|Team Work -- Cooperation--Communication
by Julia Rihn, author of Beautiful Events Books
J.R. Publications, Inc.
Santa Rosa, , CA 95403
Toll Free: 800-267-3942
TEAM WORK - COOPERATION - COMMUNICATIONS --
YEA! YEA! YEA! or YEAH! Yeah! yeah!.........
Companies are exploding with growth in our modern commerce world. Barely prepared to meet their quota on delivery of their product and gain employees, they struggle to achieve a balance within the infra-structure of their workforce and management -- thus losing employees at a very fast rate and wondering why??? This costly loss erodes the company and is very expensive in keeping intelligent, trained and happy people on the job.
Many people complain that when interviewed they were given the company policy believing themselves to be hired under the auspices of "teamwork, commitment, communication and a success goal-oriented structure." Yet -- once on the job found non-cooperation, no room or value for ideas or change, one department did not know what the other did, and a non-communication between management and personnel. They learned quickly they were hired under buzz terms. As a perspective employee during an interview one has the right to ask how the entitled terms are implemented. How does this company walk the talk of communication, team work, and cooperation toward success? The following information may be of value to both management and those seeking employment.
THE IDEAL COMPANY- EMPLOYEE PERSPECTIVE...
Who is an important part of the team. Everyone! That is a Real Team! Everyone's participation is important. A favorite story of mine is about a little boy of ten, riding with his parents on the freeway. Traffic comes to a grinding halt, and the little boy is very curious about what has happened ahead. A highway patrolman rides up the divider and the little boy yells, "What's happening up there?" The patrolman states, "They have a semi-truck stuck under the overpass, and they cannot move it." The little guy stretches out the window to see for himself.....and then turns to the patrolman and says, "Why don't they just let the air out of the tires???" The patrolman got on the radio--relayed the little boys idea and traffic was moving in a short time. Everyone's Perspective and Ideas Count!
TEAM LEADERS WHO WALK THE TALK
Hire or promote within -- managers who express communication and networking ideals.
Provide systems of monthly or quarterly management focused problem solving.
Provide monthly or weekly customer relation and service management meetings -- asking employees for advice in solving these problems also.
Seek employees who have a background in inter-action and team work.
Set inter-business communication standards from the top throughout the work system.
Set work schedules to not "overwork and exhaust management and employees" - burn out.
Give support to new personnel in learning their new job and getting to know people by...
a) providing up-to-date procedure and employee manuals.
b) bring your management team together often for problem solving and team building.
c) bring the entire work force into providing ideas and solutions with a rewards system.
d) providing opportunities for friendly competition and/or common cause endeavors.
Strong Systems for achieving support and loyality from personnel will involve the following with "personal contact." CEO, Human Resources Training, Management, Assistant Mgt, Fellow Employees, Social Inter-action, and Outreach. Many of the ideas outlined do not involve a cost to the company, but provide long term rewards to both company and personnel.
HIRE INTELLIGENT PEOPLE AND EXPECT INTELLIGENT IDEAS
How many useful ideas have made it to the assistant manager and stopped there? Companies have for years sought the perspective and intelligence of their employees to further their companies by providing an idea reward system which is submitted beyond the immediate manager.
a) Review these ideas monthly, announce the bonus winners and place information in individuals' work files.
b) Give bonuses to employees who provide ten ideas at the end of their third month on the job -- to strengthen this habit of improving the work or product. The idea forms can state "No idea is too small for the overall big picture of this company." Ideas may take years or moments to implement and may save thousands of dollars and precious hours of time -- but the impact it has on employees when their ideas count -- measures in loyalty.
c) Continue to announce what financial impact this idea created for the company.
ORIENTATION FOR THE NEW EMPLOYEE
Creating a business operations video which outlines the goals and products of the company, giving a perspective on quota, products, owners, various programs, perks and opportunities will inform and enhance the company's desire to communicate. Companies providing a decent procedure manual for the business and the individual's job allows for the opportunity to look up nformation. This can outline the management chain and resolve many concerns.
Assigning a member of the management team to a new employee may be temporary, but a wise investment. The management can make themselves available, providing an overall picture of the company and answer questions, go over the business manual and fill in the info about insurance, vacations, policy.....but it does not have to stop here. Setting appointments with:
The Owner (CEO), for discussion of the company goals will give validity to the employee's importance to the overall picture. (One new employee group session a week or a month for the busy CEO would suffice.
The Department Managers who explain what their part of the project involves in a round table lunch and how each department depends on one another.
OPPORTUNITIES TO COMMUNICATE
While the break area and lunch room or a Christmas party offer an opportunity to meet people, a continous communication to employees can be an on-line company newsletter or bulletin board which will let them know what is going on, share in the writing, annouce up-coming events and connect to the company. Companies can offer a multitude of communication opportunities when:
a) Employees are given opportunities to attend specific management meetings.
b) Team building events are held within the department by contracting team building companies who bring in speciality group leaders to place the employees through a fun exercise in working together.
c) Management structure encourages problem focus retreats or round table discussions to discuss new ideas and focus on solving problems together.
d) Creative Social Interaction is created with biking groups, soft ball teams, bowling, golf tournaments and have playoffs between the departments bringing moderate competition and fun.
e) Companies co-sponsor a non-profit and fund raising event. This brings people together over a common cause and community outreach. Employee votes can determine the outreach to support yearly.
PERSONAL AND IMPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
How you communicate is often just as important as whether you communicate at all giving a direct reflection on the tone and attitude of your work force. How are they being distanced from feeling human, valued and needed within the work system? Directives, Memos, Voice Mail, Newsletters, E-mail are all formulas, but eye-to-eye conversations, lunch problem solving or thanking the employee in person, telephone conversations and conference calls are more personal and effective. Why e-mail someone who is across the room from you? Walk over and speak with them. IN CONCLUSION
No matter how high the salary and perks, most employees want to do a good job, use their intelligence, feel valued, thanked and rewarded. Meet those needs in the work place and you will have a high energy work force behind your business. Many large companies have created nursery schools, stock options, (etc) for the employees -- yet forgotten the social interaction important to some. Not all enjoy inter-acting. They have enough of that in their own lives and that is why it is important to include hours within the system and outside the work environment for them to choose from. Not all companies have human resource departments and many rely upon the administrative aids to create the events and social structure of the company. May I suggest each department can take on the responsibility of creating a project for the company. This brings about team work within the departments and pride for a project well done.
THE BEST MANAGEMENT/EMPLOYEE INTERACTION IS not expensive, nor time consuming. It is A SINCERE THANK YOU...for a job well done, or at least attempted with earnest effort!!
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