In March 2021, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted the plight of the critically endangered regent honeyeater.
It seems that the male birds are either forgetting their birdsong, singing an abbreviated version, or beginning to mimic the songs of other birds. Since the females don’t recognise these songs they’re not matching with males.
This miscommunication means that these birds are literally singing themselves out of existence!
Although we’re not generally communicating in the workplace for breeding purposes, a lack of communication can lead to frustration.
Singing from the same book
Think about your quality manual as the guidebook for your organisation.
It should explain the goals of the business and the systems put in place to ensure quality outcomes. Your manual should reflect your quality assurance program. Employees should be able to find and understand their role in ensuring the goals of the organisation within the pages of this document.
Does this sound like your quality manual? Is it simple to find and navigate? Or is it in a glass cabinet somewhere and dusted off for special occasions?
A quality manual should be a dynamic document, regularly reviewed and updated for the changing needs of the business and its staff.
Changing the tune
Since this is a document that can be updated and altered, employees should be encouraged not only to read it, but to give feedback on the contents.
This means that if someone’s role has changed or their responsibilities altered, this should be reflected in the manual.
Similarly, if a policy or procedure changes, make sure everyone knows, not just the people you think may be affected. An intranet announcement plus an email could be sufficient.
If the change is major, consider having employees sign off on them to ensure they’re read and understood. Depending on the scope of the change, training on how the policy or procedure will affect employees may also be required.
Communicating in high fidelity
The primary purposes of a quality assurance program are to produce consistent products or services, improve customer satisfaction, reduce internal costs and reduce waste.
However, the value of employee efficiency and loyalty shouldn’t be overlooked. Employees need to understand the direct link between their work and the outcomes for customers. A business with well-trained, loyal employees that have pride in their work and the business they work for, is gold.
Publicising your well-implemented quality program is satisfying for employees but also demonstrates your quality commitment to customers.
Communicating = sharing the song
Scientists are working on solutions for the honeyeater. These include putting wild-caught adult birds with young, zoo-born males to help them learn the correct calls and investigating fitting speakers in trees to teach juveniles.
Workplaces could adopt similar practices by developing well thought out onboarding for new staff and mentoring programs within the organisation.
Here are some other strategies for communicating within an organisation.
A knowledge bank
This is almost like Google for your business! It’s best to develop this on an intranet system to ensure information is captured and retained.
A knowledge bank is unique to your organisation and can contain anything that employees may find useful. This could be FAQs, anecdotes from longer serving staff members, and Q&A sections. In fact, you can include anything that employees would share whether in formal meetings or coffee breaks. The most important feature is to make it easy to access, add information and search.
When you’re busy, it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening within your company. An internal newsletter can be an informal round-up of news and communications. It can include highlights from each department plus an overview from senior management. Experiment with the frequency of these – weekly, monthly – and always include them on the intranet.
With more people returning to the workplace, the humble noticeboard in the break room has a valuable place in communicating with staff. Whether directing employees to new information on the intranet or encouraging them to add their own news to the knowledge bank, people will often stand and read bright, brief messages while dunking their tea bag…
A stay interview
While exit interviews may be a familiar concept, a stay interview probably isn’t. This HR or a manager can carry out this process.
The purpose is to discuss with employees what they like and dislike about their jobs with the goal of retaining good staff. Make this clear to the employee up front.
Plus let them know that if there’s a problem, the person conducting the interview wants to be part of the solution.
How can we help?
MAS provides a comprehensive set of resources to support your business. And we’re very good at communication!
We’ll work with you to ensure your quality manual reflects your business.
We’ll help you prepare for external audits or assessments.
And we can provide training to your staff on best business practices and improvements.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Maree on 0411 540 709 for a confidential discussion.
Let us help you work better and smarter!
Download the article Solving your communication breakdown