Workplace communication — it’s one of those things you don’t think about until it becomes a problem. But when this particular issue does rear its ugly head, things can go downhill fast.
Poor communication leads to confusion, miscalculations, oversights, and lapses in judgement — all of which can have a marked effect on the speed and quality of a project.
According to an infographic from Villanova University, “86 percent of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.” Conversely, proper communication ensures projects are finished both swiftly and successfully. Furthermore, employees who feel as if they’re being heard are happy employees. This positive environment and happy workforce can give a real boost to both employee engagement and productivity!
Clear and open communication are key to organizational success — without it, businesses simply cannot thrive. If you fail to address communication issues, your company may not survive. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to improve organizational communication.
Create a Communication Friendly Environment
In your role as a leader, it’s imperative you always ensure that there’s a constant flow of clear communication in your organization. You want your employees to know that they can share their ideas, initiatives, and feelings without ever having to fear reprisal. To encourage this kind of discourse, you need to create a communication-friendly environment.
Start by setting an example — be a communicator. Begin every day by saying good morning to your team. Hold a quick 10-minute meeting to get the day started and conversation flowing. Ask plenty of questions, share what’s happening in the company, and make sure everyone has a little bit of time to talk about what they’re planning to do that day.
Encourage your employees to build relationships with each other. Social interactions and informal conversations are incredibly important as they set the stage for comfortable collaboration between team members. If you come across employees chatting the break room or having a non-work related discussion in the team chat, don’t automatically steer them back to the task at hand. Let them build the framework needed for collaboration and innovation.
Schedule Regular One-on-Ones
Routinely checking in with employees is a crucial part of effective communication. Depending on the tenure and skill of the employee, schedule weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly one-on-ones. Use this time to see how they are feeling, where they are with their projects, and to ask them what they might need from you to best do their job. This will not only make sure employees feel they have an outlet for their thoughts and ideas, it will also improve internal communication throughout the entire organization.
Don’t Forget Remote Employees
With 45 percent of American employees working remotely, many managers are now scrambling to find a way to keep communication open with the team members they rarely see in person. Though relationship-building with remote employees can seem difficult, it’s really not. All you have to do is change your approach. One way to do this is to utilize video conferencing, as it allows you to interpret their body language and tone of voice to inform the way you communicate with them.
Ask for Employee Feedback
Taking a top-down approach to communication may provide you with a modicum of control, but it won’t do you (or your employees) any favors in the long run. Rather than making communication a one-way street, regularly ask your employees to offer up their thoughts and feedback. Not only will this lead to increased employee engagement, it will also allow you to make positive changes within your organization — and that’s just money in the bank!.
Ask for Anonymous Employee Feedback
Some employees won’t share feedback with their managers or company leaders because they are uncertain about what consequences they may face for doing so. Often this is the feedback you need most — the kind that might sting at first when you hear it. To make sure everyone feels safe sharing their opinions, offer a platform for anonymous feedback. A virtual suggestion box is best as it will allow everyone (including remote employees) to make themselves heard.
Get a Team Communication App
Most modern companies have a ridiculous number of chats, messages, and emails going back and forth on a daily basis. This can make it difficult to keep track of important information. That’s where team communication software comes in. It’s accessible anywhere, makes it easy to find documents, and offers workflow-focused features to boost your team’s productivity.
Get Project Management Software
No matter what size of project you’re trying to manage, spreadsheets won’t cut it for long — there are simply too many limitations. If you’re still relying on Excel or Google Sheets, it’s time switch to a more professional tool — one that will help boost employee productivity. Project management software allows you to keep track of a project’s progress, collaborate effectively with your team, and manage your organization’s workflow successfully.
Make Communication Company-wide
As your company grows larger, it may become more difficult to keep employees apprised of what’s happening in your organization. To avoid silos from forming, it’s important to find a way to spread information in a uniform manner across the entire company. This can be done through an internal newsletter or company-wide town hall meetings. Both are excellent ways to ensure every employee is up to date on recent happenings, company changes, and future plans.
Transparency is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your company. Failing to share important information with your employees indicates a lack of confidence — and that can lead to some serious distrust and unrest among the rank and file. Instead, you should divulge as much information as possible, including financials, c-suite meeting notes, customer feedback, and new hires. Remember, your employees are smart enough to know how to use this information to make the company better.
Effective communication is a balm for many sore spots within an organization. It builds employee trust, strengthens loyalty, and increases morale and productivity. Improving communication within your company takes time and requires multiple approaches. However, if you take initiative and do what’s necessary to open up the lines of communication, you may just find your company to be happier and healthier than ever before.