Employee communications should be the focus of any open workplace. What does an open workplace mean and how can it improve employee communications.
Open Workplace. (Oh-pen wer-k-pl-ace.) Noun. An office where workplace communication flows between employees and superiors, freely allowing for an exchange of ideas, suggestions, and team bonding.
A company’s biggest asset is its employees, and those employees do their best work when they have an open workplace that allows free communication. Your employees know your company and customers well, which puts them in a prime position to bring forward the next big money-saving or -making idea to help the company.
The trouble is… how do we create an open workplace? It can be tough to get employees to speak their minds and communicate with enthusiasm these days. Listed below are a few ways you can crack the code of open workplace communications and get the most out of the people you work with.
Take Employee Communications Seriously
The fastest way to close off workplace and employee communications in your office is to dismiss your employees when they bring something to you. If an employee comes to you with an amazing idea, you can react one of three ways:
1. Steal the credit
2. Dismiss the employee
3. Listen carefully
Doing anything but option number three will ensure that any good ideas or workplace communications your employees have to offer stay strictly to themselves. People love to speak up and share ideas, but only when they know they’re going to be heard and appropriately credited.
Be Open About Monitoring Workplace Communications
One of the best ways to foster an open workplace is to have an environment of honesty. If you’re monitoring internal communications, tell them that. Your employees are smarter than you give them credit for and will eventually catch on that every time they complain to each other in an email to blow off steam, they get called in for an HR meeting. Let your employees know what you’re monitoring and why to foster a good environment that will help have and create an open workplace.
Allow Your Employees Freedom and Autonomy
Your employees can’t be open with their workplace communication to you and each other if they have no freedom and autonomy to do so. Good ideas and suggestions, as well as relationships, form when employees are happy at work and comfortable in their work environment.
Allowing your employees the breathing room to make their work their own will not only result in better work results but happier employees who are communicating openly with each other. If your employees feel like their ideas matter, they’ll bring you more than you can handle.
Don’t Punish Your Employees for Honest Workplace Communication
This is possibly the most important thing you can do to create an open workplace. If you want your employees to come to you and talk openly with each other, you have to let them do so without fear of being punished for their words. It’s like a parent telling their teenage child “just be honest with me and you won’t get in trouble” and then the parent grounding their kid forever. It doesn’t work!
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t punish employees if you find them doing things against policy or the law. I just want to point out that you can’t expect open workplace communication if your employees know telling you something you don’t want to hear will get them reprimanded or fired. If your employees never bring you complaints, it’s not because nothing’s wrong. It’s because they don’t think it’ll make a difference and could have negative consequences for them. Why would employees be open with you when there’s only a downside?
What do you think? Is your workplace open? Do you have any other ways to create an open workplace?