Communication facilitates the transfer of knowledge and ideas and is essential to allow people to work together on problems which neither can solve individually. That’s a fancy pants way of saying that in order to succeed in your business you need to have a decent company communication policy in place.
Most firms, though, have poor standards of communication. Thousands of emails get sent every day, yet little is said, and less is genuinely understood. To have a killer business in 2019, you need an excellent communication strategy.
Things to consider when reviewing your company communication policy:
Communicate Important Information In Writing
Although verbal communication is useful for many settings, there are certain circumstances when it’s better to write things down. Using written communication for important information is a good idea because it reduces the chances that something might be misconstrued.
You don’t want to place a work order verbally, for instance, because you run the risk that a person in your team will forget parts of your instruction. It’s much better to have it all written down, either in an email, Slack or something similar.
Use Management Software
Communication isn’t all about what you say, either verbally or written down: it’s also about how your business organizes instructions to employees. With shift planning made easy, you can, for instance, manage your employee’s time at a high resolution. What’s more, you don’t have to hire a team of admin professionals to do the work for you: it’s all done automatically and shared through the cloud.
Automating rote communications like these helps create predictability in your business, and improves worker satisfaction. Using software to do the grunt work frees people up to communicate higher-level concepts to each other.
Reach Out To Introverted Employees
The chances are that if you’re a senior manager of the boss of a firm, you’re an extroverted person or at least very comfortable communicating with others and sharing ideas. Being around other people is not only a necessary part of doing business but on a certain level,it will be something you are very good at. Not all your employees, however, will have the same temperament. In fact, some will be introverted, and perhaps shy and retiring too.
Reaching out to these people is, however, essential. Just because they don’t enjoy throwing their ideas out there like their extroverted colleagues, it doesn’t mean that they have nothing of merit to say. Some of the most important contributions to your business are likely to come from introspective, introverted people. Bear this in mind when looking at ways to improve your company communication policy.
Make Teamwork The Central Cultural Pillar Of The Firm
Lack of communication in your business might be as much of a cultural problem as it is a social one. Some companies emphasise the performance of the individual above that of the team, even if they pay lip service to the latter.
If you want great communication in your company, team performance metrics should be the most important indicators. Companies that adopt team performance criteria create incentives for individual members to talk to one another, rather than trying to work on projects solo. Teams often produce better results than individuals and also foster a new culture of collaboration and reliance on the work of other members.
Ask Questions Constantly
Many managers think that it’s a good idea to leave employees to their own devices. After all, they’re competent, qualified people with a proven track record and you probably don’t know as much as they do about the specific issues facing a particular aspect of your company.
But don’t be so fast to cut off communication entirely. It’s much better just to ask questions, even if you don’t feel confident evaluating the answers. Asking questions get your colleagues to think about what they’re doing and justify their actions to themselves more than anything. Merely asking questions could force a worker to think and change tack, based on what you said.
Begin A Newsletter
Company newsletters don’t tend to be the most interesting, to put it mildly. But they can be an excellent tool for communication in your firm if done right.
It’s probably a good idea to stay away from lecturing employees in newsletters: this isn’t going to encourage them to read them. Much better is to point out new opportunities for personal growth and development: something that many modern employees are looking for more and more. You could also host competitions or use your newsletter to talk about extra-curricular activities available at your firm.
Reorganise The Office
The way your office is set up can make a big difference in the ability of your employees to communicate. When business consultants first realised that open and free communication in the office was necessary for performance, they told companies to adopt open-plan settings. As it turned out that this wasn’t a good idea in practice, even though it might have seemed like one in theory. Yes, people could communicate easily, but they also became distracted by the commotion around them. Moreover, some employees find being in the presence of others all day long a stressful experience, with no way to block it out.
Smart companies are now investigating office policies (including company communication policy) and setups which give them the best of both worlds: an office environment in which communication is easy and one where employees can take time out to concentrate on their work. A combination of an open-door policy and communal spaces can give you office a much-needed boost in communication without sacrificing individual productivity.
Consider Social Software When Reviewing Your Company Communication Policy
Although people shouting across the room might sound like a good idea, there’s a cost to that sort of thing: the ability of other employees to concentrate on their tasks. It’s for this reason that so many companies have begun using messenger communication software. Communication software allows employees to talk to each other, either individually or in groups, without disturbing over team members.
The good thing about communication software is that it tends to facilitate better conversations than email. In email, employees have learned that they must be formal and that there might be a gap between each to and fro of the conversation. But in chat, these same rules don’t apply. Consequently, communication can be a lot more effective.
Is your company communication policy working for you? I am a sole trader and as a freelancer don’t work with a team, however, even I find collaboration with clients and other freelancers more organised and easier to streamline using specific tools and systems.