Posted by Sandy Yu on 10.25.2018
Small business owners remain optimistic about their growth prospects.
This is according to the Q2 2018 MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, which found that 32 percent of small business owners anticipate increasing staff.
An analysis by the Brookings Institution of high-growth companies on the Inc. 5000 list concurred. Compared with national averages, rapidly-growing companies increased their total employees by 35 percent year-over-year.
However, with growth comes additional challenges. What worked for a team of 10 won't work for a team of 100, especially with regard to workplace communication.
So, we asked the experts exactly what internal communicators should do to prevent as many growing pains as possible.
Open, transparent, and frequent communication is at the heartbeat of any growing company. If done correctly, it will open the door for real-time feedback, which will alert management when the message is no longer resonating or needs clarification or updating.
The strategy may be fluid on how best to accomplish ‘good’ communication, but the message can’t be a moving target -- otherwise, it can actually create confusion and low morale.
I am a firm believer in asking employees what they want to know, how they want to be communicated to, and how often. Surveying the employee base on a regular basis will help larger companies course-correct. The more people in the organization, the more complicated it becomes to communicate equally, but with new social and collaboration platforms, it becomes far easier and scalable.
How often you reevaluate your communications strategy should be guided by its effectiveness. If employee churn is spiking, morale is declining, or hiring strong talent is getting more difficult, those are signs that something deeper may be going on -- and communication is the only way to find out what so you can fix it.
Different generations are working together in your company, and it’s important to realize that you need to engage with each of them in a way that’s personal and approachable.
First, it’s important to be mobile. Regardless of generation, everyone has a phone in their hand at work and home. Make sure that any new strategy takes mobile into consideration and makes it easy.
Be sure to include a strategy for the cloud. This will help democratize any new strategy and give everyone access to information and documentation that will help them succeed.
Make sure they have access to the latest collaboration tools, like Google Drive, etc. This represents the way people work today and enables them to be more connected and productive.
Finally, simply ask employees what they want. Talk to them, spend time with them, sit down with lunch, drinks and time away from the office. If they’re not getting what they need, find ways for them to tell you directly.
We work in a connected, personal world, but underneath our automation, standards, and systems of scale, we are all human beings. People value human experiences, and when we lower that level of quality in the relationship, we suffer.
Employees have the same high expectations as customers, and sometimes they have less patience.
There is a race these days for talent, and the best employees don’t need to wait to get a better offer. Companies have to take this into consideration and thus take an agile approach to communications.
If you don’t evaluate and adapt your communications approach consistently, you risk disenfranchising your high performers and losing the best ones. Because of this, evaluations should be a part of your daily, weekly, and monthly reviews.
It’s important to establish clear metrics and feedback at the outset, which will help you detect trends, leaders, influencers and even under-achievers. All of this will help you stay in front of communications issues so you can keep your best people happy and teams productive.