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September 30, 2011

HR Fact Friday: Communication is Key to Effective Management

Filed under: Benefits — Tags: , , , 6:00 am

How would it feel if you knew business was slow and your boss was in closed door meetings all day and didn’t make eye contact much less say hello, good night or anything in between to you all day long, day after day? Would you feel secure, appreciated and valued as an employee? Of course not.

Simple, sincere and brief acknowledgement from managers asking employees about this or that project or how their six year old is doing in kindergarten goes a long way to improving staff morale and productivity. Effective communication is what causes employees to feel valued and respected as a professional and as an individual on a daily basis.

The worst thing senior management can do when sales are down and the economy is challenging is to bury their heads in the sand and not engage with the staff. This is the fastest way to get the rumor mill going and cause employees to feel edgy and insecure.

So does it come as a surprise that one very cost effective and successful strategy to improve employee morale is to increase communication about things going on in the workplace. One area in particular is the company benefit package.

A recent post on SHRM.org written by Stephen Miller pointed out that:

“The third annual survey of workers, done most recently following the 2010 benefits enrollment period, found that 63 percent of U.S. employees think their employer values their work, down from 70 percent in 2008. The survey, conducted among 1,712 employed adults, found that even fewer, 56 percent, felt that their employer cared about their well-being—a 7 point drop since 2008.

Employers continue to focus on other areas of their business affected by the economy, spending less time and fewer resources on employee engagement, particularly in relation to benefits education:

• Nearly one-third of employees said the benefits education provided by their employers was insufficient.

A good benefits education program can have a big impact on workforce satisfaction. The survey found that:

• 80 percent of employees who rated their benefits education highly also rated the employer as an excellent or very good place to work.

• Conversely, only 31 percent of employees who rated their benefits education poorly said their employer was an excellent or very good place to work.”

So what is the takeaway here . . . an inexepensive way to motivate and retain your valued workforce is to focus on the positive and communicate to employees consistently and through a variety of channels throughout the year regarding benefits offerings, resources, options, and costs always reinforcing the company’s commitment to provide a meaningful and competitive benefit package to staff. Keep this in mind as we enter the 2012 benefit open-enrollment period

 

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