Communication is essential in any relationship, be it with your partner, children, family members, colleagues, and friends. It is also vital in a company, whether a small firm employing a handful of employees or a multinational conglomerate that has thousands of workers under its payroll.
Communication is particularly needed by a small business. A start-up firm will not be able to achieve its goals of expanding or growing its business when its personnel aren’t communicating with each other. Without good business communication, the day-to-day operations of the company may be affected, slowing down sales and pulling down profitability as a consequence.
If you happen to work for or own a small business, you might be thinking of ways of improving communication between your workers. Here are five ways of improving communication that you might want to consider adapting in your organization:
Listening is one of the foundations to effective communication. But it is hard to listen when there are just too many distractions at the workplace.
One way to make yourself a better listener, or enable your people to listen better to each other, is to limit distractions during conversations. This can be done by closing your e-mail, turning off your phone ringer, or closing the door. Doing these small things should enable you, or anyone for that matter, to give to the person you are talking with your full attention.
2. Conflicts Should Be Dealt With Immediately
Working with a group of different personalities for eight hours a day and five days a week, coupled with the stress brought about by deadlines and targets can stress out even the calmest individuals. No matter how well you and your colleagues get along together, there will be some squabbles over petty things like accidental deletion of a file, or forgetting to switch off the computer.
So issues, no matter how trivial they may seem to be, should be dealt with immediately before these explode into major problems. And when you respond to conflicts, be open-minded. Take a non-judgmental approach, meaning you should not entertain any personal attacks.
3. Give Feedback
Every employee would want to get feedback from their colleagues and superiors, especially when they’re working hard on a project. Bosses, too, would want their underperforming employees to hear their thoughts.
You don’t really need to hold regular meetings to share feedback with the rest of the team, although that is one of the practical ways of improving communication in a small group. You can let your team members know what you are thinking through e-mail, phone calls, and brief status updates.
When you give feedback, ensure that the message is detailed and clear. You must also offer solutions if you cited a problem with your staff. Avoid using vague comments like “please work harder.” Instead, be specific like “can you let me know why you have been late in filing your budget reports for the past three weeks, and how can we get you back on track?”
Of course, you need to give positive feedback. Recognize your employees whenever they did well at work. Simple celebrations like taking your team out to lunch or even giving them gift certificates can do a lot of wonders in improving your employee morale.
4. Promote Professionalism
Promoting professionalism at the workplace is easier said than done, as there are lots of personalities converging in such a small company. But as the business owner or manager, it is up to you to set an example to the rest of the team.
Be the ideal employee. Aside from being competent, you should exhibit values like honesty, integrity, and reliability. You should also respect others, treating everyone the same way that you expect them to treat you.
You should also be positive. You must be the first to have an upbeat attitude. Your co-workers will be looking at you during times of crises and tests, so you should be a problem-solver first instead of being the pessimist.
5. Make Work More Fun
Your 9-to-5 job shouldn’t be drudgery. Whether you are into movie production, selling of insurance, or into the repair of cars, you must see to it that your workday is fun and exciting for your workers.
There are several ways of making your typical workday more fun and engaging. You can encourage your staff to have a lunch out every Friday to build and strengthen camaraderie. Or assign half an hour of yoga and relaxation every day. Even 15 minutes of break will be appreciated by your employees.
By making work more fun and enjoyable for your staff, you can be sure that they would be more receptive to your ideas and be more cooperative in achieving your firm’s business goals.
These are just five ways of improving communication in the workplace that you can try at your small firm.