vital to show sensitivity for what your employees are going through while validating their concerns. Making employees feel safe and comfortable about coming to you with any concerns they have is important in fostering a relationship of honesty and trust.

5. Use a Medium Appropriate for the Message

Emails and quick, easy to compose, and easy to circulate through your company; however, they’re easier for employees to ignore. If there is something more important to communicate to employees, think about scheduling a company-wide or even one-on-one meetings.

6. Be Direct and Straightforward

Don’t beat around the bush or try and sugar-coat when delivering potentially negative news. Your employees will respect your honesty, even if they don’t agree with the message you are delivering. This is vital in fostering an open relationship based on trust and honesty.

Topics: Health Insurance For Startups, Small Business, Human Resources