How to improve office communication

1st Formations
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An effective communication network is the lifeblood of any successful company. Even the biggest and brightest startups will crumble if they allow subpar interaction levels between staff. Yet in the era of Twitter and smartphones, it’s easier than ever for employees to switch off and shy away from speaking with one another. Constant distractions and virtual communiques leave too much room for misconstrued instructions – which can have a vital impact on company services.

The good news is that these gaps in communication aren’t difficult to avoid. By deploying just a spark of proactivity, your company can develop a stellar communication network.

Here are three simple ways to get your employees to start chatting:

1. Get in some face time

A lot of companies have found brilliant ways to allow employees to stay in the know. Internal IM systems, special LinkedIn groups and daily newsletters are all great ways to keep staff members in the loop. But all of these digital modes of communication simply can’t replace a simple, one-on-one conversation.

Communicating online might be save time, but lots of cues can be lost in translation over the web. Body language and sarcasm are virtually non-existent, leaving room for misinterpretation and a loss of information. Instead, take a few minutes to check in with employees in person. Get their feedback in real-time, and make sure they fully understand what you’re after. It may take a little longer than firing off a quick chain email, but it goes a long way to fill common communication gaps.

2. Give better feedback

It can be easy to forget to give your employees feedback – especially when they’re doing a good job. But it’s vital to ensure your staff members are receiving regular reviews so they know what is and isn’t working for you. Take some time out and give them an in-depth breakdown of their performance. Be positive, and outline what they’re doing well – but be sure to note any room for improvement.

Above all else, take advantage of this one-on-one opportunity in order to listen to their ideas. How are they finding their workload? More importantly, could you be doing anything differently to be a more effective manager? These sit-downs don’t have to take half an hour, but they can clear the air and tender near-immediate results.

3. Do some team building

Even though we spend the majority of our waking lives at work, one major reason for subpar employee communication is that staff members aren’t comfortable around one another. Even in small companies, too many employees look at the person sitting across from them and see nothing more than a complete stranger. You can change that by getting your employees out of the office and into social situations in which they simply cannot avoid each other.

Mix it up by starting off your next meeting with a quick team building activity. It can be as simple as a problem solving exercise or as wild as a weekend mountain trek – but either way, it’s bound to improve their natural rapport. Getting to know each other encourage staff members to speak more openly with one another, and the benefits of that informality will always materialise in the workplace.

Above all else, don’t let your company get stuck in a communication rut. Just because your communication network appears to be operating efficiently does not necessarily mean it can’t be improved upon. Always be looking for emerging gaps in employee engagement, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

This blog was brought you by Chris at 1st Formations

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