Communication is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships, but it’s far from a given. Instead, it requires thought and intentionality. Sometimes, though, business leaders and coworkers end up taking the nuances of communication for granted or forgetting about them entirely. In order to strengthen internal relationships and improve company culture, you must make flexible communication a priority. Here’s how.
One of the most overlooked aspects of communication is the fact that team members need to know what is expected of them. Most leaders do this naturally with tasks and projects but don’t often remember to be clear about expectations when it comes to meeting cadences, regularity of feedback, and so forth.
First, create the vision you have for how and when your employees should communicate. At StringCan, our COO Sarah is the primary contact for all of our employees. This keeps our chain of command streamlined and leaves team members with no question about who to turn to with questions, ideas, or concerns.
Second, let your employees know how often you’d like them to attend meetings for collaboration purposes vs. performance reviews, what hours of the day you expect them to be available or onsite, and any other particulars unique to your business. Employees can’t comply with your wishes if they don’t know what they are.
Dig Into Different Styles
Next, have some fun. Most people enjoy learning about themselves, and discovering your team members’ individual communication styles is time well spent. There are numerous assessments you can try, so take some time to determine which one provides the most useful results for your organization.
For example, one framework breaks styles into Direct, Functional, Collaborative, and Influential. Based on the format you use, and the results you uncover, you can then shape your team’s communication preferences accordingly.
Honor Various Modes
People’s personalities are far from the only element to consider in communication. Another key aspect is how they prefer to talk with their peers and their managers. Some employees like to pop by one another’s desks for quick chats, while others would rather text, Slack or pick up the phone. While it’s often assumed that such preferences are generational (e.g. younger people like digital methods, while older folks like phone calls), they’re not always.
For example, writers, data scientists, and other team members in roles that require great concentration might practice time blocking, preferring to shut down all forms of communication during certain periods so they won’t be distracted or brought out of their “zones.” It’s important to respect such boundaries if you can, as doing so will contribute to a more productive, functional workforce.
Other employees might need to collaborate and brainstorm to execute their roles fully, so make sure to honor these needs as well. It’s really about finding out what individuals need to be at their best, and then delivering that in a way that still benefits the collective whole.
Revisit & Reflect
As with anything else in digital marketing and business, you should plan to evaluate your communication efforts after a quarter or so to see if they’re indeed helping to improve company culture and productivity.
Invite staff feedback about whether the current communication measures implemented are working for them and, if not, what you could do differently. Your team members are integral parts of your business, so it’s important to welcome their insights and communication tips throughout the process.
Achieving flexible communication in the workplace isn’t easy, but it is essential for better internal relationships, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Intentionality is the first step. From there, your possibilities are endless. Want to work with a team that prioritizes positive and productive communication with our team members and clients? Give us a call!