As many ways as there are for communication to breakdown across your organization, you can take steps to avoid such issues. The following are a few ways to encourage clear and efficient communication throughout your company.
Have An Open Door Policy
Employees shouldn’t feel hesitant about speaking with their managers or supervisors, whether it’s simply to keep them up to date with where they are at, informing them about issues that have come up, or providing ideas or insight that they think could be beneficial to the company. Unfortunately, they often do. In many cases, they may just be afraid of wasting their manager or supervisor’s time and getting in trouble for doing so. To prevent this line of thinking, you should encourage an open door policy throughout your organization. Let your managers and supervisors know that they should encourage employees to come and talk to them.
Put It Down In Writing
Orders should be put down in writing. Some employees and managers prefer this to avoid misinterpretation. There are times that managers or even employees forget about the task if it was requested verbally. When managers assign a task, they should also communicate to the employee the reason behind so that they will also understand.
When ordering an employee to do something, it should be put down in writing. In fact, every important task and responsibility should be written down as well as verbally communicated to ensure that the employee understands exactly what their task or responsibility is and the reasoning behind it. Not only will putting it in writing help reduce the risk of misinterpretation, it will also avoid potential finger pointing if the task isn’t completed.
Recognize Your Employees
This might seem like an odd tip, but knowing who your employees are can go a long way towards making them feel like they are a part of the company. If they see that you don’t recognize them -- even if you’ve met them before -- they will feel like a replacement level component of a giant machine. They’re not going to be very engaged as a result, which will not only hurt their productivity, but will diminish their desire to share ideas or information with co-workers, managers, and/or supervisors that could be beneficial to your company. Because of this, learn who your employees are and greet them by name when you see them.
Create A Communication Plan
Everyone in your organization should have a communication plan. This should provide information as to what methods of communication should be used to deliver certain types of information as well as guidelines as to who to contact for certain situations. For example, if an employee has a problem with their computer, the communication plan should include who they need to contact about troubleshooting (such as emailing or calling the IT team) and who they need to inform (such as their supervisor) if necessary.
You may even want to use your communication plan to encourage employees to speak to their supervisors or managers about any ideas that they may have and by suggesting the most appropriate mode of communication to do so.
Focus On Culture
Creating a positive work culture will help reduce stress amongst employees, making them more likely to engage and communicate both with each other and with upper management. One way to do this is by giving departments time to get to know each other. For example, having the head of the department take their team members out to lunch. You should also consider setting up casual meetings between departments so that they can get to know each other. It can be incredibly beneficial for sales personnel to be on friendly terms with your marketing personnel, for example. If they feel comfortable with each other and actually know each other somewhat, they’ll be more likely to work together by sending each other valuable insight.
Such familiarity can also help prevent feelings of animosity; for instance, you don’t want your entire sales team to have an issue with your marketing team because there was an issue with the leads they received, resulting in a low conversion rate. Instead, you want them to work together to address and solve the problem.
Have A Meeting Agenda
When employees attend meetings, whether they are within their department or organization-wide, they often go in blind with no idea what the meeting will be about. This is going to limit how much they are willing -- and able to -- contribute to your meetings. If you have an agenda that you hand out (or send out) before the meeting is held, employees can prepare and will be able to contribute in a more meaningful way.
Select The Right Business Communication Tool(s)
Don’t allow your employees to rely solely on text messaging each other or emailing each other. Implement communication tools that helps to make it easy for employees and managers to communicate and share. There are many communication tools built exactly for this purpose that will help streamline communications throughout your company.