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Posted by Thelma Marshall Product Director on Dec 5, 2019 4:00:00 AM

Have you ever been explaining something to an employee and practically saw the moment that the listener checked out of the conversation?  It’s disturbing when what you’re saying is important, and though relatively complex, that employee should have been following what you were saying.

Since everyone processes information differently, it helps to fine-tune your communication skills, whether you are spelling out multi-step directions, sharing actionable information or providing complex instruction. 

  Four steps to clear communication

  1. Start at the beginning and leave no gaps.

If a manager starts to explain a multi-step solution to a problem without the worker fully up to speed, the worker may not easily follow the lengthy instructions. This leaves some of the information up to their own interpretation or analogy. In a warehouse, that can be dangerous.

It sounds incredibly simple, but always start complex or multi-step instruction at the beginning – by summarizing the issue, then, as you start to explain the steps needed for resolution, remember to stop and ask, “Is this making any sense?”

Don’t worry too much about whether you’re telling the employee something they’ve already heard before. It reinforces their knowledge and allows them an easy opportunity to speak up if they are not understanding you.

  1. Explain essential information and stay focused on the big picture.

Don’t let your communication get bogged by down by lengthy side stories or unnecessary explanation. While you want an employee to be able to follow your instructions, you don’t want them to get lost in the minutia. Provide clear information needed to understand the task and keep yourself focused on what insight the employee needs to accomplish it. 

  1. Simplify the data so it’s easily understood and well-connected to proposed solutions.

When a manager explains a problem to their team or an employee, factual data backs up the claims and helps explain the proposed solution. Data identifies where labor and equipment are well-utilized, where they are not, where issues occur that slow productivity and what changes are needed.

Warehouse and forklift connectivity generate data on operator performance, forklift utilization, and the status of equipment. If merged with LMS data, it identifies how behaviors, skill level, and poor worker habits can have a direct correlation to deficiencies in forklift utilization, traffic management and productivity.  

  1. Explain why.

Communication is vital to warehouse safety and phycological studies have shown that employees respond to instruction, direction and warnings with greater diligence when they understand the reasons behind them. People want to know “why”.

  Why explain “why”?

  • Workers will understand and care more about instructions, safety concerns, and expectations.
  • Even if they don’t fully understand the reason, they’ll be more likely to listen intently to your instruction and comply.

A comprehensive telematics platform merges data from inventory, workers, and hard assets. It helps managers explain complex situations and instructions by simplifying the insight that identifies both the problem and the solution.

 

Key words: Warehouse, Communication

 

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