communication Archives - TAB Corporate

Use Technology to Enhance Your Employee Communications Efforts

Technology and communication

If improving communications with your employees was on your 2018 list of resolutions, there are many ways to leverage digital technology to achieve this goal. Businesses that still rely on a “suggestion box” in the break room or some similarly out-of-date mechanism should consider adopting current technology to make employees feel more involved and part of the team.

Array of Digital Resources

The good news is, your employees are already using the types of digital resources you can employ in your efforts to improve communications. These resources include:

  • Texting
  • Chat rooms
  • Video
  • Social media

Instant messaging is so prevalently used by people (from front-line employees to senior executives) that it should be considered a “go-to” method for communicating important and timely information to your team. It’s also a useful tool for staying in touch with your remote workers.

Cloud-based mobile technology facilitates a deeper sense of engagement among employees. Using communications tools in this area usually includes the benefits of enhanced data security. Also, cloud-based technology can be easily upgraded as new digital improvements become available.

Video platforms represent a particularly appealing way of improving communications. When you, as CEO or business owner, want to relay a message for the entire company, what better way than through video, where people can see and hear you simultaneously? No other mode offers the same kind of “face-to-face” authenticity – especially beneficial if you’re comfortable in front of a camera and know how to express yourself in terms your employees will best understand.

Getting Employees on Board

To make this approach work, it’s critically important to design a comprehensive plan that introduces and familiarizes employees with the communications technology you deem best suited for your culture. According to ITProPortal, such a plan should include “training programs, leadership workshops, counseling, best practices resources, templates, and customized advice and guidance.”

This may sound burdensome at first, but when employees “get” that you want to implement a streamlined system of communications – and that you genuinely care about interacting with them – you’re likely to see a marked improvement in morale and, possibly, long-term employee retention.

Employee Solutions to Business Problems

Equally valuable are opportunities for team members to communicate with each other. For example, those involved in a new initiative – or tasked with finding solutions to a pressing business problem – will greatly benefit from being able to bounce ideas off each other in real-time.

Remember, your employees are the ones most intimately involved in the sales and distribution of your products or services. Frequently, they’re also the ones who regularly interact with customers, so they have a deeper understanding of the strengths and shortcomings of your offerings. If they’re asked to devise a solution, the chance to collaborate quickly and clearly through internal communications tools may result in just the solution your business needs to move forward.

At the same time, this communications platform should involve supervisors or managers as well. Great employee ideas can wither and die without managerial input and/or advocacy.

As Fast Company notes, “It’s important that new concepts are not just discussed among peers.” Managers should “be involved and feel connected to those suggestions from the very beginning,” because their advocacy can help ensure that those at the top will “implement the best ideas.”

Businesses armed with effective internal communications are often more successful at attracting and recruiting the quality talent your company seeks as well. That’s another reason to examine your various communications options and put the best system in place, in order to keep your employees productive and able to share key ideas with one another.

Want to learn more about the technology and communications? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

Common Communication Barriers and How to Overcome Them

overcoming communication barriers

How well do you communicate with your executive team and with employees in your company? If the honest answer is, “Just OK,” there may be some communications barriers causing a disconnect between your messages and the ways in which others understand them.

The good news is, most communications barriers are fairly easy to identify. And with a little tweaking in your approach, these barriers can be overcome and you can usher in a new era of clear communications throughout your organization.

Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent hurdles and how to deal with them:

Use of jargon or “insider” language. Effective communications start with knowing your audience. You’re an expert in your industry and the use of related jargon or insider language is second-nature for you. But that doesn’t necessarily hold true for the different audiences you address (customers, employees, investors, vendors, etc.). When composing a message, eliminate any jargon or abbreviations that serve as short-hand in informal conversations, but have no place in communications intended for a larger audience.

Too much information. Some business leaders err on the side of excess when it comes to communicating with their various teams. It’s understandable—you want to ensure that people understand the complexities of a business situation and the best way to achieve this goal is by providing a vast amount of information.

Generally speaking, most people can’t absorb a full-scale “information dump.” Effective communicators understand the value in condensing their message, identifying key points and working to make sure people get the idea without feeling overloaded with data. Offer bullet-points and other concise ways to get your message across.

Too many distractions. We’re all guilty of trying to do too many things at once. If the environment in which you seek to communicate is noisy (phones ringing, people talking, etc.), it’s close to impossible to make your points. The same holds true if you take a phone call or are busy texting while someone sits across from you, hoping to share information or to hear what you have to say. Whenever your goal is to communicate, do so in an atmosphere that’s as “distraction-free” as possible.

Overlooking cultural differences. These days, CEOs and business owners, as well as HR and managers, are increasingly alert to the ways in which people differ in terms of culture, race and religion. If your workplace is indeed a multicultural environment, it’s crucial that you carefully inspect the language you use in your communications.

Watch for anything that could be deemed insensitive or inappropriate. Don’t assume everyone will understand a slang term. Avoid generalizations of how people as a group behave or express themselves. There’s great value in having a diverse workplace, as long as everyone is treated respectfully.

Not listening. Communications is more than just a business leader addressing his or her audience. Just as important is cultivating the art of active listening. How often do you find yourself mentally responding to what someone else is saying before they’ve even finished talking? Focus on what others tell you, but also on how they express themselves in terms of nonverbal cues and body language. Your communications efforts will benefit when people feel like you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Finally, don’t be afraid of over-communicating. Never assume that saying something once serves as the end-point in the process. Look for every way possible to impart your key message—through email, newsletter, staff meeting, etc. As long as you communicate clearly and to the point, don’t hesitate to repeat yourself in different venues. This way, it’s far more likely people will absorb your message and respond in ways that enhance business operations and promote growth.

Want to learn more effective communications? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!