My Drive For Better Communication

welcomeclarity

The song title of one of this summer’s most popular songs is also one of the most important elements of effective business communication. I’m talking about clarity (you knew it wasn’t blurred lines, right?). Clarity is vital to both attracting and retaining good employees.

Clarity In The Hiring Process
I would like to correct a disturbing trend in the job search/hiring process: the lack of clarity from a number of job postings. Hiring managers should clarify whether their search is for an entry-level employee or one with several years experience as you can’t expect to find both. Yet, numerous job postings requiring 5 years experience continue to be classified as entry-level.

This lack of clarity extends to interviews as well. I recently spoke with a hiring manager who was very upfront about the need to tackle an urgent project.

urgentdefinition
screen capture by Shane Goad on 9/12/13, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/urgent?s=t

Imagine my shock when I was told providing a solution to that “urgent” objective wasn’t expected within the new hire’s first year of employment. As John McEnroe famously said, “you cannot be serious!” Also, hiring managers should do a better job of correctly stating what traits are “preferred” or “required”. By definition, a preferred characteristic should not be a requirement of advancing in the hiring process.

Now, this clarity issue goes both ways. I know many candidates are not clear in their experience, skills, or career goals when applying/interviewing for a position. I believe job seekers early in their search are more likely to apply to jobs they’re simply not qualified for. Look, HR officials in many companies are overworked just like those in the positions they are attempting to fill. In some cases, hiring is done by a manager wearing multiple hats is distracted from routine activities with hiring activities. Clarity (from both parties) helps streamline the process for all involved.

Clarity In Employee Relations
An oft-cited reason for employees to disengage is the lack of clarity from expectations. Many of us have seen or heard of the repercussions of poor communication from a manager. Whether you look at the implementation of a new policy or a formal employee review session, a lack of clarity almost guarantees a failure in reaching the desired result.

As a manager, I placed far more emphasis on individual meetings than all hands on deck meetings. I believe this approach allowed for more clarity with individual team members. Employees were more engaged and candid in one-on-one situations than in group settings. Appropriately, my goal was to always provide a clear takeaway from these meetings. During training and evaluation, I tried to offer 3 actionable objectives. The biggest thing I learned from my first of year of managing people was the need to provide clarity. Not surprising, performance metrics and team morale both soared after clarity became a pillar of my management style.

Original image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net, image modified by Shane Goad
Original image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net, image modified by Shane Goad

Clear Takeaway
If I offered you or your business a way to save time, boost morale, and improve team performance, you’d be interested, right? Clarity accomplishes those objectives by building trust. When I hear common gripes about one’s workplace, a lack of clarity is usually in play. So, moving forward, let’s be clear with expectations. I’m willing to bet your effort to increase clarity will cut down on employees’ time spent cussing and discussing and increase time spent doing.
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