How Five Steps Can Help Facility Managers Improve Communication

  November 3, 2011

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from John Finney of Towers Watson: Facility managers can improve their performance by understanding that there are five steps to effective communication.

Many facility managers have a technical background where communication skills were not important. Once they move into management, however, they have to be able to motivate employees, share information, and encourage teamwork — all of which require good communication skills. Towers Watson studies have shown a correlation between effective communication and better performance and engagement from employees, which translates into lower turnover, among other benefits.

The good news for facility managers is that effective communication can be learned, nurtured, and studied. By being aware of audience needs, facility managers can take a targeted approach to wringing the most benefit out of their communications efforts.

The first step of effective communication is raising awareness, says Finney. This is what most everyone thinks of as communication: sending information out. But that's not enough. "Oftentimes we see organizations just stop with that," Finney says. "They make the announcement, assume that everybody read it, everybody understood it and everybody is doing the right thing with that information."

The second step is to make sure employees understand the information in the message. To facilitate understanding, be sure to make content easy to comprehend and internalize.

Step number three: Once employees understand it, they need to commit to doing something with the information. It's not safe to assume that employees will act on information just because they're aware of it and understand it, Finney says. Step number four is action. Once employees are committed, they can take action based on the information.

Step number five is appreciation. Ultimately the employees appreciate the information and the direction that has been provided. They also appreciate that the information was delivered in a way that's easy and quick to understand.


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