Strong business communication has never been more important. With a large number of people experiencing new working conditions in the first half of 2020, many businesses have realised their current communication methods just don’t cut it when new circumstances arise.
As many start to make their way back to a more familiar working routine, what better time is there to improve our communications and create a more open dialogue with employees? As we all try to make our return to work a success, this is one sure-fire way of improving working conditions for the long-term.
Lucy, a blogger at Real Mum Reviews, works in HR and spoke to us about the importance of good communication in a business: “As someone who works in HR by day, I’ve seen just how crucial it is to have good communication with your employees. In my organisation, a mix of online comms (such as Yammer, Intranet and Daily News announcements), as well as physical meetings (team meetings, one to ones and wider opportunities to share feedback), works really well. Employees need to have the opportunity to ask questions, and one-way communication alone doesn’t offer that. Getting feedback, suggestions and insights from talented staff helps ensure better decision making all around.”
Read on to explore our tips for applying better communication in your business.
Use easy-to-access forms of communication
First thing’s first, you should ensure all of the communications you are sending out are easy to access. You should make sure all of your announcements and updates are reaching all members of staff, can be revisited and aren’t being limited by the way you are sending them.
For example, if you tend to relay all good news to your team through staff meetings, what effort do you then make to tell those who weren’t present? Or, if you are sending your messages out digitally, can all your staff access them remotely?
Even if your communications are of the highest standard, if your staff aren’t receiving them properly, messages and updates can get lost in translation and those who are struggling to keep up will feel excluded. There are myriad options for digital communication for business, from Yammer to Microsoft Teams, and harnessing these is an important first step.
Overshare, but don’t overwhelm
You want to make sure you are sharing as much information with your employees as possible, and in many cases, it’s better to overshare than under. But, you need to make sure you aren’t overwhelming your workforce with updates. No one wants to read 16 emails a day about what’s going on in the company, and sooner or later if staff feel updates are coming at them too quick to manage, they’ll ignore them altogether.
Try and condense all of your news into bitesize updates, and perhaps limit yourself to one newsletter a week, or a day if you need more frequent messages. For big news, you can always create a dedicated email or announcement, but for rolling updates keeping it short and sweet is best.
Add talking to your employees to your routine
For most business owners, making time for feedback is something you intend to do but it always falls to the wayside. We suggest carving out time in your schedule to meet with your workforce and let them voice any thoughts and concerns.
Whether you do this as a whole, per team or as one-to-one catchups, actually diarising your time will mean you don’t forget to reach out. Plus, this will give your staff members a time and date to work towards to gather their feedback.
For larger businesses, you could utilise line managers or seniors to take on the responsibility of talking to members of staff and feeding back to you, however, trying to allow staff at every level a chance for a conversation with the business leader is better. This way, they’ll know the message they want to get across is being passed on, they’ll feel valued and don’t have to worry about going through a middle party.
Ensure all suggestions are received positively
Especially when it comes to criticisms, it can be a knee-jerk reaction to not take them on board or rebut them. However, something you should strive to do is ensure all suggestions are received positively. Offering your employees an open-floor, and a safe space to discuss their wants and needs will mean they are happier to share.
The last thing you want is an employee not bringing up and issue because they are worried it will be received negatively. Try to ensure you meet all suggestions with a calm head, and try to have a conversation with your employee about why they might feel a certain way if you don’t quite understand or feel it’s unjust.
Make sure you follow-up, even if you take no actions
For some requests, however big or small, you might feel as though it’s just not the right time for the business. And for others, you may implement them straight away but forget to inform staff members. You should make sure to always follow-up with the employee or team that made the suggestions, and reward staff who bring you good ideas.
For example, if the suggestion was to install a wheelchair lift to improve disabled access, make sure to keep employees up to date with the on-going process, letting them know estimated completion dates, when the installation will happen, and so on.
Or, if you choose to not move forward with an idea, tell your team why. Maybe it just isn’t the right time, maybe the business can’t fund it right now or maybe it’s something you don’t think would work for the company long term. By keeping your team in the loop, they’ll know the thought process and not jump to conclusions or feel as though they are simply being dismissed.
All of your communication doesn’t have to be formal
It can be easy to keep all business updates formal and stick merely to industry information, projections and more. However, trying to encourage a more informal tone of voice doesn’t mean that you’ll be taking away from what you are saying.
As well as providing business updates, try to also discuss what’s going on around the office and with your staff. This is especially great if you have employees working remotely or are spread across several offices. It’s a good way to encourage conversation between staff members and hearing about the goings-on of the company is sure to bring a smile to people’s faces.
Whether this is announcing birthdays, discussing your staff’s achievements outside of the office or even organising fun competitions for token prizes, it’s a great way to keep employees interested in updates, keep everyone connected and have a bit of fun!
How businesses can improve communication with staff:
- Use easy-to-access forms of communication
- Overshare, but don’t overwhelm
- Add talking to your employees to your routine
- Ensure all suggestions are received positively
- Make sure you follow-up, even if you take no actions
- All of your communication doesn’t have to be formal
With these simple tips, you are sure to see a boost in communication with your whole team and reap the benefits of a well-connected workforce. Our staff are often filled with the best ideas for how to progress our businesses and giving them a voice and letting them be heard is the best way to harness that.
At Cibes UK, we offer a range of lift solutions from disabled lifts to external platform lifts, great for making a more accessible business space. Contact us today to find out more, or to read other articles, take a look at our news page.