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The Importance of Communication and Inclusion

Have you ever been the new kid on the block in your organization? I ask because I think at a basic level we’ve all been there at some point in our personal or professional lives.

Whether you’ve moved to a new city, started a new job, or been a part of an organizational shift, we’ve all found ourselves in situations that feel like our first day in a new high school.

Too often, organizations don’t take the time to properly onboard their new team members, and even if they do, they often  miss the very basic piece of facilitating that human connection. It may seem like the same thing, but you have to think about making sure that those who are new to the team are included and feel an emotional connection to the organization.

There are lots of ways you can develop this kind of connection – but the two most important are team building and communication.

When it comes to team building, makes sure that everyone understands and embraces their role as the Welcome Wagon.  If you don’t encourage everyone from Leadership to Front Line Associate to take an active role in welcoming new team members, few will step up.  Make sure everyone knows that it is just as simple as making sure that new folks don’t eat alone, that they are engaged in conversation, and that they are not left out on an island.  It’s good to remind the team of that, as sometimes folks are ambivalent to how hard it can be for new folks to break into existing relationships.

The next step is great communication.  I think that great communication is like listening, driving, and singing – everyone secretly believes they are great at it, when in reality very few are adequate at all.

When you think about communication, remember that a one-size-fits-all approach is destined to fail.  Spray to all fields and don’t look down your nose at any – whether you love technology or embrace a previously traditional approach, likely all have some value.

Employee Bulletin Boards:  Yes I am talking about the good old fashioned analog board.  Some folks still like what they can touch and see, so don’t shy away from this age old channel.  Keep them clean, keep them organized, and keep them relevant.  If you have postings that are months out of date or the thing looks like it belongs in your college dorm room, then you are missing the mark.

Email Distributions / Text Distributions:  There is no doubt that the love of the smartphone makes this communication channel an up and coming option.  There is a lot of potential here for instant communication so take advantage of this if you can.  Gather email addresses and allow folks to opt in for messages.  Make sure you don’t abuse it for nonsense, because if you make it valuable for notices about scheduling or amazing recognition then you’ll find many ready subscribe to your distributions.

Face-to-Face Communication:  This is by far my favorite, but sometimes it isn’t practical.  But when you can, speaking directly to your team is the most amazing way to drive open communication.  Use your staff meetings, pre-shift huddles, and one-on-one conversations to make sure the message gets out.  Remember, folks love to hear things directly from their Leaders, so if you need real impact with stickiness then take the time to do it live.

Great communication is like vitamins – they pack a punch at first, but wear off in time.  Just like you have to take a vitamin daily or make your bed each morning, you can’t just do it once or occasionally if you want great impact.  Communicate – then communicate – then communicate a little more.

One of the key complaints that most associates have with their leaders and organizations is that they don’t get adequate communication, understand the mission, or know how to prioritize leadership objectives.  So make sure they feel included and well informed.  That will drive engagement to fuel the  great service you strive to provide every day!

Until Next Time, please treat your Customers like cherished friends.

Tony Johnson -Customer Service Trainer, Speaker, and Leader-

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