As businesses seek to increase employee productivity they should first look to their internal team communication.
Any company thrives on the productivity of its employees. Simply speaking, the ability to do more work with less time and resources can give a company the competitive advantage it needs in their sector. Therefore, it makes sense that a question at the top of many companies’ minds is “how to improve productivity?”
Where does Productivity Come From?
Given the more creative and collaborative nature of work in the modern workplace, any discussion around employee productivity inevitably arrives at team collaboration. More and more routine and repetitive jobs that a employee can complete on their own are disappearing due to automation (think jobs on the assembly line). This leaves creative and dynamic work as the way of the future, and this type of work requires strong collaboration.
In order to collaborate effectively, businesses must have clear and well thought out means of employee communication. Without the ability to quickly reach out for consultations, easily submit an idea or feedback, or exchange thoughts on a joint project, employees will fail to achieve the levels of productivity that will drive a business forward. This puts team communication at the forefront of the drive for higher productivity, which begs the question, how can businesses improve their team communication?
Start with Questions
While there’s no simple answer to the question of how to improve team communication, the search for one in fact begins with even more questions. In order to start grappling with the effort to improve team communication as a means to boost productivity, businesses need to first try to define the end goal. In other words, what does team communication in a given business look like in its ideal state?
By defining the ultimate vision that they are working towards, businesses can begin to backwards plan a path forward. In order to help with this process, businesses should reflect on the following questions:
- How does a team of employees look when they are effectively communicating?
- What type of communication works best in the business?
- What enables this effective communication? What inhibits it?
Through the process of seeking answers to these questions businesses will be well positioned to gain clarity around what type of communication environment they are trying to create. Alternatively, if businesses were to jump into to trying out new things before being clear on what they are trying to achieve, they could create confusion and chaos among employees, which will certainly lead to lower productivity.
Choose the Right Tools
Once a business has a clear vision for the type of communication they are trying to develop among their employees, the next step is to find the right tool to support this vision. Unfortunately, many businesses take the opposite approach, choosing the tool before they fully understand why they need it and how they will use it. This can often lead to the wrong choice and wasted money on something that doesn’t have the desired effect on productivity. In order to avoid this it’s essential to take the time to do the research.
Luckily, the team communication app market is constantly growing, meaning their are plenty of choices. Given that there are a plethora of tools available to boost team communication, it can be a challenge to differentiate between them in order to find the right one. With the clear communication vision, however, businesses can match their communication needs with the tool that can address them.
The Main Types of Team Communication Tools
Broadly speaking, most of the team communication tools fall into two categories team chat and instant messaging (IM). While both categories share many similarities (both aim to increase communication efficiency by providing different means of online communication), their approaches vary significantly.
While team chat relies on a more open form of communication, with different channels that employees can tap into for ongoing conversations, IM emphasizes more direct personal communication. Neither approach is right or wrong for every business, and both approaches have their own value.
Whether IM or Team Chat is right for a specific business will depend on its communication needs. If, for example, a team struggles to find the right way to quickly send and receive messages for feedback, then IM would be a good choice. On the other hand, if a team wants ongoing conversations on a range of different topics, then they may want to look into team chat. Regardless of the choice, in order to ensure the highest gains to productivity, businesses should make sure that all employees are trained and competent in how and why they use the tool.
Boosting employee productivity should be a central focus for any business. One of the best ways to increase productivity is through more effective team collaboration. In order to become, and remain, competitive, businesses should seek out ways in which to improve their team communication by first defining what type of communication they hope to achieve, and then choosing a tool to match this vision. When done right, this process will lead to a more collaborative and productive workforce, and businesses will reap the benefits!