Good Communication in the Workplace

Through communication collaboration and teamwork, common goals, commitment to joint vision, respect and support for team members can be accentuated. In tougher times, when someone drops the ball, someone else is always there to pick it up.   As a result this improves self confidence, motivates employees to go above and beyond and stay calm under pressure. That makes the difference in success and failure.

Another communication skill featured in Vital Learning’s Essential Skills of Communicating™ is the ability to design clear, concise messages. At the baseline this means the following:

• Communicating with concise words and sentences
• Using specific terms
• Choosing commonly understood and respectful words

Most people have to work at designing good messages. In order to obtain credibility, it is important to identify and articulate the strongest point of shared interest.

Leaders can further their communication effectiveness by creating rules of engagement, providing comfortable boundaries and encouraging feedback for increased innovation. Managers and supervisors also help team members overcome friction in diverse groups by motivating them to work through differences.

In today’s diverse workplace, designing appropriate messages may be even more difficult. Understanding the complexities helps develop open honest discussions that are tolerant of individual differences. Supervisors and managers should set an example of good communication that helps team members think, communicate and work differently for the greater good of the team and the organization. Providing consistent, clear and relevant feedback for diverse individuals and groups is essential.

The Importance of Both Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Research also indicates that it is important for leaders to show employees they matter through both verbal and nonverbal communication. Communication can be the single biggest factor in engaging and retaining employees. Often supervisors do not spend enough time talking with employees, and when they do, they may make the mistake of sending the wrong nonverbal cues.

Leaders who are consistent with one-on-ones, as well as chatting with and listening to employees, show employees they care. The Gallup Organization indicates that caring is one of the elements identified in predicting employee and workgroup performance, and it links to critical business outcomes, including productivity and profitability.

In working with high performers, for example, studies show that if these employees don’t receive feedback and don’t know where they stand, they are more likely to become disengaged. The Center for Creative Leadership research shows that only about 40 percent of employers formally tell employees of their status, and this leads to attrition.

“One hundred percent of leadership happens through conversations that pull people into a game, not through sitting back and creating things,” said Ken Luce, global COO, Hill & Knowlten.

Thus, communication means that leaders set time for formal one-on-one communication, as well as informal communication as they walk the shop floor, read email messages or blog on the company Intranet. Social media is an important part of employee engagement, according to the International Association of Business Communications (IABC). These forms of communication influence organizational agendas, priorities and goals. News feeds, blogs and collaboration tools are ways to both listen to and engage employees.

You Hear Them, But Are You Listening?

Listening, another essential communication skill, includes the ability to reflect, probe, support and advise. It builds trust and commitment, which steadily nurture employees and the organization for shared purpose. Using listening skills reinforces employee emotional attachment to the company. Listening is also the catalyst for problem-solving by inviting varied opinions, tapping into expertise and encouraging people to express what they really think. This heightened sense of trust and respect is what employees crave.

Communicating effectively takes time and is required to determine company direction and priorities. Many organizations underestimate the value of well-trained leaders who give attention to interpersonal details. Without this, missteps occur, and the ability for the organization to glean the information necessary to be successful diminishes.

So, train your supervisors on the essential skills of communicating. Address the needs of both seasoned managers and new managers by reducing barriers to training. Include team-building by giving and receiving constructive feedback, emotional intelligence and building trust and relationships. Your local Vital Learning affiliate can help you build your organization’s communication training strategies.

Empowered with the essentials of communicating, your managers and supervisors will achieve more in work and life.

Thought for the Day
“The results of our encounters are rarely neutral; they are almost always positive or negative. And although we take these interactions for granted, they accumulate and profoundly affect our lives,”
— Tom Rath, Author of How Full Is Your Bucket?

Melodae Morris
Leadership Matters and Vital Learning

Melodae Morris is the founder of M Morris Group specializing in people, process, performance and productivity.

Visit our management training courses.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

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Employee Engagement Strategies: Ways to Improve to Keep Your Workforce Motivated

 Successful organizations realize employee engagement and talent management is critical in sustaining their leadership and growth in the marketplace. Attracting, engaging and retaining top talented employees in today’s business environment should be the highest priority. One of the biggest problems facing businesses today is how to motivate their staff, improve job satisfaction and keep their workforce engaged.  Employee engagement goes hand in hand with higher job satisfaction, lower employee turnover and better productivity.

Employee Engagement Definition

Our definition of employee engagement is the employee’s connection to the work, the organization, their customers, the leaders and the connections they have with their co-workers.  Engaged employees stay with their employers, have higher levels of job satisfaction and make significant contributions.  Employee engagement is not optional, but an essential requirement to achieve organizational results.

A 2010 survey conducted by the Conference Board showed only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. This is the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board in more than 22 years of research. Those that fail to improve job satisfaction are at risk of losing their top talented people to the competition. Losing good employees is bad enough, but businesses are also seeing a growing percentage of unhappy employees staying just for a paycheck. As a result, many organizations are hamstrung with employees who are only performing at a minimal level. What should you do?

Employee Engagement and Effective Communication

If you think communication isn’t important in engaging your employees, then think again. Effective communication is an international concern. In October, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) held its 2009 Employee Communication Conference, where some of the hot topics included encouraging leaders to engage in meaningful two-way communication with employees and accelerating strategies for employee engagement. Communication plays a key role in the way employees do their jobs.

After 12 major employee engagement research studies, the IABC conference board defined employee engagement as “a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, [and] that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work.” At least four of the studies focused on eight key drivers, including the following:

  • Trust and Integrity – How well managers communicate and “walk the talk”

  • Employee Development – The effort a company makes to develop employee skills

  • Relationship With One’s Manager – The level of value an employee has in the relationship with his/her manager

All of the studies showed that the direct relationship employees had with their managers was the strongest driver. The study also revealed that engaged employees outperformed their disengaged counterparts by 20 to 28 percentage points.

A Towers Perrin survey shows employees don’t have strong confidence in senior management’s ability to inspire and lead. For instance:

  • Just 41% think their senior management supports new ideas and new ways of doing things.

  • Just 37% think senior management tries to be visible and accessible to employees.

  • Only 36% think senior management effectively communicates the reasons for important business decisions.

  • And a mere third believe senior management communicates openly and honestly to employees.

Our Approach to Employee Engagement

We help you build strong connections and create a strong culture of leadership.  This drives engagement and employee motivation.

We design employee engagement strategies and plans to grow your organization and implement talent management solutions, creating clearer direction, increased profitability, stronger executive teams, improved communication and happier and more productive employees.

Since 1993, Greg and his team of seasoned business solution specialists have guided hundreds of organizations in design strategies and processes to grow organizations and implement business initiatives creating clearer direction, increased profitability, stronger executive teams, improved communication and happier and more productive employees.  Contact us for a complimentary discussion.

Other resources:

How to Increase Job Satisfaction and Improve Employee Engagement

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee Engagement, Employee Retention, Good Places to Work, Human Resource Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reward and Recognition Programs Increase Employee Motivation

Money may attract employees to the front door, but something else has to keep them from going out the back. Managing people takes an entirely different approach than it did just a year ago. Managers and supervisors must place equal importance on employee development as they do on customer satisfaction and retention. Today’s workers don’t just expect a paycheck, but good employees also want personal fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment.

Reward and recognition programs are a vital part of creating a motivating work environment. A successful reward and recognition program does not have to be complicated to be effective. A well-administered program allows people to celebrate success, have fun, and feel good about who they are and whom they work for.

The size of your organization and the age of your workforce dictates which type of program works best. One organization improved motivation and almost eliminated turnover by creating a family environment including special incentives.

Every year employees celebrate their work anniversary with a cake and receive $100 for each year employed made out in a check.

Twice a year employees’ children receive a $50 savings bond when they bring in their “all A’s” report card.

They reward employees with a “Safety Bonus Program.” Each employee’s driving record is screened twice a year. Anyone who has a citation is removed from the program. Those employees remaining at the end of the year split $2000.

To minimize the “we-they” syndrome, every Friday employees rotate jobs for one hour. For example, the person in the Sales Department works on the front desk. Someone from Maintenance will work in the Customer Service etc. This builds a stronger team and improves communication within the company.

One of the easiest and most effective programs to initiate is peer recognition. Peer recognition gives employees the power to reward each other for doing a good job. It works because employees themselves know who works hard and deserves recognition. After all, managers can’t be everywhere all the time, and employees are in the best position to catch people doing the right things.

Queen or King for the Quarter. Dayton Metro Housing created the QUEST program to reward their workforce for demonstrating good customer service skills. Each quarter, employees receive three tokens. When they spot a fellow employee or manager providing good customer service, they hand them a QUEST token. At the end of the quarter, the person with the highest number of tokens is crowned king or queen. Those with eight or more tokens are “knighted.” All the King, Queens, and Knights attend a special banquet. At the end of the year all token winners can use their tokens to bid on various awards and prizes. Furthermore, the individual with the highest yearly number of tokens is bequeathed a “scepter.”

You’re Magnificent! At the MAG Insurance Company they use a form of recognition called “You’re Magnificent!” The form is printed in triplicate and given to all employees to nominate each other for outstanding behavior. The top copy goes to the recognized employee. The second copy goes to the employee’s supervisor. The third copy is posted for everyone to see on a bulletin board. Once a month they take the posted copies and randomly draw the names of five individuals called, “You’re Magnificents” for $10 gift certificates. Then three additional “Magnificents” are drawn each quarter for a $250 gift certificate.

Safety Bingo. For every accident free day at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, associates are awarded a bingo number. Each associate has a card and plays the game. A pot grows at the rate of $1 per day with a starting amount of $100. The associate who wins at safety bingo is awarded the cash in the pot. If they go over 100 days without an accident, it increases by $2 per day. If we have an accident, the pot falls back down to $100 and it starts over again. If someone wins, the pot remains at same pay out level, and continues to grow $1 or $2 per day. This program reduced accidents by 50% each year.

Guess Whose Pet This Is? At Industrial Developments International, the “Esprit” Committee organizes fun activities such as the Pet of the Month contest. A pet’s picture is put on the bulletin board and they guess who the owner is.

In its “Thank You Coupon” program, the Texas Credit Union gives each employee seven coupons a year to give to any employees they wish to recognize for going out of their way to help customers or fellow employees. The coupons are redeemed for $10 certificates for food, movies, golf, and the like. Everyone in the company, from the president and vice presidents down, is eligible for a coupon.

A work environment that attracts, keeps, and motivates its workforce is one that gives workers a sense of pride, accomplishment, and purpose in what they do. These informal programs provide an effective strategy for motivating employees and they are simple to administer. They do not cost much, do not take much time, and do not complicate the payroll. Instead of providing cash incentives, you can substitute by providing winners with extra breaks, movie tickets, time off, t-shirts, and other small gifts.

Go to our website for 350 additional reward and recognition tips and techniques.  

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Employee Retention, Human Resource Management, Job Satisfaction, Talent Management | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The Bus Driver Story — One Person Can Transform Your Life

Greg Smith speaks about how a bus driver transformed his experience on a bus ride to the Atlanta airport.  Greg Smith is a keynote speaker and author.  One great employee is better than 100 average employees.  One person can change your life, transform your attitude, grow your business and create a powerful bond with your customers.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Customer Service, Employee Selection, Leadership, Leadership Speaker | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Beatings Won’t Stop Until the Morale Improves

There is a direct correlation between bad management and high employee turnover.

Have you ever experienced a situation similar to this?

The president of the company was frustrated as he watched the sales slide lower during the past four quarters. The leadership team had a brainstorming session and decided the problem was their people.  They needed to “motivate” them. So they spent several thousand dollars and hired a motivational speaker to get their workforce fired up.

She gave a great speech and told everyone to think positively, dream big and to make a list of the top ten goals they needed to do to improve their sales. Then they spent another thousand dollars purchasing motivational posters and hung them on the walls around the office. Management was happy thinking this would solve their problem.

Sales improved for about a month and then in predictable fashion, sales started dropping again. So they fired the sales manager and hired a new one to rev up the sales team. Morale plummeted and then their best sales people started quitting one after one. OMG!

Now what? What did they do wrong? What would you do?

The problem was not the people, but the sales process. Yes, it is important you hire the right people, but most of the time the real culprit is not the people, but bad management, bad processes and systems that hamper motivation, growth and efficiency. People want to do a good job. It is up to management to help them, not blame them.

My experience shows me 30% of what most people do at work is non-value added—wasteful rules, policies and sign off. Departments don’t talk to each other and their bureaucratic and diseased processes hamper and frustrate motivated people. When this goes on too long, it demotivates and as a result sales will drop, communication becomes dysfunctional, people become frustrated and employee turnover increases. 

You can hire all the motivational speakers you want and hang all the inspirational posters you can buy, but if you don’t fix the real problems, processes, eliminate the bureaucracy and deliver great service you are dead in the water. Optimize your organization first—then bring in the marching bands and motivational speakers. You will have something to celebrate—I guarantee it!

Recognized as a dynamic motivational speaker and leading authority on change management, leadership development and business transformation. Smith teaches people how to build a high energy workplaces that accelerate performance, generate more profits, increases sales and provide outstanding leadership.  As a professional motivational keynote speaker and business author, Smith’s motivational and inspirational presentations have been heard by audiences in over 26 countries. He has spoken to hundreds of business associations, human resource associations, healthcare organizations and businesses. 

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee Engagement, Employee Retention, Employee Turnover, Good Places to Work, Job Satisfaction, Talent Management | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

DISC Training

(Live webseminar)

Our DISC training programs provide you with the skills
and knowledge in using our assessments to empower
individuals, enhance team performance, employee selection
and to improve communication.

Upon successful completion of the training, you may
teach and conduct workshops in your organization or
training practice. Each class is limited to five people.

Upcoming dates:

For more information click here


Greg will arrange a time to meet your personal
time schedule. Includes the facilitator kit and
certification exam.

Cost: $1695
For more information call us at 770-860-9464 or 800-821-2487

Upcoming Sessions:

January 24th & 25th

Held in Atlanta or onsite at your business location

Cost: $1950

For more information, click this link:

We have updated our list of Greg’s keynotes, workshops
and training programs we provide.

Greg’s Videos:

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

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What Makes a Person a Great Leader?

What do I get excited about? Ever since I was a kid I felt I had a calling, that I had a purpose in life. I had a passion to make a difference in the world. I knew I wanted to be a leader. I served in the Army for many years and was fortunate to serve under some outstanding leaders and learn from the best. Since those days I have trained other leaders, coached executives and helped to develop hundreds of organizations in over 26 different countries. Along the way, I have helped raise three children and a granddaughter. I have learned many things, but the one piece of knowledge that has always been foremost in my mind is the importance of a leader. A leader is not merely a title or job description, it is an action. Leadership is more about heart and soul than about education or a diploma on the wall. A person only becomes a leader after he or she has proven themselves – ratified themselves in the hearts and minds of those they are leading.

Joel Barker has the best definition of leadership. He says, “A leader is a person you would follow to a place you would not go to by yourself.”

I would like to hear from you on some of the best leaders you admire and why? What makes a person a great leader?

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Leadership | 1 Comment