5 Ways to Foster an Open Communication Office Culture

Dec 26, 2017
| Michael Altiero
How to create an open communication office culture

Happy and engaged employees are the cornerstone of a successful business. One of the best ways to improve employee happiness is to make sure that the thoughts, concerns, and ideas of a workforce are heard. Yet all too often, this gets overlooked by organizations and management.

Not having an open line of communication in the office can have negative repercussions for a business. Low morale, negative reviews on sites such as Glassdoor (which can hurt a company’s brand), and eventually loss of staff are just some of the outcomes of not giving employees a way to communicate.

Luckily, implementing a strategy and plan that encourages employees to speak up isn’t as difficult as one might think. Denise Blasevick, founding partner and CEO of the S3 Agency, provides the following 5 tips to foster an open communication culture in your office.

1) Be Honest and Respectful

Open communication requires honesty from everyone involved. Make sure all corporate communications uphold the highest levels of respect, and that employees know this is expected of them, too. If someone communicates otherwise, remind him or her that their feedback is important, but it must be respectfully submitted. This is a critical step to creating an open communication office culture.

2) Check-In Weekly

A weekly, one-question survey designed to provide anonymous feedback can help managers stay in touch with their teams. Use an inexpensive survey system to email a new question each week and then give management the compiled feedback so they can review it. This will help you address employee concerns before they become a bigger issue.

3) Ask for Anonymous Suggestions

Replace your old suggestion box with an electronic system that prompts people on a weekly basis to make anonymous suggestions. This reminds employees they are empowered to provide ideas for improvement in the workplace. It may also encourage people to bring subjects to management’s attention that they aren’t otherwise comfortable addressing.

4) Act on Feedback

Responding to employee feedback is critical to keeping the workforce engaged in an open communication office culture. Put a system in place to acknowledge and digest all the feedback that’s received. Every idea doesn’t have to result in change, but every idea should be acknowledged and considered. This will increase the likelihood of employees contributing to the open communication culture.

5) Discover Your Employees Goals and Aspirations

When people join an organization, they hear all about the company’s vision. However, often it’s a one-sided communication because we rarely hear about employee’s goals and aspirations. Learning more about your team members ambitions is a great way to tailor learning and development that will have the most value for the employee and the organization. Creating a mentoring program and encouraging participation will help to ensure their career goals are met.

How to Measure the Success of an Open Communication Plan

Once your company provides the means for open communication, you may be surprised by how many insightful comments and new ideas you’ll receive. But also be prepared for some negative comments that you may not like. Just remember that employees were probably saying these things in the past, but they didn’t have a system or plan in place to communicate their thoughts.

You should be happy to establish a culture of open communication at your office. Once in place, you can enlist others in the organization to figure out how to address the concerns of your employees.

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