People say that we need to understand the role of communication in safety and communication to achieve a good safety culture. I say that we need to have an understanding of the role of communication in our daily life as well the companies success or failure. It should not be restricted to safety or quality- its much bigger than that.
We need to engage our employees to grow our company. No communication or lack of communication means lack of engagement. It means lack of growth for the company. We need to have open channels of communication and we need clear communication.
Unfortunately schools don’t teach us to communicate. Schools teach us that we need to have a teacher who speaks and students who listen. Schools teach kids not to ask questions for the fear that someone will laugh at them. Schools don’t teach people communication in the workplace
Lets have some quick ways that you can improve communication at work and when working with people
1. Talk and explain:
Instead of telling your employees what to do and what not to do, lets start with talking to and explaining whats required. And what is required is open communication, where you may share the vision, direction, tasks to be done and they can ask, confirm and enquire the next steps. Most of the time managers and supervisors instruct but don’t share. They don’t bring the employees into the vision.
2. Understand that everyone is different
One size fits all communication may not work. Different people need different styles of communication. Do you know what style your employees or team mates need for communication?
3. Explain the Why
Discuss why steps need to be done or actions need to be carried out. Start with the Why First. Then move to the How and the What. Then employees and staff can understand the importance of doing things right.
4. Repeat your message
You just have to keep doing it until it sets into their minds. One time communication does not sink in. Think of the advertisements that you watch, if you see something once- you will forget. Communication is exactly like that. Keep repeating your communication.
5. Reward in public, correct in private
Keep recognising good effort. If someone does what they have been asked to do in the communication- tell the team so that everyone knows that the positive is accepted. However when someone does something not as planned- communicate to the person in private
The best way to improve communication in organisations is to engage Safety@Work Consultancy who carry out consulting and training activities around Winning Hearts and Minds. One of the modules we carry revolves around communication. Safety@Work Consultancy also helped Petronas at the Petronas Learning Center when it was thinking about launching the Winning Hearts and Minds approach to its rigs and contractors
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