Annually the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducts the Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey which gathers data on many aspects of overall employee job satisfaction and engagement.  One facet of the survey looks at relationship with management.  In the last few years this area of experience in the workplace has consistently placed in the top five most important indicators of job satisfaction. In fact, in the 2012 survey, employees rated their relationship with their immediate supervisor as more important to their job satisfaction than benefits.

The key to any relationship is communication!  Listening and speaking both play a role. Supervisors who are willing and able to truly listen, without judgment, bias or preconceived notions, create the space for employees to feel secure that they can reliably share what they need to without fear of adverse reaction or results.  And employees can expect to receive clear and supportive direction, feedback, insights and suggestions from their bosses.

Happy EmployeesWhen employees feel heard they are more likely to communicate with their bosses.  They are comfortable sharing issues, concerns and breakdowns, as well as ideas and solutions.  This provides opportunity and possibility for growth for the company and the employees.  Employees often have insight created by day to day interactions with customers and clients. In an atmosphere where supervisors are invested in listening to all input, this can lead to improved customer service and even innovation within the company.

When supervisors have open door policies and have created the relationship with employees in such a way where employees trust that they will be heard, management is better able to be proactive in supporting employees to excel at their jobs.  Supervisors have a better idea of the strengths of their teams.  And a better idea of what training might prove helpful.  Not only does this help to support employees in their current position, but can help to highlight employees with potential for promotion or succession.  Promoting from within and filling positions with already committed and invested employees maintains continuity and positively affects the overall business.

When supervisors and employees are empowered through honest and open communication the benefits for the individuals involved directly translate into a dynamic, productive work environment with engaged employees.  This type of atmosphere creates healthier and wealthier companies.

How would you describe your communication with your supervisors?  With those whom you supervise?  Are you able to listen and really hear what is being said without judgment or becoming defensive?  Do you feel like your feedback and input is heard by your bosses?  How can you change your listening to create an enhanced work experience for you and those around you?