Strong internal relationships are central to building productive and profitable workforces and the role of HR in helping to create and maintain environments that are conducive to keeping your crucial players is key, says Clive Hyland.
However, a recent study shows there may be some challenges for HR professionals to address – research conducted amongst 4,000 employees shows there are major problems with miscommunication between line managers and employees.
Almost half (46%) of employees questioned in the study conducted for Think Feel Know Coaching (TFK) said they were unsure of what was being asked of them by their line manager when given tasks and over a third (37%) experienced this uncertainty between one and three times a day. Employees estimated this resulted in up to 40 minutes of wasted time per day – the equivalent of 83 employees in a company of 1,000 doing nothing every day.
Employees are concerned that the knock-on effects of a communication divide could have serious business implications including low staff morale (61%), confusion for the company’s clients or customers (60%), and loss of business (31%).
But how can HR effectively address the issues between line managers and employees to try and reconnect a potentially disengaged workforce?
Firstly, any approach to improving communications needs to be non-judgemental. Anything which appears to expose inadequacies or point the finger will immediately reinforce fears and distrust from line managers. Now is the time to draw a line over the past and recreate people engagement around the type of culture the business wants for the future.
The research shows employees cite top reasons for this ‘disconnect’ in the workplace as
managers wrongly assuming they knew what they were doing when delegating tasks (56%) and line managers explaining things in a way they did not understand (30%).
These are issues which clearly need addressing and they can be rectified, but HR and line managers must work together in a mutually supportive way to overcome them.
Think Feel Know
Through the use of coaching and training tools both line managers and employees can gain a valuable insight into their own communication style helping them to understand how people like to receive and interpret information.
The TFK approach is about getting to know yourself and the people around you. By improved awareness of different communication styles people can offer themselves the opportunity to connect more effectively with a much broader range of people. With better understanding comes connection, trust and alignment – critical ingredients of organisational success
The underlying principle of this approach is that people interpret and action information in different ways, whether that is in think, feel or know.
Those operating in think like to receive data, absorb all the details and tend to go about life in a methodical and logical way. They like to have all the facts before acting. Feel is about being attuned to other people’s energy. Those in feel are naturally able to empathise with others and are sensitive to their moods, they also want action. People who are in know take a position and make decisions quickly based on gut instinct and are typically ‘black or white’ in their views.
Of course, people use all three styles in their lives, but awareness of natural preferences and likely impact on others will offer better choices about the styles people choose to use in the future.
People of different styles will complement each other once the barriers of misunderstanding and mistrust are removed. No one style is better than the others and organisations need all three in the right balance to thrive.
Building channels for clear communication between managers and employees and amongst co-workers is not just a ‘nice to have’, it is a strategic issue for the business and deserves to be given the same level of attention and investment as any other part of the business plan. The key to moving forward is recognising that people will inevitably communicate and interpret information in different ways. Instead of feeling threatened by these differences, the key is to embrace them and recognise the complete range of talent that can then be accessed as refreshed communication and re-engagement succeeds.
Clive Hyland is chairman and a lead coach at Think Feel Know Coaching
To arrange a trial of TFK with feedback from a TFK coach or for more information please contact:
Kiren Pooni / Laura Pykett
Flagship Consulting 0207 886 8440
[email protected] / [email protected]