If you were to ask your employees to rate your communication in the workplace, what would they say? How confident are you that your communication is top-notch and everyone is on the same page as you? Chances are, not everyone will agree that communication is a two-way street in many businesses; however, clear communication is vital.
Poor communication can lead to a loss of productivity, efficiency, customer service, and revenue at least. If you aren’t able to communicate efficiently with your employees, then you are doing yourself and your business a disservice.
This post looks at some ways you can improve workplace communication and reap the benefits.
Hold One to One Meetings
Whether your team works remotely, in the field, or with you in the office, you need to ensure you schedule regular ones to catch up with everyone and ensure you’re all on the same page. Whether you have an open-door policy or not, talking to each individual alone can provide a safe space for concerns to be voiced or sensitive topics to be broached. And by doing so with every employee, you ensure you are on the same page regarding all aspects of their employment and the company as a whole.
Create A Safe Communication Space
People need to have an internal space where they can ask questions or bounce around ideas without being judged or chastised for doing so. If people have legitimate complaints or issues, have suggestions for the company, or are unsure of any aspect of their work, allowing them to be vocal about it and receive a compassionate and thoughtful response that provides value to them can help improve communication no end. Find a channel that works for your business and allows everyone to access a “virtual water cooler,” if you like, where they can feel comfortable and confident engaging with colleagues and management alike.
Scheduling can be tricky, especially if you have employees working off-site or remotely. Flexible working options can mean you aren’t aware of who is working and when or what staff you have available should you need to call on them. This can lead to poor communication, missed opportunities, and crossed wires. Using tools like field service management software can enable you to remove all the hassle of keeping track of employees and know where everyone is at all times and who is on the clock, and when.
Improve Nonverbal Skills
Nonverbal communication skills are what you display when engaging with others. It isn’t always about what you say; more about how you say it and what your body language is saying on your behalf. If you want to improve communication, you need to work on your nonverbal skills too. These include;
- Eye contact
- Hand signals
- Listening skills
- Facial expression and more
If your body and your actions are backing up what you are saying, you will be giving off mixed signals, which can decrease effective communication between yourself and your employees. Work on this with all management and employees so everyone is more aware of how they appear to others when conversing face to face.
Use Messaging Tools
Messaging tools have a place in all industries and are there to help you improve communication, not replace in-person communication. The fact is, more and more people are living increasingly digital lives, and being able to incorporate tools like Slack into your internal communications can offer you an increased method of accessing and informing everyone in one fell swoop instead of catching them individually. It can also be effective for urgent messaging and changes if you are unable to update people in person or you need to check in and adjust projects, target appointments, and more in real time.
Transparency is ensuring everyone who needs to know certain information does. By keeping things secret and holding back, you create a culture of distrust and foster an environment where the emphasis is on secrecy, not clear communication. This doesn’t mean telling everyone everything but giving them all the information they need to do their job or make the right choices. Suppose there are changes in a company that will affect a department, be open and honest with them about it and ask for feedback. If someone approaches you with a genuine question that pertains to what they do and how they work, don’t try to cover things up and share information freely so everyone is up to date and aware of what is going on.
Everyone communicates all the time, even if they don’t think they do. Everything you do and say is communicating different things to different people, and in business, you need to be able to control this so nothing is misconstrued and everyone is on the same page as much as possible. There are multiple ways of improving communication, but being able to do this on an individual level can make all the difference in the workplace.