Boost (your) Communication: Do Your Employees Understand Why They Are at Work?
Hi Manager! Have you ever thought about it this way? Do the people at your workplace really understand why they are there? You want to say yes, don’t you? But wait a second and read this first:
I’ve done a minor survey, asking some friends why they go to work. Almost everyone of them started to describe their work tasks, more or less in detail. Some added that they liked their job, that it paid their bills and that they had nice co-workers.
But no-one explained to me how their specific work tasks contributed to their companies goals.
If they don’t know why, you will have a hard time
When not being able to see the correlation between what I do and what the company is trying to achieve, employees are more likely to become disengaged.
As a manager, one of your most important communication challenges is to make sure your employees really understands why they’re doing their job. Not just what to do and how to do it but why. Why their tasks are crucial to the company’s success, in what way their tasks contributes to the company’s goals and why their tasks must be done to ensure the company’s future growth. No matter what level the employee is at, she should be able to articulate exactly how her efforts feed into the broader company strategy.
Explaining why to your employees will make your communication easier to handle in the future
When employees know why they are doing something, they are likely to be more productive, take on higher responsibility and easier accept change. If your employees understands in a profound way why they are at work, it will be much easier for you to handle the internal communication since you’re now on the same level, understanding the same things.
Amy Gallo has written an article in Harvard Business Review called Making sure your emplyees succeed. In her article she shares a few tips on goal settings that can be applied to how to make employees understand why their job is important. I’ve chosen the most appropriate tips for the list below:
3 easy steps to help employees understand why their job matters:
- Connect employee goals to larger company goals. Ask your employee to draft personally goals that directly contribute to the organization’s mission. It’s better for her understanding if she does it herself. When that’s done, you can discuss the goals together.
- Create a plan to success. Once a goal is set, ask your employee to explain how she plans to meet it. Have her break goals down into tasks and set interim objectives, especially if it’s a large or long-term project. Ask your employee: what are the appropriate milestones? What are possible risks and how do you plan to manage them?
- Incorporate your employees’ personal interests into her professional goals. “For example, if your employee has expressed an interest in teaching but that is not part of her job responsibilities, you may be able to find ways to sculpt her job to include opportunities to train peers or less experienced colleagues”, says Gallo and quotes Stewart D. Friedman, Practice Professor of Management at the Wharton School: “If I account for the interests of the whole person, not just the work person, I’m going to get more value from them.”
What’s your experience? Do you think all of your employees understand the reason for doing their jobs? How do you help them gaining that knowledge? Please share in the comment box below!
This is the second post in the series Boost (your) Communication, which focus on how to boost your communication skills. Stay tuned for a new blog post on the subject every week during an indefinite time! The next post will be about how to improve your listening skills.