Could Better Communication Unlock Your Company's Growth?
The wheel gave humans greater mobility, and from it sprang the bicycle, the automobile and, eventually, airplanes. Communication is an even more basic necessity than mobility, and since humans first uttered a word, methods of communication have evolved continuously, as well.
Whether managing employees, catering to clients and generally growing your business, the ability to communicate effectively is one of your most valuable skills. Interacting with employees keeps them motivated and focused on company goals. Communicating consistently and clearly with clients can help you set realistic, achievable expectations for your work together.
In fact, you can’t do much of anything without communication, and that means more than just the basics. It means using technology to optimize everything from conference calls and emails to electronic bookkeeping, instant messaging, coordinating employee schedules, and much more. It’s using information as the backbone of your workflow.
Your company’s communication solutions should work together to reach employees, clients, partners and the general public seamlessly. Three techniques can help you implement the right technologies to bring those solutions together.
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel -- augment it.
If Karl Benz had needed to literally reinvent the wheel, we might never have seen the automobile. The same principle holds true when using tech to improve your company’s communication and workflow.
Take the growth of augmented reality and virtual reality, for example; International Data Corporation predicts that 99.4 million AR and VR headsets will ship by 2021. While “AR is groundbreaking,” admits Saagar Govil, chairman and CEO of Cemtrex, Inc., “that does not mean businesses should necessarily use it to break ground. Instead of inventing entirely new processes that incorporate the technology, AR should be used to augment existing ones whenever possible.”
So find ways to use the technology that align with processes you already have in place. Conduct meetings virtually to include more employees and clients when communicating new procedures. Or implement AR/VR tech for training purposes, such as when General Electric Healthcare introduced virtual reality into its training program.
2. Make motivation a natural part of your processes.
If you want a productive team, you need a motivated team, and praise for a job well done definitely motivates employees. Yet 63 percent of employees don’t feel that they receive enough recognition for their work, according to Officevibe’s “State of Employee Engagement” report. That’s too bad, considering the same report found that employees value praise even more than they value gifts.
Communicating praise is key to giving your team members the encouragement they crave and the motivation they need. Fortunately, there are several tech solutions to help you improve those efforts. For instance, 15Five includes a “High Five” feature that lets employees (and managers) recognize their colleagues for great work on a specific project or for just being a sunny presence in the office. Not that there aren’t occasional hitches to this; Ben Eubanks, the principal analyst at Lighthouse Research and Advisory, notes that “the biggest problem companies say they have when introducing recognition technology is the hurdle of getting employees to use it.”
The best way to clear that hurdle is to refer back to tip number one and augment processes that are already in place. For example, certain recognition apps can be integrated into messaging platforms, such as Disco for Slack, giving everyone the ability to spread the love from within a platform they’re already using. Leading by example will naturally aid in this effort as well.
3. Give -- and get -- feedback in real time.
Whether it’s about an employee’s performance or the progress of a particular initiative, providing real-time feedback is another vital communication skill. When changes within the company are imminent, or at least being considered, the ability to get feedback is just as vital. Like motivation, feedback loops should be a natural part of your internal messaging platform.
Most common messaging platforms can be enhanced with employee polling and survey apps such as SpeakUp, which offers interactive ways to garner feedback instantly from across the company. Every participant, whether a manager or an employee, can post ideas or propose solutions to problems, and everyone can comment and vote on them. If you need to communicate directly about a specific project, you can create private channels dedicated to feedback for that project only. Making feedback a naturally integrated aspect of your communication platform will give every employee a voice in the decisions that matter most.
If you can’t communicate well, you can’t do much else well, especially in business. Take advantage of the wide range of business tech solutions available to make sure the communication processes in your company are firing on all cylinders.