How to keep communication levels strong in a large non-desk team

So you’ve built up your large team and things are going well, the only problem is that communication amongst your team seems to be slipping, sound familiar? We tell you how you can keep communication levels strong and ensure that everyone is always working as efficiently as they can.

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1. Use internal instant messaging tools

According to Mckinsey and Company, nearly 20% of employees spend their day chasing information or seeking someone to help with specific tasks. This is a lot of time wasted which could be spent being productive. We use Slack here at Oplift meaning endless meetings are avoided as we can quickly update each other on the messaging platform. If you are looking for a platform which sends instant notifications you should take a look at Oplift Engage. Our alerts allow you to send quick updates which display even when an employees device is locked, you can split your messages by region or employee. Other instant messaging tools include:

Google hangouts +chats

Rocketbots

Spark

Troop Messenger

Flock

Brosix

2. Try communication training

We all want employees who are naturally great at communicating and using their initiative, but sadly this just isn’t always the case. Communication training can help your staff deliver messages more clearly and effectively, and help them think in a way which will make them more productive and helpful. You will see the overall quality of work improve in your business simply through better communication. Good communication encourages a better workplace culture, clear direction for employees, it avoids misunderstandings and it makes your staff feel more empowered. Acceler8 are a great training company who’ve developed a set of programmes that dive to the core of areas which they’ve found many of their clients experience challenges with.

Once you have done the training it is important to keep staff’s knowledge topped up with microlearning that they can fit flexibly into their daily routine. Microlearning breaks down learning into smaller chunks proven to help with retention, empowering employees to learn at their own pace in the way best suited to them. Virgin Media found that the region who had the highest usage of our microlearning tool had the highest customer satisfaction level.

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3. Have more staff 1-1’s

As your team grows it can leave individuals feeling neglected and like they aren’t being listened to this can destroy their motivation and leave them feeling deflated having an effect on their communication. When you have regular one to ones with your employees you improve your relationship with them which makes them feel more valued as a part of the company, this boosts their confidence which in turn improves their communication. By doing this they won’t be afraid to talk to you and it will make them more likely to communicate their thoughts and ideas with other employees too.

4. Find out what form of communication your team prefer

If you have busy non-desk workers, email is going to be the worst form of communication because no one will have time to read. You would be best opting for an internal chat service like the ones mentioned above. However, if you’re looking for a solution which communicates with your employees even faster you would be best opting for a notification solution. You can send a notification immediately and the message will show up on your employee’s mobile device even when it’s locked, this means you can cut through any noise and communicate with them straight away. Perfect for urgent announcements such as travel disruptions, stock recalls or sick cover. If you really have no idea why not send out a survey to your employees and ask them which form of communication they would prefer. This way you can ensure you’re communicating with them in a way that they feel is most effective.

5. Hold short but regular ‘catchups’

Have small but regular catchups to ensure everyone is clear on what everyone else is getting done. They don’t have to last long, 10 minutes should be enough if you have a proper plan in place. They are great because not only do they keep communication levels strong but they will help your staff get into the habit of regularly communicating what they have been up to. This is essential to keep communication levels high every single day. What should the meeting entail:

  1. Ask each person what they achieved the day before and any challenges they faced.
  2. Ensure they ask for the help they need, from the people they need, in the catchup before work begins.
  3. Ensure everyone states where they are up to with their work and the latest uupdates

6. Get an employee communication app

These are like the upgrade from sticking notes and posters up around your staff rooms. They are easy apps which can be downloaded straight onto your employees mobile devices. They allow you to display clickable banners on the dash, these are great for announcing company news or updates and their positioning means they are always noticed. You can send out the latest company news and also the latest news roundups to ensure that your employees never miss an update. You can be notified when your employees have read the articles, and send notifications to any employees that haven’t read your recent communications.

7. Discover whats holding communication back in your team

If you don’t know why communication is failing in your business then you’ll never be able to fix it. We suggest sending out an anonymous survey to your employees which they can fill-in and let you know why their communication is or isn’t strong. You should keep it anonymous as this ensures your staff won’t be afraid to tell you their true feelings. The questions in the survey should include:

  1. Are you comfortable expressing your thoughts at work?
  2. Do you feel like your manager listens to you when you express your thoughts at work?
  3. Do you feel like your colleagues listen to you when you express your thoughts at work?
  4. On a scale of 0 to 10 how important do you think it is to communicate well at work?
  5. Do you feel anxious or hold back any thoughts and opinions when communicating with your manager if so why.
  6. Do you feel anxious or holdback any thoughts and opinions when communicating with your colleagues if so why?
  7. If you could improve how we communicate at work what would you do or change?
  8. Do you have an example of where you have worked before and communication has been good? Could you tell us what was good about it?
  9. What do you find most challenging about communicating at work?
  10. Do you ever feel patronised when you share your thoughts and communicate at work?

8. Get employees to ask someone else

When employees come to you with all their questions, instead of answering everything for them which means that they never communicate with anyone else. You should ask them to speak to the relevant person who deals with what they are asking about e.g. an employee comes up to you and tells you that the printer isn’t working in the stock room. Instead of just sorting the problem out yourself you should ask them to call up and speak to the correct contact in the IT department. This makes them communicate with the relevant teams rather than just relying on you. It also builds their confidence and helps them build relationships and break down barriers with other colleagues which will ensure that they communicate with others more often.

SEE THE UK’S #1 EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION TOOL USED BY VIRGIN MEDIA ACROSS THE WHOLE OF THE UK

Other posts that may be of interest to you:

6 reasons that processes fail

How to get your employees to tell you the truth

6 things you think your staff love but they actually hate

Get FREE fortnightly tips on how to boost operations, improve employee experience and keep your business compliant in the easiest way possible.💪

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 16th January 2019