Here’s the situation: According to ClearCompany 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. It isn’t that you don’t have capable workers, sufficient resources, or the skill sets to back it up. These failures stem from something fundamental, but often overlooked. How can you improve team communication within your organization?
Lots of these problems don’t require costly solutions, just the investment of your time and effort.
Ask for feedback and open up the discussion
Effective team communication begins with how you’ve built your organization’s culture. If workers are all encourage to speak up, voice their opinions, and engage in meaningful discussion, you’re likely to get better ideas and valuable insight out of your discussions. On the other hand, if the culture has an aura of intimidation or a severely vertical management approach, workers might not be comfortable voicing concerns or their alternative ideas.
You want an environment where everybody is contributing, not just certain loud extroverts. Another note: too much red tape or formality associated with communication can just shut people up, which isn’t healthy for employees or for your team as a whole. It could depend on the size of your organization, but the more laid-back you are with communication channels, the better.
Using Attentiv makes this one easy. Just keep a discussion stream open and let your team respond freely to your ideas. You’ll quickly have valuable and honest feedback, thanks to anonymity and upvotes. This is a win-win, since you’ll be able to make more informed decisions while your team starts to feel that their ideas are more valuable and appreciated. All the while, you’re promoting open dialogues at your organization.
Leaders: practice what you preach
If you want to promote better team communication, you need to make sure leaders and managers are following through on any new collaboration initiatives. Whether that means quickly adopting a new collaboration tool, keeping the door to your office open, or breaking down the cubicles and getting in the bullpen with everybody else, you need to lead by example. If you ask for feedback, give feedback to others. If you want to have a discussion, get involved in your team’s other conversations. If you need to ask your team questions, be sure to actively answer theirs.
Using Attentiv lets everybody get involved in the conversation, and that includes management. Having an easily accessible platform for quick, informal communication can let you foster better collaboration.
Don’t be all work and no play
Fostering collaboration is a long-term play that requires you to create an environment where people are comfortable to work and speak up. Part of creating that enjoyable atmosphere is having some fun with your team, whether that’s by having social events outside the office or sharing the occasional GIF in a message. Incorporating a little fun into the everyday work experience will enable workers to open up, and team communication will benefit.
You never know how much an employee will like your lame jokes… (Source)
With so many great (and free) tools available nowadays, your organization stands to gain a lot in terms of productivity. Whether it’s graphic design, social media management, prototyping, or proposal writing, a collaborative tool exists to make it easy to ask for and give input. Not to mention that 49% of millennials support social tools for workplace collaboration, and chances are you’ll be dealing with a good amount of millennials on your team.
Not the most tech-savvy person? Not to worry: there’s tons of tutorials and walkthroughs out there for collaboration tools, so you can quickly get situated. With work becoming more collective and collaborative, you need to update your toolkit to adapt. And in the process, you’ll see your team communication becoming more effective as well.
If you expect your team members to communicate with one another, they all need to be available. Establish policies for staying connected or ways to reach one another, whether that’s over the phone, IM, or email.
Keeping channels clear and open will promote transparency while actually enabling the team communication that organizations so desperately need. Any barrier to that communication, like a worker never logged into to the company’s IM system, can be detrimental and kill productivity. Many tools (Attentiv included) can be left open all day on a non-intrusive browser tab, with notifications keeping you updated. Something as simple as keeping that tab open will keep the door open for communication, creating a more cohesive and collaborative workplace.