Since the Great Resignation, many employees have left jobs that no longer serve their needs or value their effort. One commonality of these inefficient workplaces is poor internal communication, causing confusion, frustration, and stress. When management crosses lines or expectations aren’t properly managed, things get muddied. It can become expensive and exhausting to lose workers to poor communication, so it’s important to consider some easy improvements.
Providing a workspace that communicates effectively and listens to its staff can take a bit of work. Thankfully, this process can be made easier through just a few changes to your business’s dynamic.
Utilize Specific Communication Methods
Between all of the apps and software available these days for communication, it’s simple to find one that works best for your company. Some popular choices include Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Discord. However, you don’t want to throw too many options at your staff.
One method will help streamline communication and ensure that nothing becomes lost in translation. Plus, it allows staff to refer back to messages, send media, and even create more informal channels, such as staff wins and pet photos, to build camaraderie.
Reply to Emails Promptly
With a constant influx of emails, it can be difficult to sort through them and respond to everything efficiently.
However, part of managing your inbox is ensuring communication doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Set aside time each day for emails, especially on projects or answers that require a swift reply. Set reminders for anything that can wait a day or two, and ensure any emails you send have all the information included so that nothing confuses your co-workers.
Pay Attention and Listen
Part of effective communication is active listening.
It can be quite defeating for staff to feel like their problems aren’t being heard or recognized, or their ideas aren’t valued. Pay attention to what people say and what isn’t being said, such as their body language during meetings and discussions. Create opportunities to listen to feedback, both positive and negative. Perhaps add an anonymous suggestion box or schedule a forum where everyone can share their ideas.
Provide Helpful Communication Resources
Apart from communication apps, having project management tools can also build a bridge of contact. These are useful in keeping track of projects, deadlines, and other pertinent information. Instead of employees having to chase down their co-workers to get updates, project management tools help to have a streamlined platform to detail new and old assignments alike.
You can also use them to send reminders, upload important media, and track working time on a specific task, all in one place.
Plan Meetings for Essential Business
For some, meetings can feel like a waste of time, especially when they don’t have to attend or you could easily convey the information via email. However, knowing you need to cover and collaborate on through a meeting is vital since you don’t want your employees to lose precious working time.
Decide which correspondence needs to be handled face-to-face in a meeting, such as discussing a new project that involves all hands on deck. Otherwise, save your staff a busy day of meetings so they can focus on other business.
Give Clear Expectations
Whether it’s for a certain role or task, giving clear expectations can help internally. It can be frustrating for employees to feel stumped on management expectations, work on the wrong things, or have to ask a supervisor what their role is constantly. Instead, set distinct goals and intentions from the get-go and have it written somewhere for future reference. This documentation will also let them feel open in communicating any potential questions or issues since you have established rapport, and they know to rely on you for precise instruction.
Allow Open Exchanges
Many bosses and supervisors have an open-door policy that allows staff to feel comfortable approaching them with anything. These discussions can include work concerns or even personal matters causing issues. This type of trust and understanding lets employees feel respected and provides managers insight into their staff’s day-to-day. This trust can be crucial for a business to run smoothly while maintaining a positive internal communication environment.
Encourage Participation and Conversation
In grade school or college, certain activities may have involved participation points. Encourage participation by your employees through various methods. Engaged staff tends to perform better, so providing performance-based feedback, open discussions, and ways to earn perks will help build on your internal workplace communications.
Build on Relationships
One way to build on existing relationships is through team building. Slack channels where you can share memes and other casual correspondence are nice, but what about ways to strengthen those bonds?
Employees who trust their co-workers will be more likely to communicate openly, so planning a small retreat or after-work event can help. If you’re a remote-based business, plan a day for some activities via Zoom or Skype that teams can participate in, such as puzzles or virtual escape rooms.
Host Periodic Check-Ins
Sharing with your employees the latest goings-on and happenings is important. Are there any updates they need? What about positive outcomes from recent projects?
Hosting periodic check-ins, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, can be a consistent gathering to fill everyone in. These check-ins don’t have to be overly formal or take up much of the work day.
A weekly email can help loop everyone in on announcements, upcoming events, or other information to provide open communication.
There are many ways to improve internal communication at your workplace, and while you may not need to overhaul your current methods entirely, you should at least consider the above list on where to start. Technology is one area that can certainly help, between communication apps, project management tools, and performance management.
Other practices involve active listening, open communication policies, and relationship building. So how will you use these to focus on enhancing your company’s communication?
This article is written by Katy Flatt.