Communications in the workplace is a concern for most department heads and supervisors, particularly because it can affect their productivity. Poor communication can lead to missed deadlines, gossips, and demoralization of employees, among others. Effective communication is a continuing process that requires not only initiative from the management, but also participation from the employees.
If you are a department head or team leader who wants to get the most out of your colleagues, the following are some good measures to improve communications in the workplace:
1. Initiate an internal wiki. Remember how Wikipedia was a big hit back in the day? The concept was so popular that it was adapted in the corporate world, with many offices using them extensively.
Today, an internal wiki can be the online place where your staff members can go to. Here, they can collaborate by sharing project ideas and workplace improvements. Or even create a section where they can discuss the best place to meet up after work.
2. Encourage constant feedback. One of the best ways for a team to improve its communications in the workplace is to constantly seek feedback. While your members may be shy of giving a piece of their mind, you can encourage them to do so by tapping a channel that makes it easier for them to send comments and suggestions.
There are popular employee poll apps that you can tap to send out surveys in your department or team. What’s great with these programs is that your team members simply have to spend a few minutes answering questions.
3. Instant messaging. Email may be the preferred mode of communication in your office, but you should also encourage the use of instant messaging. One, it is a quick and efficient way to promote conversations among co-workers because questions get answered quickly. Second, your employees would know right away if a teammate is available with the use of an instant messaging tool.
4. Don’t rely too much on e-mail. Speaking of e-mail, you would rather use less of it to promote good communications in the workplace. While it is a fast way of communicating in the office, there are times when e-mail can be counterproductive especially when people have to deal with voluminous email messages.
Whenever possible, opt for in-person interactions instead of e-mails. It is not a stretch of the imagination to say that the lack of emotion and contextual clues in emails can lead to confusion, anger, and poor communication.
Another problem with sending email messages is that your co-workers may not feel your appreciation to the good job they turned in. Moreover, some employees may easily misinterpret a well-meaning suggestion.
If it is possible, why don’t you just meet with your employees for a short meeting? Even a brief meeting should suffice. If you and a colleague are in different locations, opt for phone calls or video chats instead of emails that can go back and forth.
5. Learn to appreciate individuality. Finally, remember that everyone in the group brings a unique set of skills to the table. It would be wise to recognize the strengths of your people and recognize the skills that make them an indispensable part of the team. When you learn to appreciate your co-workers better, you are setting an example and helping build a culture of acceptance in the workplace.
By following these tips, you can start planting the seeds that would hopefully lead to a working environment where good communication is present. The process won’t happen overnight, but you will be happy to reap the rewards not only for you as a leader but for the institution that you work for.