When you think about communication as a business, speaking with customers or clients is often the first thing to come to mind. While this type of business communication is very important, without effective internal business communication, you may not have a business successful enough to even necessitate speaking to clients or customers. For this and many other reasons, taking the time to think about and strategize how to improve communication between coworkers, managers, departments and executives will can greatly improve the overall functionality of your business.
Without knowing some of the best principles and strategies for internal communication, you could end up falling on some “old reliable” ways to “get people talking”. However, simply throwing money and time at this problem won’t fix it. To help you find solutions that will take care of the source of your communication problems, here are four things you could begin doing in your office today that will get you on the path toward great internal communication.
Stop Having So Many Meetings
Like was mentioned previously, some of your initial thoughts about getting coworkers communicating better might actually make your problems worse. For example, Graham Winfrey, a contributor to Inc.com, shares that meetings are often one of the biggest wastes of time when it comes to improving communication. Employees generally don’t want to be there, resulting in an unwillingness to meaningfully communicate either with each other or with management.
Knowing this, Winfrey suggests using online tools instead of proposing more meetings. This will give your employees a better forum in which to obtain pertinent information in a quick way and allow them to get back to work sooner. All this saved time not spent in meetings can really help your bottom line as well.
Set Clear Plans and Goals
Although it’s true that day-to-day communications likely can be improved for almost any business, problems here often stem from miscommunications in a more broad sense. According to Stuart Leung, a contributor to SalesForce.com, 71 percent of employees don’t feel that management spends adequate time explaining the company goals and plans. And because much of the reasoning behind daily tasks comes as a result of how to achieve larger company goals, it’s easy to see how unclear or poorly communicated company goals could have a large negative impact on both employees and employers. To alleviate this, consider creating a strategy for how to advertise your company goals and plans internally.
Make Instant, Company-Wide Communication Easy
Another big issue with internal communication is not getting the right messages to the right people. Even if you’ve crafted your phrasing perfectly for all to understand, if a vital person doesn’t receive that communication, harm has still been done. Because of this, Rich Kneece, a contributor to FastCompany.com, recommends for businesses to give their employees an easy way to instantly share information, ideas and questions with the entire company or smaller groups within the company. Executing this plan may include using a specific type of software, like a chat or message board system, or bringing in some additional hardware, like that you can receive from Cisco distributors, in order to make this type of communication possible.
Breakdown Physical Barriers
While you may be under the impression that poor internal communication is all about coworkers’ attitudes and communication styles, Rachel Bridge, a contributor to The Telegraph, reveals that the way your office is structured could also have a large effect on how well employees communicate with each other. According to Bridge, having people physically separated, whether that’s due to different locations or an overabundance of walls and doors, could be exacerbating your issues with internal communication.
To fix issues of physical barriers prohibiting effective communication, consider how you could change your current setup to encourage more collaboration between coworkers. Should you remove some office doors? Bring certain departments closer together? Restructure desk arrangements? Whatever you think is plausible for getting people more open to each other physically could help boost communication levels as well.
If your coworkers, employees or managers are struggling with effective and efficient internal communication, the quality of work you’re able to achieve likely isn’t at its optimal level. To see large improvements in employee morale, production efficiency and profits, consider using some of the tips mentioned above to help improve your company’s internal communications today.