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Five ways to boost internal communication in your business

ENTERPRISE
By Pauline Muindi | July 28th 2021

Active listening.

Communication is central to any thriving relationships, including business ones.

Lack of it can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts are likely to emerge. This is recipe for a frustrating work environment that may cause a high employee turnover or even business losses.

While external communication shapes your business reputation, internal dynamics are just as important to the survival of your small business.

When effectively executed, communication increases productivity, mitigates pitfalls and resolves issues that crop up in a business environment.

With that in mind, here are tips to help you improve internal communication in your small business:

Encourage listening skills

Communication starts with listening. It is through active and compassionate listening that you understand what the other person is saying, why and what action they need from you. To become a good communicator, every individual in your team should learn how to listen.

As part of your organisational culture, encourage your employees to cultivate their listening skills. For example, you can ask them to turn off their phones during meetings or hold meetings in a quiet office space. This is to help minimise distractions that can make it difficult to concentrate and decrease attentiveness.

Another way for employees to become great listeners is by encouraging them to take notes during meetings and important conversations. This will not only help them follow along with what is being said, it will also help with information recording and retention.

Make information easily accessible

Do employees have to go through someone whenever they need to access important information concerning your business and their role? This can inhibit operational workflow and cause a lag in productivity.

Make sure that all employees have access to important information. This includes employee protocol and benefit plans, operational processes, style guides and branding documents, training materials and tutorials, your company’s mission and vision statements, and any other information that they will need to understand the organization, its culture and their role.

Fortunately, such information can be made easily accessible to all employees through online workflow management programs or cloud storage systems. By making important information easily accessible to your employees, you’re developing a sustainable communication resource to keep all employees adequately informed.

Additionally, don’t hide it from employees when your company is facing issues. Employees can pick up cues when something is not right. Without clear communication on important issues, key employees can lose trust in your company and their job security which can lead to poor morale.

Update your employees on important issues that impact your business, whether positive or negative. You might be surprised when employees rally to offer you solutions that can end up saving your business.

Leverage technology in communication

A few decades ago, official business communication had to be done through memos and meetings. Fortunately, due to technological advancements, you have more resources to boost your company’s internal communication.

A great way to have everyone on the same page is by investing in a workflow management system such as ClickUp or Asana where they can communicate with each other and track their tasks. Workflow management systems centralise decision making, notes, and documents for easy access.

To boost instant messaging between employees and hold group chats, you can use tools such as Slack, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Telegram or similar apps. If you have employees that work from home, take advantage of teleconferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet.

Promote Reliable Feedback

Without reliable feedback, business communication can turn into meaningless chatter. To have purposeful business communication, don’t miss out on creating a reliable feedback system to complete the loop.

For instance, when employees raise an issue that requires your attention, they need to know that they’ve been heard and that a solution is underway. Promote a culture where you, managers and junior employees take responsibility to create solutions to problems and give feedback to the rest of the team. Remember, feedback shouldn’t be one-way, and especially not top-down.

There are specific tools that you can use to receive and track feedback. One such tool is Officevibe, which creates scheduled surveys for employees. Officevibe asks employees a combination of personal and corporate-specific questions to help management get a pulse on their organisation.

Another tool you should consider is Small Improvements, a tool that combines employee reviews and goal-oriented objectives into one interface. The software makes it easier for managers to create and track milestones for employees allowing the company to measure individual and organizational growth.

Plan team-building activities

All work and no play might seem like a good idea when it comes to achieving business targets. However, to build trust and strengthen relationships within your team, it is important to plan opportunities for employees to meet outside the office. During such events, employees can socialise with each other without the pressure of work.

You book a team-building facility or event where your employees can engage in fun sporting activities such as paintballing and rope climbing. Even something as simple as happy hour after work will provide your team with opportunity to bond outside the office. Having fun activities planned also gives employees something to look forward to, which may facilitate better engagement and communication.

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