Conversation is the cornerstone of communication. The moment we open our mouths to speak, we create an impression and impact. Our words shape the experience of others and the environments we live, work, and play in.
In the workplace, people want to feel heard. They want to work at a company that allows them to interact with different personalities, perspectives, and ideas.They want to be part of an inclusive, respectful culture that encourages open communication.
Conversation is what ties everyone together at work. After wrapping up our first season of Conversations at work, we’ve gathered some of the key insights on creating better workplaces through conversation.
The power of voice at work
Employee voice is all about allowing people to express themselves authentically. From ideas and questions to concerns and criticism, employees should have the ability to voice feedback and influence or contribute to critical decisions at work.
Here are some mindful themes to help you be intentional with your voice at work:
Inclusion is an active choice. It means making sure that everyone, from all walks of life, can sit around the table and contribute, whether they’re extroverted or not.
Have you ever thought about the words you choose to use at work and what they represent? Our vocabulary matters more than ever, especially in remote work settings where we experience limited body language and are no longer in our teammates’ physical presence. Words play a crucial role in how welcome we feel in the workplace, which means we should be more intentional about the words we use.
No organization will achieve its potential if the people in it don’t feel comfortable expressing opinions and ideas.
Authentic dialogue within your organization starts with establishing psychological safety. This is a fundamental requirement for constructive discussions, where people can freely speak up and voice their opinions. Anonymous feedback is an excellent tool to ensure this. We should also aim to up our listening skills to show respect and make others feel heard.
Building trust takes time and is especially difficult with remote work. A key to trust is empathy: the ability to sense and relate to others. Voicing your empathy helps people take a closer look at their coworkers’ personal lives and well-being. Carving out purposeful touchpoints to promote connection and consistency also builds trust in a relationship, fostering a real sense of belonging. Simply being decent to one another also builds trust. Our words convey decency just as much as our actions.
As we all know, leaders influence and set the tone for culture, acting as role models in an organization. A manager’s comments can make us feel strong emotions; they’re often a primary factor of whether we feel motivated or skeptical at work. Visit this conversation to learn how leaders can hold space for uncomfortable and vulnerable conversations to happen.
Through managing constant change, a lot of organizations have found shifts in their culture. In particular, the way leaders handle and communicate these changes significantly impacts culture and whether people feel like they belong and are heard at work. Building a culture of honest feedback and closing the loop is especially important when navigating hardships.
Small changes go a long way, and everyone at work can make a difference. Any person in a company, no matter their position, can choose to step up and lead through difficult conversations so there’s more cohesion, understanding, and respect at work. This is particularly powerful in 1:1 conversations, where two people can build connections and take a closer look at personal well-being on an individual level.
Conversation shapes culture, creates connection, and helps leaders lead. We look forward to welcoming more conversation in the new year when we kick off Season 2 of Conversations at Work. We look forward to your participation and voice!