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Help the bottom line: Communicate!

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

A recent study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide analyzed shareholder performance between 2000 and 2004 and found that firms with the "most effective" communication programs outpaced those with the "least effective" programs by a whopping 57 percent. What's more, enter­prises that improved their practices during those five years saw major improvements in the bottom line—strongly suggesting there's some cause-and-effect here.

What are those best practices? Well, to put it simply, you are. Front-line managers hold the key to effective communication with the workforce. Watson Wyatt's study found the single most important thing com­panies could do was to "drive managers' behavior to communicate effectively." This step, all by itself, raised a company's value by nearly 4 percent.

Some of the things you can do, as a front-line manager, to help the bottom line:

Get and use employee feedback. Communicating is as much about listen­ing as it is about talking. In the most effective companies, employees have frequent opportunities to provide feed­back—and to see that input helping to shape decisions.

Connect to the business strategy. The most effective companies let employ­ees know how their work ties in with the long-range plan for success. They talk about things such as mission, vision and values day in and day out, on the front lines, and make sure every employee has a chance to see the big picture.

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