Employees are one of the biggest expenses in a business and “making payroll” is one of the biggest cash flow concerns of business owners and CEOs. Yet with all of that money going to your people, how do you maximize what you get in return? No, I’m not going to write about goal-setting and accountability, nor am I going to mention other managerial tactics that provide little more than flash-in-the-pan activity with few sustainable results. For lasting gains, I suggest you improve how, why, what and when you communicate with your staff.
Consistent and open communication from the top executive to every employee in the organization can have a significantly positive impact on employee engagement and morale, which translates into better customer care. And that always leads to improved cash flow.
Yet the most effective communication needs to come from the heart, and it needs to be authentically yours—your vision, your passion, your interests and everything else that makes you the leader you are.
Sensing a Problem
As our company, Aribex, grows, I’ve been contemplating how to best preserve our culture while keeping everyone engaged in our objectives and major initiatives. I became concerned when a recent employee survey revealed that employees often feel disconnected from the management team and the decisions we make. After all, we have a company meeting during which we talk about our financial performance and other strategies and activities in which we are engaging. Clearly it wasn’t enough.
Then I read about several CEOs of the year in Utah Business Magazine, and one stood out to me—Amy Rees Anderson of MediConnect Global. Amy credited effective communication for the success of her organization. But her communication wasn’t always that way.
A New Approach
As her company grew, she found that others in the company were speaking for her and they weren’t always representing her correctly. So almost two years ago she started writing a daily blog post to her employees. One post every day about what she was working on, what was frustrating her, the lessons she was learning and so much more.
I decided to take her advice, although I felt daily was too much. I started writing a weekly e-mail only for Aribex employees. I talk about progress on our key strategies; I highlight good things individual employees and teams are doing, address our rationale behind certain company policies and even talk about things happening in my personal life.
The result? Employees love it. I’ve received rave reviews and they have even asked for more. I'm even now considering posting daily.
Transparency Pays Off
Some business leaders spend too much time and expend too much effort trying to keep secrets and creating a political web in their companies. It’s so much easier to just be honest, real and sincere.
At Aribex, we try to be open and share as much as we can with every employee in the company.
All of our employees know how much revenue and profit we generate each month. But this transparency extends beyond just company performance. I am not afraid to discuss failures openly, nor have I ever shied away from publicly accepting my weaknesses. Transparency requires vulnerability and your employees will embrace it and recognize it as authentic.
If you’re going to invest the time and effort to communicate, then make it real. Your employees will value that more than you can imagine, and they’ll thank you by staying with your company, becoming more productive and helping you grow and improve the business.
Ken Kaufman is the President & CFO of Aribex, an innovator of handheld devices disrupting medical imaging globally. As an award-winning executive with almost two decades of experience starting, growing, leading and financing dozens of organizations, Ken is a highly sought-after speaker and author, including a best-seller, Impact Your Business.
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