Improving your internal communication
Witcher says Minuteman Trucks schedules off-site lunch meetings for managers a couple times a month. This informal setting stimulates conversation and positive discussion, he says.
“[Our employees] like the ability to have time and space to raise ideas they want to discuss,” Witcher says.
During any meeting, it’s a good idea for your management team to have a list of topics it wants to address with each specific team. Approach those topics first, and follow by opening up the discussion to employee requests, concerns or questions. Employees will speak up if they feel management values what they have to say, Treadway says.
Take Advantage of Technology
Other methods with which you can communicate with your employees also have improved dramatically in recent years. It’s not a bad idea to look into the technology available for improving business communication and find some that work at your dealership.
The online world provides a lot of options.
Witcher says Minuteman Trucks uses an online portal to push out company information to employees. This technology allows efficient and immediate contact with Minuteman’s entire staff, and allows back and forth communication between employees and management.
Employees can check the site in minutes to get answers to questions that previously took much longer, keeping them at their workstation and functioning efficiently.
“It provides them access to all types of information and gives them what they are looking for,” he says.
Believe it or not, blogging is another way for you to improve your communication structure.
If that sounds unrealistic, consider this example: You and your management team make a fundamental change to the daily operations of your dealership. You want to get that information out as fast as possible; and calling a company-wide meeting isn’t going to happen. Not on that day.
By writing a blog post and emailing it — or posting it in an online portal — you can give your employees a quick overview of the change you’ve made. You can tell them how things are different and who they need to contact for more information. Employees want to know how they fit into the big picture. This is a way to show them.
Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are other ways to get out this information, as is Yammer, a social networking site designed specifically for businesses.
There are non-Internet options, too.
Four-digit phone extension packages allow you to easily link all of your locations under one phone network, eliminating long-distance calls and general landing numbers. If you want to reach your location three states over, you no longer have to 10-digit dial. Employees appreciate that ease of access.