Effective communication is a healthy foundation for any successful business. While it can sometimes seem daunting to improve your workplace communication, it’s worth your attention and effort because it will greatly impact your company’s success.
13 Ways to Improve Communication in the Workplace
To help you improve the communication in among your team and in the workplace overall, follow these guidelines.
1. Build Rapport with Employees
Every relationships needs a foundation upon which to build and this also applies to your professional relationships with each member of your team. Team lunches where work is not discussed is a great way to build rapport and casually opens up the lines of communications with your employees. This small gesture can go a long way in creating healthy and strong communication in the office.
2. Show Your Team that You Are Trustworthy & Genuine
If you want your employees to open up to you or come to you with questions, you need to show them that you truly care. Prove to them that you will be helpful during project dilemmas by showing them your interest and empathy, and by following through on ways you committed to helping them overcome a roadblock. If you fail to follow through, your employees may just think you cannot be trusted or are uninterested in their work.
3. Schedule 1:1 Meetings
A great to nurture healthy communication with your team members is to hold 1:1 meetings. During this time, employees should be encouraged to open up about issues they have at work, what they are enjoying about their job, and any other important topic at hand. You will find that you learn a lot about the smaller operations within your team, as well as understand the big picture of how your team functions together.
4. Don’t Assume
It’s important as a manager that you do not assume anything, especially something negative. If an employee is failing to meet deadlines or perform to their best ability, don’t assume that they lost interest in the company. Instead, seek them out, and ask them in a scheduled 1:1 or during a private lunch outing what might be going on. This is another example of how you can demonstrate to your employees that you truly care for them and are trustworthy.
5. Listen Well
Don’t lose focus when your employees talk to you. Truly listen and be attentive. Ask them follow-up questions in your conversation so you can fully understand their needs, issues, or concerns, or questions.
6. Understand Strengths & Weaknesses
A great way to establish better communication within your team or company is to better understand each employee’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their personalities, motivations, and communication styles. You will be able to understand why certain individuals prefer water cooler meetings on the fly, while others perform their best with bulleted agendas. Personality tests, like Myers Briggs, are a great way to uncover these findings and can help create a very productive office environment.
7. Be Consistent
When times get hectic in the office, it’s easy to drop those regular check-ins with employees. However, it’s very important to keep to that schedule and be consistent with your expectations. If a manager is not consistent with their expectations, employees may lose trust or motivation, objectives can become unclear, and productivity can dip.
8. Be Specific in Feedback & Compliments
It’s a great first step in establishing healthy workplace communication to provide feedback and compliments to your employees. But, it’s even better if you can be specific. Tell an employee specifically what was great about their work, or what exactly needs to be improved upon for the next project. Being specific is obviously better communication, but it allows your employees to improve in their performance with each project they tackle.
9. Consider Which Communication Tools are Constructive
Modern technology provides so many efficient ways to communicate with employees and share ideas. From instant messaging, to email, to phone calls, to text messages, the options for quick communication are quite a few. Unfortunately, sometimes, a phone call will actually be faster than sending several emails back and forth to answer questions. Group meetings might be a better platform for brainstorming. As a manager, it’s important that you consider how to communicate to your employees about different topics and understand where time is wasted by inefficient communication tools.
10. Be Transparent
Especially when your company or team is hitting a roadblock, you should do your best to be honest and transparent about any issues. You’ve created a team of professionals that you trust can do their jobs and help the company succeed, so treat them as such. If you are at risk of losing a client, let them know. Then go ahead and tackle the issue together as a unified team.
11. Create Agendas for Meetings
Company meetings are more productive when everyone knows what is being discussed. Your employees will come to a meeting prepared and it will help everyone stay on task rather than get distracted by sidebar conversations or comments.
12. Determine the Structure of Your Team & Responsibilities
A strong team will have a clear structure. In this structure, each member will also understand their role and responsibilities and how they fit within the team. Not only is this important for company performance, but for each project that involves more than one person as well. When the group understands how they will all work together and the specific responsibilities or deadlines of the project, they can all work towards success better.
13. Ask for Feedback – Then Welcome it
Being a strong manager means that you seek your own improvement as well. Ask your team for their constructive feedback. This can be about the processes in place, the 1:1 meetings, the communication tools you use, etc. Inviting feedback helps build their trust in you and will improve your team’s overall communication. Of course, once you invite feedback, you need to be open to hearing the suggestions and implementing any relevant changes.
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