Effective communication is crucial for business success. Good internal and external communications allow a company to build productive working relationships, a loyal customer base, and a positive brand image. Despite these benefits, business leaders often overlook communication — or assume it will happen naturally.
It takes time and effort to establish the systems, processes, and cultures required to develop effective workplace communication. Here’s why we think it’s well worth putting in the effort.
Improved Performance Management
Companies that foster a culture of communication and ongoing feedback will be rewarded with more productive and motivated employees. Effective performance management requires good communication between managers and employees, not just during the appraisal process but on a day-to-day basis.
Managers with strong communication skills can guide and develop their team to achieve personal and business goals. They can provide feedback and support regarding specific tasks and quickly identify any issues or training needs.
In a culture of positive and open communication, team members are more likely to seek out help before problems arise. In this way, effective communication helps to cultivate a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that consistently delivers results and contribute to business success.
Better Management of Remote Workers
An increasing number of businesses are offering flexible working arrangements, such as remote working. While this is fast becoming one of the most attractive “perks” an employer can offer, remote workers may become isolated and unproductive without effective communication and management.
According to a recent survey by Buffer, 19% of remote workers find loneliness their biggest challenge and 17% struggle with collaboration and communication.
Creating a virtual office is the best way to include remote workers and provide an effective means of communication. A virtual office involves setting up the services, processes and systems necessary for employees to work outside the physical office.
A business phone system is an essential element of a virtual office as it allows remote workers and office-based staff to communicate efficiently. Calls can be routed to remote workers wherever their location, meaning they never miss an important call. A good phone system also allows managers to hold team meetings via conference calls, ensuring remote workers remain in the loop on current projects.
Businesses that rely on the ideas of one person rarely succeed. Innovation comes from the collective efforts of people with varied skills, knowledge, experience and personalities.
Encouraging brainstorming sessions within and across teams and departments is a fantastic way to generate new business ideas. Collaborations that involve employees with very different roles and skillsets can lead to game-changing ideas that would never have developed as the result of departmental discussions. According to Adam Robinson of Hireology, cross-department collaboration fosters trust and innovation.
Set up team challenges and allow time for cross-departmental brainstorming sessions to encourage communication between colleagues whose paths would not normally cross. Cross-departmental working will not only foster positive working relationships, but it could lead to the next big idea for your company.
Develops Positive Working Relationships
Negative or volatile relationships in the workplace can have a significant impact on business success. Employees who feel resentful towards their manager or frustrated by a colleague are likely to have low morale, be less productive and be more likely to seek employment elsewhere. Recruiting and training new staff is a major expense for businesses, so it’s worth investing the time and effort in nurturing employees and creating a positive working environment.
Arranging social and team building events is a great way to get employees talking and interacting. Providing informal occasions for your team to get together allows them to build new relationships and maintain existing ones.
Building strong networks with external partners, suppliers and clients is equally as important to business success as fostering positive internal relationships. Keeping in regular contact with clients and partners through email, SMS and phone calls will help you to maintain consistent relationships that lead to repeat business and a strong brand reputation.
Make use of the business technology available to provide a consistent and professional means of communication at all times. Set up voicemail and use chatbots to receive messages and signpost sources of help outside office hours. Never leave people with no way to get in touch. Customers and partners need to feel valued and will quickly become frustrated if they’re constantly sidelined once the initial sale is made.
Make Small Changes and See a Big Difference
It takes time, effort and sometimes a little financial investment to develop a culture of effective communication in a company. Many of these changes will not happen overnight. However, there are some small steps you can take to improve communication in your workplace that you can implement relatively easily — and that may make a real difference.
- Plan a team-building or social gathering. Provide employees with the opportunity to interact informally and your business will benefit from better working relationships.
- Invest in a business phone system. These are generally quick and easy to set up and require only a rolling monthly subscription, yet can transform communications with remote staff, clients and partners.
- Set a cross-departmental business challenge. This is quick and easy to set up and requires minimal financial investment, yet it may generate some valuable new business ideas.
Switch from an annual appraisal system to continuous performance management (Agile Performance Management). Frequent real-time feedback can help managers to improve employee performance and achieve business goals.