Effective team communication is a fundamental part of your business’s success. And it doesn’t matter if that exchange of information is verbal or written, between two people or two hundred — without good communication, your business will suffer.
In this article, we’ll help you understand why effective team communication is so important and discuss ways to help you improve it throughout your business.
Table Of Contents:
The Benefits Of Team Communication
Put simply, communication is an exchange of information between two individuals.
In good person-to-person communication, the communicator typically tries to adjust their style so that the recipient of the message understands things without too much trouble.
Team communication, however, extends beyond that fundamental interaction and encompasses the exchange of information between a large number of individuals in your business, each with their own unique way of understanding the issue.
That’s why it’s vital to strive for effective communication at all times. Making your team communication as effective as possible (e.g., clear and concise) will dramatically improve the way your team and your business operate.
Before we discuss ways to do that, let’s examine the benefits your business can hope to enjoy.
1) Increased Productivity
Productivity in the workplace suffers when your employees are confused about their responsibilities, what needs to be done, and other variables that affect how they work.
But when you have good communication within your business, you can avoid that confusion and improve productivity in the process.
With a clear and concise message, you’ll be able to exchange information in such a way that everyone knows what they’re supposed to do after the first explanation.
2) Less Confusion
When you build effective team communication within your business, you also avoid the confusion that can dilute your message.
You’ll be better able to delegate tasks, facilitate uninterrupted work, and motivate everyone to do their best.
Each team member will be able to follow your instructions. That will save you time and prevent team members from becoming irritated because they’re confused about what they’re supposed to do.
3) More Innovation
Innovation relies on creativity. But that creativity won’t happen unless your employees feel free to communicate their ideas to others.
When your team members are reluctant to open up and be creative because of poor communication practices, innovation will suffer.
On the other hand, if you promote a healthy back and forth and keep the lines of discourse open between all individuals on the team, everyone will be more apt to pass their creative thoughts on to others.
A culture of creativity built on a foundation of good team communication reinforces itself and jump-starts innovation in all areas of your business.
4) Better Employee Engagement
Your team’s dynamic is like that of a family. As such, your employees will benefit from the same characteristics that make families strong: communication, cooperation, and solidarity.
Improving employee engagement is one way to help your team members build those traits. But it all starts with effective team communication.
Think of it this way: Effective communication leads to employee engagement. Employee engagement leads to cooperation. And cooperation leads to a sense of solidarity that can see your team through difficult projects or the ups and downs common to most businesses.
5) Stronger Relationships
A strong team will produce strong results, be it in small ways or large. But how can you build relationships between team members in order to achieve these results? With effective team communication.
When coworkers talk with each other (and you), bounce ideas off each other, consider novel opinions, and discuss their progress, they are more likely to pull together as one unit rather than a group of separate individuals.
Good team communication makes a true “there’s-no-I-in-team” attitude possible.
6) Fewer Disagreements
Disagreements among employees can spread and infect the rest of your team if you don’t provide a timely remedy via effective team communication.
When you identify a problem, don’t wait to address the issue. Gather all the parties involved and encourage everyone to talk.
Keep in mind that healthy communication isn’t about who is right or wrong. Instead, it’s about being open, honest, and positive so that everyone feels their needs are met.
How To Improve Team Communication
1) Choose The Right Medium
Team communication takes many forms and can be conducted through a variety of mediums. But not all mediums are conducive to every message.
When you consider which medium to use in any given situation, take a few moments to think about how you would feel receiving the information. Would email make it feel too impersonal? Would a hard copy be better for record-keeping purposes?
Matching your communication with the right distribution method for the job ensures that your team receives — and perceives — your message the way you intended.
2) Explain When Necessary
Rather than simply assigning tasks and expecting your team to get right on it, take the time to explain why the activities you’ve given them are important.
Don’t assume that everyone knows why and how the assignment supports the rest of the project or where it fits into the overall plan.
When you say, “Do this because…” rather than just, “Do this,” you provide vital information about the reasons for a particular job and show the team why their work is valuable.
3) Strive For Clarity
Clarity is vital if you want to improve team communication. To be as clear as possible, speak (or write) plainly and in a way that is easily accessible to your audience.
Give clear commands when necessary, and refrain from using ambiguous language whenever possible. Try to avoid jargon unless your team uses it often and it simplifies the communication process.
It will take some practice to achieve clarity in all your communication, but the benefits far outweigh the effort.
4) Keep Team Communication Transparent
A successful team depends on a transparent workflow. Each employee needs to know when the deadlines are, who is responsible for each link in the chain, and other small details that can mean the difference between success and failure.
Effective team communication helps ensure that everyone knows what’s going on at every step of the process and that they’re all on the same page.
This may take significant work at first, but the results — a smooth-running and successful team — are well worth the effort.
5) Reveal Your Reasoning
Of course, you want your team to express their ideas; that’s an essential part of good team communication. But, when they do share, if you dismiss those ideas (even for legitimate reasons) without explaining the reasons why, employee morale can suffer.
Not everyone on your team will be privy to all the details that go into making a decision. But when you come to a conclusion based on proprietary information and don’t tell anyone, your team can suffer.
To help with this, offer reasons why you decided the way you did (e.g., tell your team why an idea won’t work). That way, they understand the thought process behind it all and can begin searching for new solutions.
6) Establish Clear Roles
Similar to keeping your business as transparent as possible is ensuring that everyone understands their role within the organization.
With good team communication and a complete organizational chart (discussed more later in this article), you can establish team members’ responsibilities right from the start.
This helps clarify who has final approval and makes everyone aware of the proper channels they need to go through to get things done.
7) Create Team Communication Etiquette
When it comes to team communication, few things are as frustrating and distracting as unnecessary messages. If you’ve ever been caught in an endless Reply-All storm, you know what we mean.
And that’s not the only issue your team will face when using mass communication like email, instant messaging, and text.
For example, teach your team how to send emails to large groups using BCC instead of CC — and then make it a mandatory practice — so that one person doesn’t accidentally hit Reply All and start a storm of messages that can only be stopped by a system administrator.
Another way to improve team communication in this regard is to establish protocols for when it’s necessary to reply to an email, IM, or text. Nothing wastes more time than having to read 20 separate replies that all say “Thanks” in the off chance that one of the messages is important.
A simple way to avoid this type of distraction is to create a policy that employees don’t have to respond to a message unless the sender explicitly requests it in the original message.
Creating communication etiquette like this can help keep your team more engaged throughout the day and save precious time that can be better spent on more productive tasks.
8) Assign Straightforward Goals
One of the most difficult aspects of team communication is relaying goals in a way that everyone can understand. Take the time to make the goals as straightforward as possible so that the person responsible for each one knows exactly what they’re doing.
Failing to do so puts unnecessary pressure on your team that can hamstring the success of the project before it even gets started.
Before distributing project tasks and goals, write down what you want to say and then review it — and maybe have someone else review it — for clarity and accessibility.
- Is the purpose of the goal obvious?
- Is the goal achievable with the knowledge and skills your team has?
- Does the goal need a great deal of explanation?
- Can you revise what you say to make the meaning clearer?
Looking at the message from your employees’ perspective can help you refine your communication so that it’s straightforward to everyone on the team.
9) Arrange For Regular Progress Reports
From a managerial standpoint, you can improve your team communication by arranging for regular progress reports on the status of a project or task.
Such updates serve to keep you and your employees informed and involved with the goings-on in other parts of the business or other parts of the project.
10) Resolve Conflict Right Away
Another strategy for improving team communication is to resolve employee conflict right away.
Granted, some friendly arguments and disagreements can actually build up your team, but if a conflict escalates into real hostility, it can tear down your team to the point that the lines of communication are completely gone.
If real conflict does develop, give your team the chance to resolve it themselves. But, if they can’t put aside their differences, step in, mediate, and facilitate a solution of your own.
11) Create A Clear Hierarchy Within Your Business
We touched on this earlier, but it bears repeating: Effective team communication is much easier when there’s a clear hierarchy within your business.
It doesn’t matter if you have five employees, fifty employees, or 500 employees — everyone needs to know where they fall within the chain of command.
We recommend creating an organizational chart and publishing it in your employee handbook. Think of this chart as a hierarchy of oversight that team members can use to find the names of their direct reports, their immediate supervisors, their supervisors’ supervisors, and so on.
With access to such a chart, everyone on your team will know where to go to get their questions answered and their problems addressed.
Similarly, they won’t have to waste time — yours and theirs — inquiring of the wrong person. Everyone will know exactly where to go for the information they need.
Publishing a clear business hierarchy is an easy strategy for improving team communication and providing a bit more structure to your employees’ day-to-day activities.
12) Give And Receive Feedback
Giving and receiving feedback is a foundational element of effective team communication.
Get comfortable giving feedback to your employees and train them to be comfortable receiving it. On the other side of the coin, encourage your employees to give you feedback when the need arises.
To help facilitate the feedback and communication process, take time during team meetings to comment on some aspect of performance — yours or theirs — and then urge employees to add their own comments.
13) Evaluate Team Communication Periodically
Your business should never stop striving for better team communication. Even if you have an effective system in place, take time out of your busy schedule to examine and evaluate the way things are working and if there are any ways to improve.
Keep in mind that, with an existing system, small changes can yield large results.
No doubt you’re familiar with the importance of conducting regular performance reviews. The same concept applies to evaluating team communication in your business.
An honest evaluation of this kind can be as simple as asking each employee what they think about the communication process, or as complex as observing how your employees communicate for a few days.
At a minimum, schedule time once a year to focus on team communication for a few days to see if there are any ways to improve the system you’ve got.
14) Emphasize Inclusion
An easy way to foster strong and effective communication is to emphasize inclusion for all employees. More than just ensuring that everyone has a role to play, inclusion is about making sure that all your employees feel like a valued part of the team.
You can cultivate inclusion by:
- Treating all employees fairly and respectfully
- Verifying that each team member can (and wants to) contribute to the success of your business
- Making sure all employees have equal access to the same resources and opportunities.
If you’re unsure how to get started emphasizing inclusion as a way to improve team communication, set aside time — perhaps in a meeting — to show your employees that their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives matter to you and the business.
It can also be helpful to consider every point of view before settling on a decision that affects your employees, your team, and your business.
15) Customize Your Communication
An often-overlooked, but extremely effective way to improve team communication is to learn each employee’s personality type and then customize your messages accordingly.
Contrary to popular belief, testing for personality type is not an invasion of privacy, nor is it a way to discriminate against one group or another.
Instead, it’s a way to find out how your team members think and how you can bring their work life more in line with those cognitive processes.
When it comes to team communication, for example, you might find that employee A doesn’t need, nor want, a lot of detail and discussion — they just want their assignment and then to be left alone to get down to work.
On the other hand, you might find that employee B needs a lot of detail and discussion to understand their role in the project and on the team.
With that knowledge in mind, you can arrange to assign employee A their task via email and employee B their task in a face-to-face meeting.
When you know each employee’s personality type, you can customize your team communication in such a way as to provide exactly what each employee needs to thrive and perform at their best.
16) Consider Formal Communication Training
To strengthen your team communication even more, consider taking part in formal training.
Whether you take a class yourself or involve your entire team, learning how to communicate effectively from experts can be incredibly beneficial for your business.
In some cases, you can even arrange for formal training at your location — be it face-to-face or via video conference — so that the training doesn’t take too much time away from your workday.
Simplify Team Communication With The Right Tool
When it comes to team communication, the right tool makes everything easier. It streamlines communication — of course — but it also contributes to other vital aspects of your team’s activities such as task management, scheduling, time tracking, payroll, and labor costs.
In a very real way, the right communication tool often means the difference between success and failure both in the short and long term.
The one tool that does all that and more is the Inch app. The powerful features built into the Inch program can help you:
- Organize and optimize your workforce
- Keep team members on task
- Perfect your field service management
- Manage overtime
- Provide stellar customer service
- Prevent gaps in service
- Stay on budget
- Maximize labor costs
And, of course, there’s Inch’s advanced communication features, which allow employees and managers to perform a wide variety of tasks from their tablet or phone, including:
- Work from a shared task list
- Get clarity on work that needs to get done
- Receive voice-assisted reminder notifications
- Clock in and out of tasks at different locations
- Complete work assigned to them
- Communicate with managers and each other
All of that and more without having to touch a mobile screen or report back to the office.
Inch really does help eliminate frustration for employees, headaches for managers, and inefficiencies for the business.
Whether you need help improving your team communication, assigning tasks to your remote workforce, or providing a better way to clock in and out and track work hours, Inch gives you unprecedented control over these and other aspects of your business’s workflow.
Inch simplifies an inherently complicated and chaotic process and makes it easier than ever to improve your team communication in every regard.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.