How well does your workplace communicate? Communication is central to a well-functioning workplace, especially when employees are collaborating on a major project such as a marketing campaign or a company rebrand. As this article details, effective communication can truly be the difference between a successful company project and a total flop. In case your workplace could stand to improve its communication strategies, here are some tips for improving communication in the workplace.
Adopt new methods of communication.
How are current methods of communication working for you? Many offices are used to running on solely phone and email, but there are a variety of new communication methods that workplaces can make effective use of. When a workplace uses Gmail for email, for example, it can also use integrated chat for quick and direct communication, or Google Hangouts for video conferencing. Try to pinpoint areas of inefficiency in your current methods of communication and to adopt new tools that will help you address these areas.
Give orders in written form.
There truly is no substitute for verbal communication, but when it comes to one employee asking another employee to do something, written communication—be it through email or a social networking program—should be the preferred method of communication. Written communication helps employees better remember orders, and it serves as a written record of when things are requested.
Have an open-door policy.
Establishing an open-door policy where employees can approach their superiors with their concerns will help your employees feel comfortable bringing things to your attention. Be sure to communicate this policy to employees and to present yourself as approachable if you are a manager.
Have regular check-ins with employees.
If you are in any sort of management position, it’s a good idea for you to organize a system in which you are meeting regularly with employees in order to discuss ongoing projects and the workplace as a whole. This is especially true if your workplace has an open-door policy, yet employees are not approaching their superiors with concerns often enough. Having regular check-ins with your employees will give your employees an opportunity that they can depend on to express any concerns they may have, and it works to make your workplace a place of open communication. How often you choose to meet with your employees is completely up to you, but every few weeks or months is a good place to start.
Establish a plan for settling disputes.
When you place a variety of people in a single workplace and ask them to work together for forty hours every week, office disputes are bound to happen. Be sure to establish a plan for settling these disputes before they happen, such as having employees contact upper management.
Rearrange the office.
Many offices still make use of cubicles and partitions, but these are things that can greatly hinder communication. If employees are shy about communicating with one another, consider adopting a new office arrangement, such as one that centers around an open design.
Send out a workplace newsletter.
Especially if you work in a larger work environment, it can be difficult for employees to keep tabs on everything that is going on in the organization. A workplace newsletter can help keep employees up to speed on recent happenings. Many workplaces employ a monthly newsletter, but you might make use of a smaller, more frequent weekly newsletter if things change in your workplace rather quickly.
Make internal knowledge readily available.
Many workplaces run on a specific set of internal knowledge, such as a client database or style guide. Consider which documents are important for everyday work and which documents new hires would need access to. Be sure that these documents are made readily available in a central location on your private network.
Make use of a suggestion box.
Sometimes no matter how open your workplace is, employees will still only feel comfortable expressing their concerns if they can do so anonymously. Consider establishing a suggestion box where employees can leave comments and suggestions about ways to improve the company.
Implement team-building activities.
Finally, employing team-building activities in the workplace is a great way to establish camaraderie and improve employee engagement. For your workplace, this could mean playing a few get-to-know-you games, running an office field day, or hosting a company retreat.