Bee wisdom

In part one of this blog series, we explore how communication is the lifeblood of any organization–even a hive of bees.

Fallon Cryer

Not only have bees been recognized as the most important living beings on Earth, they are experts in communication, collaboration and adaptation.

In this blog series, we explore a few key lessons we can learn from bees.

Lesson One: Communicate

Bees are highly social insects with a complex social structure within the hive. Their ability to survive is reliant on their ability to communicate quickly, clearly and consistently through their waggle (dances) and pheromones.

Communication is the lifeblood of any organization. Those that fail to prioritize communication and investment in ensuring that employees are connected to company goals are likely to experience a range of negative outcomes.

If you’re looking to create a team that buzzes with productivity and effectiveness, one of the most effective things we can do is focus on employee engagement (i.e., energy, enthusiasm, and focus—NOT to be confused with happiness).

The benefits of a highly engaged workforce are well documented, it leads to higher profitability, improved employee retention and increased productivity.

What can you do, as an individual to make a real difference and where should you start?

Gallup reports that one of the most effective things we can do to improve employee engagement is “reliable and meaningful communication.”

Habits to aspire to

Be clear and consistent

When you communicate, don’t be vague — be specific. Be clear and concise in your expectations and goals and encourage the same behaviour in others.

Be honest & keep commitments

High-performing teams are built on a solid foundation of trust. Trust grows over time and is based on individual members of a team making and keeping commitments, as well as being vulnerable with one another. Relationships are built upon through continued open, honest communication.

Consider your audience

When considering how to communicate, understand that individuals process information differently and have varied communication preferences. Be open to the fact that it may be completely different to yours. Some people prefer to receive an email and enjoy receiving a friendly reminder text. For others, that’s an invasion. Take time to understand who prefers a phone call to face-to-face, combine that with your own skills and preferences; then challenge yourself to utilize all mediums available to communicate in a way that will be most effective.

Bonus Tips for Managers

Schedule Regular 1:1 Meetings

Research by Gallup suggests that when employees have regular meetings with managers, they are three times more likely to be happier with their work.

Don’t Reschedule

Every time you move an employee 1:1 or show up late, you’re communicating that “something more important came up”. That is not the message you want to send.

If you offer, be available

If you tell people that you have an open-door policy. Make sure your availability matches. People might feel comfortable approaching you, but it’s not helpful if you’re never available. Gallup research suggests that employees who can ask their manager questions are 54% more engaged at work.

How you know it’s working:

Employee Engagement Scores Improve

Improvements in communication should show a tangible improvement in key survey areas. If you’re not regularly surveying your global workforce and monitoring employee engagement, you’re missing a great opportunity. It’s a requirement for any company serious about being a great place to work.

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