Ten tips to improve communication in the office

1. Company handbook.

Highlight your company policies, from attendance to holidays to expectations of employees. Clarify appropriate communication methods and techniques for different circumstances, and explain exactly how you require information to be shared.

2. Regular one-on-one meetings.

Each employee should be given the opportunity for personal communication with his or her manager, whether this is in a formal or informal setting. Allow the employee time to prepare, and encourage an open two-way exchange.

3. Routine departmental meetings.

The entire team should meet on a regular basis, probably once a week, in a neutral communal space, to discuss progress, iron out problems, and give positive feedback. Have an agenda that lasts no more than an hour and allow time afterwards for open discussion.

4. Distribute meeting minutes.

After each meeting, note decisions taken and actions to be carried out, and who is responsible. Make sure everyone concerned receives the information.

5. ‘Team Briefing’.

A specific structured process, this facilitates the spread of information through an organisation upwards, downwards and sideways. It creates a culture of open communication and develops a shared sense of mission, vision, aims and activities. The basic model should be adapted to meet the needs of the organisation concerned, and training given to briefing staff.

6. Interdepartmental focus groups.

Create teams across departments to work on projects such as identifying energy or cost savings, or improving customer relations.

7. Offsite team-building activities.

Encourage all staff members to participate in a structured day or weekend designed to facilitate working together and communicating well, at the same time as having fun together.

8. Noticeboards.

Create a centralised communication point to allow staff and supervisors to share information. Provide separate sections for work and non-work notices, and encourage all staff members to make use of the facility. Update notices on a regular basis.

9. Newsletters.

A weekly or monthly newsletter containing business and personal news and announcements, circulated to all staff members, can help employees feel involved and get to know each other better.

10. Effective electronics.

In-office email can be a useful workplace tool, if managed properly, as can Skype, and text messaging can be effective for precise exchange of information particularly if your staff are not all in the same place at the same time. Consider implementing intranet communication options across your network.

Do a regular audit of your communication channels to identify what works well and what needs to be improved. From there, you should have a clear flow of communication in your business. This translates to efficiency and clarity; vital tools to make your business prosper.

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