This is a picture of the tower that was next to my hotel in Dallas; I just returned from working in the career center at ASTD’s international convention. While I really like Dallas, I cannot say so much for a lot of the customer service I experienced. Now this tower is famous, as it has an observation deck where you can see all of the city and I kept getting encouraged by all hotel employees I came in contact with to go up there and get the experience. For 3 days, I tried but without success.
Finally I, along with two other women, attempted to go up the tower. We had to get on two elevators but were finally successful in getting up; however, when we got to the top there was nothing there but destruction. It seems that the tower is under renovation and not open for two weeks. We were taken back by the experience, as we could have gotten stuck up there or hurt by debris, but more distressing was the fact that there was no signage indicating that the tower was closed.
Once down, I went to the concierge desk to inquire about my experience and the fact that there was no communication indicating that the tower was closed for renovation; I mentioned that every employee I had spoken with kept telling me to to see it but were not aware of its closure. The clerk’s response was very disturbing to me, as I think it’s indicative of what goes on in businesses and organizations more and more today; she said, “We have 400 employees and how are we to communicate that information to all of them?” I was stunned and angry at the same time and I thought it was a said state to put off (excuse) what could have been a bad experience for them if one of us had been hurt.
Now I don’t know her actual position, but I hope this is not a mindset of this organization that information. This large hotel chain has an intranet, stand-up meetings, and managers who I’m sure convey information about their schedules, pay and guest services, so to think they would not think this information was important is beyond reasoning. (Couldn’t they have hung a sign on the wall saying, “Closed for renovation” ??) I hear this struggle from both managers and employees alike – communication does not filter effectively within an organization. This leaves both sides feeling frustrated and leads to disengagement and dissatisfaction, which makes for unhappy workplaces and the fallout trickles down to decreased productivity and outcomes.
Ensuring that communication filters throughout the organization is not only the responsibility from the top, although it does start there. It is each employee’s responsibility as well to learn about happenings within their workplace and then conveying that to others. As an example, I went to the gift shop daily and each time I asked the sales person about things I saw in the hotel or for directions, she told me that she did not know, even though she has worked at the hotel for 18 years! Is it not her personal responsibility to be curious about her workplace and to know about it, especially considering it is a tourist destination?
So for leaders, be sure that you are communicating news, information, happenings, etc. to all employees and that the communication is received as you meant it to be; for employees, be curious and inquisitive about your organization by asking questions, taking the initiative to be informed, and then passing on the information to others.