If you want to dispel the anxiety growing in your workplace, build a foundation of trust built on communication. When times are tough, the workplace rumor mill swings into action act quickly. Therefore, managers need to communicate openly and honestly with employees to stop rumors in their tracks. Here are five tips to help managers ease employee anxiety.
1. Be Accessible
As a senior leader, you need to be accessible and visible to your employees. When there is a problem, don’t wait until all the details of the solution have been fleshed out before informing your workers. Instead, inform them of your progress along the way as the decisions are being made. In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to be accessible. You’re not just there to share information with the workforce, but to build trust with them along the way, and dispel rumors as they spring up.
2. Don’t Hide From Bad News
Your workforce knows times are rough and that the company will need to make changes to adapt, so there is no reason to keep bad news from them. Trying to pretend that all is well will only result in a distrustful workforce, and communicating with them will become even more tough. The best course of action to stop rumors and gossip is to communicate openly with your employees about the changes that are planned. If they trust that you will give them the updates and information they seek, your employees will stop gossiping and wait to hear the truth from you.
3. Emphasize Personal Communication
A majority of bad news is communicated through memos and e-mails. While it may seem more time effective when every second counts, workplace productivity is effected by such impersonal communication. Studies prove that in-person communication develops confidence and is understood better than a less personal approach. True, you may be faced with questions you aren’t prepared for, but that is okay. Employees don’t expect you to know all the answers, but have real appreciation for your effort at keeping them part of the process by talking directly to them.
It is a massive advantage of face-to-face conversations that the communication is two-way. Your employees may be able to suggest solutions that will help the situation, but this is not the only advantage of listening. Knowing that their thoughts and reactions have value to you will inspire your workforce, and will help them to feel a part of the company and with you as their manager.
5. Recognize There Are Still Unanswered Questions
It is important to be honest when talking to your employees, both about what you know and about what is still unknown. Because people understand that no-one can know everything, it will build conviction and understanding if you can detail what is still unclear. If you are unsure about the future, it is better to discuss the prospects for the company and probabilities for success rather than making promises that might not be kept.
Communication is the bedrock of good management practice, and the only way to get the best out of your workforce. Make sure you communicate openly, honestly, and readily.