In the workplace, communication is vital when it comes to achieving success and happiness. The quality of an organization’s internal communication often says a lot about the company itself—the environment, the culture and employee retention and happiness. If you feel you’re coming up short, fortunately there are plenty of ways you can improve interoffice communication.
1. Make Documents Easily Accessible
There are several ways that companies can create and use intranets, and they all involve people working together toward a common goal. A good intranet solution improves communication and collaboration among employees. Make documents easily accessible by putting them in an area that won’t get overlooked. It’s best to tag and rate content so it can easily be found through a search.
2. Focus on Company Culture
Company culture refers to the personality of your company. By focusing on this and integrating it into each workday, employees will feel more connected to each other and the organization itself. You can create a good company culture by working as a team, communicating, having fun, finding employees who complement your organization and incorporating your branding into office decor. Your company most likely has a “why” and a purpose, so don’t hesitate to discuss that on a regular basis.
3. Allow Your Employees to Recharge
Working a lot can be tiresome, especially if employees have a lot going on in their personal lives too. When you need time off to regroup, it can be difficult to ask for it. If it’s right for your company, give employees a set amount of personal days that can be used for any reason. Whether this means taking a couple of extra hours for lunch, or taking a whole day off, you’ll see your employees thrive when they’re well-rested.
4. Strengthen Connections Between Managers and Employees
Managers and employees generally work alongside each other often. By strengthening connections between the two, you can take them from solely giving status updates, to creating open lines of communication that help develop an effective method for collaboration and the sharing of ideas. By encouraging stronger connections between employees and managers, you’ll be improving communication within your company.
5. Encourage Two-Way Communication
Most businesses take a top-down approach to communication because that’s how it’s always been done. But, this only provides a sense of superiority and hinders collaboration and effective communication. Instead, allow for communication to be a two-way street. This can give managers and CEO’s another perspective when it comes to the issue at hand, and it helps to promote teamwork.
6. Check in With Employees Regularly
Employees won’t always go to their boss with issues, so it’s essential that they’re met with on a regular basis. Check in with them every few weeks, either in an informal meeting or online, and invite them to discuss their needs, thoughts and tasks. Employees need to be heard. By listening to them, you’ll be improving communication, aiding in employee retention and making your employees feel like they’re important to the organization.
7. Have an “Open-Door” Policy
One of the biggest obstacles that employees face is how they can communicate with their superiors. Especially amongst shy employees, approaching a boss can be hard and oftentimes even avoided. This blocks the flow of communication. By having an “open-door” policy, your employees will feel comfortable bringing issues to your attention, and it can be beneficial to your company’s internal communication. But, keep in mind that if they’re not approaching you, they may need to be reached out to more often.
8. Send out a Company-Wide Newsletter
When things get hectic, employees may sometimes feel left in the dark when it comes to new developments within the organization. A company-wide newsletter is a great tool for ensuring that everyone is current on the latest news, no matter how big or small the news may be. Experiment with how often you send out newsletters, but a good starting point is once a month.
9. Create an Open Office Design
If you’re working within a physical office, there are steps you can take when it comes to office design that can drastically improve communication. Many offices use cubicles or partitions which can isolate employees and make them feel intrusive if they need to ask a question or make a statement. Open designs are becoming more popular because it aids in communication, collaboration and healthy relationships amongst co-workers.
10. Bring the Team Together
Sometimes, letting loose can help bring your team together. By getting out of the office on a Friday afternoon to do a fun activity, or taking a company retreat, you’re allowing your employees to get to know each other better. A work retreat can range from being a holiday party, a trip or even a nice dinner on a Saturday evening. If you want to help employees communicate better, it’s important to remember that employee engagement activities don’t always have to revolve around work (or be at work).
11. Place Importance on Content Creation
By allowing your employees to create content that will be helpful for the organization, you’re promoting trust and employee freedom. Whether it’s photography, web design or writing blog content, you’re inviting them to inject their own personality into the company which is a form of improved communication. Plus, employees can engage with their coworkers posts—another effective tool for improving communication.
12. Schedule Weekly Status Meetings
The more you can do to reach out and ask your employees about the current status of projects, or any roadblocks, the better the work flow. Weekly status meetings can either be a team meeting held in person, via video chat or a group chat, and they don’t have to be long meetings. By simply checking in, your employees will feel like they can ask you questions and come to you with any problems. Put this as a recurring event on the calendar so it becomes a priority for everyone.
13. Put Tasks in Writing
By putting everything in writing, you’re ensuring that a task is understood without misconstruing information. Also, if a task if forgotten about or left incomplete, you can go back to the original document and figure out what went wrong. Always live by the philosophy that if it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.
14. Promote Teamwork
Many employees like to work on projects by themselves simply because they don’t yet feel comfortable collaborating with their coworkers. This is a barrier you want to break which can be accomplished by doing it more often. Asking your employees to take a collaborative approach may cause some initial awkwardness, but everyone will reap the benefits when it becomes natural.
15. Celebrate Accomplishments
Who doesn’t love to celebrate big wins? Have a company-wide meeting once a week to allow people to give kudos to their co-workers, or even to talk about projects they’ve completed on their own. This is a feel-good way of letting employees know how important open communication is within an organization.
Setting out to improve workplace communication within your company is a long process that is best approached by implementing several of the tips above. The hard work put toward this will reward your organization with positive results.