Communicating with Your Staff
What is communication? According to Webster’s Dictionary, communication is the imparting or exchanging information or news. Most of the time in the turf industry, we’re the first and the
last — the first to arrive and the last to leave. But at times, we’re also the last to know what’s going on.
My vision for communication is to be as open and honest as possible. Create a proactive plan, gather employee input, and serve others. This plan involves cross-communication with other
departments that you interact with daily (facilities, skilled trades, coaches, volunteers, pro shops). You can’t complain about the lack of information you receive if you’re not willing to share it with others.
There are four types of communication: verbal (the most effective), non-verbal, written, and visual.
Verbal communication includes face-to-face meetings, site visits, phone calls, and texts when not on site.
Non-verbal communication consists of smiling, high fives, fist bumps, a pat on the back, etc. Written communication includes weekly and daily goals set by you and your staff (with their
input). This can be a game plan that’s posted on a board in a common area for everyone to see. This allows for everyone to see what’s going on each day for the entire week and also helps combat the occasional, “Why am I doing this and he/she is doing that?” comment. Written communication is visually letting everyone know what the expectations are for each day and week. Written communication needs to include a long-term outlook (forecast) for the next eight weeks so that everyone can see what is on the horizon. A long-term outlook can include overseeding, aerification, topdressing, the start of a season, equipment maintenance schedule, employee vacations, etc. Ideally, this would include both near- and long-term goals.
Visual communication should include site visits, walk-throughs with the responsible employee for the respective property, and overhead diagrams of each of your facilities.
I urge everyone to implement an entire staff communication plan that includes the aforementioned four types of communication. Although the above examples won’t completely eliminate communication failures, they will cut down on the vast majority of them. We live in a smartphone society, and there are multiple ways for us to take advantage of the technology that is literally in our hands.
“Communication builds confidence.” — Ed Orgeron
“The biggest problem in communication is we listen to respond, not to understand.” — Stephen R Covey
How will you improve your communication today?