Just like any other relationship, the key to a positive workplace environment is frequent and effective communication.
There are various benefits to improving communication throughout your organisation. For example, companies with open lines of communication between employees and managers tend to be more productive and report higher employee and customer satisfaction levels. Additionally, there is generally lower levels of unplanned absence and staff turnovers in such businesses.
The benefits of communication are abundantly clear, but how should your enterprise go about improving it? Read on for some tips to enhance internal communication within your business.
Show Your Empathy
No matter what you do for a living, we have all undoubtedly experienced the impact that stresses in your personal life can have on your work. As a manager, it is your responsibility to look after your team as best you can. Therefore, you should ensure that you let your staff know that you understand they have a life outside of work. Taking the time to ensure your team feels valued and listened to will help them feel more satisfied in their work, ultimately leading to better productivity and a more positive working environment.
A good way to do this is to incorporate an informal catchup into your regular team meetings. Rather than jumping straight to business matters, try to have a casual conversation with your employees. This can help you to connect as people rather than just as coworkers. While this type of small talk might seem inane, it is a valuable tool for strengthening workplace relationships and encouraging open discussions.
Demonstrating empathy for your team members shouldn’t only be reserved for meetings. Some suggest that applying a lens of compassion to all internal communications can help to enhance satisfaction in the workplace. Also, consider organising activities outside of work for you and your team to engage in. This can help to build trust and communication between your employees.
Ultimately, take the time to get to know your team and understand their concerns and circumstances. This will help to improve their sense of belonging in your enterprise.
Encourage Feedback From Employees
One of the most effective ways of making your employees feel listened to is to give them various opportunities to share feedback. A good place to start is routinely sending an employee engagement survey around the office, but don’t stop here.
To further your understanding of the current mood among your team, you could conduct semi-regular stay interviews. These can help shed light on why individuals have stayed with your company, what they like about the enterprise, and what they would like to improve in the future.
Another thing to consider is giving your staff the opportunity to provide feedback anonymously. Not all employee communications with leadership will be positive, but it is essential to get a balanced picture if you really want to improve. Some employees might not feel comfortable giving negative feedback related to management, a coworker or their boss. Therefore, you should explore avenues to allow them to suggest changes anonymously.
Overall, giving your team the opportunity to provide constructive criticism is essential for the growth and development of your company.
Ensure Your Feedback is Clear and Concise
Feedback goes both ways. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team is working to the highest possible standard and aware of their role and expectations. However, you should ensure that your feedback is both clear and concise, or avoid giving it altogether.
If you want the criticism you give to employees to be constructive, you need to give them examples of the problem and provide suggestions on improving the situation. For example, you should avoid vague statements like “you haven’t been performing lately”. This isn’t helpful feedback, as it doesn’t show employees where they can improve or where the issue lies. Instead, you could say something like, “you aren’t hitting your deadlines, and there has been a decline in the quality of your work. Is everything alright?”. This will help your employees to understand what the issue is and how they can fix it. Additionally, it is a more compassionate form of feedback, which will improve relationships in the workplace.
Utilise Modern Communication Tools
The pandemic accelerated the move towards more flexible working practices in many ways. Additionally, the global nature of enterprise means that teams might be separated geographically but still need to communicate and collaborate with one another on projects.
Thankfully, there are various programmes and means of communicating that can be used to facilitate collaboration regardless of where a team member is located. After the initial outbreak of Covid-19, many people were forced to work remotely. As such, businesses were forced to integrate communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack into their business models. While we are moving away from restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, many companies are still using these programmes to facilitate collaboration between teams.
Therefore, having the right infrastructure is essential if your company has adopted flexible working practices or requires employees to travel on the job. This could take the form of the programmes mentioned above, but could also be as simple as providing mobile phones for your employees. If you believe your business model could be improved by mobile communications, check out this range of cheap SIM-only deals.
Learn How Your Team Communicates Best
You have likely noticed that some team members will dominate the conversation in your meetings, whereas others are more reserved. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything valuable to add to the conversation, but they likely have different communication styles. As a manager, you need to understand how different employees communicate best and provide options for those that might not feel confident speaking in meetings.
Generally, different communication styles can be broken down into four categories. First, let’s cover analytical communicators. These people tend to thrive on data and specifics. When working with such employees, you should provide specific details upfront and set clear targets and goals. Additionally, avoid overusing emotional language to get the most from these interactions.
Next, there are intuitive communicators. These tend to be the big-picture thinkers. They are generally more comfortable considering broad overviews and outcomes and are less focused on details. Therefore, when communicating with this style of employee, it can often be best to follow up key information with them after a meeting.
Another form of communicators are more process-driven individuals. These are known as functional communicators, and they excel at breaking down big ideas into manageable steps. Such people often benefit from managers asking them follow-up questions to draw them out in meetings.
Finally, a team member might be a personal communicator. This could be someone you might describe as a “people person”. These individuals tend to prioritise connections and emotional language. Similarly to intuitive communicators, consider following up with key details after meetings with personal communicators.
In summary, promoting effective internal communication is essential for the success of a business. As a manager, it is in your best interests to find ways to communicate and collaborate within your team that help people feel comfortable and valued within an organisation. As such, implementing the suggestions outlined above to enhance productivity and staff satisfaction within your company.
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