Improve leader-employee communication to improve business

In the face of a hyper-competitive, quickly and continuously shifting business environment, the standard nine-to-five workday doesn’t exist anymore. Employees are working past that, working at home and on weekends.

“They’re fully connected all the time,” said Rajeev Behera, CEO of Reflektive, a human resources software startup.

This high-intensity work culture has increasingly become a way of life in business, whether it’s a startup company infused with investor cash to grow, perform and yield results fast, or a publicly traded company that has to perform as well as respond to disruption and fast-changing market needs. Behera said the problem is employees may be working harder, but not necessarily smarter. Nor are they delivering against company goals in the process. Better communication is needed to ensure employees are working on tasks that deliver results. It requires dialogue; it can’t be an edict from the top.

Right now, however, it’s common for leadership to lay out goals for the organization with little intelligence from the people on the ground. Behera said this only perpetuates high-intensity work environments. The resulting pressure cooker culture prompts people to give the perception that they’re working harder, which they are, but they have less time to prioritize and think strategically about what will make an impact. The result is a burnt-out worker who isn’t as productive as they could be because they focus on responsibilities of lesser importance to the business, Behera said. Worse, this issue can produce a network effect where not just one person has devoted time, energy, talent and other resources to the wrong cause, but an entire team’s efforts were misdirected.

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