It’s YOUR Communication, How Can You Handle it Properly?
Communication is the glue that bonds every restaurant together. It is the pillar for a strong staff structure. It is the foundation for collaborative innovation. Communication is interwoven in everything we do in business. Right now 100% of your restaurant is communicating in some form or fashion.
[br][clear] As you read this you are being communicated to. Whether it is the product specifications on your wall, the price sheets on the corner of your desk, the light on your phone indicating you have a voice message, a text message on your phone, the day-by-day calendar on your desk, communication is everywhere!
[br][clear] The advent of advantageous communication technology makes it possible for more communication as well as more communication mismanagement. It is easy to manage a small stream of communication, but what about an ocean of messages that are coming to you in all directions: from your employees, your vendors, your managers, your co-owners, and from customers. They can come by way of email, phone, voicemail, fax, instant messaging, face-to-face communication, non-verbal communication, Skyping, Tweeting, video-conferencing, blogging, etc. That is just tiring to think about! How is a restaurant supposed to run efficiently when all this is going on?
[br][clear] Whichever way you are exposed to the restaurant world, communication inefficiency is right around the corner. With all this relentless communication obstinacy, how does a company stay afloat from potential communication suffocation? They do it by managing their communication. It is the restaurant’s responsibility to ensure clear communication channels are available, information flow is unobtrusive and free flowing, there is not communication overload, messages are being transferred and received in a timely manner, employees are engaged and happy about communication, and the list grows.
[br][clear] How do you manage your communication? Here are some suggestions:
[br][clear] Have regular meetings with employees (solicit their feedback). Find out exactly what your employees’ feel about the communication they are dealing with and the communication challenges they are facing. This will give you an appreciation of what challenges they are facing.
[br][clear] Have a communication plan. Do you have a plan in place to create, deliver, and handle communication? If not, this is a great way to harness communication and gain some control.
[br][clear] Survey your employees (and don’t forget the most important parts: disclose the results and take action on their feedback!). If you are not measuring it, you are not managing it. Survey employees, uncover trends where communication is lacking most, and then take proactive steps to address and improve those areas.
[br][clear] Be proactive. Much of the world of business is reactionary, do not let things get out of hand if you can identify communication weaknesses early. Take proactive measures (surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.) to seek out problem areas before they accelerate. Even a finely made automobile needs a diagnostic check-up periodically to prevent little flaws from becoming major issues. Your business is no different.
[br][clear] Step out of the concrete (“It’s always been this way, why change now?”). Adaptability is a crucial element for business survival. Look for ways to improve your communication, try new things, be an innovator, and let your employees have a voice in the improvement process. Always be seeking ways to progress. Those that are set in their ways and stand firm with what they have and project a lack of desire to innovate are stuck in concrete. Look out because your competition is not.
[br][clear] Analyze current processes and procedures. When was the last time you stepped out of the weeds and took an outside-in look at your processes and procedures? Bring in an outside view if need be, but always be analyzing what you currently have. Process improvement always presents itself; you just have to look for it.