Is Bad Communication Stifling Your Business?

Who is to blame in this story of bad communication?

In the story above the manager passed the task he was given down the line and when he came to collect the report, it had been done twice! When communication breaks down in the workplace it could be a combination of people at fault, but it is infrequently intentional. We have put together a short guide to discuss what could potentially cause communication breakdown and how to easily solve these issues.

Overview

Does your organisation/business have issues in any of the following areas?

  • Heavy workloads
  • Task management
  • Staff motivation
  • Low morale
  • Language barriers

Heavy workload

Is it time to expand the workforce? Are your staff always complaining they have too much work to do? Maybe they are right. Trying to spin too many plates may be causing these jobs to take too long and some of the plates may be falling and smashing if they can’t keep up. If you need to grow your team, there are a few low cost options such as Apprenticeships & Traineeships that you would probably want to look into.

Task management

Do you have the right task management tools in place to allow for smooth communication and work-flow? Below is a list of some useful tools that may help to improve communication and efficiency within your organisation.

Insightly - Share contacts and collaborate on projects

Insightly

Insightly is a full CRM (Client Management System) which is integrated with Google apps. If you are using Google Apps for business we recommend this web application to manage your business contacts. Its free for the first 2500 contacts and after that we feel the costs are reasonable.

Trello - Organise your tasks and collaborate

Trello

As one of our favourite task management solutions at Train Together, we felt we should put this near the top of the list. Trello is a web application, so your account can be accessed any place you have access to the internet. There is even an app for your phone/tablet.

Our favourite things about Trello are:

  • its flexibility for task management
  • its collaboration ability
  • its ease of use (it’s free to for the most part)

 

It works just like a notice board. Add some custom column headers (the default headers are “To Do”, “Doing” & “Done”). Tasks are written on virtual cards (almost like “post its”) and you can “drag n drop” the cards in the various columns as you progress through your projects.

Click on a card and you can:

  • make notes
  • assign tasks
  • add lists and much more.

 

You could also manage multiple boards simultaneously. Due to the web app’s versatility, Trello can be as simple or full featured as you need it to be.

Hipchat - Chat and share with colleagues

Hipchat

Sometimes it can be a pain to communicate with a colleague across a busy office or working environment. Hipchat solves that problem by giving you the functionality of google talk or Facebook chat while keeping all communications bound to employees only.

Hipchat allows for not only 1-2-1 conversations, but also for simultaneous topic based chat rooms. This application can be downloaded as a desktop app, but can also be used inside your browser. Most of the best features of Hipchat are completely free, but if you want to add video conferencing you will need go for the paid option although it’s not too pricey.

Organised email, calendar and more...

Integrated email and calendars (Outlook/Gmail)

Having your business email hosted by Gmail or using Outlook for business email can be invaluable as it allows you to store same domain email addresses and business contacts on the system. This is a big time saver as business emails can be sent quickly and efficiently between colleagues, even if they have never corresponded before. Hosting your email with Outlook or Gmail also means calendar integration. Meetings can easily be sent out to anyone on the domain and staff can even be given the option to accept or decline meetings, letting you know who will be attending well in advance.

Industry specific tools

For almost every industry you can find industry specific task management tools to suit your business shape and working style. So whatever your business, if you are having efficiency/communication issues, these low cost solutions will be well worth the time invested in integrating them into your organisation.

Staff motivation

Having a team/teams that are participating, committed and communicating effectively is vital to the efficiency of your organisation. Achieving this however is not a simple task and most employers seem to fall short. Making sure that your management team has all the skills they need to engage the staff is important. Some great ways to achieve this include:

  • Management workshops, seminars
  • Subscriptions to management publications
  • Webinars
  • Management training

 

It is possible to source most of the above at low or no cost to the business. If you  would like to learn more about government funded management training options for your business, get in touch with us today!

It's hard to try when you're feeling blue

Low morale

Are you looking after your staff? People tend to care most about the people that care about them. The same works in business. If an employee feels looked after and more importantly… VALUED, he/she will value the business and will want to maintain their reputation as a valued member of staff. Of course it often plays out the other way round. Many employees feel that they are undervalued. This causes tension between the employer and the employee.

If the employee is unhappy with the way that they are treated by the employer or supervisor, you can expect less than their full co-operation. This employee may perceive that the appreciation they would like is out of reach/unachievable and therefore will not be giving 100%. By showing (consistent) appreciation for work well done and demonstrating that you care about your employees, you can expect a higher morale and subsequently a better standard of work.

I don't understand?

Language barriers

Do you have staff with poor or low level English skills? If there is a language gap in your workforce it might be time to look into training. There are several free (currently government funded) options that will help your staff to improve their written and verbal communication skills. If you  would like to learn more about government funded English programmes for your business, get in touch with us today!

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Posted on: March 20, 2016, by Michael Kirk

4 responses to “Is Bad Communication Stifling Your Business?”

  1. Andrew Atkin says:

    Great post, though I would also add trust as a category. Trust links to many of the other factors that have been considered and can have a major impact on communication in the work environment.

    • Michael Kirk says:

      You make a good point! Trust is an important factor. As it is so important, I believe it requires a post to itself. Once created, I will update this post with a link to it… Thank you for the feedback!

  2. Abigail Chappel says:

    As a team we use Trello on an everyday basis. We’ve noticed a huge difference in the way that we communicate with one another now that we have something in place to help us to organise tasks. It’s definitely something I would recommend.

    • Hi Abi. I think the way you and the rest of the Core Skills team have showcased the use of Trello to Train Together is fantastic! I particularly like the way Trello enables working teams to update each other and inform on the different elements of a project or multiple projects.

      HipChat is an extension of Google Hangouts. I can see its benefits but I’m a Google fan so I’m sticking with Hangouts for the time being.

What are your thoughts?