“Let Me Call You Back … You’re Breaking Up”

How many times have you said these very words, or been on the receiving end when these words were spoken to you? A by-product of the “communication age” is that much of our interaction occurs in fragmented bits — half-transmitted chunks of information cut off in mid-sentence. Quick bursts of reductive language seem to dominate the tweets, texts, and status updates of modern life. In the world of workforce management, the facilitation of meaningful communication has become one of the biggest day-to-day challenges an organization faces. Add temporary workers to the mix and things become even more complicated.

Within every organization, we find different communication skill sets and generational differences trying to co-exist within the same department. Picture tech-savvy new hires and contingents who text and use strange new terminology like “friend me” trying to communicate with managers who are accustomed to corporate memorandums, conference calls and face-to-face conversations around the water cooler. Conversely, there are communication veterans who need to adapt to the lightning-quick immediacy of technology in order to compete in the modern arena where split-second responsiveness drives global trade.

Today, personal relationships are often replaced with efficiency tools — managers do not interact as frequently with their employees and do not have regular exposure to what used to be indicators of an evolving skill set. And when it comes to contingent workers and the staffing agency that placed them, there are definitely shades of grey, so individual assessment becomes more difficult. Conversely, the employee does not have the opportunity to observe successful and tenured co-workers in the way they once did — missing out on learning opportunities and the chance to model ideal work habits.

So we have to ask ourselves, “Are we all speaking the same language?” Obviously international deals still require expert translation so that expectations are conveyed accurately, but what about internal communication? Do we pay close enough attention to the way our messages are disseminated and to whom? The answer might force us to consistently monitor ourselves to make sure that our communication tools are not getting in the way of our messages.

Editing ourselves is crucial. This self-editing can be as simple as making sure that each person receives the message in a way that meets their needs; whether via e-mail, a conference call, a webinar or social media. It also means targeting those messages to the right audience by trimming the recipient list to include just the “need to know” players. This ensures that others, including temporary workers, aren’t distracted by information that falls outside of their direct area of expertise. At the same time, making sure even if you are a temporary worker, you are getting the right feedback.

In our increasingly fast-paced world, we have to be careful not to become so reliant on communication tools that we forget that conversations nurture relationships and relationships build healthy partnerships. When you need to communicate an important issue, go old school. Pick up the phone and give them a call.

Just make sure you’ve got a good signal.

Stacie Habegger

Stacie Habegger
Stacie Habegger is the chief sales officer for The ActOne Group, the parent company for AppleOne Employment Services and AgileOne. She can be reached at shabegger (at) ain1 (dot) com.

Stacie Habegger

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