Conversations: The Secret to Success


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, August 3, 2020

Communication is so important within an organization. It’s crucial that managers and HR teams are having open conversations with employees and that in turn, all employees feel like they too can be honest about their experiences in the workplace. Otherwise, problems can begin to emerge, or workers can become dissatisfied or disengaged, and all of this bubbles away under the surface until someone explodes or hands in their resignation.

Article 5 Minutes
Conversations: The Secret to Success

There are a number of reasons why conversations are the secret to success, and this doesn't always have to mean conversations in the conventional sense. Talking over email, messenger, through feedback surveys, and in meetings can all contribute towards an honest and authentic work environment, where staff feel valued and listened too.

Feedback must come from both sides

We typically understand that employees will be given reviews, annually at least, but for the best results, these should be conducted more frequently. However, feedback is no longer a one-way street. HR teams and managers need to be providing constructive feedback, whilst also asking employees to share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences too. After all, a conversation isn't a conversation when it’s one-sided.

There are several ways organizations can collect feedback and start meaningful conversations with their employees, one of these being employee engagement surveys. By asking the right questions and collating the data, HR teams can highlight areas of success and any aspects of the workplace that need improving. Armed with these findings, they can start real conversations with their teams to get a better idea of what needs to be done and what changes need to be made.

Feedback, like any conversation, must involve both parties so that everyone can have their say.

Conversations create trust

Trust is the key to the success of any business. If you don’t trust your employees or vice versa, the working environment can quickly turn sour and employees are likely to be less productive. One of the most important and efficient ways to build trust and to nurture a trusting corporate culture is through conversation and by always being open and honest.

Building this environment of trust underpins employee engagement and the success of the organization. All staff should feel like they can approach their manager or HR representative if they're facing any issues, and they should always be able to be honest about the problems they're facing, even if these are in their private life (as this too can affect their work).

If employees feel like they have to bottle things up or pretend that everything is fine when it’s not, this can add to the pressure and stress they feel at work. Eventually, this could lead to burn out or to them looking for a better job elsewhere. As such, creating a culture that encourages honest conversation is the perfect way to build trust and to ensure you create an engaged and driven workforce.

Conversations are important for progression

Another reason why these conversations between employees, their managers, and the HR team are so important, is that they help set out a path for progression. Without conversation, there can be no goal setting and certainly no reviewing or tracking of progress. Employees need targets and growth plans to keep them driving forward and to reassure them that there is a place for them to progress within the company.

After all, no one wants to feel like they’ve hit a dead end with their work. This can cause people to start looking for more exciting opportunities elsewhere - which is not good for business. For this reason, conversations about what your employees hope to achieve within your organization and what can be done to facilitate this growth, whether that be training, implementing new systems, or investing in new technologies are necessary.

Honest communication shows you care

Most of today’s professionals will place job satisfaction before salary and benefits, as being happy and engaged at work is more important to them than money. Part of this satisfaction is working for a company with a great corporate culture and one which genuinely cares about its employees. Encouraging conversations is one of the best ways to show that your organization is invested in your employees and wants them to succeed.

Whether that’s done through feedback, meetings, casual conversations with their manager, or goal setting, these conversations are important to professionals and are such a simple way to show that you care.

Never underestimate the importance of small talk

Walking into the office and hearing nothing but the tapping of keyboards can suggest a busy and efficient workforce, but it can also be a sign that your teams aren't communicating with one another. Although it might seem trivial and of course there needs to be professionalism at all times, small talk amongst colleagues is still important. A silent workforce could indicate they aren't collaborating well together and this can be bad for business.

After all, a friendly, approachable team who enjoy working with one another are more likely to be successful. Because of this, it’s a good idea to build a culture where small talk is encouraged (within reason) even if it’s not always work-related. After all, your employees spend upwards of 40 hours a week together; if they don't get on or enjoy each other’s company, this can cause real issues further down the line.

Creativity comes from talking

Conversations spark creativity and this is absolutely crucial to the success of any organization. After all, innovation, sharing ideas, and coming up with creative new solutions is what keeps businesses driving forward. As such, encouraging conversations between employees can be the ideal way to get the creative ideas flowing. For example, arranging regular brainstorming sessions or meetings where staff can bounce ideas around to see what they can come up with.

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