What Can Managers Learn by Contacting Their Employees Directly instead of Looking at Reports?
Certainly, managers can learn some additional information by engaging in direct conversations with their employees. Besides, in most cases, this information is important for managers, as it helps them create a favorable work environment (Hummer, 2016). In contrast to official reports, in conversations, employees can provide comprehensive information concerning the efficiency of new methods and projects, problems with the products, customer satisfaction, and so on, along with their personal opinion regarding these matters.
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In general, the main reason why direct contact with employees is considered highly efficient is that in fact, employees are closer to the products or services that the company sells than managers (Hummer, 2016). They see the smallest details in these products and understand which of these details increases customer satisfaction and which ones do not. The employees’ daily experience with products also allows them to assess the quality of these products and detect any flaws that they have.
Another advantage of contracting with employees directly is the increase in understanding the working environment and learning about different conflicts that can occur between employees and how they can affect overall productivity (Hummer, 2016). Thus, managers can see what problems employees deal with every day, what things they lack that would enhance their motivation, and what they can do to improve working conditions.
One more advantage of engaging with employees directly is to understand their personal needs and preferences. In this respect, managers can allocate working responsibilities according to employees’ personal preferences. Thus, if all employees are “at their places” and do those things that they are comfortable with, their productivity will be at maximum (González & Brazeal, 2014). Additionally, employee satisfaction increases customer satisfaction and the overall efficiency of the company.
An Employee Perspective towards Managers Spending More Time with Them and Asking about Work
As an employee, at first, I would think that this is quite unusual if a manager would approach me every day and ask various questions regarding my satisfaction and opinion about the product or service that we sell. However, I think that over time, this process would become routine and everybody would be satisfied. I also think that this strategy would become beneficial for both managers and employees.
Certainly, if I knew that the top manager of our company regularly spent time with the employees, my attitude towards the organization would change. I can say for sure that it would change positively, as there would be no feeling of separation from the organization. Instead, the feeling of cohesion in the organization would appear, meaning that every member of the staff including the highest and the lowest ones would come together and decide what is best for the company.
What Can Managers Learn about Daily Business Operations from Employees?
Apart from engaging in direct conversations with employees, top managers can use various methods that would somehow imitate their presence beside the employees. Of course, these strategies would not be as effective as their appearance, but sometimes, the CEO simply does not have time to check on their employees personally every day, as they have many other responsibilities (González & Brazeal, 2014). Therefore, to create the illusion of their presence, the most effective way is to change the organizational culture into that where the top manager serves as the role model. This would inspire employees to work harder to reach the same level of success as their chief (Hummer, 2016). As for the information about day-to-day business operations, top managers can receive it using implementing into their organizational culture a strategy that would allow employees not only to include numbers and formal information in their reports but also their opinions about what can be better and what needs to be fixed or changed.
In certain cases, a CEO can’t communicate personally with their employees, especially when it is a multinational corporation. Thus, if the headquarters of a company is in one part of the world, and one of its branches is in another one, a CEO cannot physically be present beside the employees and communicate with them (Hummer, 2016). In this case, the most effective way is to use innovative technologies that would allow CEOs to deliver messages to their employees and receive them valuable information about the working process in another country.
What Can Managers Do to Make Employees Feel More Comfortable When Communicating with Them?
In most cases and especially in the beginning, employees may feel uncomfortable when communicating with their top managers. They can be not completely honest due to the fear of being terminated or even simply because of the presence of top managers near them. They can also think that they are being spied on by their superiors (González & Brazeal, 2014). Of course, it can happen only in the beginning, as eventually, employees will get accustomed to this process, and it will transform into the daily routine.
Nevertheless, this problem must be resolved, and the uncomfortable feeling of employees must be minimized; otherwise, their productivity would decrease. The most effective method to reduce these concerns is to be open with employees and explain to them the purpose of these conversations. Then it is important to prove your intentions by making some significant changes in the organization according to the employees’ feedback. Additionally, it is necessary to show that the opinion of employees is also important for the organization (González & Brazeal, 2014). Thus, the employees will not feel intimidated and will openly cooperate with their superiors to make their organization more successful.
González, C. B., & Brazeal, D. V. (2014). Undercover boss: A case study of ethical dilemmas in the workplace. Global Education Journal, 214(1), 107-117.
Hummer, D. A. (2016). Organizational climate and culture: An introduction to theory, research, and practice. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 27(2), 297-301.