When the chips are down, every leader wants to improve workplace communication. They may even search for fun ways to improve communication in the workplace. Use these six proven tips right now…
Reviving The Office: How To Improve Workplace Communication
There are a number of reasons why people are enjoying working from home. It’s not just that they can work in their pajamas, and take a 15-minute break whenever they wish. When asked, workers are telling researchers they are happy they don’t have to deal with the issues of the office environment. They are saying:
We love our workplace, but there are some things about it we don’t like even more.
A quick list of common answers:
- Office politics
- Department silos
- Lack of communication from the boss
- Atmosphere of blame
As well as ill feelings and repercussions for the entire team related with the items on the list above.
At the core of all this, is the need for better communication in:
It often becomes about improving communication between departments in the workplace. Enhance this protocol, and enhance your teamwork at the same time.
Here are six ways to improve workplace communication.
Decentralizing Your Business
Regardless of the size of your business, different areas of your operation need to be compatible. Consider your company as Apple. You have a large employee office with an attached warehouse. Departments that need to work together:
Are all in the office building. The warehouse might be home to:
- Order processing
- Transportation & Logistics
Packing and shipping would be done in close proximity right outside the window of the office building in the warehouse. What could be lacking?
It is common to find that the different areas of operation are using different software and hardware. So, chances are they rely on texting or calling each other when needed. For example, a sales manager might want to text or call the inventory manager to see if an order can be fulfilled that they are receiving online.
It is also common that the connection is weak or not even working. The thick walls of the warehouse can restrict the signal between employees. Installing commercial cell phone boosters for the office can increase communications between your departments.
Facebook has used this solution, securing communication lines similar to the type mentioned here. The cell phone boosters are so easy to install, take up minimal space, can be up and running in just a day or two and they’re affordable.
The Dreaded Silo Effect
Did you know that psychologists have been trying to analyze and discover, how silos come into being? CEOs of all industries dread the silo effect because it can destroy a company from within.
It happens – Departments stop talking to each other. On occasion they are actively hostile toward each other. That can become a management nightmare. Even more dreadful, business owners see a slow car crash in process, but don’t know how to stop it.
If you fear this in your own organization, here are a few managerial solutions…
- Chair meetings between heads of departments. Why? This shows your teams that you prioritize effective communication. Rather than just glossing over details, C-suite employees will need to engage all involved on a deeper level. The boss’ presence is always a good way to focus minds.
- Individual meetings are a good way to stay on-track. Bring each manager or team leader into your office and speak with them about any silo issues. Who isn’t giving information? Why? Why is there friction? Is it personal? Is it office politics? How can a more positive path be achieved?
- Closely observe. Body language is important – You can see when people aren’t getting along. To observe warring departments while you’re not there, you may want to assign a trusted member of your personal team to monitor to get a clearer picture.
Regularly Meet To Improve Workplace Communication
Having a regular meeting with all of your employees nurtures positive communication patterns. When there have been failures in communication channels, low-level employees might be fearful of losing their jobs if they share concerns. However, that same group of employees are often your front line in processes and can reveal opportunities for improvement. It is worth taking the time to hear from all ranks.
Prioritizing more casual 5-minute conversations at their desks or in the office can boost morale and spotlight weaknesses in a meaningful way.
Regularly bring your junior employees into the office and ask them how they’re doing. Ask probing questions about their own teams and projects. Most of the time, you will get golden nuggets of information, such as:
- Operational hurdles hindering project completion
- Team indecision
- Cliques forming
- Unbalanced allocation of tasks
- Talent unaligned with assigned responsibilities
Everybody hates to see friends and family promoting each other, simply because they’re friends or family. At the same time, you would also hope to promote people who have good chemistry with the managers. So, where do you draw the line?
Poor communication begins when office resentment increases. A perceived unfairness leads team members to back away from someone they once thought of as friendly.
So, here’s how to avoid nepotism.
- Be clear on why individuals are promoted. Show good reasoning. Maybe they did awesome work on a tough project. Maybe they have worked long hours. Maybe they have been able to implement great ideas when your company was most in need.
- Always give everyone a fair opportunity. Avoid rose-colored glasses and unreasoned judgement. Make it a pattern to elevate consistent top performers and the well-deserved.
- Be the manager rather than the friend. Base all awards and promotions on merit and achievement. From the interview phase right down to the announcement.
When the wrong person to be promoted, your business usually suffers from decrease in employee morale. You will see it in quality of work. In turn, when you hire someone based solely on friendship, it can lead to resentment from their colleagues.
Implement Feedback Policies
Whenever there is discontent in a company, it can always be solved with employee feedback:
- Maybe they want more time off
- Maybe they would like a lounge area for breaks
- Perhaps they want junior employees to have more say on projects
No matter what the case is, offering employees the path to submit suggestions into a feedback box can significantly improve workplace communication. Going over these insights at end of the week assures a realistic view and regular refresh of positive workflows.
Note: It is important that every team member can do this anonymously and with no repercussion. Names can be optional. However the default should be not to include them.
If you want to assure employees that you value their feedback, read the feedback in meetings without identification. This will build two-way trust by showing you care.
Sometimes it’s not verbal communication, but real-time ‘comms’ that matter the most. So having a TMS that provides a good reliable platform to have text chat that is immediate is wise. Text chat boxes must be in any task management software you employ, as it can allow for spontaneous communication during a project. This alleviates the need to sit around a few minutes waiting for an email.
A manager can place an employee into a private digital group individually or with others, and begin a text chat conversation. This can solve simple issues quickly and answer questions for concerns just developing.
Management 101 – Don’t just settle for text options. Also implement video chat so there is also a visual of what is going on at the site of an employee’s location. This is important for managers who need to visibly show the evolution of a situation when a matter is critical.
Will You Improve Workplace Communication?
Managers should want to enhance communication and see a marked improvement in how employees work. All types of communication issues can be resolved. Though, it’s a long road to perfection.
Allowing the use of smart tools to improve communication styles in the workplace can vastly improve the nature of your teamwork, productivity, and internal brand happiness.