No matter what kind of business you’re running, here’s a challenge for you: take a moment to consider how insanely difficult it would be to get anything done if your communication was completely upended. If your team is unable to stay connected, chaos would likely erupt, right?
Even if your processes are tight and your team is expertly assembled, the well-oiled machinery of your business would come to a screeching halt. In short, you’d be powerless to accomplish much of anything. Of course, the chances that all communication would ever be completely severed are slim to none. However, our point stands. Your team needs to develop a surefire way to communicate effectively in order to truly maximize your impact and productivity.
While the link between communication and productivity isn’t exactly new territory, more and more research is revealing just how connected the two truly are. One study even concluded that organizations with connected employees saw their productivity improve by as much as 25 percent, amounting to roughly $1.3 trillion in annual revenue.
Seeing the impact of communication and productivity quantified in such a way would make any committed business owner or manager think twice about how they run their company. But if you are willing to take a deeper dive into how your team’s communication affects the ultimate productivity of your business, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to highlight some key correlations between communication and productivity and give you a bit of direction for how to strengthen both elements of your business.
Connecting the Dots
Communication and productivity are so integral not only to the success of your business but to perpetuating each other for years to come. Here are five ways they are connected:
Effective messaging: If you and your team can’t clearly communicate — or, relatedly, your team members struggle to connect with each other, you’re bound to encounter problems. Setting expectations from the start and establishing clear goals are necessary for your business to thrive. However you choose to do so, implement a feedback loop to ensure that your communication is received accurately and that no confusion results. This can naturally slow down productivity and actually drive turnover rates up over time. After all, there’s no way to successfully follow through on a project if your team is completely lost about what they’re doing.
- Acknowledging success: No, we don’t mean the success of your business here. Rather, celebrate the accomplishments of your workers. You may feel an immense sense of pride in your team and be truly thankful for all that hard work, but if you don’t take the time to express that in some way, you risk driving employees away. When your team members feel recognized by you and their peers, this develops a sense of loyalty to your business, one that only drives workers to want to get more done more effectively than ever.
- Increased engagement: Likewise, when your workers receive, understand and act on communication from yourself or other team members, they’re far more likely to enjoy their work. Following orders is one thing, but actually getting a sense of fulfillment is something else entirely. Many employees will opt to leave even a high-paying role if they are not feeling engaged. In some cases, this results from persistent miscommunication. Your workers may be lacking that sense of ownership over their work because something just isn’t clicking with other team members or the management. Let your employees have a voice throughout the process and confirm that they feel heard and acknowledged. So often, this disconnect is where the seeds of inactivity and lack of productivity are initially sowed.
- Autonomous workforce: Much like that sense of ownership we mentioned, employees today want to feel like they contribute something unique to the role they hold within your business. To that end, provide them with the opportunity to bring their own ways of doing things into the workplace. Let them act independently when an action must be taken and find their own way to solve any issues that may arise. When you cultivate an atmosphere that allows employees to take greater accountability, then you are setting them up for success or, at the very least, giving them an unmitigated chance to create their own success if they so choose. That, of course, means greater productivity each day they spend on the job.
- More time: Granted, you can never create more time, but when you implement effective communication in the workplace, you will be surprised how much faster and efficiently things can get done. Rather than wasting so much time going back and forth to course-correct or revisit how something should be — or should have been — handled differently, your team can be on the same page from minute one and leap into action to ensure that what needs to get done will be so as accurately and quickly as they can muster. This all only reflects well when it comes to boosting the customer experience.
Building Your Toolkit
- Communication monitoring: As the above illustrates all too well, communication is indeed a metric you need to consider when you track your business’s progress and overall growth strategy. So, like any key performance indicator (KPI), you should put systems in place to monitor your company’s communication. One easy way to start is to track how often employees use the communication systems you already have in place. How often do your workers actually communicate via the intranet, audio messaging app or phone system? If the answer is “rarely,” then you may be on track for one major issue standing in the way of your business’s true potential.
- Managerial communication: Much of our discussion has centered on how your team members relate to each other as much as how you relate to them, but it’s worth emphasizing specifically the essential role that internal communication has in the success of your workers. This relationship shapes how your team members see the company as a whole and, as we’ve demonstrated, there is a direct correlation between how they feel about your business and its mission and how committed they are to being as productive as possible. So take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if there’s anything you personally could be doing to foster a more positive work environment.
- Supportive systems: Even if you have excellent intentions, your efforts to improve workplace communication aren’t going to get very far if you don’t provide your workers with the systems they need to support them. You could upgrade your phone systems, add a better chat feature to your intranet or embark on the exciting new world of audio messaging apps. Whatever you choose to do, the bottom line is that you want to make it as smooth for your workers as possible to communicate about any and all projects in an instant. The easier you make it for them, the more likely that your efforts will yield increased productivity.
- Going mobile: We alluded to this earlier, but employees nowadays are not particularly inclined to want to stay locked down on a desk all day every day. Plus, you never know when a team member may be away from his or her computer or phone and miss a critical emergency message related to an important project. One smart way is to utilize mobile technology to stay with employees wherever they go. Remote work is another option that is increasing in popularity, as is social networking. Both approaches can backfire if mishandled. So take heed in how you want to integrate these into your business’s approach to communication.
- Bringing it all together: Even if you don’t offer remote work or dabble in social networking, you can still unite all your various communication systems into one distinct solution. A large part of the reason why team members don’t communicate enough is that many companies just don’t prioritize ease of use. If your workers don’t know how to access their communication system or can’t even find it on your computer, then you can’t really expect them to leverage it to increase their productivity. With only one unified communication system, there’s also minimal chance that another employee would miss the message.
Connect to Win
Perhaps you feel like your team is doing everything they can to perpetuate your company’s success but still cannot pinpoint exactly why your progress has flatlined. If this is the case, it could be that your communication systems need to be readdressed. Oftentimes, businesses can get complacent in their processes, deciding to rely on “tried-and-true” methods over taking the time to update and modernize.
Although this might work for awhile, it will inevitably spell disaster for your business. To stay ahead of your competition and on top of your industry, you need to determine how to communicate more effectively. As technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected, you have no excuse for not embracing the communication possibilities before you, and even worse, you have probably lost touch with your field and your customers along the way.
Understanding the inextricable link between communication and productivity in the workplace is essential to securing a long-term future for your company. Hopefully, the above discussion has been a solid foundation for you to build upon in regards to creating a stronger bond between the ways your team communicates and the productivity you will be able to generate as a result.
Fostering a collaborative environment doesn’t end with your management style, but it does begin there. With the right tools on your side, you will be able to take your business to new heights, allowing your team to be more closely connected and passing on that heightened efficiency to your customer experience. The road ahead may be long, but the sooner you get moving, the brighter the future will be.