Why do organisations need an Open door communication channel?
Updated: Apr 22, 2022
Communication plays a really important role in an organisational setup. It forms the basis of core organisational tasks including planning, organising, leading, executing and celebrating. It is the communication that binds all the people within the organisation together, to work for a shared mission.
There are several structured and defined means for communication planned from the top down with regards to mission & vision, policies, performance etc. We have organisation-wide emails or broadcasts, leadership town halls, HR communications, and Department or Team wide walk-throughs. While, when it comes to bottom-up communication, the channels are fairly limited and unstructured.
Employees across the organisational structure often have invaluable insight that can be capitalised, on if communicated timely to those who can act on it. However, more often than not, bottom-up information dilutes travelling through the layers of hierarchy and is at risk of losing the critical aspects when it reaches the decision-maker.
Front line workers who directly interact with customers regularly are well placed to bring ideas that could drive innovation. Yet their raw insights do not reach the decision-makers and this, in turn, results in a significant lost opportunity for the organisation.
In remote/distributed teams or complex hierarchical structures, employees don’t always know who to reach for their specific queries or concerns. Directing information via line manager might just create another layer in the communication chain. Additionally, employees at times have sensitive concerns and would not want to openly engage about their issues without assurance of anonymity.
An open door communication channel encourages employees across the organisational hierarchy to convey information freely. With a regular response or visibility from the key stakeholders, employees feel heard and are motivated to communicate important aspects regularly.
There could be the following major category of information coming from employees to the leaders. Each of these has its own importance in either improving internal processes, supporting or enabling teams to enhance productivity or driving growth & innovation.
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Employees often come across situations where they need to consult the People team or HR regarding a query. Employee queries may range from leaves, holidays, taxes, reimbursements, salary components, deductions, career growth and more. Responses to some of the generic frequently occurring queries can be automated via FAQs or bots. However, there is a wide range of query that requires a human resource person to listen, understand, empathise and solve.
An open channel for employees to raise their queries & get assured support in time becomes critical for organisations.
The trends in employee queries can provide insights on developing more effective shared content or FAQs. This can further be incorporated as part of new hire onboarding to educate employees before they run into any issues.
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Employee insights are highly underutilized in most organizations. Frontline workers interact with customers, partners, products or services on a regular basis. They understand the pain points, feedback and market dynamics via their first-hand interactions. Yet, in the void of an effective communication channel, their insights do not reach the decision-makers with clarity.
Leaders should promote employees to share their ideas and allow collaboration to build those ideas into solutions. Further, employees can be incentivized to contribute their ideas and partner in building solutions.
Organizations can proactively crowdsource ideas by stating a business problem and offering rewards or promoting the best ideas. The reward could be a gift card or something more personalized to the company’s culture. More importantly, leadership must publicly recognize the idea, giving credit to the contributors and supporting its execution. People are a lot more likely to speak up about their good ideas if they see some personal value in doing so.
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Handling employee concerns or grievances in a professional manner will go a long way in creating a fair and transparent company culture. In such an environment, employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns and are confident in a reliable resolution.
Employee concerns could surface issues related to the organisation's ethics, diversity, inclusion, conduct, policy and more. Often prolonged queries which remain unresolved can become concerns, revealing loopholes in existing processes.
Allowing anonymity, especially in case of sensitive concerns, leads to honest disclosure and participation. It enables identifying the issues to the core and is important in resolving the issues appropriately.
Organisations can build trust by providing an open and transparent platform for employees to raise their concerns freely.
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Feedback forms a basis of interaction and collaboration in the workplace. Feedback provided by employees by their line managers and peers is critical for professional learning and development. Similarly, taking feedback from employees regularly via 1v1s and surveys is crucial for organisations to understand the overall experience.
Providing an always-on channel for employees to share feedback can help capture important real-time insights on regular changes in workplace policies. This reduces the lag and dependency on surveys to wait for insights.
Furthermore, there are many benefits of receiving continuous feedback from employees. It promotes a healthy workplace culture and helps achieve organisational goals. Acknowledgement and appropriate actioning on employee feedback are important to boost employee morale.
Organisations should empower employees to share information freely with their leaders. Every employee interaction is an opportunity for an organisation to improve internal processes, strategize effectively and improve their product or service.
An open, fair and transparent environment creates a healthy workplace in which employees enjoy participating for the benefit of everyone.
However, empowering employees comes with great responsibility for people leaders. The people team needs to own the bottom-up communication channel to drive queries & concerns to resolutions, act on feedback and channel the ideas to decision-makers.
Smart HR tech platforms like Revvi, can enable the management of open-door communication channels with ease, automate processes and provide powerful insights.