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The Communication Foundation

Mon, 11/24/2008 - 6:19am
by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO
Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

"Daily meetings can serve the purpose of not only informing associates of operational goals or changes, but on a deeper, foundational level, they can help solidify the “team” element." -Anna Wells

Admittedly, sometimes meetings feel like a colossal failure in efficiency—especially when they’re unfocused. When it comes to bad communication strategies, the onus should not be on the communication part—it’s the bad part that needs to be fixed.

I recently toured a plant where the guide walked me through a typical day in the communication strategy of its employees—upon arrival of the shift, the team would meet in a specific area on the floor and discuss the day: right off the bat, all shift employees would know the days targets and any potential bottlenecks or fires to fight.

The guide spoke with pride about the collaborative culture of the plant, as well as its low absenteeism and negligible turnover—much of which company leaders attributed to an overall sentiment of employee involvement. From top management to the folks on the line, every associate in the plant knew that his or her opinions and feedback were valued.

Perhaps this setting sounds a bit utopian, but it exists in the plants where management sees the value in communication—enough to take moments of valuable production time to make it a priority. Daily meetings can serve the purpose of not only informing associates of operational goals or changes, but on a deeper, foundational level, they can help solidify the “team” element.

While I fully agree that meeting for a meeting’s sake is counter-productive—I’ve been in my share of these throughout my career. But here we must try and separate the proverbial baby and the bathwater—communication can mean more than just improved production with fewer accidental headaches. It also offers an exchange of ideas amongst employees that you can’t really put a time price tag on. If daily meetings take up too much time, try weekly ones. Heck, add a suggestion box to the break room. The point is, the combined knowledge of your employees keeps your plant on its feet day after day, and if they know you’re listening, they might just speak up.

What's your take? Email anna.wells@advantagemedia.com

Click here to read PD&D Editor David Mantey's take on meetings

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