Communication – or more often a lack of it – can be the root of many issues within a company or organization. On the surface, it seems like communication would be an easy thing to manage – especially considering the torrent of communication channels we have at our modern-day fingertips (text, email, video chat, social media…on and on). But that’s not the case. It takes a lot of work for an organization to foster communication within its walls. Here are just a few ways to do it.
(WARNING – side effects of good communication within your organization may cause greater collaboration, creativity, happier and more productive employees, and increased workplace retention.)
Implement a cross-training program that gives employees a better understanding of their colleagues’ job roles and responsibilities. Cross-training does a great job of showing employees how they’re all working together towards the same company mission. And it can promote a greater level of respect for one another.
Call it what you like – a town hall meeting, block party, status meeting, quarterly check-in – but regularly-scheduled, company-wide meetings are a great way to foster communication in organizations. Management has an opportunity to share updates on certain departments and employees and reinforce company-wide goals. And there are often opportunities for employees to ask questions or voice their concerns.
Team building activities can be a fun way for any size business to foster communication. Options are limitless – from smaller-scale events likes concerts and sporting events to bigger activities likes a multi-day work retreat or conference. Getting employees together at an offsite location can help with camaraderie and create greater morale.
Managers who have an open-door policy are letting employees know that their voices matter and they should be heard. It promotes two-way communication and encourages employees to share their ideas, questions, challenges, and achievements. And that’s always a good thing.
An open-door policy isn’t the only way to hear employees’ voices and strengthen communication. Conducting internal satisfaction surveys or having an old-school (or virtual) suggestion box that employees can take advantage of are other ways to foster communication in a company.
An online communication tool or project management system can help foster collaboration and communication across a company or within certain departments. There are plenty to choose from – platforms like Basecamp, ASANA, and Trello can help take team communication from good to great. For companies that are virtual or that have offices that scattered throughout the country, investing in a good videoconference solution can also help day-to-day communication among teams.
A company may choose to break down walls and cubicles – literally – and create an open-concept workspace. This type of space can foster communication and often works well if it’s designed around specific projects or teams. If an open-concept space isn’t viable at your company, make sure meeting spaces are available for employee collaboration.