Communication is vital and plays a paramount role in our daily life. This is especially true if you’re a frontline worker, trying to repair a machine on-site all by yourself. The same goes for key industries that make sure the world keeps moving such as construction, power plants, manufacturing units, schools, and many more.
So, how can organizations offer clear communication channels that create a connected deskless workforce? How can they share company updates, shift schedules, work problems, development and learning opportunities, and safety & security guidelines?
The answer lies in a small but powerful tool that almost all of us possess today. Smartphones are a treasure chest of opportunities for digital communication.
Here are some practical tips we’d like to elaborate on.
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Every team needs to sync frequently to ensure everyone’s aligned and knows the work at hand. Team meetings also help identify individual and group needs.
For managers, it’s important to hold a team meeting at least once a week. They should also host 1:1s with every person on their team to make sure that they feel engaged with their work and bring up any problems that they are facing but cannot share with others.
You can also make use of video calls, presentations, and digital whiteboards if your employees are on-site or away and cannot meet you in person. But it’s important that the meetings take place.
Better communication strategies are often top-down. Our leaders show us what are the recommended ways to communicate and we like to follow them.
In this case, it’s important for managers and top management to be transparent and communicative. Over-communication is better than under-communication. They should share updates and check in with others often. Any changes in priorities or objectives should also be communicated quickly.
Managers should also emphasize the importance of working together and making sure that everyone on the team gets the help they need.
When you’re working with a team that’s spread out, it’s hard to get in touch with others when problems arise at work. There needs to be a way for remote teams to stay connected.
Instant messaging apps allow for this communication to work out. Tools such as Slack and Xenia are mobile-friendly apps that provide deskless organizations a platform where they can quickly connect with each other, troubleshoot problems, and share updates from wherever they may be. All they need is their mobile phone!
Instant messaging also lets you:
- have quick conversations on ad hoc tasks
- appreciate colleagues and share motivational messages
- create a friendly atmosphere where people can share work blunders or vent together.
This in turn improves work engagement and lets employees feel part of a family.
Project management tools allow companies to oversee all tasks assigned to employees. They let you create all tasks on one platform, assign work, add details and deadlines, and adjust workload as per an employee’s availability.
These apps help eliminate time-consuming manual work assignments and let everyone have clear oversight of what’s in progress and what’s scheduled. You can also use a complete operations management app that lets you:
- create and assign tasks
- track your maintenance schedules and repair needs
- specify deadlines
- utilize inspection checklists and calendars such as a preventive maintenance calendar
- use instant messaging and comments to communicate on work tasks
Another crucial aspect of improving communication at your organization is understanding the current state of communication. How connected do your employees feel right now?
The only way to find out is by asking them. Employee feedback surveys try to take input from the employees and show them that their opinions are valued. You can ask them if they find it easy to share their concerns with their team leads, if they are able to get help fast, and if they have any ideas related to how to improve communication at your company.
This needs to happen on a regular basis to understand what is working well and what isn’t. You also need to make sure you keep these anonymous so people can freely share their opinions.
This makes it possible for you to offer the solutions your employees are looking for. It also makes them feel heard and cared for.
Digital times are great and they make everything faster, more efficient, and easier. However, there is nothing like the human touch. People are just coming out from the pandemic and isolation and they’ve missed interacting and bonding with humans.
Hosting company retreats and organizing team-building activities helps foster these bonds between employees. They also learn how to solve problems together and to rely on each other for help. These get-togethers build a foundation that cannot so far be replaced by the digital experience. It is crucial to take time for face-to-face interaction to build trust for them to engage and speak up via digital communication.
Offering a little break from work also helps your team recharge and feel energized at work again.
Improving communication at work is always an ongoing process. A few tips that you can utilize to get started are:
- Creating transparent channels and encouraging employees to share their updates and problems at work.
- Arranging 1:1s and team syncs so you can strategize accordingly and solve any problems that might slip through the cracks.
- Using digital apps to connect a remote team and also automate project tracking.
- Scheduling team building activities to bring the team together.
Once you’ve started a dedicated effort for improving workplace communication, it’s time to optimize. Keep taking recurrent feedback through surveys to hear first-hand what is working well and what leaves room for improvement.
Use this feedback to analyze key areas such as hiring processes, onboarding, and day-to-day communication. Then, you can adjust your strategies and prioritize milestones. This should be an ongoing process with KPIs that are adjusted yearly.