Effective communications are an integral component of any well-optimized business. If you cannot communicate effectively within your own business, you have no hope of maintaining efficiency, or of being able to significantly grow your operations. Inefficiencies in communications lead to a whole host of other knock-on problems, many of which can prove disastrous.
Fortunately, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your communications isn’t all that difficult. As long as you are able to institute the necessary changes, and you trust your staff to be able to maintain them, there should be nothing stopping you from taking steps to improve your communications procedures.
The following tips will help you to dramatically enhance the ease with which your workers communicate and, therefore, the efficiency with which they work.
Speak With Your Employees Regularly
If you want your team to embrace you good communications policies, you will need to show them that you are serious and lead by example. If you aren’t able to communicate with them, their communication with one another will suffer. By making yourself approachable and easy to talk to, you are allowing yourself to act as a conduit between them all.
You should speak to your employees one on one as often as you can. This doesn’t have to be a formal meeting; even an informal chat or catch up session will suffice. The point is to show your employees that you care about their well-being and, perhaps more importantly, you are always mindful of their future prospects and career opportunities.
Make Your Data Freely Available
When a new employee joins an organization, it is sometimes very difficult for them to orient themselves to a new environment, new systems, and new ways of thinking. One of the easiest and most effective ways of mitigating this problem is to make your data policy as open as possible. Unless you have a good and specific reason for wanting to keep something confidential, you should make it available on your business’ network.
As well as making it possible for your employees to access your business’ data, you will also want to make it as simple and intuitive as possible to actually find data on your network. You should work with your IT department, as well as other individual departments within your business, to ensure that you are using a file hierarchy which makes sense for everyone.
There are a variety of forms that a communication-building exercise might take. In some cases, they might form part of a wider course in teambuilding. However, there is a growing market for courses that deal specifically with communications within businesses. Any experienced entrepreneur will be able to testify as to just how important good communication is if a business is to stand any chance of long-term survival.
Looking online, you will find communication courses like these, which are typical of the kind of communication skills training courses available to businesses. Needless to say, given that these courses have been designed with the specific intention of helping to improve business communications, they are very effective tools for achieving this. When you find the right course, they offer fantastic value. Comparing the cost of the courses to the potential increase in profits through enhanced efficiency, training courses are definitely one of the top options.
Audit Your Current Methods
You will find it difficult to improve the effectiveness of your communications policies and procedures if you are uncertain about exactly what they are. Conducting a full audit of your current communications procedures is no small undertaking, especially if you want to do it right, which of course you do. A full audit will need to consider all of your communications systems, both individually, and in a holistic sense.
The best way of auditing your communications procedures is to simply send some communications through your system and see how long they take to reach their destination. In some cases, this will take a few seconds, in other cases, it might be days. You should imagine particular scenarios that could conceivably occur, for example, an emergency at corporate which means your branch is now acting as the central office. Think of any scenario where good communication is essential, and then play it out.
Use The Most Appropriate Systems
There is a multitude of ways that workers in a modern business can communicate with one another. Some of these methods of communication are clearly superior to others for particular tasks. For example, email is not a very effective way of having a conversation with multiple participants simultaneously. You can send out a mass communication via email very effectively, but only you will be privy to individual replies.
It is worth taking the time to ensure that all of your workers feel confident in using all of the systems that you have available and that they understand which system is best suited for any given task. Whereas many businesses included basic messaging and communications tools in their intranet software, these days, many businesses favor collaborative software which allows different parts of the business to work together remotely.
Workers who have been with your organization for a very long time may well have never been shown how to use some of the newer communications technologies. Sometimes, people who have grown used to doing things a particular way over many decades will be reluctant to change. You should explain to them the numerous benefits to the business of adopting these communications tools; you should also make an effort to teach them how to use them.
When you begin instituting your changes to your communications policies, it is always a good idea to have a kind of orientation session for your entire staff. Use this as an opportunity to ensure that everyone is on the same page as far as your communications procedures are concerned.
Don’t Give Up on Intranet
The nature and the usefulness of business intranets have changed dramatically with the rise of cloud technologies. Intranets used to be only useful for businesses that operated over multiple physical locations. These days, however, an intranet supported by a cloud platform can be accessed remotely. This means that a business owner with a small business and a single location can use his business intranet to leave messages for the employees in the store.
Anything you can do which makes it easier for anyone within your business to find anyone else is a bonus for your business. You should make it as easy as possible for your employees to find one another according to their name, their job function, or by the other roles they might play within your organization. Investing in your intranet is very helpful in this regard.
You could even enhance your business intranet by adding your own social media-type features. You could add a page for every staff member in your business. They don’t have to actually do anything on their pages if they don’t want to, but by including enough information to allow other employees to contact them, you will be significantly enhancing the ease of communications within your business.
Even if your business already has excellent communications policies in place, there are always things you can do to improve them. Consult with your team and customers. Find out what they think you can do to make contact easier and consider their suggestions.