Communication separates the best from the average


"Dedication is what you need", as part of the old theme tune for Record Breakers went. And it’s true, it is absolutely what is needed in business. However, there is something else that is vital and it’s one of the elements that separates the best of performers and the average. Communication.

Those companies who invest time in improving internal communications, be it a brief chat on the shop floor about a production issue, or a manager having a quiet word in someone’s ear if they’re not wearing their PPE, but done in a positive frame, see the best performances from their employees.

This is no accident and is one of the ways too that they manage to secure new recruits and retain existing staff when others don’t.  By creating the positive communications, having open door policies etc. as well as providing good quality training for production skills, health and safety, environmental control etc., it gives employees confidence that the company cares and in turn usually it is reciprocated with how employees make a conscious effort with how they work.

If someone knows they will be spoken to about taking short cuts, not wearing PPE, taking guards off to make things quicker and easier, they are less likely to do so.  If they know they can talk to a person about work problem and get them resolved without a major over the top response, or even other issues, and get a measured sensible response, it further boosts their own performance generally.

There is also another side of communicating that seems to be in some sectors overlooked to some extent.  That being communicating with others external to the business to find out what they should be knowing about hazards, risks and industry wide control measures to help keep employees safe and well in the workplace.  Despite the vast array of media available today and expertise within every sector, there are still pockets of businesses out there, that are not up to date with legislation that has been around in some cases for decades.  When something goes awry and either the HSE, Environment Agency or other visits, proactively or reactively, they are surprised by what they find they don’t know or are not up to date on.  This then puts financial pressure on the business as they try to find the resources to correct problems found.  It can put businesses at risk of closure if the finance cannot be found then actually agreed, to give the business chance to catch up to where it should be.

Those businesses that make the effort to see what others are doing, be it competitors, in the wider sector in general, or even other industries, to learn from what they have found out and then take communications internal to boost the knowledge and capability of their own workforce are the ones that see the biggest performance increases and other business benefits.  It helps them on the road to remaining viable and sustainable, which in turn keeps people in work providing for their families.

Ensuring that owners, directors, managers and supervisors know what they need to know commensurate to their role and function is vital for any business to survive.  Whether it is boosting production, quality, on time delivery or health and safety, good knowledge of what is going on and the ability to see and tackle problems without needing to resort to major HR activity is a skill set that is useful to all involved in making a business a success.  Looking around, asking questions and sharing the answers is something every business should be doing.

Dedication to communication is what is needed.

Author: Richard Heath