Running or managing a business can not only be fulfilling, but it can also come with its frustrations and challenges. One of the biggest challenges, apart from business growth and development, is people management. Workplaces can prove to be extremely stressful environments for employees, and with that, comes interpersonal friction and challenges.
From minor squabbles to major HR issues, ensuring communication is kept open and productive can be one of the toughest tasks for managers and business owners. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the strict lockdown and work-from-home policies implemented globally, communication has become even trickier. Employees no longer working from one centralized location, but from remote desktops, creating a lack of synergy in communication.
So, we thought that we should take a look at how you can manage the communication in and between your workforce. We broke down some of the ways that can keep communication open and engaging between a remote team, as well as with employees that are still working in the office. Let’s get right into it.
Make Use of Digital Communication Platforms
The evolution of technology and the development of digital and cloud capabilities has transformed how businesses operate. There are hundreds of various online platforms and tools for employers to use in order to communicate with employees in real-time, track projects and tasks as well as track time management.
Real-time, instant communication is vital for team success. Platforms like Slack and WhatsApp allow you to instantly communicate with your team. With both platforms, you can create individual instant chats, as well as team chats to communicate with multiple people about a project. WhatsApp goes further and provides you with the capability for customer businesses in particular. By using WhatsApp business multiple users can access the business account and engage in real time with clients. This allows multiple members to be available at the same time and problems to be solved swiftly and efficiently. This will cut down the turnover time of projects and action taken.
You can track and monitor your team and project progress with collaboration tools like Monday.com and Trello. These allow you a variety of options to divide up teams, allocate tasks, set deadlines, and track the progress and success of each project in real-time.
Most platforms allow for cross-integration. So, Trello and Slack will be able to integrate with each other and provide real-time alerts and data to your team. Time tracking tools, forms, and performance management are also the types of solutions that you can choose from.
Practice Conflict Management
Conflict is an expected element within the working environment, especially in high-pressure, stressful environments. The management of this conflict is vital as a manager or business owner, as in some cases, an issue between sparring colleagues can stunt team communication and severely compromise projects and the business.
It is vital to regularly train your staff on conflict management and have some of your staff members trained to mediate conflict. Managing conflict comes in many steps, which need to carefully follow to prevent the situation from escalating.
Any conflict between employees needs to be isolated and the concerned employees should be asked to move to a private area in order to resolve the conflict. Both parties should keep as calm as possible, and each party will need to carefully explain their opinions and views. Each party should be allocated time to talk and view their frustrations uninterrupted and be allowed to respond to the other party. Successful conflict management will come about with an agreement to work collaboratively and work on a plan to overcome the conflict.
Employees can overcome most conflicts with clear and open communication, mediation, and goals set for both parties to achieve. If this is not possible, and the conflict has surpassed any mediation. You might need to consider relocating an employee to another team or putting one on another project.
Provide Regular Recognition, Feedback and Incentives
In order to keep communication open and pleasant between employees. You should create an environment where they feel recognized and comfortable to communicate. The lack of recognition and appreciation is the biggest reason for employees to resign from their positions and seek other work.
Keep your employee communicating with you and with other employees. By allowing them a degree of autonomy, a sense of responsibility, and following it up with regular recognition and appreciation.
Interactions within the workplace also heightened by a sense of personal familiarity. Consider this: The face that you portray to your office colleagues is certainly not the same that you do to your friends and family. Work colleagues tend to unless prompted, focus more on professional behavior in the working environment. This is why team buildings and after-work functions are actually key for a strong team and heightened communication skills.
Once work colleagues start to get to know each other in a more personal capacity and on a personal level. Communication becomes easier, conflict is reduced and colleagues will be able to understand each other’s strengths. They also can understand each other’s weaknesses and personality traits in the working environment.
Encourage Flexibility, Work/Home Balance, and Open Feedback
An open environment that encourages an employee to grow is more sustainable than one that dictates an employee’s actions and movements. Over the last few years, working environments have started moving more and more to flexible working hours. Also, work from home opportunities. With COVID-19, this has rapidly accelerated. Employees are reporting a higher sense of job satisfaction. Companies are seeing higher engagement rates due to a better work-life balance.
Employees are provided with an environment where they can openly express their needs, desires, and ideas. They are ultimately more productive than those that stifle the employees. So, allow opportunities for open feedback from the employee. Create a platform for them to share their ideas and take part in the decision-making process of the project. Develop a sense of responsibility through tasks that the employee can contribute to the bigger project.
Lastly, ensure that all responsibilities, tasks, and roles are thoroughly communicated. Whether you are using a collaboration tool or setting regular meetings followed up with written communication, keep those channels open. A sense of confusion in basic tasks can lead to employee disengagement and dissatisfaction. The task will not be completed. The employees will feel like they cannot communicate their misunderstanding and uncertainty to you.
The rule of thumb for any employee is to treat them like the working professionals that they are. Millions of managers and bosses around the world regularly shamed for micromanagement, condescension, and basic mistreatment of employees in the workplace. This only leads to high turnover rates, lagging projects, and disengaged employees. Create a company culture wherein employees celebrated, engaged, and incentivized. You will notice your operations turning around in just a few weeks. Allow your employees to provide feedback to you and take part in the company’s operation. Communicate growth potential and reward engagement and communication in the company.