Karen has been a manager of the nursing team at a local community clinic for nearly a year. Though her medical skills and experience are exemplary, she has struggled with her employee relations skills. Recently, her employees have started to slack in some of their admin-related duties and they have begun to show a lack of enthusiasm in the completion of daily tasks and special projects.

Unsure why this lack of engagement was occurring, Karen spoke with her team lead and was informed that her employees have been feeling “stuck” with regards to job advancement as there have been no formal or informal conversations regarding performance (either good or bad), and they have increasingly felt that their work and contributions have not been appreciated or valued as a result.

Employees need to be regularly communicated with about the expectations of their jobs and provided with feedback regarding their performance as an individual and as part of a team. Without this vital component to employee management, Karen’s team was disconnected and there was a general feeling of frustration amongst the staff members.

When it comes to nurturing your employees, knowing what is expected of them is a first step in creating strong relationships. Without knowing what your and the organization’s expectations are, they have no direction. Without that sense of direction, it is easy to plateau and become stagnant in performance and motivation.

Take the time to meet with each employee individually to go over these expectations, to offer both positive and constructive feedback, and to allow for two-way communication. Provide them with the opportunity to convey to you their needs and goals, and work together to come up with a plan to help them achieve these objectives in ways that prove to be mutually beneficial to their personal development, to the team, and the organization as a whole.

Making this type of regular and effective communication with your employees a priority can lead to improved job satisfaction, fosters feelings of mutual respect and trust, can enhance positive work environments, and encourages team collaboration and camaraderie.

Next week, we will expand on underappreciation, a negative result that comes from failing to communicate with employees, and will discuss to how ensure that this this final component does not impede the development your employees and the fostering of strong relationships.