Monday, 01 July 2019 19:01

How We Speak to Each Other – A Key Culture Indicator for Any Organization

Written by Anna Langford, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR, GRP, CCP, PMP Director, Compensation and Benefits-Human Resources, PharMerica, Louisville, KY

Previously, l wrote an article published by the KY State HR Magazine with a checklist for your next staff meeting. In the article, I focused on questions that teams should ask themselves to improve meeting efficiency, inclusiveness, focus, and outcomes. Today, I would like to explore the next critical subject of meeting dialogue: the flow of conversation in meetings as a key display of a company's culture, impacting turnover, business results and organizational brand.

As professionals, we all desire to improve in this area, ensuring our voices are heard and that we hear others’ voices. While not intentionally, it is easy to dismiss new ideas, different viewpoints or even discourage others from speaking because they communicate or express their thoughts different from the perceived majority.

A plethora of tools have recently emerged, which allow both employees and leaders to simultaneously evaluate and score each other’s input during meetings. However, such technologies are not yet accessible to all and not everyone is interested due to fear of negative feedback or reprisal.

In recent years, we have seen new stakeholders invited to participate in forums with greater diversity in decision-making gatherings, but now further emphasis is needed on how to make this inclusive group listen to all its members.

To help with your next meeting, one on one, check in, brainstorming or another business gathering, I would like to share my new list of questions that can be used to self-score your organizational interactions:

How will you communicate in your next meeting?

  1. Who is invited to participate in decision-making meetings? Are you inclusive?
  2. Are ideas from any certain group or individuals always quickly dismissed? If yes, who and why?
  3. Is there clear dominance of thoughts, philosophies, and opinions?
  4. Can the status quo be challenged?
  5. Is the style confrontational or collaborative?
  6. Do you allow time to listen and understand all perspectives?
  7. Do you follow up after key meetings to ensure all groups or stakeholders feel welcome to contribute?
  8. Did anyone raise their voice to silence others?
  9. What happened when someone asked a question or requested clarification?
  10. Are questions encouraged/supported or are stakeholders uncomfortable bringing forth concerns?
  11. Do you emphasize that:
  • respectful dialogue matters,
  • no one person/group is always correct,
  • organizational brand is enhanced through inclusive, professional, respectful, honest, results-oriented idea exchange
  1. Do you realize that there could be multiple right answers and that the entire group can be wrong or that the right answer may be outside of the room and with the person closest to the work who may not even be in the meeting?

Anna Langford
Anna Langford,
Director, Compensation and Benefits-Human Resources, PharMerica, Louisville, KY

Anna has over 20 years of progressive Human Resources experience with leadership roles including Total Rewards, Talent Management, Organizational Design and HRIS.

Anna has been a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and WorldatWork, and has been focused on driving innovation while positively impacting global talent development and business growth. 

Anna was invited to serve on the 2018-19 Special Expertise Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Panel.

Anna possesses such certifications as SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR, GRP, CCP and Project Management Professional (PMP). She is the author of articles "The 'DMAIC' a Great Tool for Global HR Managers" and "Checklist for Your Next Staff Meeting" published in the Kentucky State HR Magazine.

Anna has presented at various HR and Business forums and served on several GLI Committees. In addition, Anna was featured in the November 2013 WorldatWork magazine under Profiles in Career Excellence.

Anna earned her bachelor’s degree with Honors in Business Administration from the University of Louisville and her Master of Science in Information Management from Aspen University.

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