Communicating With Employees

  • A single-business owner can usually effectively communicate with his employees simply by telling them what he wants to make clear. For a multiple-business owner, verbal communication becomes less reliable for several reasons:
    1. It takes two or more days to talk with all employees on all shifts at all locations.
    2. The larger number of employees makes it difficult to know which employees the manager told what.
    3. The owner will find that a larger number of employees will interpret his verbal orders in unintended different ways.

  • There are several advantages of written communication with employees:
    1. The owner can keep an accurate record of what communiques, with whom, and when.
    2. He can build a policy and training manual from the communiques.
    3. He has a record of warnings given an employee before firing him.

  • There are basically two types of communique:
    1. A memorandum to all employees or a large number (such as all the employees of one store), or
    2. to a single employee.

  • The best way to distribute communiques are:
    1. In the paycheck envelope for a large number of employees,
    2. through company mail or by mailing to an individual employee's home address.

  • Copies of communiques should be filed:
    1. One should put a copy of any communique sent to an employee in the employee's folder.
    2. If one sends out 100 copies of a general newsletter, he should make 100 copies and put one in each employee folder.
    3. If one sends a communique to a single employee, he should put a copy in the employee folder.

  • General Newsletters.
    1. Newsletters are good for
      1. Announcing and welcoming new employees,
      2. announcing departing employees,
      3. recognition of employees who have done something well or noteworthy,
      4. general news, and
      5. reminders.
    2. Newsletters should be positive and upbeat.

  • Memorandum.
    1. A memorandum is a single-item communique.
    2. It can be addressed to one or to many employees.
    3. It can be
      1. a reprimand ("You have too many voids during your shift."),
      2. a policy statement ("All employees must park in the designated employee parking spots.")
      3. a request ("Please come to my office at the end of your shift Thursday.")
      4. a compliment ("You built a good Fourth of July beer display.")
    4. Apply a rule of advertising: keep your message under 100 words.

  • Long-issues.
    1. Some topics cannot be kept to less than 100 words.
    2. Use the STOIC format. Situation-Task-Order-Information-Conclusion
    3. EXAMPLE:

      We received a letter from the City warning that the dumpsters have not been properly maintained. If we do not correct the problem, the company will face a serious penalty.

      Everyone must be aware of and follow the proper procedure.

      From now on,
      • Close the lids of the dumpster, no matter how full the dumpster is.
      • If the dumpster is full before the normal pick-up day, phone the dumpster company to make a special pick-up.
      • Do not leave anything beside the dumpster when it is full to put in when the dumpster is emptied.
      • Close the gate and especially make sure that it is latched.
      • Remind each other of these new rules if you notice someone has forgotten.

      The dumpster company is WasteMasters. (800) 555-3333. Ask for Jeanine Colbert. Our account number is 43542.

      This is important. If we do not immediately comply, the City will not only fine the store, but will also consider fining the individual employee. Let's pull together and solve this problem.

    4. Building a store manual.
      1. Write your memoranda with a computer word processor.
      2. Save the document with a date and subject notation. EXAMPLE: 02-13-2003 Dumpster rules.doc.
      3. Save a paper copy in a special folder.
      4. After a number of these have been saved, organize them into categories.
      5. From these memoranda with occasional extra notes, you can easily maintain an up-to-date store manual.
      6. give a copy of the current manual to any new employee to "bring him up to date."