As a manager of a business, your employees will not be same page as you 100% of the time. No matter how hard you try to build a cohesive workforce in meetings, there will always be miscommunication. We are repeatedly told that the key to successful management is fluid and frequent communication. However, most of us fail in this regard, closing off channels of negative feedback in favor of positive ones – hearing only what we want to hear. A broken communication system results in high employee turnover rates, poor time management and inefficient management. Most major employee conflicts do not occur overnight – rather, they are the result of long-term festering and discontent. What are some ways that you can insure that communication channels stay open and help build a system of common understanding?

Meetings

All businesses have meetings, but not all are effective ones. If your meeting consists of a manager lecturing a crowd of bored, clock-watching employees, then you have a problem. Talking down to them from a podium belittles employees and makes them feel that their opinions are irrelevant to upper management. Hold meetings in a round table style, where every employee is treated as an equal. Force every employee to contribute, with realistic goals. Start the meeting by telling your employees that you expect each employee to contribute at least three times during the meeting, and that the meeting will not end until the quota – which is recorded – is met.

If your meeting is a gathering of unfamiliar employees from different divisions, hold ice breaker activities to help them socialize with one another. Allot a short amount of time at the end of each meeting for an “extra presentation” by an employee of your choosing. Tell the employees that they can address any pertinent issue – either negative or positive – that they wish to discuss at the meeting. Rotate this “extra presentation” responsibility around the workplace, to get a better idea of employee expectations and concerns.

Rotate Work Responsibilities

While you can’t realistically rotate your human resources department with your engineering department, you can rotate the work assignments within each unit to insure that every employee has a chance to work with others. Rotating partners and teams can help facilitate new avenues of communication, and refresh otherwise stagnant work routines.

An easy way to make this work is to keep a list of employees and categorize them by familiarity. Team them up if they haven’t worked with each other within the past few months. This insures the development of a strong social network within your workplace.

Using Social Media

Many workplaces now utilize Facebook to organize their employees. If you have a small business, you can create a Facebook page for your business and make it exclusive to your employees. On the Facebook page, you can post company events, share files and make announcements.

This keeps everyone up to date regarding current events, such as meetings and presentations, while allowing new employees to socialize with existing ones online.

Other Ideas

Holding regular social gatherings and meeting with your workers outside of work can help foster a better common understanding between employers and employees. This also offers employers a chance to communicate their concerns and desires to average employees, and in the process, building a firmer mutual understanding.