Team communication is all about consistency.
A company's success depends on proper team communication throughout all levels - which can be tricky in today's workforce. Manager's have a never ending list of things to communicate, whether it be high-level company initiatives, changes, updates, bad news, good news, employee feedback, new regulations - the list goes on forever. Often times not everything is communicated clearly.
Ineffective team communication can result in:
- Reduced employee engagement/productivity
- Increased employee turnover
- Decreased customer satisfaction
- Reduced company profits
Team communication is the foundation of a company’s success. It fosters healthy and productive relationships between managers and employees - which then affects how smoothly each shift runs. With effective team communication, a company’s culture will thrive (and profits too, as a result).
Miscommunication can cost companies with 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.
Even if your business doesn't have 100 employees, you can imagine that miscommunication is still costly. On average, it can cost between $1,000-$5,000 for replacing hourly employees even for small businesses.
If you don’t agree that team communication is important yet, you will after reading the following guide.
After reading this, you’ll have a greater understanding of why team communication is important, and better yet, how to improve it. This guide reveals tips on how to improve team communication so all levels and facets of your business will benefit as a result.
Read on to find ways to best incorporate these tips throughout your own team communication.
Before we dig into how to improve your team communication, take a second to better understand what effective workplace communication is:
That’s right, proper team communication affects all aspects of your business.
When effective team communication is done right, it will reduce:
- Employee turnover by improving culture and morale.
- Daily mistakes each shift from lack of communicating.
Once you master team communication, your business will run like a well oiled machine. You’ll be able to easily track each shift’s success and find more opportunities for improvements. Your company culture will flourish and your employees will be engaged and ready to work.
Before you can improve your team's communication - you'll need to take a look at yourself.
To instantly improve your own communication, follow these steps:
1 — Listen
I’m sure you’ve heard before that listening is the first step to communicating.
Think about it… your favorite manager, leader, or even friend is probably a great listener. Being a good listener makes people feel valued and heard.
There’s a difference between someone just staring at you talk (but clearly not focusing on the conversation) and someone intently listening and absorbing what you have to say.
So, focus intently on what your employees are saying, and then follow up with questions if need be. Truly listening shows that you care as a manager.
2 — Master Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication plays a huge role in how things are interpreted. Learn how to control your body language as you communicate with employees or coworkers.
Your facial expression, stance, and gestures give a visual signal to the speaker, whether you intend for them to or not. Make sure you’re giving your employees non-verbal cues that you are actively listening to what they have to say.
For instance, try not to cross your arms - which signals you’re closed off and not fully in the conversation. Maintaining consistent eye contact and nodding your head are both ways to show you’re listening and engaged.
3 — Know Your Employees' Communication Styles
There are many types of people in the world - and probably many different types within your business. For instance, are you talking to an introvert or an extrovert? Both require very different kinds of communication and it’s your job, as a manager, to read your employees and figure out the best way to communicate with them.
Other communication styles to consider are:
Direct vs. Indirect: some people prefer to get straight to the point, while others go in a roundabout way to communicate something.
Competitive vs. Affiliative: some people like to make decisions solo, and prefer to be in power. Others prefer more collaborative approaches and want everyone to work as a team.
Visual vs. Tactile: some people learn better by seeing and listening, while others learn better on the job - by doing it or being lead through it.
It’s important to tailor your communication to match individual needs, instead of speaking to all employees in the exact same way. The best approach is to provide a mix of these styles during team meetings. Offer one-on-one meetings as well, and put in effort to get to know how each of your employees prefers to communicate.
Not only will this help you to foster better team communication, but it will also show your employees that you respect and value them.
4 — Getting to the Point
Everyone is so busy nowadays. Time just gets away from us. So don’t waste anyone’s time by elaborating on things that can be communicated quickly.
For instance, if you’re a manager asking an employee to do a simple task - there is probably no need to elaborate.Many managers have a tendency to micro manage - this over-communicating could waste time, decrease employee morale, and negatively impact your team.
Learn how to trust your people to do their jobs correctly. Just make sure to clearly offer background information or further details when needed - so important information is never missed.
5 — Keep It Regular
Daily, weekly, and monthly employee meetings are necessary for keeping your entire team in the loop. If it’s not a traditional meeting - it should at least be frequent communication between team members.
Communicating well and often can help you build strong relationships with your employees, plus improve engagement and accountability (it’s a win-win).
Remember - effective team communication is all about consistency.
Now that you're a little more self aware of your personal communication skills - you can learn how to get your team communicating effectively.
If collaboration is low, team communication won’t work. Your employees and other managers need to be engaged.
But, how do you get them to collaborate and communicate with you and other coworkers?
1 — Encourage communication at every level
The goal is for your entire team to feel comfortable communicating. A great way to start consistent communication is to lead by example. Demonstrate daily the communication efforts and habits that you want to see from your team. Encourage other managers, and top management to do the same. Once your employees see the open communication habits growing - they'll follow suit.
2 — Have an open door policy, and actually keep your door open
Employees can be scared to approach a manager's closed door. This leads to a lack of communication all around. Keeping your door open for employees will help them feel safer approaching you and will foster more communication as a result.
3 — Encourage failure
Employees that are punished for failure will always be afraid to communicate when they mess up. They'll be afraid to communicate at all. You want your employees to come to you for help, if they need it. So start teaching your employees that there are learning opportunities in failure, and that failure is okay (as long as you put in effort and tried). Encourage your employees to come to you, or another coworker for help when they're struggling to get a job done. This will open new doors and will build a strong team.
4 — Give Employees Time to Speak
During your regular meetings, give the floor over to employees to speak about current projects or share goals they're working on each shift.
Or - have separate meetings for employees to open up about these things. Either way, giving employees the opportunity to interact with you and each other will foster great team communication and collaboration.
5 — Plan Time for Fun
When a team knows each other better, they will communicate more effectively. It can be hard to find time at work - so plan a team dinner or grill out once a month to foster that connection.
This will also help new hires get to know the team faster as well. Having fun and talking outside of work will actually increase your employee engagement inside of work - and therefore increase team collaboration.
Having one place for employees and managers to go for taking notes on their shifts, checklists, or goals is incredibly important. It's also important for you, as a manager, to communicate goals and objectives clearly when it comes to taking shift notes.
Making notes each shift is extremely important for team communication. These notes can pertain to day-to-day shift operations or even long-term insights.
If kept up consistently, you have a manager’s log book in the making. This a place to store all important notes and documents in an organized manner. The goal is to clearly communicate anything relevant to your team through a log book.
Still not sure what you should be documenting each shift?
Of course - some topics can be more confidential than others.
It’s also hard to keep track of everything in a binder. Loose papers can be a nightmare and impossible to keep up with.
Which is why an online manager’s log book can make team communication way easier.
Either way, whether with pen and paper or using a software, here’s how to write shift notes for maximum team communication:
What to Include and Avoid
- Each shift note should have enough detail to provide a clear picture of what happened without needing further information.
- Keep in mind that detailed shift notes can also assist if legal issues arise.
- Avoid using nicknames on your shift notes - clearly state whom the entry involves.
- Stick to facts. Personal opinions should be avoided.
Be analytical and answer the “5 W’s” - who, what, when, where, and why.
- Shift notes should be for business purposes only. The manager’s log book is not a place for casual conversation.
Keep confidential information private
- Be cautious of posting confidential financial or medical information.
- Don’t label guests or employees using any of the Federally Protected Classes including race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or age. This is important in the event of a discrimination claim.
Following these guidelines for your log book will improve team communication and make your life a whole lot easier as a manager.
Traditional manager log books can be fine for smaller teams. However, as a business grows and improves, its communication processes have to also grow and improve.
It's good to find a system that works for your team communication and is scalable - meaning as you grow, you don't have to change your system.
Cloud-based technologies, like online log books, are a great option to improve team communication.
Some benefits include:
- Managers can easily note important operational and personnel-related notes every shift in an organized fashion.
- The log book is a place for data and document storage - meaning no more messy piles of paper or binders full of new hire training information.
- It allows you to measure important stats and data (like sales and labor), to inform future decisions with actual quantitative data.
Having an online log book aids in communication between managers and other leaders within an organization, as well as employees. It also streamlines the process of team communication - making decisions easier and information clearer.
More importantly, systemizing shift notes allows you to keep your team on track and accountable.
Why Go Paperless?
The most efficient option for team communication is by going paperless and streamlining all communications into a single platform. Keeping track of what happens each and every shift becomes effortless, since it's all logged in one place.
Don't forget about forecasting capabilities, tracking sales, and creating checklists either. An online manager's logbook will centralize and organize everything so you can get back to focusing on your team.
Software can reduce communication errors that make shifts messy. Less time spent on shift errors due to ineffective communication means more time to grow sales and profits.
Sounds great, right? You should check out how ShiftNote’s Online Manager's Log Book can help improve your shift-to-shift communication all around to build an unbeatable team.
Ready for the Ultimate Team Communication Solution?
Are you still using Microsoft Office programs, Post-Its, binders, or a long string of emails for team communication?
If so… Listen up. Your life is about to get easier.
The ultimate solution is an online communication software. A cloud-based manager log book to support all team communication and keep track of it forever.
Online log books reduce the time it takes managers to communicate important details and manage every shift. An online log book can make your life easier in a number of ways.
Remember - it's important to find a solution that's right for YOU, as every company is different.
Consider finding an online manager log book with the following components:
- Access: You should be able to access and communicate through the log book via phone, computer, or tablet.
- Customizable: Being able to customize log book categories and tracking statistics is crucial to make it a seamless experience for team communication.
- Forecasting Capabilities: Predict resource needs based on real data. Look for a solution that allows you to accurately predict sales and other important metrics.
- Document Storage: Being able to upload supporting documents, like performance reviews, is a function you need to have.
- Checklists/Tasks: Create checklists and tasks that are a daily or weekly occurrence in your business to save time and paper.
- Messaging: The ability to message through the software so everything is truly in one place. This is important for liability and legal reasons.
- Reporting: Receive daily reports on what happened each shift via email.
Thanks for tuning into this guide. We hope you found some helpful insights and best practices to apply to your own team communication efforts.
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