Friday, March 8, 2019

5 Ways to Improve Business Communications and Boost Efficiency

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels
Effective internal communication is the easiest way to improve productivity, increase efficiency and boost staff morale. Equally, poor communication leads to errors, multiple revisions due to misunderstandings, and high levels of frustration. It can be particularly challenging to maintain active lines of communication as your business grows. Here are some simple steps that you can implement to keep employees up-to-date and in contact, and projects on track.
Internet Telephony
The office landscape has evolved, and alongside, business phone system technology has advanced to keep up. A VoIP phone system will keep staff seamlessly connected when on the road or working from home, as it allows you to make calls using an internet-connected computer anywhere, anytime via the company phone network. As well as helping your staff to be more agile, it should improve your bottom line, as there is generally no cost for international or long-distance calls.
Process Mapping
Ensure you have scalable, repeatable, easy to follow processes in place. In too many workplaces, employees have to reinvent the wheel each time they complete a project. This challenge occurs if project-based learnings are not recorded, shared and integrated into the next job to allow for continuous improvement. If you know that there is a quicker or more accurate way to complete a task, this is critical information to share with the team. You can record processes in different ways, including flowcharts, value stream mapping, data flow diagrams, state diagrams, and swimlane diagrams. Once logged, the procedures can be communicated clearly and consistently to current and new employees.
Encourage Brainstorming and Ideas Sessions
The collective power of multiple minds brought together to solve a problem leads to quicker, provide more creative and well-thought-out solutions, and creates a bond between team members. Organizations can encourage brainstorming sessions by introducing this step into their company processes, but it is also handy to provide appropriate office spaces with whiteboards and comfy seating. Allocating space for ideas sessions demonstrates the value that the firm sees in collaboration and avoids staff members worrying that time away from their desks is time wasted.
Use Online Tools
While brainstorming is critical to creativity and finding the best solution, many firms find themselves veering towards meeting paralysis – where employees feel like there is no time to get their jobs done in between meetings about anything and everything. Save the face-to-face catch-ups for the topics where it will add value and rely on online tools for essential team and project updates. Collaboration tools like Google Sheets and Microsoft Teams can rapidly improve team efficiency and reduce frustration where multiple staff members or departments are collaborating on a particular document. Project management software such as Trello ensures that everyone in the team has transparency about task allocation, timelines and project status.
Lead by Example
In any office, staff members emulate their manager's behavior. If managers fail to communicate effectively with their team, this can encourage lazy habits to develop as poor communication becomes ingrained in the company culture. Likewise, if the team leaders demonstrate stellar interpersonal skills, keep their staff up-to-date with company goals and objectives, make an effort to understand the status of current projects and regularly check in with each person, then strong internal communication becomes a given.
Encouraging effective interoffice dialogue will pay dividends, both in your company’s bottom line when productivity increase, and in your staff members day-to-day happiness and job satisfaction. Make internal communication one of your top priorities for 2019.