This is part three of our Building a Strong Executive Team series. To start at the beginning, click here.
Giving company executives feedback can be nerve-racking, especially for newer members of the team. However, this feedback is critical for a successful organization, so executives need to find ways to get it outside of one-on-one conversations. Generally, companies use executive communication to set or review company goals and expectations, but it can also be used to gather feedback in a low-pressure format. To make it easier, we’ve put together this guide on what executive to company communication looks like.
What does good executive to company communication look like?
- Valuing quality over seniority
- Setting clear expectations up front
- Rewarding employees for speaking up
- Participating in recreational activities
- Creating strong executive communication in your business
Valuing quality over seniority
Seniority is a great thing in a company and should definitely be respected, but don’t ignore someone’s ideas just because they haven’t been with the company for long. They may have new ways of looking at things that your veterans haven’t yet considered. And if your employees have submitted two competing ideas, make sure you’re valuing the quality of the ideas rather than the seniority of the people presenting them.
If you struggle with bias when evaluating feedback, consider anonymous surveys. Not only will you be able to evaluate the suggestions more objectively, but your employees are also more likely to give honest feedback if they know they won’t be identified. Systems like TINYpulse or Officevibe are perfect for getting anonymous feedback.
Setting clear expectations up front
When new employees join your team, as an executive, you need to be upfront about what you expect from them in their new roles. This should ideally start with the job description you post and continue through the onboarding process. If you try to hide duties or expectations to attract more candidates, you’re just going to be facing a higher turnover rate when your new hire sees the reality of the job. Plus, if you have to lie to get people to apply, you might need to evaluate some of your policies.
Along with setting expectations for roles in general, you should also be setting clear expectations for meetings. If you schedule a meeting, you should include an agenda in the invitation, so everyone knows what the meeting will cover and can come prepared. This keeps everyone on track and helps you better use your meeting time.
Rewarding employees for speaking up
If you want feedback from your employees (and you should), you need to reward the employees that speak up. Giving executives feedback can be terrifying, but knowing that they’re open to it and even want it can settle some of that anxiety.
If an employee brings you a good idea or valuable feedback, reward them with lunch or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. And if the feedback ends up saving or making you a lot of money, you owe that employee a raise. You can also implement an employee engagement program to collect feedback and reward employees for it. The reward itself doesn’t matter as much as the employee knowing that you heard and appreciated their feedback.
Most importantly, don’t punish your employees for giving feedback. Even if it’s something you don’t want to hear, if an employee is saying something critical, it’s because they care enough to try and make the company better. If you punish that, you may drive good employees away.
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Participating in recreational activities
To effectively communicate as an executive, you need to be approachable and accessible for your team. One of the ways you can do this is by participating in recreational activities that other members of the team enjoy. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with your employees, but joining a company-wide bracket challenge (and being active in the chat) or a company-sponsored sports team can go a long way towards making your employees feel comfortable around you.
If your company uses Slack or a similar social collaboration system, join some of the channels that employees have created just for fun. Here at TechnologyAdvice, we have channels dedicated to everything from dog pictures to sharing recipes. If your team has channels that appeal to you, join them and participate.
Creating strong executive communication in your business
Strong executive communication is about more than just what you’re saying; it’s also about how you’re saying it and what kind of response you’re inviting. Make sure your employees know that you want their feedback and ideas, even if they’re brand new to the company. Be accessible and approachable to ensure your employees feel comfortable communicating with you. And set clear expectations, so employees aren’t guessing at what you want. By following these guidelines, you can set your business up for greater long-term success.
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