Employee & Team Communication - Venture Up

8 Tips for Team Communication

Getting caught up in logistical snags can often be attributed to poor communication among team members. Excellent team communication improves productivity and morale. Here are some ways managers can get teams in sync.

Open Office

While privacy reduces noise and helps productivity in some cases, too many partitions and closed doors cuts team members off from each other. Keeping your door open and setting work stations up in an open area sends a message that teamwork is encouraged.

Clear Values

Make sure your values are clear and visible in break rooms and open work areas. Posters, cartoons, team drawings can be displayed weekly or monthly, interchanging throughout the year. People notice something new, so keep changing the displays to get the staff’s attention and keep teams on track. Any display posted year-round will have all the impact of an elevator inspection certificate.

Good managers set an example by practicing what they preach. If accountability is a value, make sure you take ownership when the heat is on you. You may find your honesty actually cools things off. Staff will likely feel more relaxed when it’s their turn to take responsibility when things go awry.

Software Solutions

Choose a platform with clear goals in mind. You might be looking for instant messaging to reduce the amount of time employees spend reading emails, or for task lists that everyone can access to check and update the status of a project. Necessity is the mother of invention, and as such there are a wealth of programs tailored to different office and field environments. Choosing the platform should also be a team decision and involve feedback from the staff involved. Survey feedback lets you know what your staff is thinking. Assume nothing.

Breaks

Encourage breaks and outline them in your employee policies. Your break area should be more than just a kitchenette where people leave passive-aggressive notes about doing dishes and eating other people’s food. Make board games available, and consider having an office-wide (or department-wide) break time so your staff can interact over coffee. The break room could also have an “Artist of the Week” poster, with all staff being involved. Any topic is o.k., but artists must title their work. Throughout the week other team members may post hand-written comments a bulletin board next to the artwork.

Training

Yes, it’s costly, but the right training is aworthwhile investment. If you want to retain employees and nurture expertise, training has the added benefit of requiring communication through mentorship and promotes a “learning culture” within the organization. People love sharing knowledge and interacting, and if training can be purposeful and fun, you serve the needs for developing skills and nourishing team relationships.

Constructive Feedback

Nobody likes finding a stack of papers on their desk marked up with angry red pen. If you need to criticize work, do so privately and in person. First, highlight the merits and explain where things fell short of your expectations. When a job is well done, a genuine compliment goes far. Employees need to be recognized and appreciated. Companies with high retention rates know this well.

Clear Goals

When it comes to setting goals, be vague at your own peril. Don’t just announce that something needs to be done. Break the project into steps, making it clear who will be responsible for each task. The directives should be reinforced in writing.

Team Building

Encourage team members to come up with interactive activities, such as filling out sports brackets, voting on the best in-house artist, or a team word game at break time). Plan or hire professionals to deliver engaging, original, hands-on activities.

The ticket to hiring the right company is to find most creative team, with a hefty client list and flawless recommendations. Beware of books on training games. While they may be a good reference for young staff, you can be certain a few of the older staff have already done the game you choose to play.

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