Remember back in grade school when our teachers would write important things “on the board”? Whether it was a reminder about when the next test was, when an assignment was due, what chapters to read in the book, or what problems to work on for homework, we often got important information by looking for it in the upper right hand corner of the classroom chalkboard.
If it Works…
And why do you think educators have been using this method for years? Probably because it works. Leaving a semi-permanent, written record of important class “business” might be the only way to make sure dazing Jimmy over by the window or chatty Kathy and her friend Bobby actually know what’s going on without having to ask around or rely on others to know.
… Why Fix It?
More recently, I’ve visited my own kids’ classrooms, and seen that this is at least one thing that hasn’t changed much. Sure, they might be writing with a dry-erase marker instead of some dusty yellow chalk, and I’ve even seen fancy electronic whiteboards that work like computers and save content digitally. But the idea of a written backup, where assignments and important information can be accessed by anyone in the room, at any time is a powerful constant in primary education.
A Lifetime of Training
So by the time a student leaves their classroom for the last time, they’ve had years and years of training to look at a wall-mounted board as a reliable source of important written information. Does your business tap into this Lifetime of Training as a way to deliver important information to your employees?
It’s a Simple Thing
Any business can provide a board for conveying timely and important information with a minimum of time and investment. You might not need more than 6 square feet of wall space to put up a 2’ x 3’ white board, that will provide a way to communicate important information to your employees. Depending on where you put it and how you use it, it might help your business in other ways too.
Draw Attention to Important Notices
By law, we all have postings for our mandatory labor law, material safety and related documentation. But in many businesses, these get tucked away in odd places, seldom to be seen or used. If you put up a whiteboard next to this bulletin area and add useful information to it regularly, you’ll encourage employees to become more engaged with your other posted information.
Promote More Safety
If your employees get used to seeing a fire extinguisher prominently on the wall next to a board they look at every day, they won’t have to waste critical seconds searching for it if there’s ever a fire. The same goes for your eye-wash station and first aid kit.
Save Time and Cost
And a less spectacular (though often more important) example is that your supervisors might spend a lot less time answering redundant questions. It may prove much easier to get simple operations information trained into your crews if every announcement is reinforced by a written follow-up.
As with anything, there are some tricks to doing it well. Here’s 3:
Three Keys to Successful Employee Communication via a Simple Board
- It needs to be visible and conspicuous. It’s best in a place where employees will notice it and can easily see when new info has been added, while they go about their normal routines.
- It must be updated regularly with information that is useful and interesting to employees. Track crew performance, make a daily update, post a weather forecast, or keep a work schedule there. Your employees need to see you update this thing, or they’ll stop looking.
- Leave it up to one person. By making the upkeep of your board and announcements the responsibility of ONE person, you minimize confusion and give yourself the greatest possible chances of success… and you know who to go to if there’s problems.
Format Isn’t Really Important
A chalkboard is fine, although a dry erase whiteboard is probably easier to mount and easier to find at your local office supply store. And nobody says your “board” can’t be electronic either. If your employees are totally engaged with mobile devices, send out a daily note, so it becomes part of their routine to read it.
Bridging the Communications Gap
Modern businesses may be more connected than ever, but that doesn’t mean they have good communication. Just like the students in your 4th grade classroom, your employees will have different needs, and they will be able to best receive information in different ways.
When it can be so hard to build your company culture or even just get your employees to hear an important announcement, it can be a really good thing to utilize a tried and true means of sending them information… one they’ve been using since they were 10 years old… and one that can be super easy for you to manage.
What works for you?
Have you had success using a posting board at your company? Tell us about it in the Comments!