(courtesy of Guest Blogger Matt Williams, chief marketing officer, HGR Industrial Surplus)
Last summer, I was approached by Tina Dick, HGR’s human resources manager, about the possibility of teaching a communications course for a number of our line supervisors. Management felt that improving communications in our back-of-the-house departments could have a positive impact on employee retention and profitability, and Tina saw an opportunity to put my background as an educator to use to further this objective.
As a former college professor and high school teacher, I have taught oral communication, public speaking, and a variety of life-skills courses through the years. Of course, the key in any teaching role is to understand your audience and meet them where they are; so, I spent quite a bit of time during the eight sessions getting to know the guys who were taking the course. We discussed difficulties that they were having with communicating effectively to their subordinates, and I gathered quite a bit of valuable feedback that helped me to shape the course. Topics that we covered during the eight weeks included: active listening, feedback, nonverbal communication, giving direction effectively, and offering respect in anticipation of receiving respect in return.
At the end of the eight sessions, each supervisor received a certificate signifying his completion of the course. It was clear from their involvement and participation that they appreciated being included in this opportunity. It was critical to approach the course as an opportunity for professional development in order to gain buy-in from the supervisors. As professionals, we all have areas where we can improve our performance. Such continuous improvement drives business growth, and it is something that we should all strive for. It was deeply rewarding to see these HGR employees develop as individuals and employees.