Shawn Farris of Aargon Agency explains how top-down communication transformed his organization.

"Team bonding gave us a culture of trust and mindfulness that we didn't have before." 

As the COO of Aargon Agency, Shawn Farris oversees the operations of 5 different offices stretching from the East Coast all the way to Hawaii. According to Shawn, communication wasn't always as seamless as it is now. And it's understandable - when there are multiple offices across the country, communication isn't as easy as shouting across the room and needs a bit more thought and investment.

Shawn provides tips for unifying communication that lead to a stronger foundation, more trust within and organization and more mindfulness in decision making.

Communication must be a top-down initiative

Shawn explains how communication initiatives must start at the top in order to be effective. In other words, don't just tell your employees that communication will improve - show them. 

Communication initiatives like more frequent meetings, open lines of communication and feedback loops that lead to change will have a waterfall effect throughout the entire organization if they are taken seriously at the very top of the chain.

Use Video Conferencing as Frequently as Possible

Shawn and his team use Skype 95 percent of the time for video calls with leadership, managers and employees. The ability to visibly engage with your team, says Shawn, creates transparent communication that never existed before. 

The ability to observe non-verbal cues like facial expression and posture can change the tone of a conversation completely. Video conferencing allows for that much more than an e-mail chain or phone call.

Team Bonding

Shawn explained that until communication was solid, team bonding wasn't possible. Any team bonding initiatives that are not founded in trust and mindfulness, from all sides of the company, will not result in a more highly engaged workforce. 

And according to Shawn, only when you have a highly engaged workforce can you have a high performing team. 

Conclusion

According to a People Managing People article, engaged employees:

  • Increase productivity
  • Increase customer ratings
  • Increase sales
  • Increase profitability
  • Reduce absenteeism

The article also cites a collaborative study done by Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works and Consulting LLP, concluding that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion per year. On a per employee basis, Karlyn Borysenko suggests that this would cost a company about 34% of their annual salary.

The bottom line is that if you're ignoring employee engagement, you're losing money.

Modeling the kind of communication and intention you expect from your employees is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and to build a foundation of trust and mindfulness in your organization.

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