Anyone who has been in a romantic relationship knows that communication is one of the determining factors in how healthy that bond is. Good communication sets the relationship on a positive trajectory. Poor communication, on the other hand, can stifle what potential there was, to begin with. The same goes for businesses.
The Importance of Strong Workplace Communication
Study successful businesses and high-growth startups and you’ll find that they almost all put a supreme emphasis on good communication and collaboration within their organizations.
If you want your business to be equally successful, you’d be wise to prioritize the same things. Here are a few specific reasons why:
- Productivity. Employees are reportedly 20 to 25 percent more productive when they have an effective internal communication strategy in place (compared to employees in companies where there is no strategy).
- Job satisfaction. Employees who work in a company where there’s a good communication strategy are 50 percent less likely to leave. These organizations report much higher job satisfaction and retention rates.
- Bottom line. High productivity and job satisfaction have a direct impact on the bottom line. Perhaps that’s why a Willis Tower Watson report found that companies with effective communication practices generate 47 percent higher returns to shareholders.
When you add up benefits such as these, the power of strong workplace communication becomes clear. Now it’s just a matter of putting a specific plan into action.
3 Tips for Better Communication in the Workplace
Improving communication in the workplace requires some degree of planning and intentionality. Unless you have a perfect blend of people, this isn’t something that’s going to happen on its own.
In light of this, here are several tips for addressing communication moving forward:
- Set Proper Expectations
You need to make it clear that smooth, frictionless communication is a major goal for your organization. Emphasize that transparency is a key objective, and make sure every employee is on board with what you’re doing.
Be specific in your expectations. For example, don’t just say you want clear communication. Give it legs by attaching specific key performance indicators (KPIs) or responsibilities to it.
For example: Always report to your superior at the end of each day to let them know three things: (1) What you worked on today, (2) What you started working on today (but haven’t yet finished), and (3) What’s preventing you from moving forward with tasks that are currently on your to-do list.
- Implement ERP Software
Any chance you get to implement some sort of application or tool that can streamline processes and reduce the amount of manual involvement that’s required in a particular area of your business, that’s a good thing. It makes it easier to communicate around the things that matter most.
Along those lines, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is something that every growing business needs. It automates and connects back-office processes like accounting, project management, financial reporting, HR, billing, and even supply chain operations.
As FinancialForce explains, “The primary goal of an ERP is to optimize and automate these processes to boost operational efficiency and company profitability.”
Doing something simple like integrating ERP software into your organization can change the game for your entire team. However, don’t just add it for the sake of it. Do your research and make sure it’s something you’re ready for.
- Simplify Communication Tools
Rethink how you communicate internally. If you’re using email, social media, project management apps, Slack, phone, and text, you’ve got way too much going on. It’s best to simplify the tools you use and create one primary mode of communication.
The exact medium or platform you choose will obviously be dependent on your team’s unique needs, but we recommend staying away from email and instead opting for something like Slack (which is a distraction-free platform). It allows you to communicate individually, in groups, and via specific channels for different topics and tasks. Email, on the other hand, is best reserved for external communication with business partners, clients, or prospects.
Get Your Business on the Right Track
Good communication serves as the foundation for every successful business process. From setting proper expectations to implementing the right tools, there are dozens of small steps you can take. The key is to start taking action as soon as possible.