How to Improve Communication Skills to Help Retain Your Employees

BY Kathy Crosett
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Employees frequently point to managerial problems as the reason for their resignations. It’s easy to be affronted by these accusations, especially if you believe you’ve tried hard. But perhaps you should take a moment to think about how to improve communication skills as a manager.

How to Improve Communication Skills to Help Retain Your Employees

Many survey results reinforce the gripes that employees have about managers. In one survey, over 80% of employees noted that their managers “create a lot of unnecessary work and stress.” What can you do about this situation in your department?

It helps to determine the exact cause of the stress and unhappiness. Often, you can trace the issue to poor communication. Roughly 41% of surveyed workers believe their managers need to improve their ability to communicate.

Customize Your Interaction

Some communication problems come down to not personalizing what you say. You can improve the effectiveness of your communications with each team member. Form better connections by focusing on the right topics in the right way.

The results of psychometric assessments will reveal if an employee is overly sensitive to critical feedback. If that’s the case, choose a time to speak with them when they are not under pressure. And offer positive feedback in the same conversation. 

As you consider the ways to improve communications skills, plan ahead for your meetings with individual team members. If you’re interacting with an ambitious employee, you should regularly review their progress toward their goal. Use their psychometric assessment to point out their tendency to hold back in meetings when they should be more aggressive.

Communication is a Two-​way Street

Managers may mistakenly believe that they need to do all the talk during a one-​on-​one meeting. That’s not so. You will benefit from knowing when to stay quiet and listen.

Employees want to be able to come to their manager with issues they can’t resolve on their own. In these cases, letting the team member talk through a problem works well. Savvy managers will also ask the employee for their ideas on how to solve the problem.

When you use this approach, you learn how to improve communication skills in the workplace. Both you and your employee will benefit. They’ll see you as a caring manager. In addition, they will gain confidence in their ability to make decisions on their own.

In addition, close listening will provide you with additional information about your employee. Pay attention to what you do not hear as well as what is said. An employee who delivers a message in a highly aggressive style is also communicating their level of anger.

Change How and When You Communicate with the Team

Our focused research on sales professionals indicates that managers should try to improve the way they motivate team members (35%). Sales pros also told us that their managers didn’t respond to them in a timely manner (34%). Your first step is to recognize that these are skills to improve.

Take the time to learn what motivates your employees. You can customize work, along with incentives, to improve outcomes. Doing so shows your willingness to help team members feel fulfilled in their careers.

Similarly, your nonverbal communication demonstrates how you feel about your team. They should be your top priority. Be sure to get back to people quickly when they have asked for help. If you don’t have an immediate answer, acknowledge their request and promise speedy action.

A manager’s commitment to always being open to improve communication skills can be linked to their success with team members. Start making small changes today to reap bigger rewards later.