The key to a good working relationship is communication, without communication there is no relationship. When communication breaks down, staff will become unhappy then leave which in turn affects the business. All hope is not lost as you can turn a communication breakdown into a breakthrough.
- More than Once (in more than one way, if needed): Yes, you have said it but has it been heard and absorbed? If there is something important that needs to be heard and/or acted upon, reinforce the message through consistent verbal and, if necessary, written communication.
- Who is Accountable: There is often confusion over who can take over whose shifts/duties, what needs management approval and so on. Use digital tools to keep track of messages being read and to indicate whether a request requires management approval. Keeping track of loose paper records gets messy and confusing.
- Beyond the Pre-Shift Meeting: If you send out your schedule ahead of time, attach additional messages for the staff. When a shift is in full swing, things can be forgotten. Implement a quick and easy way to record notes so the next manager can see what has happened on the previous shift and take the necessary steps if applicable.
- Who is the Message For: Not everyone needs to hear what you have to say all of the time. Something that has happened during the day shift may not be applicable to the night shift staff. Consider who needs to hear the message and deliver it to them specifically. There may also be topics that only managers need to discuss so consider creating a separate group for that specifically.
- Communication at Training Level: Make it clear to new recruits how important communication is and train them on how you want communication carried out. If your expectations are clear and they are given the correct tools then there is no reason for your staff members not to communicate effectively.
Not everyone has learned the skill of communication and not everyone will communicate in the way that works for you. Teaching your staff to communicate well will not only improve the relationship but will also ensure expectations are clear for all parties involved.