With email, voice and text communication platforms, it is easy to think that we are communicating effectively in the workplace. But despite all these channels, miscommunication still happens and its effects can be costly to a business.
In person meetings are a great way to clarify messaging and save businesses from financial losses and losses in productivity. A monthly face to face, where a manager and employee set aside some time to talk can be of benefit to any business. In this article, we discuss some of those benefits.
Clarity of communication
If there is important communication that needs to be emphasised, a monthly face to face is the place to do it. Here, both manager and employee have a chance to talk one on one, to share concerns and ask questions. This can be of particular benefit if there has been a change in the workplace.
For instance, if a new policy has been introduced, a mass email telling people about it should be followed up with some face to face interactions with employees. These meeting will give managers an opportunity to provide clarity and answer any questions individual employee might have.
One of the best things about in person communication is that it makes use of body language. A manager can notice the discomfort or enthusiasm of an employee. This allows for probing to reveal more information.
Priority of messaging
Today, employees have numerous platforms on which they receive communications in the workplace. A request can come through email, a group chat or through a phone call. With all these, it is easy for an important message to go unseen. A monthly face to face allows a manager to relay and reiterate crucial information.
It is a great way to build the manager-employee relationship
A positive employee-manager relationship is of great importance in the workplace. It leads to increased productivity, morale and wellbeing.
This relationship is so important that employees have been known to follow their managers to new workplaces or to seek new employment when their managers resign. One way to foster a positive relationship is through the monthly face to face with employees.
Managers need to ensure that this meeting covers a broad area. It shouldn’t just be 30 minutes of what went right and what went wrong with targets. If this is the case, employees will be apprehensive about this meeting and even withhold information.
Rather, they should couple performance talk with asking about the wellbeing of the employee outside of work, ascertain what support an employee may need in executing their tasks and how they are getting along with colleagues. Managers can share a bit about themselves too in order to build trust with employees.
It is a good way to improve employee engagement
When managers take the time to interact with an employee, they send the message that the employee is important to the organisation; that what they have to say matters.
This is a good way to boost employee engagement. This monthly face to face should be a 2 way conversation where both participants speak and ask questions.
Some managers schedule the meeting away from the office so the conversation can happen without any distractions from other colleagues. Making employees feel like an integral part of the business will motivate them to bring more care to their work.
Ability to pay closer attention
Everyone is familiar with the viral videos of people being interrupted by their children as they were being interviewed on the news.
Just as they were responding to a question, a child would walk into the frame, requiring attention and bringing the interview to a pause until another carer would remove the child. In some cases, the parent would opt to carry the child and continue with the interview.
And this is just one of the things that can disrupt a meeting. A poor internet connection, a software or hardware challenge can all lead to an unfruitful meeting between a manager and employee.
Attention during a voice only chat can also be stolen by the internet-with participants scrolling through the web instead of being present for the meeting. With a monthly face to face, the two parties have a chance to speak without interruptions.
Ability to address sensitive issues with care
One of the demerits of an email or a text is that, without meaning to, one can easily be misunderstood. When dealing with a sensitive issue with an employee, what you say and how you say it need to remain respectful, a thing that may be hard to pull off in a text chain.
In a monthly face to face, you get rid of the ambiguities of text and can get to the bottom of an issue, whether that is a drop in performance or a complaint brought forward by an employee. What is more, employees will feel valued when you take the time to sit with them to address sensitive concerns.
SEmployees have ideas to share as well as feedback they may have gotten from third parties. But in the course of the busy work cycle, there may not be a good time to share these in depth. A scheduled monthly face to face with their manager provides the space to do this.
In this time, the employee knows that they have their manager’s undivided attention. While the manager may have an open door policy, popping in to ask a question while both parties are in the middle of work doesn’t enable the exchange that a dedicated face to face does.
In a global organisation, face to face in person meetings may not always be possible, but management should prioritise this type of communication with their employees.
According to research, face to face communication increases productivity and is the best way to communicate if people are tackling complex tasks. Technology should augment and not eradicate the monthly face to face meeting with employees.