Building Team Culture Through Communication
From staffing decisions to managing interpersonal conflict and everything in between, managers face a steady stream of difficult decisions and opportunities to make mistakes.
Which is why, when it’s easy to do the right thing, we should do it every single time.
One easy way that managers can reinforce a constructive, transparent culture and demonstrate respect for their team is with timely, thoughtful communication around employee departures and new hires.
We know that every staff transition presents the possibility of uncertainty, rumors, and assumption. Managers must be proactive in managing the communications around these transitions accordingly.
What do I mean by this? We’ve all seen a valued colleague prepare to leave a team, only to have the announcement sent far too late. We’ve seen announcements that are bland, non-specific or muted in their appreciation for the employee. And what is the natural outcome? Speculation and the feeling that leadership doesn’t value its employees or their contributions.
But by sending a departure announcement that offers specific and personalized recognition of the employee’s achievements, managers demonstrate their respect for every team member and their work. By including information on how the transition will be handled, we minimize confusion. And by including all key stakeholders, rather than just the immediate team, we avoid partners who feel that they’re “the last to know.”
New hire announcements can miss opportunities too. A new colleague’s first months on the job are crucial to their success, from how they view the team and the opportunity to whether they’ll stay. These announcements should include the obvious details about the person and the position, but they should also highlight the new hire’s skills and other reasons they were the right choice. This content builds confidence in a new colleague while reinforcing the value leadership places on making the right hires.
This announcement also provides a forum to engage the new employee and emphasize partnership by asking for input on the email, and to engage the team in welcoming their new colleague and encourage the outreach that will reinforce the colleague’s decision to join the team. And, if we are going to make the effort to tailor our messages so they are meaningful to all, send the message out PRIOR to the new hire’s first day. Doing so after a new hire starts is sloppy, and appears to be an afterthought.
This is the easy stuff, and all too often it doesn’t happen. But when we pay attention to the details – details that demonstrate transparency and respect – we build a productive team culture that retains high performing staff.