Two weeks after the results were published, randomly selected supervisors were surveyed again. Seventy-three percent said they observed significant improvement in management communication. Why the sudden change? When the results were posted, pressure was on to improve. Below are the actions the supervisors observed:
Managers began having lunch almost everyday with supervisors. Whereas before they tended to have lunch only with their peers. The casual setting opened up communication in way that had never been done. Communication was now viewed two-way rather than a top-down exercise.
Managers started daily rounds, checking in with supervisors, for a few minutes, asking about problems or questions. They also took time to get to know their employees about their lives outside work. The increased frequency of personal contact put the managers in much better touch with employees and their concerns.
Many managers began operating from a desk moved onto the shop floor rather than from their offices in the management suite. Being closer to the action made them feel more part of the work environment, broke down barriers between management and front-line employees and built a greater team spirit. Employees felt more comfortable approaching managers once they took the initiative to bridge the communication gap.
The managers’ response was the appropriate one—they improved and increased face-to-face communication on a regular basis. Improving communication and consequently employee satisfaction doesn’t necessarily require major campaigns involving posters, videos, memos and mailings. All those communication deliverables play a role in the communication process but studies indicate one recurring theme: Employees primarily want to receive information from their immediate manager or supervisor—face to face.