If your company is like most, your employee handbook says you have an open door policy. But today’s open door policy is just a metaphor. The modern organization increasingly virtual. As a result, the need to remain connected to your organization has only grown. And employees are not seeking to enter a physical office. Rather, they want to chat, check in, and connect via multiple communications channels. And when you’re connecting with them online, the rules are a bit different.
With the right tools and the right attitude, though, you can breathe some life into your open door policy – and strengthen your employee relations. That said, there a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when connecting:
Informal check-ins are more comfortable for employees, and casual hello-how-are-yous offer an excellent opportunity for leaders to coach employees and get valuable feedback from them. When communications from leadership are limited to formal, unidirectional messaging, there’s not going to be a whole lot of meaningful dialogue occurring.
Chat clients are a simple solution for quick communications with your team. Some of us are familiar with this media, but others might struggle with the conversational tone, lowercase letters and lack of punctuation. If you with the LOLs, OMGs, and TTYLs, don’t use them. Just keep things short and respond quickly. The point here is that you’re making yourself available and approachable.
2. Onboard Your Team
So it is critical that you rally your team to a common communications and collaboration platform, and make sure they use it. The more people you have using the same tool to communicate, the easier it is to connect with them. Over time, the value of everyone working together on one system will make it a critical part of their routine.
HomeAway has found Confluence to be a powerful wiki tool for fostering personable communication and dynamic collaboration across the organization. “We’ve seen a tremendous adoption across the organization,” says SVP of HR Lori Knowlton. The vibrant company culture at HomeAway is a major contributor to their steady growth and success, and the value of this degree of buy-in is self-evident.
3. Get Some Face Time
Fact: Visibility is key to connecting with and managing your people – as well as keeping tabs on the organization. Video conferencing can bring users face-to-face, keeping employees plugged-in to what’s going on.
The executive team at HomeAway has a weekly “Table Talk,” which employees find really valuable. This all-staff video meeting is broadcast across the globe, introducing new employees, discussing goals and business plans, etc. Not only do leaders reach out to every member of their organization, but they use a familiar medium to bridge the gap across the organization’s many satellite offices.
Interacting Critical, Tools Helpful
Interaction with a good boss is critical to realizing your full potential as an employee. With the right tools, keeping tabs on your people and your organization can become a part of your regular workflow. Go forth and dabble in a few different products until you find the right one, keeping in mind that many tools are free at their most basic level.
For further reading, this article can be found in full on Kyle’s HR blog.
Guest Author: Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice. He blogs about technology, trends, and best practices in human resources and recruiting, and enjoys cooking for friends and family in his spare time.