Communication is essential in the workplace, in order for employees to work effectively together and for everyone to feel understood and appreciated. But maintaining strong streams of communication is sometimes harder than many realize, making projects harder to bring to fruition, causing difficulties between teams, and bringing morale down.
Developing better communication strategies benefits everyone and helps improve the overall workplace environment. It increases employee engagement, improves customer relationships, and can help to boost productivity and performance, while also creating a more positive workplace environment for you and your staff. Whether you want to avoid bad habits from developing or you simply want to build upon the communication systems you have in place, here are some strategies to help improve communication in your business.
Make conversation a regular occurrence
The first step in developing better communication in the workplace is to provide staff with the opportunity to raise concerns or discuss goals and projects. Not only should there be regular team meetings so that everyone is aligned and can collaborate more efficiently, but you should also schedule weekly 1-to-1s which will provide a safe space for staff to discuss individual concerns or bring up topics that may not be appropriate for a team meeting.
Create a communication-friendly company culture
It’s one thing to provide the staff in your company with the platform to communicate effectively, but it should also be a priority to develop a safe environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas, bringing up difficult topics, or discussing how they feel about things. If you want to develop better communication in your business, you have to provide a culture where people feel safe talking and being open with their thoughts.
This is something which recycling firm Countrystyle worked on throughout the pandemic, using the time to improve areas of the business: “The pandemic gave us the opportunity to analyze the core of the business and establish where we can create better support structures for departments.”
Deliver constructive feedback
In order to manage expectations, you need to ensure that the feedback you’re providing to staff is constructive and clear. Feedback can very easily appear as criticism if it’s not delivered carefully, so it can help to show employees where they’re performing well and how they can improve, rather than simply focusing on the negative.
Some tips for ensuring that feedback is constructive and helpful to staff is to base it on observation and facts, rather than personal judgments – make sure you use specific examples to back up your statements so that employees can see what type of behavior you’re referring to. But it’s also important to give them a chance to respond to what you’re saying and to turn that feedback into a discussion.
Choose the right platforms
Certain topics should be kept to specific platforms, depending on the appropriateness of the discussion. For example, if someone in the team is dealing with a personal emergency, it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about it with the rest of the team in a weekly meeting. Likewise, big decisions for a project shouldn’t be talked about on Slack, where details might get missed or certain members of the team might not see the messages.
As a business, make sure that everyone is working to the same rules when it comes to the correct processes to follow and that anything that involves important data or information is retained in a way where the details can be checked at a later date if necessary, such as through project management tools.
If you’re discussing something via Slack or email, and you’re noticing that there’s a lot of back and forth, book an in-person meeting with everyone involved to ensure that all staff are clear on the details and that nothing is lost in trail.
To keep a business running smoothly and making sure that goals are met, everyone needs to work on their communication skills. Internal communication is the key to the proper functioning and great performance of your company as a whole and individuals within the team, but it can be a challenge when you’re dealing with a diverse workforce.
By using the correct tools, making time for regular discussions with staff, and focusing on the delivery of feedback, businesses can create an open environment for interaction.