Our ability to communicate with others effectively makes an impact not only on our personal relationships but also on results, we can achieve as an organization. This belief is at the heart of PayCraft’s efforts to bring in honest and open communication through a variety of methods, forums and make it an important part of the organisational culture. We have therefore devised a structured approach to create a work environment where open and active communication takes place up, down and at peer level in the organization to build trust and engage people in the mission of PayCraft’s business.
While most people understand benefits of good communication, it is still a difficult skill to use masterfully in practice. That is because by the time employees become part of any organisation, certain bad habits have already been ingrained in individuals that get in the way of effective communication. Our aim is to assist employees unlearn these road blocks and replace them with effective communication practices.
This paper intends to bring out the methods employed by management as part of good HR practices in PayCraft through various ways which are familiar to employees but may not be aware of the larger intent and purpose – which is to encourage employees to communicate regularly, honestly and openly:
Making it easy and safe for them to express themselves
Making people realise they can speak freely in a constructive manner at workplace is an intangible effort that is perceived rather than conveyed. The current open and transparent culture fostered by senior leadership in PayCraft encourages employees to express themselves freely. It stems from our belief that people on the job are better placed to identify improvements in systems, processes or teams as nothing can replace the experience of a workplace.
The rather informal culture fostered by PayCraft senior management encourages the employees to talk about their mistakes or ask questions, however trivial, without any judgement coming their way. We work towards creating an environment where our people can suggest things or come up with ideas for the betterment of their teams or org.
We make them comfortable to discuss problems knowing that such a discussion with only lead to solutions resulting in engaged and energised employees who are motivated to contribute towards the growth of the organisation.
Employee Feedback Surveys
We take regular feedbacks from people through surveys where they have an option to answer anonymously as well. These surveys are short and simple for people to be able to understand easily and fill quickly. Few critical questions more or less remain the same from last year for us to be able to compare the satisfaction score on certain aspects. The surveys have open-ended and close-ended questions for employees to express their opinions freely.
We do regular skip levels with teams as well as individuals over their supervisor to obtain their suggestions and feedbacks which is a desired best practice as part of 360-degree feedback system in progressive organisations. These discussions involve HR dept. directly interacting with people about:
⦁ Things they appreciate and are happy about
⦁ Obstacles they find challenging to overcome and things affecting their efficiency levels
⦁ Ideas or suggestions on various fronts
The feedbacks from such interactions are handled with discretion and action taken in a positive sense to correct a situation with the sensitivity and maturity.
We do this quarterly regular company-wide gathering where all employees meet with leadership to discuss high level company matters and share business updates of the past month, quarter or season. Some of these include:
⦁ drive alignment around company mission and strategy
⦁ celebrate milestones and the people who made them possible
⦁ give everyone a chance to ask questions
We view Town hall meetings as a unique chance to connect to our remote colleagues with headquarters and make them feel part of the company and community. We celebrate people and uplift team spirit by rewarding and felicitating achievements and milestones of people in the company. We give them opportunity to express new ideas and suggestions thus giving a voice to everyone. In fact, it is not out of place to say that company culture shows and grows at meetings.
Going forward we intent to make this process more democratic by making employees contribute to the agenda and co-create the next Townhall program.
We have our very own Social Media platform at PayCraft! We make use of this to celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries or make announcements for get together etc. We also use this platform to congratulate people on their promotions, rewards for performance etc.
There is not a day in PayCraft where such employee personal landmarks are not announced. In fact, so effective is this media that many employees have thanked us for reminding them of their birthdays or reminding them that they have completed this many number of years in the company! The forum has become a sort of time keeper of employee personal landmarks – so to say.
Informal but empathetic
There are occasions where employee would need to have face to face formal meetings or one-on-one feedback sessions with senior management and we encourage these occasional parleys as a positive step forward for giving the opportunity for employees to provide input or express grievance that could not be redressed at his or her supervisory levels.
Office setting are a bit too formal and Senior leadership can be intimidating to some staff. So, we have a practice of holding discussions either in a relaxed setting or a nearby café and frame it as a simple chat. There are occasions when even our founders have even taken it a step further by having a chat with such employees over a glass of beer in a nearby pub.
This can help open a two-way discussion whereby our people not only use their voices more freely but can also hear back directly from management about their suggestions and other aspects of the business.
We understand that having all employees speak at once can be difficult for management as it may be overwhelming them with ideas and complaints. So, to help get past this we use a representative participation scheme in which employee representatives can meet with managers to discuss what a group of employees would otherwise want to convey on a subject. This process is again informal not part of formal structure like similar representative participation of employee unions etc which are part of Industrial Relation discipline in organisations.
The above measures taken by us to improve communication in PayCraft are tempered with following deliberate but subtle guidelines for each of the communication forums to make it more effective and useful overall:
⦁ Focus on Key areas:
In Skip levels and Surveys, we make sure we target key areas like – intent to stay, work involvement, pride in company, career progression, recognition, leadership, management support, learning and development, resources, pay and benefits, work life balance etc. are covered.
In town hall meetings, we make sure the discussion and talks are around high-level company matters, sharing business updates etc.
In the one to one meeting with senior management, even emotive issues are allowed to be discussed giving opportunity for the employee to vent out deep and personal pent up problems and torments.
The whole idea is that each forum has its own subtle objectives and the conduct of such processes is centered around those.
⦁ We just don’t hear– We try to listen
Not listening to employees can result in employee frustrations and even attrition. Not listening to client requirement can render our IT systems suboptimal. Therefore, it is imperative for us at PayCraft to listen to employees at work place and to clients in the market. So, from both perspective effective listening is important for organisational survival and growth.
In PayCraft, senior management with years of wisdom and experience also understand that talking too much about their background and knowledge on any subject can quickly shut down a conversation and discourage employees from sharing information—and without their perspective, as an organisation, we’re more likely to make the wrong decision. We also try to adapt our message so that people with personalities will be more receptive to what we have to say. Some people are more naturally expressive and comfortable talking an issue out. Yet others are more reflective and prefer time to analyse the situation and think through a solution. These sensitivities are well understood and put in practice at PayCraft.
Summing up, we believe and practice that effective communication is important to discuss critical issues that the business is facing and engage people in fulfilling their commitments, improve our ability to share information, solve complex problems, make quality decisions, and exchange ideas thus enabling us to build strong relationships inside and outside of the organization